L.A. Air + Style—Photo Recap and Highlights
With all the major slopestyle and halfpipe contests making headlines this season, a street style jam was needed to break through the mold. Enter Air + Style L.A. Just for a quick summary of the level of riding that went down this weekend, we will give you just a few on the invited athlete list: Ozzy Henning, Kyle Mack, Jordan Small, Desiree Melancon, Jill Perkins, Johnny O’Connor, Zak Hale, Anto Chamberland, Dylan Alito, Darcy Sharpe, Jordan Morse, Brandon Davis, Frank Bourgeois, and still plenty more.
Diverting from the past this year, Shaun White and the Air + Style festival took away the single scaffolding jump for a rail course that focused more on creativity and technical trickery for the ABSOLUTELY stacked field of riders. Skateboarding and additional musical acts were also added for the two day event, and although we aren’t professionally equipped to comment on either, Alex Sorgentes and the group of skaters in park adjacent park from the snow facility were going absolutely mental. Huge transfers, high speeds, and a course littered with bodies and boards made for an insane session in between the snow heats. As opposed to years past when it was just snowboarding, staggering two venues with non-stop action that allowed for both fields of riders to go and support their friends on the other side is something that was pretty unique to this event. Both big names in their own disciplines, Jill Perkins and Nora Vasconcellos ran through the crowd to watch one another compete. Young guns Cory Juneau and Drayden Gardner were also seen jumping fences and hanging out, which would not be happening at your average Big Air event.
Instead of just the normal crew of jumpers, Olympic medalists and video heavyweights descended upon L.A. for a chance to throw their best stuff in front of a huge crowd for a hefty amount of prize money. Simply put, the sessions were heavy. Even rain couldn’t stop the first night from going down. After two heats during the day, the finals were set for Saturday night, and Darcy Sharpe did not disappoint. Snagging the first ever gold with a switch front hardway 270 on the down rail and a back 450 out of the bottom section, the crowd went wild as Darcy sent it to the jersey barriers before stopping. Johnny O’Connor took home second with a solid run and recent Olympic silver medalist Kyle Mack secured third place with a switch back 270 pull-back that was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.
After some celebrating across Downtown LA Saturday night, Sunday was filled with practice and two “Best Trick” heats to close out the weekend festival. Drayden Gardner and Francis Jobin, both up-and-comers that qualified for Air + Style from rail jams held at Bear Mountain earlier this season, had the heats of their lives, respectively taking 1st place in the two heats against the biggest names in jibbing. Drayden used the massive wallride on course to his advantage, catching the eyes of Mikey LeBlanc and Jeremy Jones in the judges booth as he gapped to the feature and pulled a stylish nosepress, emphasize on PRESS, across the largest structure available. Jobin had been riding consistently all weekend and laid down a number of switch back 360’s that left announcers Eddie Wall and Henry Jackson speechless. But Eddie and Henry would just hand out cash at the bottom of the course when a rider landed a run to make up for it.
In the end, the comp went off without a hitch and the riders seemed to enjoy every inch of the course. It isn’t everyday they get to put their skills on display in Downtown L.A., and we sure are glad that our office is so close. Huge thanks to all the sponsors that made it happen, including Swatch, Pabst, Clif Bar, JBL, Lift, Mitchell, Toms, St. Archer Brewing Co., Boxed Water, High West, and all the rest! See you next year!