THE JOURNEY -
It was a cold winter evening. The snow continued to fall and bury everything outside my parents house in the woods outside of the Olympic mountains. Canon (the dog) seemed to disappear as she leapt and bound through the fresh powder.
With 6 inches of snow, the Seattle airport seemed unreachable. Relentlessly attempting to drive up the hill to reach the main road in a Ford Focus, we continued to slide backwards over and over again. Finally made it out but the snow fall turned into a wild flurry. Grateful my parents and brother all wanted to take me to the airport, we joked that if we didn’t make it, at least we tried as a family… we reached the Seattle airport and I boarded my first international flight.
THE DESTINATION -
So anyways, made it to Amsterdam and met with a few familiar faces. Stayed in Delft for a few nights, adorable. Wednesday night crept up real quick. At this point, was STOKED to skate!
Rotterdam pre-clash session was nuts! The park was massive! That moment the girls arrived to shred was the moment the trip really set in. Can’t tell you how excited I was to meet them! Lots of small contests, with big tricks, went down. Last minute Bladies jam was announced where we all got to throw down some tricks and win some wine and chocolate, thank you Erik Droogh!
Thursday was Flight School, the private skate school and jam before the park opened for practice to the public. Mery and Manon were instructing the Bladies side; Montre and Nils leading the other half of flight school. It was a treat to skate the park early that day.
Mery booked a room at Blue Collar for 4 us where I met Mery, Aniek and Lien for the first time. Best roomies! So many girls registered and skated! Never seen so many girls at one contest all going at it full force, so rad!
Here’s the full report from Winterclash for Bladies:
THE RESULTS -
Number of contestants: 21
Number of contestants qualified for the Finals: 11
3rd place – Manon Derrien (France)
Manon focused mainly on coping tricks – she started out doing a big Alleyoop Top acid on the GH extension and a really long, grabbed Ao Fishbrain on the coping below. A steezy Fakie Sweestance on the kinked coping and Truespin Topside Xgrind on the highest quarter pipe. Having a hard fall on the big handrail last year didn`t stop Manon to land a sweatstance there for her final trick. More variety in the choice of spots and tricks would help to achive a better ranking, but the style and difficulty was definitely enough for the podium.
Final Trick: Sweestance (Big handrail)
2nd place – Misaki Katayama (Japan)
Great style is the signature feature of most bladers from Japan and Misaki is no different. The way she laced that Full cab backslide to Ao Top Pornstar on the highest coping and text-book Misfit on the big Handrail would be very hard to match among any other contestant. Good balance between big tricks and technical moves (small rail switch-ups like Top Acid to Truespin Pornstar) scored high in the categories of difficulty and creativity, but the lack of lines and any connection between tricks left Misaki with 2nd position.
Final Trick: Top Acid to Truespin Misfit (long GH rail)
1st place – Mery Munoz (Spain)
Mery`s mix of different tricks on all spots left the judges with a ‘no brainer’ decision. She started with grinding the Loco ‘Whale’ box with Top Soul to fakie, immediately followed by a very solid sweestance on the Kaltik extension. A true mizu at the GH handrail and a few smaller grinds on SP rail (Soyale) and a sick fakie 540 Mute on the quarter pipe (spins with grabs are not so often seen). Only one fall/missed trick during the whole run. The final trick made a huge impression on the judges and the crowd in general – first try Top Soul to Royale transfer – one of the hardest trick by a bladie during the contest so far!!
Final Trick: Top Soul to Royale transfer (flat rail transfer to big handrail)
1. Mery Muñoz
2. Misaki Katayama
3. Manon Derrien
4. Eve Jovino
5. Emilia Parejo Escobar
6. Armelle Tisler
7. Liene Nulle
8. Patrycja Najda
9. Sara Vilella
10. Aniek Kerkhofs
Shout out to all the panel speakers, Erik Droogh and Jojo Jacobi, Mery and all the bladies at the event, Chris Austin for helping me through the travels, Kevon Biz aka “K-Dutch” and all the new and old friends (Aarin Gates I miss you and wont go back without you)!