Round 1 Voting Closed: 2019 Photo of the Year Contest

Feb 1, 2020
by Pinkbike Staff  

The 9th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest presented by Jenson USA is underway. The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence, Christoph Laue, Sean Lee, Steve Shannon, Robb Thompson, and Richard Baybutt in the Pinkbike Photo of the Year Hall of Fame. After all your nomination votes and a lot of spirited debate, the nominees have been narrowed down to 32 and we are ready to get started. Without further ado, here are the photos vying for the $10,000 CDN in CASH.

How Does it Work?

From thousands of nominated photos, 32 have been selected to be pitted against one other in a college basketball, bracket-like showdown. At this point, it is up to you, the users, to vote on the match-ups. The photos with the most votes will move on to the next round. So 32 photos will narrow down to 16, then 8, 4, 2 until there is a single photo deemed the winner.

The 32 Finalists

Reuben Krabbe

Kyleigh Stewart. Sunrise at Sun Peaks bike park.

Oliver Parish


Logan Peat - Coast Gravity Park Sechelt BC - Ride or Die Shoot

Sterling Lorence

Brett Rheeder during filming of Oahu segment of Anthill s Return to Earth Hawaii

Mark Mackay

Rider - Dylan Forbes Location - Whistler BC markmackayphoto

Ross Bell

Kelsey Toevs

First tracks on a fresh line

Bartek Pawlikowski

Exploring World on two wheels

Boris Beyer

Samantha Saskia Dugon

Toby Cowley

Paris Gore

Carson Storch in Pacific City OR

Vlad Bakumenko

Alexey Molotov Shabanov

Trevor Lyden

Conor MacFarlane and Nico Vink chasing reflections at Loosefest 2019.

Matthew DeLorme

It s not always raining here in Seattle in fact late fall has been almost dusty.

Matt Collins

Kirt Voreis taking it a step above.

Nathan Hughes

Lear Miller

Deep Summer 2019

JB Liautard

Ironic weather on the Canadian sunshine coast. The atmosphere is so special in those forests especially when the fog comes in and stays in the woods for the whole day.

Jay French

Chris Pilling

Back flip tail whip off the drop for Rheeder.

Ian Collins

From Parallel

Bartek Wolinski

imagine the endless terrain where everything s rideable without touching a shovel

Steve Shannon

Dylan Sherrard

Andy Lloyd

08.04.19. Scotty Laughland at Glyncorrwg for Mountain Biking UK. PIC Andy Lloyd

Luca Cometti

Greg and Kyle catching some last minute light overlooking east county San Diego on some private jumps.

Dave Trumpore

Kaos Seagrave figured the best way to see the the track was from a birds eye view from high above

Luke Jarmey

When ya can stretch those lethargic legs in the backyard n drink in virtuously valiant views like this... well life ain t bad sonny Jim life ain t bad.

Manuel Sulzer

Shooting for 720 Protections new Awake helmet in the Dolomites with Cadini di Misurina mountain group in the background.

Matt Wood

Sam Needham

Scrubs down the woods.

What's at stake? $10,000 Cash

Winner will receive a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

In addition, this year we also have user prizing for voters courtesy of Jenson USA. FIVE lucky Pinkbike readers that vote for the Photo of the Year will win a $200 Jenson USA gift card.

Thank you Jenson USA.

How can I enter for a chance to win one of five $200 Jenson USA gift cards?
By simply voting as we progress to the eventual Photo of the Year winner, you will be entered for a chance to win. One entry per user per round goes into a random draw for the prizes so keep coming back to vote each round!

For full contest rules and regulations, click here.


  • 112 5
 Pinkbike: "We will pit each photo randomly against another photo in a college basketball bracket-like showdown."

