Well, that’s it, folks. 2017 is finally over. It’s been a bit of a chaotic mess no matter how you look at it, but we’ve survived. Somehow.

(Unless, of course, the world goes full nuclear between me writing this and Bud publishing it, which, worryingly, seems like it may be a very real possibility.)

Anyway, in the world of headbands, long socks and shinguards, 2017 was a busy year. I was worried that the winter months would leave me devoid of things to justify this article, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Let’s start with competitions, as they’re always nice and easy to summarise.



First of all, the World Championships happened. Denis Šopović summoned some of the world’s best skaters to his dedicated freestyle area in Highvalley Skateworld at Stockholm, Sweden, and a good time was had by almost everyone. To those who haven’t been to Highvalley, it’s a huge outdoor concrete paradise, comprising a series of interconnected bowls of varying sizes, a frankly massive downhill ditch used for banked slalom (and breaking elbows, if my experience last year is anything to go by), and a specially-made raised freestyle area with one of the best surfaces in the world – perfectly level, smooth and just the right mix of grip and slide. Denis was directly responsible not only for that area being built, but for it being rebuilt when the first surface wasn’t up to his standards. No half-measures here.

This event marked the second year a freestyle event has been held at Highvalley alongside Bowlstock and the World Banked Slalom Championships. This makes for a great event for spectators – you turn up nice and early and have a full schedule of skateboarding to watch. As a freestyler, this works well, too – we get to practice and hang out while the bowl riders have their event, and when they’re finished, the whole crowd comes to watch the freestylers flip, spin and slide across their area. It’s great to see an audience that appreciates all types of skateboarding and not just the typical Street League stuff that normally gets jammed down your throat.

This year, the freestyle competition featured the return of two freestylers from the past – the Swedish Mathias Dewoon, who was once heralded as “the greatest freestyle talent Rodney Mullen has ever seen” at the start of the 90s, and the Finnish Jari Paakkari, who dominated European freestyle in the mid-2000s, but who hasn’t been seen for almost a decade. Also notable was the reappearance of former Schmitt Stix and New Deal pro Hazze Lindgren, who turned up for the second year in a row to hang out and say hello (I’m still working on convincing him to practice a routine and enter).

Sadly, it’s also notable for being yet another European freestyle event with no Americans in sight. Transatlantic flights aren’t that expensive, folks. Save some of that beer money and come over to skate in a continent that doesn’t hate freestyle!

The competition itself ran surprisingly smoothly; the impending rain held off when it actually mattered, with Team Romania manning the squeegees to get the freestyle area dry, and Denis and myself stepping up to fill in for the missing MC (who dropped out two or three days before the event). Tricks were done, crowds applauded, and much beer was drunk. I’d consider that a success.

Results (Pro)

  1. Tony Gale (UK)

  2. Guenter Mokulys (Germany)

  3. Stefan “Lillis” Akesson (Sweden)

  4. Mathias Dewoon (Sweden)

  5. Felix Jonsson (Sweden)

  6. Marius Constantin (Romania)

Results (Amateur)

  1. Alexandru Lilea (Romania)

  2. Alexandru Stirbu (Romania)

  3. Robert Wagner (Germany)

  4. Andre Hansson (Sweden)

  5. Jari Paakkari (Finland)

  6. Sayed “Freestyle” Karimi (Afghanistan)

Results (Masters)

  1. Joachim “Yoyo” Schulz (Germany)

  2. Krister Philgren (Sweden)

  3. Eric Schader (Sweden)

  4. Denis Sopovic (Sweden)

  5. Hans Puttis Jacobsson (Sweden)

  6. Robert Thiele (Sweden)

  7. Magnus Gyllenberg (Sweden)

Results (Women)

  1. Sussi Eriksson (Sweden)

  2. Cecilia Wolkert (Sweden)



Next up on the contest recap is the US Freestyle Championships, held in Philadelphia for the 7th year in a row. The annual Philly comp has been the only major event on the US calendar for a while, but this year it was surprisingly lacking some of North America’s big hitters. The final scores in the pro division were incredibly tight, with handstand king Bert Matheson just beating fellow invert-nut Jacob Whitt to the top spot by half a point. Sadly, I didn’t attend this one, so I can’t comment too much on how the competition ran. Maybe if the esteemed editor is kind enough to pay my plane fare, I’ll make the journey next September and finally see what the deal is with this Rizzo Rink.

