Vans Shop Riot 2014 Winners
Skate Pharmacy, UK
‘Best Trick’ Winners
Bridge: Bruno Senra (Ericeira Surf & Skate, PT) // 270 lipslide 270 reverse
Quarter: Ross McGouran (Skate Pharmacy, UK South) // 50:50 all the way
Stairs: Simon Deprez (Rampaffairz/Skateboutique, BE) // massive hardflip over handrail
Waffles and Trappist beers make for a formidable combination. This weekend, sixteen of Europe’s best skate shops assembled in Aalst, Belgium, to balance sugar-highs and hangovers and thrash it out at the Vans Shop Riot Finals.
Independent skate shops are at the heart of what we all do, and championing these guys is what the Vans Shop Riot is all about. From Portugal to Poland, the infamous Vans Shop Riot spent the past five months whittling down over 200 shop teams from fifteen countries to the final few. In local battles, teams went head to head for their chance to take this year’s title, and be hailed as the best of the best.
Since day one, Vans has been about family and community, and the Vans Shop Riot series works to bring this community closer, supporting the teams who work tirelessly to keep the wheels turning. Without these guys, none of us would be where we are today, so fostering team spirit and having a good time, whilst encouraging a little healthy rivalry is what it’s all about.
The first day gave everyone a chance to warm up and get a feel for the freshly refurbished Flesh and Bones skatepark without the pressure of the team event and the clock ticking. Things got started with a jam format, where it was everyman for himself on three of the park’s best features; the bridge, a giant quarter pipe and the stair set.
Beginning with the bridge, the teams got down to business. With a rainbow rail on either side, the feature provided plenty of opportunities and soon saw Vans own Kris Vile (Skate Pharmacy, UK South) searching for the pot of gold at the end of it. With €400 up for grabs for the best trick, in each jam, things heated up pretty quickly. Kris’ commitment to sticking a kickflip overcrook on the flat bar rainbow didn’t see him take home the cash, as it was Ericeira Surf & Skate’s Bruno Senra (PT) – with a 270 lipslide 270 reverse – who impressed the judges most.
Moving to the giant quarter pipe at the back of the park, the action stepped up – literally – as both Jigdral Tenzin (Da Shit Shop, CH) and Oscar Candon (Nozbone, FR) transferred to the top of the quarter, sticking an ollie down and a boneless down, respectively. Oscar Candon nailed himself in the process, but took one of the day’s biggest cheers. However, it was Ross McGouran (Skate Pharmacy, UK South) who 50:50’d the whole thing and earned himself €400 in the process.
The stair set, with both a hubba and handrail, was the final stage for the day. After a slow start – largely due to it being a pretty gnarly feature – things went mental in the closing minutes. Jonathan Vlerick (Rampaffairz/Skateboutique, BE) was throwing flip combinations and chasing a double kickflip over the handrail, which unfortunately remained elusive. An attempting switch frontside flip saw another Rampaffairz team member snap his board, whilst his teammate Simon Deprez set down a huge, clean hardflip down the stairs and slipped a cool €400 into his back pocket.
A BBQ saw most people’s attention turn back to beer and a few games of ten pin bowling got a bit of friendly rivalry going before everyone retired for a bit of rest ahead of the finals the next day.
Soon after Flesh and Bones’ doors opened a coach turned up and unloaded a massive crowd of skaters and supporters from neighbouring Holland; Burnside store had shipped their whole crew in, making for a truly riotous atmosphere whenever one of their team dropped in during the course of the day.
Sam Partaix (Nozbone, FR) rocked up late but didn’t waste any time scoping out the gnarliest spot in the park. Not even really a ‘spot’, Monsieur Partaix climbed up a near vertical bit of wood covering one of the park’s pillars and dropped into the flat bank below. At about 4m high, it’s probably Belgium’s highest point, so understandably, having stuck it everyone went mental, and that set the scene for Nozbone’s plan of attack for the day; skate hard.
Each team had 90seconds and run of the park to lay down as many tricks and lines as possible. That saw the teams progress to head-to-head battles with two hitting the park at the same time; a judge’s nightmare, but a spectator’s spectacular!
Not content with taking the best trick on Saturday, Bruno Senra (Ericeira Surf & Skate, PT) took his rotations to the big handrail, sticking a hefty 270 lipslide. Turning your back on a rail of that size is no small feat, requiring total commitment and balls of steel. This could well have been the trick of the day.
Ericeira Surf & Skate’s whole team showed promise in the early rounds, as did Streetmarket (CZ) and Skate Pharmacy (UK). The level was undeniably the highest ever seen throughout the six year history of the Vans Shop Riot, with technicality taken to heights not seen before. Many of the tricks being laid down were flip in or flip out, or both, with some shuvit combinations being chucked in for good measure. The judges – all very experienced skaters themselves – were blown away. Everyone seemed to be on top form.
In the end, there were just two shop teams left. The UK’s Skate Pharmacy, made up of Vans skaters Ross McGouran and Kris Vile, plus Charlie Munro and John Howlett, and Holland’s Burnside, with Rob Maatman, Jelle Maatman, Bert Roeterdink and Douwe Macare on the team.
It was a final worth waiting for. Granted three minutes, both teams set about tearing up every centimetre of the park. With the buzzer about to go, all eyes turned to the stair set as both teams went big in valiant attempts to secure victory. The judges forgot about the buzzer, and a few last attempts turned into a full-on showdown, as the crowd stormed the park and all remaining skaters sessioned the stairs. Douwe Macare’s (Burnside, NL) kickflip crook down the hubba was a highlight, as was a clean switch varial heel from Kris Vile (Skate Pharmacy, UK).
It was a close call and a tough decision with both teams showing unwavering commitment and raising the bar with big tricks. With their coachload of supporters, it was Holland’s Burnside who eventually took the title, and were crowned 2014 Vans Shop Riot champions.
A big ‘thank you’ goes out to everyone who made this year’s series what it was. All the skate shops, skateparks and supporters from every leg, and a special thanks to the team at Flesh and Bones, Aalst and all the crew out in Belgium; dankje!