Andreu wins VW Best Trick, Bas takes 4th in Slopestyle, Joe Smith Shreds, Grassroots Cleans House
In the six years since it’s inception, Crankworx has become the biggest, wildest, most diverse mountain bike festival in the world. Multimedia shows to live music, outdoor demos to epic parties, and lest we not forget, every single kind of gravity fueled mountain bike competition you can think of: enduro straight through to women’s slopestyle.
Headlining the 10 days of the festival is the Monster Energy Slopestyle. Kona riders have dominated this event in years past, with Paul Basagoitia winning twice and Andreu Lacondeguy the current defending champ. John Cowan put together an amazing course this year, laden with flow and amplitude. Cast on top of that beautiful weather, a crowd bordering on 20,000 and a field of international athletes brimming with both balls and talent, and the stage was set for one of the best slopestyle competitions in the history of all things.
Unfortunately, a Kona rider wasn’t able to podium, but both Bass and Andreu threw down incredible performances. Paul may have ridden one of the most fluid, perfect, trick busting runs ever in the history of Crankworx, including a front flip, back flips, 360s, tail whips—you name it, Paul nailed it. However, his score was only enough to nab him fourth. “I’m bummed that the judges missed things like slipped pedals and squirrelly landings,” explained Paul B after the competition. “It’s like putting your hand on the ground after landing in a snowboard contest.” However, Paul was amongst insanely talented company. Greg Watts, Brandon Semenuk, and Martin Soederstrom, who finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively, all threw down beautiful runs with mega tricks.
Andreu, after not qualifying for the Super Final, threw three sheets to the wind and chucked a mind melding flat spin 360 seat grab Indian air—a trick he had never landed on dirt before. “I tried the trick a bunch of years ago but haven’t practiced it that much,” says the spiky Spaniard. “I hit the foam pits the day before but was not landing them. Stoked to get it on the dirt at Crankworx.”
In the men’s pro Canadian Open DH, sponsored by Kona, Kona Factory Team Rider Joe Smith had an impressive finish amongst an equally impressive field. Joe placed eighth on the fast, technical course, beating out big names like Chris Kovarik and Kyle Strait. “I felt really good,” explains the super quick UK ginger. “I had a couple of bobbles in there, which might have meant a podium, but overall I’m quite pleased.”
But it wasn’t all about the pros. Kona Grassroots rider, 14-year-old Brennan Walstrom, annihilated the Boys (13-15) field in the Canadian Open DH, winning with a time that would have had him beating a whack of pros. His brother, Kye, who also races for Kona and just came off of winning the U18 division 4X Division at the Junior National Championships in Bromont, Quebec, placed 11th in the Junior category (16-18). Both riders are from Ladner, BC and have promising futures shredding Kona style.
With Demo Dave running a super smooth ship at the Kona tent, and Retro 80s Kona Hats invading the masses, a wild and wooly 10 Years of Disorder party celebrating Freeride Entertainment, you could say that Kona did Crankworx good. Real good.