Having missed out on the event last year, I made sure to take the time out to watch this year’s World Round Up, streamed live from the Cloverdale Rodeo in Canada. I had expected the standard to be high, however actually watching the event unfold, it really became apparent what an important event the Round Up is for freestyle, and how the wide array of up and coming new freestylers are making for more exciting and unpredictable contests.
This year’s amateur finals were divided into three heats of four riders based on their rankings from the semi-finals. Going into the event, Isamu Yamamoto, the youngest competitor at this year’s Round Up, was sat in the top spot, followed by Kaue Aroujo and Andy Anderson in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
As the event began, the first heat introduced me to several freestylers I had not previously heard of; although the World Round Up has previously been saturated with a few street/park skaters looking for something different, so this was to be expected really. Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable heat to watch, particularly if you’re a fan of bonelesses!
The second heat was primarily comprised of traditionalist freestylers and a few freestyle-heavy-but-streetstyle-enthused up and comers, who could easily have climbed up through the ranks if they could stick a perfect run. For me, the real highlight of this heat was Pete Betti, who was seemingly going for the record number of carousels in a single combo in a contest run; making three in total but looking comfortable enough to make many more. Perhaps this year’s US Championships will see the first ever carousel only run?
Going into the final heat, it was clear that any one of these four riders was going to take the top spot. The heat was comprised of three of last year’s top amateurs, Jacob Whitt, Andy Anderson and Kaue Aroujo, along with the contest newcomer and rising star, young Isamu Yamamoto. This contest was almost too close to call, with all riders putting together perfect and very individualised runs.
Jacob’s run featured smoothly executed handstand variations and railflips, whilst Andy’s run was a primarily shove it and wheelie based run. Kaue put together a run bringing together elements from all disciplines of freestyle, making for an excellently balanced run, whilst Isamu hammered through some incredibly technical combinations that would have felt more at home in a best trick contest.
It was an incredible, almost pro-worthy heat, however in the end it was always going to be Isamu Yamamoto who walked away with the win, delivering a wonderfully varied and technical run with Mullen-esque trick density. Isamu is still doing tricks that nobody else does in contest runs and with two contest wins already this year, Isamu could definitely be looking at professional level skateboarding in the not too distant future.
All in all, the amateur contest was an enjoyable opener for the World Round Up event. With riders putting everything they have on the line, often trying even bolder runs and combinations than the professionals, the enjoyment to be had from watching an amateur contest typically comes down to the consistency of the riders. With several riders putting together perfect runs and some creative and unique combos from all competitors, the competition was certainly a success in this respect.