Yukon skateboarders compete at Skate Comp 2019

Vance Hutchinson attempts an invert on the quarter pipe during warm ups at Skate Comp 2019 at Second Haven Skate Park in Whitehorse on Sept. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Stian Langbakk does frontside boardslide during the intermediate category at Skate Comp 2019 on Sept.14, 2019. Langbakk won the category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Matthew “Swayze” Robinson does a 50-50 kickflip off a rail during Skate Comp 2019 at Second Haven Skate Park in Whitehorse on Sept. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Aurelien Nagre drops in to the quarter pipe during advanced category at the 2019 skateboard competition in Whitehorse on Sept. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Clement Potoroka, the sole Dawson City competitor, does backside kickturn during the intermediate skate category at Second Haven Skate Park Whitehorse on September 14, 2019. Potoroka won the category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Graydon Keenan does a frontside boardslide during Skate Comp 2019 at Second Haven Skate Park in Whitehorse on Sept. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Some of the best skateboarders in the Yukon gathered in Whitehorse on Sept. 14 for Skate Comp 2019, an event hosted jointly by the Skate for Life Alliance, Byte and the Franchise.

Typically held on Canada Day, this year’s contest was postponed due to organizational challenges — namely vacations and moves.

“Just owing to the fact that a lot of people are away in the summer, we decided to try to do it as a back-to-school blowout,” said Joe Zucchiatti, president of the Skate for Life Alliance. “We didn’t have the competition of all the Canada Day events in terms of spectators and stuff like that, so the turnout was pretty sturdy. I think it worked out pretty well.”

Nearly two dozens skaters took part in the contest, including some Swiss skaters who’ve spent the summer in the Yukon and at least one skater from Dawson City.

The contest itself was split into three categories — beginner, intermediate and advanced — with each skater given two runs to put down the best possible score.

Each run was 45 seconds for beginners and one minute for intermediate and advanced skaters.

The majority of the competitors rode in the advanced class — approximately 15 — with three each in the beginner and intermediate classes, something Zucchiatti said worked out nicely.

“(It’s) kind of nice because everyone who entered then got a prize in the beginner (category), and that’s certainly important to get the young ones fired up and keep them interested,” he said.

In the beginner category, first place went to Clement Potoroka who made the trek down from Dawson to compete.

Luke Keizer finished second and Ben Keizer finished third to round out the category.

Zucchiatti said Potoroka found his confidence quickly in the contest.

Matthew “Swayze” Robinson does a backside boardslide down a rail during Skate Comp 2019 at Second Haven Skate Park in Whitehorse on Sept. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

“For me it was nice to see there was a kid from Dawson who came down,” said Zucchiatti. “He was really intimidated, but then just to see him having so much fun during his run and a big smile — that was really nice.”

Stian Langbakk won the intermediate category with Lucas Robinson finishing second and Jeremy Robert finishing third.

For Zucchiatti, seeing Langbakk win is a reminder how much he’s improved.

“I can remember when he first came to the park and was taking his first tentative pushes around,” said Zucchiatti. “Now he’s completely destroying the park — that was great.”

As far as the advanced category went, Zucchiatti said it felt like any of the skaters could win.

“Sometimes it can almost seem like there is a predetermined outcome or you know who is going to win basically,” said Zucchiatti. “It was anybody’s guess. There were a lot of top notch skaters.”

The winner of the advanced category was Vincent Meynard from Switzerland — a skater who almost didn’t take part.

Meynard spent some time in Whitehorse earlier this summer, but was back in town picking up a friend at the airport when he ran into Zucchiatti.

He was a bit injured, he told Zucchiatti, so he wasn’t sure he’d compete.

“He did enter and he ended up winning,” said Zucchiatti. “He just kind of played to his strengths and didn’t sort of go beyond that. He made sure he was doing stuff he could really consistently land, and that’s why he ended up winning.”

It took a tie-breaking third run to separate second and third in the advanced category.

Ultimately, Thor Stewart finished second and Max Melvin-McNutt finished third.

“When those guys did their tie-breaking run, both of them really put on a show,” said Zucchiatti. “Both of them skated so well in a third run. It just made the contest exciting.”

The competition also included a best trick contest, with competitors given a number of minutes to do the best trick possible on a specific obstacle.

Although he lost the tiebreaker in the advanced category, Melvin-McNutt won best trick with his crooked grind across and down a funbox.

“He did a very long crooked grind,” said Zucchiatti.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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