This year the international contest scene has been rocked by the latest generation of up and coming professional freestyle skateboarders. Between dropping heavy video parts and pioneering incredible new tricks, these freestylers have given the old guard a run for their money: but they certainly haven’t been going down without a fight!
This has led to an amazing year of unpredictable, intense and toughly fought contests where the masters demonstrated their mastery and the new generation threw everything on the line. Here is our pick for the top professional freestylers in 2014.
Where better to start than with the winner of the 2014 World Round Up at the Cloverdale Rodeo in Canada. After placing highly in 2013, Mike returned to take the title. In true Hollywood style, the contest came down to the final run, Mike nailing an array of incredibly hard tricks smoothly and fluidly. Add to this his work on the Quarter Life Collective, article in Broken Fingers Magazine, the 360 Carousel and much more, it really has been an incredible year for Mike
Sebastian wins contests. If Sebastian goes to a contest these days, it’s pretty much a guarantee he’s going to win it. Sebastian demonstrates an almost Rodney Mullen-esque level of control and commitment to his contest runs; with incredible trick density and razor-edge precision. Sebastian returned to Paderborn and put together two solid runs to walk away with the win. Outside of Paderborn, Sebastian could also be found skating demos and even filming his own video part.
After decades of incredible skateboarding, Toshiaki continues to evolve as a freestyler. This year brought a dazzling array of new tricks and a slew of impressive contest results: including a win at the well established YY Freestyle contest and 2nd place in the intensive JFSA All Freestyle Skateboard battle format contest. Along with his brother Masahiro, Toshiaki has also provided great support for the freestyle scene in Japan and released footage throughout the year.
Connor Burke – Along with releasing what could be considered the best freestyle video part of 2014, Connor also headed out to the US Championships in Philly and took 1st place in the pro contest with a flawless run. His footage with the QLC also went viral, wowing skateboarders of all disciplines across the globe with his m80-to-no comply.
Marco Sassi – Marco skates beautifully and with unparalleled technical ability. Along with his joint video “Freestyle Gangbang” with Mario Steinemann and Tonino Candela, Marco also took second place in the fiercely contested Paderborn contest, prompting one freestyler at the event to tell me “He’s probably the closest yet to Rodney Mullen”
Callum Bowran – One of the true legends of British freestyle skateboarding, Callum had a fantastic year in 2014. After throwing down a solid and smooth run at Paderborn, Callum also played a pivotal part in organising and skating in the demos at the NASS festival. Without him, there would have been no demos at all, so the UK freestyle scene is indebted to him!
Gunter Mokulys – Over the last few years, Gunter has continually developed his contest skateboarding, adding a variety of new moves to his traditional contest routines and really mixing things up. Taking 2nd place at the World Round Up and 4th in the US Championships, Gunter skated solidly throughout the year: it will particularly exciting to watch his skating in 2015.
Jesse Whalen – Jesse had a good year in 2013, but 2014 was a really great year. In the QLC videos, Frontiers and sessions with Pete Betti, Jesse released a raft of incredible video parts. He then went on to demonstrate his incredible consistency and fluent shove it and rail combinations at the World Round Up, taking 3rd place.
Picking from the astounding array of freestyle skateboarder competing, innovating and releasing videos this year was a real challenge, so we’d like to hear from you. Who do you think was the top pro this year? Join the discussion on the LateTricks Facebook page or on Twitter @FSLateTricks.