That’s assuming, of course, that Philadelphia still exists next summer, and hasn’t become the setting for a real-world fallout game.

Results (Pro)

  1. Bert Mathieson (91.5)

  2. Jacob Whitt (91)

  3. Yassine Boundouq (90)

  4. Pete Betti (89)

  5. Felix Jonsson (88.5)

  6. Sean Burke (88)

  7. Derek Elliott (87.5)

Results (Amateur)

  1. Tyrone Williams

  2. Eric Lowery

  3. Arjun Shah

  4. Hatchert Sallie

  5. Brady

  6. Dan Robbins

Results (Novice)

  1. Dylan Evans

Results (Masters)

  1. Michael Kinney

  2. Rodney Watkins

  3. Jim Simmons

  4. Mike Naples

Next on the list is the 2ª Etapa Braza Freestyle Skateboarding Championship. Brazil’s always had a strong freestyle scene, and runs events semi-regularly through the year. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time Mike Osterman has left North America for a competition, and he walked away with the 1st place trophy and a good chunk of prize money. If they also paid him for the use of his likeness in the event poster, he’s coming out of this one absolutely minted, so I’m expecting to see yet more ink on his pasty legs after the winter’s over.

Results (Pro)

  1. Mike Osterman

  2. Kauê de Araújo

  3. Matheus Navarro

  4. Rogério Antigo

  5. Brownzinho Mendes

  6. Marcos Toshiro

  7. Isnard da Rocha

Results (Amateur)

  1. Charles Ribeiro

  2. Vinicius Dantas

  3. Tavinho

  4. Luca Chiossi

  5. Wesley

  6. Fábio Napoleão

  7. Bruno França

  8. Guilherme Carioca

  9. Igor

  10. Flavio

  11. Leo

  12. Gustavo

  13. Felipe

Results (Masters)

  1. Edmar Marroca

  2. Paulo Folha Citrangulo

  3. André do Ipiranga

  4. Osmar Fossa

  5. Cicero Braz

  6. Tai Tai

  7. Mauricio Kisuco

  8. Paulo Daniel

  9. Alexandre

Finally, we cap off our contest wrap-up with the most unique event on the contest calendar – the All Japan Pro Competition. Unlike all the other events in the year, the All Japan Pro runs as a knockout format, where skaters are arranged into a bracket and pitted against each other in pairs, with the best skater advancing to the next round. As you might imagine, this makes for writing full lists of results a little awkward, and also leads to some interesting moments during the event. For instance, Yuta Fujii won the amateur division and got entered into the pros, only to make it all the way to the final after beating his uncle, Toshiaki Fujii, in the first round of the Pro division. Dan Garb also took a surprising victory over Guenter Mokulys – after not realising the event was about to start and sinking too many beers, too – only to get trampled by little Yuta on his climb to the top.

Meanwhile, the guy who all the smart money was on for winning the whole thing, Isamu Yamamoto, ended up crashing out in the first round. Canada’s Andy Anderson scraped a win, beating out Isamu by a mere two points, and then ended up ruining Yuta’s unexpected winning streak in the final with another close finish – 340 points to Yuta’s 337.

If we then take the point scores from the first round as placement indicators, this makes the final places in the pro division as follows:

  1. Andy Anderson (Canada)

  2. Yuta Fujii (Japan)

  3. Dan Garb (USA)

  4. Yuzuki Kawasaki (Japan)

  5. Isamu Yamamoto (Japan)

  6. Lillis Åkesson (Sweden)

  7. Guenter Mokulys (Germany)

  8. Toshiaki Fujii (Japan)

I’ve been saying for a while that there is a real tectonic shift happening in freestyle; whereas it wasn’t that long ago that the older generations reliably dominated the podiums, my generation – and a brigade of Japanese wunderkinds – are increasingly taking over, and there’s no better indicator of it than that table of results. Three of the top 8 pros are under the age of 16. Two of the rest are still in their 20s. Considering the rapid pace at which the Japanese kids are progressing, even my generation are probably going to be pushed out of contention pretty soon. As a “professional” freestyler, I find this terrifying. As a general freestyler, I’m just excited to see what those little buggers are going to do next.

