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Silverdale skater crowned king of the asphalt

Kingston Sk8 Rollick advanced category winner Michael O
Kingston Sk8 Rollick advanced category winner Michael O'Friel, of Silverdale, does a boardslide down the rail at Kingston's Billie Johnson Skate Park Sunday. The contest drew 29 skaters of all ages from around the Puget Sound and beyond.
— image credit: Bonnie Cordoza/Courtesy photo

KINGSTON — The scraping of metal and clapping of wood echoed off concrete walls alongside groans of pain and cries of delight Sunday in Kingston.

Polyurethane wheels rolled and bodies flew through the warm summer air as 29 young men competed for prizes and bragging rights at the second annual Kingston Sk8 Rollick, hosted at the Billie Johnson Skate Park. In the end, 16-year-old Michael O'Friel, a regular style rider from Silverdale, was crowned king of the asphalt, winning the advanced portion of the competition and wowing judges with a series of complex tricks.

"It was really high energy, really exciting and a lot of fun," said O'Friel, who began skating when he was 11 and competes in close to 20 tournaments around the Puget Sound each year.

Judges said they were impressed by O'Friel's ability to put nearly every obstacle on the course to good use.

"He had good flow," contest judge Peter Wickstrom said. "He made good use of the entire park."

O'Friel pulled off some of the most difficult tricks of the day, including an ooh- and aah-inducing backside Smith stall 270 revert* off a wooden box atop the park's quarter-pipe. The young thrasher also landed one of his favorite tricks, a frontside 180 to noseblunt*.

"His creativity in using different elements in the park, and his style, was shining like a bright light," contest organizer and Kingstonite Dan McDougall said of O'Friel.

Following O'Friel in the advanced category standings were Kingston's Matt Grace and Bremerton's Alex Long. Grace gained the favor of judges and fans with a bag of board-flipping tricks including a nollie bigspin* on the quarter pipe, which garnered applause for its difficulty, and Long rode the rails with stunts like a frontside crooked grind* and a backside tailslide 180 out*.

"It was pretty close," McDougall said of the competition. "There was a lot more variety of tricks this year."

Competing at a park composed of both street and ramp elements can be difficult for many skaters, according to the judges. Some board riders get plenty of practice on bowl- or pool-shaped ramps, and are accustomed to the types of tricks common to an up-and-down style of skating. Others excel on parks and streets, perfecting their skills on curbs, ledges and rails. Few courses combine the street and ramp elements the way the Kingston Skate Park does.

"The style changes," contest judge Malcolm Copple said of the Kingston park. "The combination of the two (elements) makes for an interesting mix."

The contest was the embodiment of years of hard work on the part of not only the competitors, but also the organizers — a troupe of 20-somethings who provided the impetus behind the park's construction nearly a decade ago and acted as judges and emcees this year. Copple said he was impressed by the turnout of both fans and skaters, which was comparable to contests he had seen in the Seattle area.

"I'm actually surprised," Copple said. "There was a lot of talent, considering the size of the skate park. It was a good turnout, and great competition."

*Trick explanations:

1. The backside Smith stall 270 revert involved O'Friel riding up a short, wave-shaped wall (the quarter pipe) and jumping his board onto the edge of a wooden box (Fun Box) sitting atop the wall. As he jumped, he turned his board 90 degrees and briefly balanced the rear truck of his board on the edge of the box, with the front hanging downward, before doing a 270-degree spin on his way back down the quarter pipe.

2. The frontside 180 noseblunt is a trick in which the skater rides up a short, curved wall, does a 180-degree turn in the air, and then briefly stalls his front truck and nose vertically on the top of the wall before dropping back in.

3. Unlike the ollie, in which the skater pushes down on the tail of the board to raise the nose into the air first, the nollie requires the nose to be pressed down and the tail to rise. Going up the quarter pipe, Grace added some tricky footwork to the nollie to make the board spin 360 degrees beneath him, re-attaching his feet within the final quarter turn as the wheels hit the ground.

4. For a frontside crooked grind, or pointer grind, the rider uses an ollie to jump his board onto a rail, which he balances only his front truck on while keeping his board slightly askew and grinding down the length of the rail.

5. In the backside tailslide 180 out, Long did an ollie in the direction opposite his momentum, landing just the tail of his board on a ledge and sliding his tail along the ledge before jumping off with a 180-degree turn, riding out switch (turned in the direction opposite his normal stance).

For any of these tricks to be complete, the skater must land and keep his balance at the end of the trick.

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