Winterclash 2007


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As a member of crew, I got or I would rather said I was a voluntere to write Winterclash 2007 story. Some time has passed since the event, and there have been edits, pics, texts which carefully presented what had happened. Browsing through out all those materials I wondered what more can be said about the biggest indoor comp in Europe.  Conclusion: nothing much. The comp, tricks, results and list of competing skaters were given many times, so what to write to make it different? After our come back from Winterclash, we couldn`t forget about the event for quite long time. So many hours spent on disscussing it gave me an idea. I didn`t compete myself, I didn`t make it to the end of the afterparty and I didn`t have a chance to sleep in huge gym with everyone, so my Winterclash story, based only on my experiences wouldn`t be complete, leaving you with many questions.    Then I thought taht it would be enough if I just put some edit and new photos. But one evening when together with my friends we were talking about winterclash again I came up with this idea. I made a list of all people who were with me at the Winterclash and some others who I have contact with. I asked them to write 3-5 questions to anyone they feel like to. Next, as it its obvious I re-send those question to all those people with small request of answering it. How it turned out? Everybody who wanted, gave questions and who wanted to answer it, did or not. Read the story and check how it resulted, don`t forget all photos and the edit which goes the same as my text.  I was wondering whose answers should be first, but I didn`t manage to find any good way to choose it so I randomly selected Adam Zurawiecki. Adam Żurawiecki (Hedonskate, USD and Kizer pro Skater) one of the two polish guys competing in Pro category, and the guy who also was running everywhere with his camera to catch the hottest tricks during heats and make a cool edit. Make sure to check it out.  Here is the first sereis of questions: Radosław „Kojot” Kojtych (Hedonskate, Razors Poland) – Radek who is currently recovering from long lasting knee injury didn`t compete but together with Adam collected all the best footage and watched everything carefully: 'How it is to compete in the biggest Europe skatepark contest in Pro category, side by side with such skaters as  Julian Bah, Brian Aragon czy Eric Bailey? What feelings did you have back then?' Adam Zurawiecki: ‘Well as far as what I felt that time, it`s obvious that during such events the atmosphere is just awesome and you are superjuiced. But I feel so much better when I am competeing in street-based comps. It can be said that in skatepark comp like this I didn`t have anything to look for, so the opportunity to participate with people who you mention is the very positive aspect of the whole situation. You don`t have to worry about that you miss the tricks because no one is watching you anyway. By thinking that way I just chilled and skate the whole park doing my favourite tricks. Besides, Brian or Eric who I had the pleasure to have in my group are just skating friends who I meet during this comp and of course I will show them how much my kindgrind is worth…hehehehhe.’  Second and the last question to Adam is from Sebastian ‘Basza’ Gruba, one of the INMAG.INFO crew member: ‘You kept running everywhere with your camera , you were the closest to all the hottest tricks etc. What can you say about the judging, elimination system or the last Head to Head Battle?’   Adam: ‘ My camera rather caught everything what happened ‘in the shadows’ of the best tricks. Thought, I was carefully watching the street-course and I must say that the judges had very difficult task. It is sad that there is no uniform judging system on all event of such scale. There were some groups from with only one skater was choosen, and there were other from with two headed further. Also not all decisions about qualifying were clear for everybody. I guess it was the reason why small missunderstanding appeared which resulted in ommiting Brian from the finals. Young Julien should be given a chance too, since he was killing it all the time. As far as the results of the last Head to Head Battle – it couldn`t be different. Chaz finally lands 540 ao topacid, tries to switch his foot from acid to soul spinning out with 720. When soon after on the same spot Mathias Silan lands unreal 720 kindgrind and fluently spins 360 out it is obvious that Chaz is down. Stefan Alfana does the monster stunt at the end and unanimously wins…’  The next person I