words: T. Bird
photos: Aaron Blatt, Owen Ringwall, and Kyle Murray
Watch the 2014 Downtown Throwdown Webcast Replay.
Boston, what I believe to be the greatest city in the world, played host to some of the greatest snowboarders on earth this past Saturday, October 18th in City Hall Plaza, as hundreds of Bostonians looked on for the ninth annual Downtown Throwdown. What Krush Kulesza has created with the Downtown Throwdown is a bit of an enigma, as it has the feel of a local, gressroots event yet it features much of today’s top talent, and in a day and age where most snowboard contests aim to speak to a more mainstream audience, DTTD seems to do both, bringing a varied crowd to select cities every year, all the while focusing on putting on a good show first and foremost. And Boston was no different.
Krush and his diligent event staff that consisted of members of the famed Loon Mountain park crew this year, spent the previous day-and-a-half erecting the massive scaffolding setup (which is just as impressive as the riding that goes down on it) before the contest and when it was finished, it was a sight to behold and most certainly nothing that City Hall Park or the city of Boston had ever seen before. The setup was similar to last year, with a triple option feature up top: A down-flat-down box to the rider’s right, a single down bar to rider’s left, and a pole jam dead center. That fed into two Jersey barriers in the course’s midsection and fed the riders into a wide quarterpipe with rail options on the sides that could be slid, stalled or bonked to finish up a run. Around 1pm, “The Feeders” took to the setup. The Feeders is a qualifying event to try and get one of three spots into DTTD and some of the best up-and-coming riders from the east coast got a chance to drop in and try to make it into the big show. Those riders were: Brendon Rego, Parker Szumowski, Cole Navin, Shaun Murphy, Jeff Harvey, Alex Gogo, Jack Herald, Brian Skorupski, Bar Dadon, Jack Kyle, Ezra Racine, Tim Major, Eugene Stancato, Christian Manhard, Nate Haust and Alex Cole. At the end of the one-hour send-off, however, only three could get the invite and they were Parker Szumowski, Shaun Murphy and Tim Major. By riding everything on the course, they were selected by head judges Scotty Wittlake, Eric Jackson and Sean Genovese but the judges’ work was cut out for them on this afternoon as the main event was about to go down and let me say that I am very glad I was not one of them, as they had just about the hardest job in Boston yesterday.
Around 2 and after a little course maintenance on the 80,000+ pounds of faux snow shaved ice, two dozen of the best rail riders on earth took to the DTTD setup for their chance to win a piece of the $20,000 prize purse. The invited rider list was a varied and international field, including Brandon Reis, Ted Borland, Erik Karlson, Zebbe Landmark, Sam Hulbert, Stefan Krumm, Nial Romanek, Andrew Brewer, Dylan Alito, Ryan Paul, Ian Boll, Brandon Hammid, Jesse Paul, Spencer Schubert, Ian Keay, Aiden Flanagan, Tyler Lynch, Mike Rav, Frank Bourgeois, Dillon Ojo, Derrek Lever and Jeremy Cloutier. The action was heavy as the rapid fire format made it almost impossible to catch all of it (especially while running a live cam webcast on our website) but highlights included Mike Rav’s plants, Tyler Lynch’s airs to fakie on the QP, Ted Borland annihilating everything in his path, Ryan and Jesse Paul flipping out all over the course, Dillon Ojo’s lines on the rails, Ian Boll on the quarter, Brandon Reis showing why he’s an all-around east coast god, and many many more. I, however, kept my eye on the crowd as much as I did on the course itself, because as a lifelong east coaster, I wanted to see how my brethren were taking to this odd and spectacular show, and I can say with certainty that this was one of the most vocal, raucous and involved crowds in DTTD history. At the end of the day, there could only be five winners and two superlative champs. They were.
Crab Grab Best Grab Award:
The Wicked Pissah Best Trick Award:
Jeremy Cloutier, with a pole jam lipslide transfer
And the top five:
First – Ryan Paul
Second – Jesse Paul
Third – Ted Borland
Fourth – Dillon Ojo
Fifth – Brandon Reis
And that was the 2014 Downtown Throwdown. It was amazing, inspiring, exciting, and something the likes of which Beantown has never seen before, but I know that many in attendance are hoping that it’s something they’ll one day see again…hopefully wicked soon.
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