ISSA Report: Viking Invades Amsterdam
On May 12-13, 2012, the best slalom skaters in Europe gathered at the Sports Park Sloten in Amsterdam for the 666 edition of the Amsterdam Slalom Skateboarding Series, the first European ISSA Main event of the year. Riders from 12 different countries were present. The A.S.S. takes place in a sport park where you can camp for free and it is totally safe. There is no need to close streets for the event, and it has all necessary infrastructure like toilets and restaurants on the premises. Besides that, the contest is partly subsidized by the city of Amsterdam, making it possible for us to always have a small cash prize to share among the winners. This year we shared €800 among the first three overall men and €200 among the first three overall women, plus 500 in equipment vouchers from Sick Longboards for the overall 4th-6th place finishers. We are also known for our generous goodie bags and trophies. The Saturday hybrid course was set by English, Swedish and German riders, providing a changing and fast course that was ridden by all the different classes, including the Kids and Juniors. Sweden’s Viking Hadestrand was riding like a maniac.
One could say that that is the strength of the new slalom generation, but is it really true? Fabian Bjornstjerna might disagree; he put Viking under a lot of pressure and took second place just a couple of tenths of a second behind him. Fabian is 50, but he rides like a 15-year old! Third place went to Latvia’s Gustavs Gailitis. On Sunday, under blistering sunshine, we ran the special slalom. Again, a group of international skaters set the highly technical course. Latvia’s Janis Kuzmins, the 2011 tight slalom world champion, showed no ill effects from his off season shoulder surgery and took first place, followed closely by Viking Hadestrand. Gailitis again took third place.
The technical level of skating at this year’s edition of the A.S.S. was unbelievably high; if anyone thinks that slalom is dying, they have it wrong, very wrong. After the special we set up a single-lane giant slalom. All riders had two runs to show who was the fastest. Viking took the lead again, followed by Kuzmins and Viktor Hadestrand as second and third places respectively. On the women’s side, six-time A.S.S. champion Kathrin Sehl from Germany took first place overall, followed by Russian newcomer Olesya Naumchik and the super friendly lady Anna Vacková from the Czech Republic. In the Kids (<11 years old) division, Amsterdam Slalom School rider Melle Stolk was first and Germany’s Felix Thiele second. Dutch rider Vincent Kitzhoefer, Germany’s Max Thiele and another Amsterdam Slalom School rider, Milos Salsbach, were the first three in the Juniors division.
The kids and juniors were superb – what a group of hardcore riders. I want to thank our sponsors for making our contest possible: Sickboards, Pavel Skates, Stuff From Hell, Monster Energy Drink, Etnies, Concrete Surfer, Amsterdam Slalom School, Seismic, Concrete Wave, the City Of Amsterdam and Iskateboard. The Dutch Crew hopes to welcome all riders again to our seventh edition in 2013. Keep skating! The stoke will never end!