Basically, what I’m saying is I’m not sure whether to hug Yuta and Yuzuki next time I see them… or break their ankles. It could go either way.

It’s worth noting at this point that the Germans have already announced the dates for the 2018 Paderborn BBQ contest – it’s the weekend of 30th June/1st July, with the street contest on the Saturday and freestyle all day on the Sunday. Everyone who’s been to Paderborn knows that it’s the best competition on the circuit, so even if you have to sell your Grandma’s kidneys to get there, find a way to make the journey.

Camping is provided for international visitors on site, with a military-style tent and folding beds provided. There’s even showers in the sports hall down the road, so all you need to do is bring a sleeping bag, a towel and your board. (You can also go and stay in a hotel in town if that’s more your style. We won’t judge.)

At the end of November, some of us British lads decided we were tired of the piss-wet English weather and co-opted a bit of space in an indoor skatepark. What follows is the documentation of this shambolic mess, courtesy of Alex Foster from Late Tricks. Is this newsworthy? Probably not. But it does serve quite nicely to break up this body of text. Get yourself a coffee, watch some pretty moving images for a bit, and get yourself ready for some more reading.

Okay, now on to product news. Moonshine continues to keep pumping more money into freestyle than is really wise or healthy, and comes through with their third freestyle pro model. Toshiaki Fujii’s board is a bidirectional 7.5″ popsicle with mellow concave and a suitably rad graphic. You can get them in the US directly from Moonshine Skateboards or in Europe from the incomparable Never Enough Skateboards.

It’s worth me pointing out now that Never Enough have stepped up their game and started stocking all the Moonshine freestyle models and the Cirus freestyle boards from Hungary alongside their own decks, so if you live in Europe, they’re now a veritable one-stop-shop for all your freestyle needs.

Before I leave Never Enough behind, I should point out that they’ve also been quietly expanding their range of decks over the last couple of months. There’s a bunch of new single kicks and double kicks in both the “standard” 7.25″ width and the slightly fatter 7.5″ width.

More important than all of that, however, is the release of Reece Archibald’s first ever pro model. Coming in a street-friendly popsicle shape and a lollipop graphic which perfectly encapsulates Reece’s childlike joy, this board is long overdue. And if you don’t understand why, watch Reece’s latest video and never question me again.

More Euro news: Cirus aren’t talking about it publicly yet, but I have it on good word from both their team riders and Christian over at Never Enough that they’re starting to deviate from their bamboo and carbon fibre constructions. Marius Constantin has been playing around with Birch versions of his pro model, and Christian commissioned Canadian Maple versions of all the Cirus boards to stock at Never Enough. I’m a bit mixed about that – on one hand, bamboo smells, looks and feels amazing. On the other hand… bamboo splinters suck. At any rate, you’ve got to commend Cirus for being willing to experiment, mix things up, and trying to find the most eco-friendly and economical options out there.

Now over to America, and as ever, Witter is churning out the boards faster than I can keep up with them. The latest wood out of Decomposed is a Welinder homage (note: not actually a guest model), with a Decomposed take on the famous Nordic Skull graphic and, supposedly, the exact same shape, which should make a lot of folks very happy. Personally, I’m more excited about the next run of Hazze Lindgren boards, which will apparently be made on the original mould, complete with rocker. But hey, any Scandinavian throwback is good by me.

Meanwhile, Witter keeps hinting about some ‘80s company reissuing another one of their classic freestyle decks, but refuses to tell me exactly who. Hopefully we’ll find out before next month’s Report.

Elsewhere in the States, there’s change afoot at Mode. Terry tells me that there’s a new 29-inch single kick with graphics by Paul Francis Lambert on the same rocker mould they’ve been using for the Rogers, and he’s got a revised version of the Postcard double-kick deck that uses a mellower mold. Perhaps more significantly than that, however, is the departure of long-term Mode rider, Mike Osterman. Considering how popular the Mosti board was, this is a bit of a shocker. Who knows where Mike’s going to be getting his wood from now?

Mike, if you’re reading this, you better get to work on that sponsor-me tape…

Got some freestyle news? New products, projects, or events? Let me know about it in the comment section below this article and maybe I’ll put it into next month’s report.

But for now… go and skate!