picked was Krystian ‘Gufi’ Zarzeczny from Jastrzębie. Young talent, who went first time for such a big event. Question for him comes from his homie – Przemek Madej: ‘I know it was your first big competition. What are your impressions and will you go with us more to such contests?' Krystian „Gufi” Zarzeczny: „ I will remember this trip for a long time. Lots of new friends, skaters from all over the world, green vodka, nothing more is needed. Oh, there was something, I didn`t take a sleeping bag…The contest itself was the craziest even which I have seen so far. Sick tricks and great organization. I can`t wait for the next edition of Winterclash, and of course I want to go with you more often, if only there will be a free place in the car. Props to Bozenka crew and everyone who I met during Winterclash!’ Alamants Nedzveckis from Lithuania, out dear companion during every trip to Lithuania was  asked next:  ‘What can you say about polish guys competing in Winterclash? How do you fel about your run and your friends` from Lithuania?’ Almants Nadzveckis: ‘Polish guys have amazing skills! It was great to skate with them and I can`t wait to have another chance to do it. My run was ok, but I guess I could do better, I was little injured from a fall at pre-lims. The rest of our guys were ok too, Nils Jansons showed lots of crazy stuff and I`m more than happy about it.’ Another draw and another asked man – this time it`s Radosław „Kojot” Kojtych and the questions were given by Krystian „Gufi” Zarzeczny: ‘What do you think about polish guys at Winetrclash?’ Radosław „Kojot” Kojtych: ‘I think they did prety good, although non of them placed, let`t say Adam who had a great run, but was judged quite low, I won`t say it in details, who was there could see it clearly. During the Piotrek`s run there was this ‘misunderstanding’ and he couldn`t show what he is capable of, and finally Kuba (Des) who cut open his shin badly and was out straight from the beginning. The rest fo the guys did good too but since it was their first or second contest of this scale they just treated it like a good experience.' Next question for Radek is from Sebastian ‘Basza’ Gruba: ‘You took part in the Winterclash for the second time, how would you compare those two events? Amount of people, organization, the level?’ Radosław „Kojot” Kojtych: ‘Yes I was there now and a year ago, I can honestly say that 2006 as well as 2007 was a blast. At the first one I was amazed by the whole this skatepark and all the people around but this year was even more incredible. Finally at the european contest tehre were so many US pros, the event was organized very well (besides the judging system) and I can`t imagine what will happen next year!’ I was also interested what Radek has to say about this: ‘Because of your serious knee-injury and a surgery you could`nt skate during the comp, how did you feel sitting and watching your friends skating and getting hyped? How did you imagine your run?’  Radosław „Kojot” Kojtych: I felt terrible, the worst in the world. I didn’t imagine my run at all I just wanted to skate at least one obstacle at this great park with so many other good skaters. Although, the whole trip was amazing, even by sitting and watching all the time you still are the part of this adrenaline rush!’ My next choice was personal – Sebastian ‘Basza’ Gruba, because he already asked some questions to others. First question to Basza was given by Paweł Komosa – one of the Hedonskate working crew: ‘As an expert tell me what did you like most about this wonerful event?’   Sebastian „Basza” Gruba:‘First of all, I was so impressed by the huge scale of this contest. Enormous amount of people from all over the world, it required so much work to make this possible. Company boots with ridiciulously low prices, Ignition bar, fresh breakfast each morning for everybody, place to sleep together with buses to take you there and forth – I`m really impressed with the work of organisers. It`s almost like old Lausanne with many pros from US, evreyone hyped and screaming, tricks out of this world – and what`s is cool amateur` level was so high that sometiems you couldn`t really tell if  he/she was a Pro or an Amatuer. Tricks like disaster 540 anything were landed one by one first try – how awesome is that?’  Second question by Radosław ‘Kojot’ Kojtych: ‘You were at the Winterclash for the first time. What can you say about this whole event, I mean overall not just only skating?’ Sebastian „Basza” Gruba:‘Two words – Europe rocks! As far as bigg skatepark contest are considered..Just look at this year Bittercold or Superhick – once big events now they are getting smaller and smaller each time, by watching the edits you can say that it gathered about 100 maybe 200 people. Winterclash and the contests of this scale are the future. Everything was carefully planned, and there were bunch of extra things to enjoy all the time. I loved the Jochen`s Smuda idea with the Ucon sock contest or the premiere of new Bemag DVD in the middle of the park with hundreds of drunk skaters – you just can`t forget such things.’ And my question as a last one to Basza: 'Once again you had a chance to meet so many Pros. You met some of them personally, and you watched some of them skating. What can you say about them? Who did you liked, and who dissapointed you? Do you have your new favourite one? Do the attiudes of them are different than those you can see in videos?' Sebastian „Basza” Gruba:‘At last I got a chance to meet Jon Elliot, his girlfriend and spend some time with them. I have been waiting for such occasion since I saw Brain Fear Gone. Elliot turned out to be super cool guy with amazing passion, just like I expected. It was a shame that he didn`t skate but during this crazy week I could get answers for all my questions I always wanted to ask him. Who else..right there was Torey T. who I saw for the first time in real life and he didn`t disappoinetd me at all too. His solid and consistent way of skating is something which many people can only dream of. Let`s put it in that way – you see bunch of kids who are throwing themeslves on clumsy 540 ao souls and then Torey shows up with simple but so stylish Topsoul that you just scream! Also it was a pleasure to watch Chris Chesire in person. He didn`t skate much before the comp but when he put on his old salomons and started his 15 min run, there wasn`t even one trick that he missed. And it wasn`t just chill skating but solid tricks, one after another with so litlle effort – simply amazing. I can talk about many others for hours – Aragon and his preciseness, Colin Kelso and 5 minutes of skating overall, Buniqe crew and Vodka, drunk Alfano and his flight above everyone.  Coming up next - Tomasz „Yoghurt” Kwiecień (Hedonskate, Valo) answering the questions from Nils’a Jansons’a (Latvia): ‘Why you didn`t skate during the main event?’ Tomasz „Yoghurt” Kwiecień: ‘The whole comp was amazing and I really wanted to compete but my shoulder injury didn`t let me to.’ Second question from Adam Zurawiecki: ‘Aren`t you worried that you didn`t participate?’ Tomasz „Yoghurt” Kwiecień: ‘Yeah, to some extent but as I said before I had this injury and just couldn`t start. Next year I will compete no matter what!’ To change our routine a little bit, next interviewed person will be Grażyna Wratny from Warsaw, the only polish girl who competed in Ladies contest. The first question comes from Paweł „Ptasiek” Komosa: ‘The level of skating was very high, what can you say about the runs of other girls?’ Grażyna Wratny: ‘I didn`t expect so high level at all. The girls who placed in top three would easily beat most of the guys there. Besides well-known Martina Svobodowa, tehre were at least 5 girls who I saw for the first time and they really stood out. They were using all park, even the most diffcult obstacles, which shocked me many times.' Liene Nulle from Latvia: ‘The best and the worst thing which you noticed during the Ladies comp? Grażyna Wratny: 'The best part was that girls had their own category and huge props from the crowd. Of course I had a chance to skate with other gorls from all over Europe which was great. The only thing which I didn`t like were my run and the judging system.’ Also Sebastian „Basza” Gruba had something to ask Grazyna: ‘You were the only girl from Poland who competed, tell me something about the level of  european girls and do you think that Frida should have won?’ Grażyna Wratny: ‘The level was vey diverse as always. But the top girls skaters like Becci Wallace, Martina Svobodova, Frida Reisch and some others whose names I don`t remember showed crazy skills, not only as a girls but overall. Frida landed almost all her tricks first time, but I think that 360 topsoul on the extension rail by Becci Wallace should be scored the highest. I guess no other girl would even try to do such trick then, so in my opinion Becci Wallace should be the winner.’   Mirek Ragan – the owner of has the last question: ‘You were the only polish girl who participated, why do you think so few girls are skating here?' Grażyna Wratny: ‘This question pops out almost every time during comps, where girls are the small part of the event. I just can`t really tell, I guess girls are less interested in any sports, and add the falls, injuries etc and you have the answer. Besides rollerblading is still unpopular..’ Paweł Komosa – the member of Hedonskate working crew, organiser of almost all rollerbalding events in Poland, let`s check waht he has to say. First question from Mirek Ragan: ‘Your trip to Winterclash wasn`t just a pleasure, as a Hedonskate worker you had some tasks to do. Did you manage to reconcile your work with having fun at the same time?' Paweł Komosa: ‘Rollerblading is my life, as far I remember Hedonskate sells skates right? Every time when I have to do something during comps I treat it like a pleasure. During the Winterclash I had to give away all the Hedon gadgets, pin up the banners etc and thanks to it I get to know many people just like me. The best part of all those contests is meeting new rollerbalders, exchanging opinions etc. Also I filmed most of the time so I got closer look at all hottest tricks –its always better than just sitting in the office.' Second question from me: ‘As a person who is responsible for all contests in Poland, you looked at Winterclash from some other point of view. How did you like the organisation and the way it was managed – judging, runs etc.?’ Paweł Komosa: 'I liked the vibe around the whole event the most – its always the important part. The whole management was great. Things like pre-lims, dividing the riders, passes, place to sleep, buses and so on was done with german precision. The catering was great, you could have grilled meat with cold beer all the time. Also I liked the little tradeshow with many companies presenting their new products. One thing which I didn`t understand thought was the final Head to Head Battle which resulted in many misunderstandings. But still it was the best conetst in Europe so far and I can`t wait for the next one!’ Now check three questions to Przemk Madej (Hedonskate, USD, Stygma): Gigi: Do you think that someone was missing at the Winterclash? Przemek Madej:’Tough one, almost all important people were there. But I thnik next time even more people from Poland should come!’ Gigi: ‘How much Bozenka will you take for the next Winterclash? Przemek Madej: ‘I`m sure I will take far more than 10 l , it wasn`t enough this time.’ Basza: ‘Tell us about the afterparty and the Bunique crew throwing money out of the stage’ Przemek Madej: ‘I don`t clearly remeber it, I was dancing near the stage where Bunique guys were showing off and suddenly thay start throwing something, at first I thought that it was a sticker packs but I grabbed one and realised it was 1$ hahah, 100%  gangsta.’  Hadrien Bastouil – the french guy who is in Poland on an student-exchange programme, went to Winterclash with polish crew. Check his opionions. Przemek Madej: ‘ After only few weeks in Poland you went with us to Winterclash, what do you think about the skating and the polish riders?’ Hadrien Bastouil: ‘To be honest, I had come to Poland and three days after we went to Winterclash. Now its about two months since I have been here, and evry session with you guys was cool. Every time there is someone who will pick me up from the dormitory and then drive me back. Everyone are very nice to me and I can`t wait for the next trip!’ Dorota Nowak: ‘What can you say about the whole trip with polish guys? Is there any difference between polish and french rollerbalders? Hadrien Bastouil: ‘First of all I would like to thank you thata you let me come with you. We didn`t know each other, and I just asked if I could join you, and you quickly replied :Yes. I was a little bit lonely because I don`t understand polish language but you did your best to make me part of the group. I guess there is no difference between us and polish skaters – we are doing it for the love. I got a chance to skate in many different places and what I like in Poland most that guys here don`t try to compete with each other but are just having fun.’ Mirek Ragan: ‘How did you survive 10 hours drive with polish crew?’ Hadrien Bastouil: ‘It was quite long yes, at first I was lonely but when we were coming back they were talking in english a lot more so it was much better.’ Now its time to talk about the Afterclash: Krystian „Gufi” Zarzeczny: ’How do you remember afterparty? Some memories? How do you feel the  next day ? Gigi: ‘ Afterparty was a blast. I wish I could remember what happened. I just know that we started to drink green Hedon vodka at the gym with everyone and next some beers at the Afterclash. Like always, if there are good people there is a good party – simple. I was so wasted and only thanks to Basza who took me, I didn`t get lost. I woke up at the morning, taped completely to my sleeping bag and with stickers all over my face, with awful headache.’ Gigi: ‘How did you like the Afterparty?’ Zet: ‘it was all good. After the comp we went to our sleeping place, when we took showers and staretd to drink this green vodka. Everyone who who was sleeping there could have it for free, I guess it was quite tasty because there were some who drunk it straight from big jar. Next we headed to Afterclash, everyone were already there. Sick concerts – Bunique crew on stage rapping etc and so many skaters around . It was thing to remember for sure!’ We asked Jochen Smuda – the Ucon owner to answer some questions as well: Mirek Ragan: Do you think the idea of big tradeshow during the next year Winterclash will turn up good?’ Jochen Smuda: ‘ Yes, I think it will work. I talked with Jojo and I think in next year ww will be able to prepare it in even more professional way. Winterclash is a great event. People from all over the world come so it is a great opportunity to show your new producst etc. One thing is clear – Ucon boot will be tehre for sure!!’ One of the two last interviewed people is Dorota Nowak, my girlfriend who doesn`t skate and had a chance to be first time in such event. Przemek Madej: ‘You don`t skate by yourself, so wasn`t this trip kind a boring for you? I can say that you had a good fun but tell us something about it.’ Dorota Nowak: ‘I think that with company of  people of such sense of humour and passion you can`t be bored. Besides, comparing the level of skating during the polish comps and the Winterclash I was really amazed by the tricks. Determination, stubbornness and the whole vibe surrounding the skaters is really impressive. I will be always just watching you doing the tricks, but I can`t really tell more – such big contest, so many good skaters you really should see it for yourself.’ Paweł Komosa: ‘How many gadgets did you give away with Szymon during the comp?’ Dorota Nowak: ‘I can`t really tell but many! Everywhere where you looked it was green! Stickers, shirts etc Hedon was everywhere! One more thing – the flyer with this girl and Stygma tie was a great idea! So many guys asked me if I was that girl.’ Mirek Ragan: ‘What can you say about the Afterparty? Would you recommend it to your girl colleagues?’ Dorota Nowak: ‘I didn`t spent much time on the afterparty so simply I can`t really say. But as far as I know you were having a  good time.’ Szymon: You went to this trip with whole polsih crew and watched whole AM/Pro contest carefully. Earlier you had watched many vids and thanks to Winterclash you got a chance to see it in real life. What can you say about the atmosphere and who did you liked most?   Dorota Nowak: The atmosphere was incredible, Alfano after huge fall could stand up imediatelly with huge smile on his face and I admire that. I was amazed by the most stubborn girl Becci Wales and her last trick – 360 topsoul, everyone went crazy and give her huge props!!! Last questions are for Mirek Ragan – the owner. Paweł Komosa:’ How many meeting did you atend during the Winterclash?’ Mirek Ragan: ‘It wasn`t so bad as at the ISPO (week earlier), tehre were 3 main meetings and the rest was just chill with friends!’ Szymon: ‘As the owner of who sponsors many riders, you watched your team carefully. How do you judge their runs? And what can you say about the huge hedon promotion during the Winterclash? How many people took you for Stuff from Bemag?’ Mirek Ragan: ‘The whole Hedon promotion was conducted very well, it was really hard not to notice riders in green tshirts who destroyed the park, green stickers everywhere, green beer-bottle openers or finally the green Vodka at the Afterclash. Nothing more to add. I would like to thank anyone who help me with this. And yes it happened few times that someone took as Stuff hehe!’     Sebastian ,Basza’ Gruba: During the warm-ups there was this big industry meeting, could tell us what did it concerned or share some secret news with us?’ Mirek Ragan: ‘The meeting was organised by RFCC people and concerned organising big events around the world. The main thing discussed was the choosing the events where companies would send their Pro team riders in order to rise even more intrest of such event! There is no secret now – I would like to invite all off you to CHAZ SANDS INVITATION in Glasgow 26th of may and for september event here in Poland, info soon!’ I would like to thank everybody who contributed and helped in making this article possible. Text: Szymon Edit: Adam Pics: Mirek / Adam