*Every pair of photos has the exact same theme and composition

Pinkbike: "Whoa! What are the odds?!"
  • 54 4
 It makes voting a hell of a lot easier IMO.
  • 29 1
 Not just every pair - seems like there are only three, maybe four major 'types' of photo. Only one (the roost) that was any kind of close-up. Various permutations of person-in-air-upside-down-with-scenery.
  • 2 8
flag rockyj (Jan 29, 2020 at 19:23) (Below Threshold)
 Only 1 triple crown bike..
  • 3 1
 @rockyj: have a closer look, there’s a lot more than one triple crown....
  • 6 0
 @rockyj: *dual crown. Triple clamp.
  • 3 0
 Trail dogs, support friends, muddy clothes. Anything else that goes into mountain biking. For god's sake, any action shot of the Grim Donut would have won hands down.
  • 9 0
 @twozerosix: You spotted that too? This comp has adopted a strange format in which originality is being overlooked to be able to pair up similar looking shots to make an "easier" head to head shoot out.
  • 2 1
 @rockyj: plz be downvoted into oblivion cuz theres 8 of them
  • 1 0
 @AngusG: haha I actually have no idea why I said that in the first place... I knew there was more than one... I think I meant to say race photo...?
  • 1 0
 @rockyj: well 4 give
  • 92 4
 So many incredible shots from the DH and EWS race coverage this year and not a single one has made the cut. Instead we have dirt jump overload. Doesn't really sum up riding for me.
  • 20 0

I was looking at these from the point of view of "what would inspire me the most to ride?"

That narrowed the field down massively
  • 8 0
 @markmcmurray you're right. So much drama in the last ews- and dh-saison and not a single picture. As you said, the PB coverage during the saison was amazing. I saw so many potential pictures of the year. Looking forward for the next saison.
  • 12 1
 Totally. I was flicking through Trumpore's albums and didn't take long to find a heap of photos that I prefer to most of the ones in this contest, including the one of his which was selected.
  • 1 0
 @BigAlfonz: Exactly what I thought!
  • 3 0
 @Fraenksen: I'm more of a Belgian lager fan myself...
  • 1 0
 @reindeln: Haha good point! I should try a Saison
  • 80 4
 I picked all the good ones. Which ones did you guys pick?
  • 42 1
 Also the good ones. We must have the same taste.
  • 13 2
 I picked the better ones.
  • 9 1
 I picked the goodest ones.
  • 2 1
 Gooderestest or GTFO!
  • 3 0
 The ones i picked are a little better’er
  • 2 0
 I went for the more better ones
  • 6 0
 I picked all the ones on the left. Except for the ones I picked on the right.
  • 6 0
 If past years' results are any indication, I picked all the crap ones.
  • 4 0
 I voted for this comment.
  • 62 6
 Should one vote for artistic expression...or...what inspires them to go ride? So many great photos here but I have a hard time relating to an aerial slopestyle shot. That's not what "mountain biking" means to me.
  • 6 0
  • 10 0
 I do get were you are coming from, but its also a part of the sport. I personally know a lot of people that ride slopestyle like 75% of their time. So there will be people that can relate to those pictures more than to others.
Just like i really dont wanna vote for a shot thats here only because of their scenery (like Photoshop a guy out of match 15 and these pics will still be almost the same)

This is the beauty of this poll, we all get to vote, bitch and complain about these amazing pics and in the end we'll find a deserving winner - or not - ????
  • 19 0
 I voted based on which one I would have as a big poster in my garage.
  • 1 0
 @onemind123: Was just thinking how great a poster size of that massive blue mountain backdrop shot by Luke Jarmey would look.
  • 4 3
 @Brestling: slopestyle really is it's own discipline though. It isn't mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 show me like 5 better than these. im not ironic, just curius, had no time to nominate this year
  • 1 0
 @onemind123: I voted based on which one I would have as a big poster in my garage. . . if I actually got rid of all the crap in there to maybe get a glimpse at a piece of wall.
  • 2 0
 @Brestling: Genuinely asking - is/should slope-style be related to mountain biking? I know a lot of the guys do both but one doesn’t need a mountain to do slope-style. Know what I mean?
  • 1 0
 @jeremiahwas: one doesn't need a mountain to do xc. Should we strike that from the umbrella term "mountain biking"?
  • 1 0
 @jeremiahwas: It is definitely closer to BMX than to MTB. But MTB is such a wide field, ranging from XC-race to Rampage, we have room for a bit of dirt-jumping too.
  • 56 4
 Welcome to the bro show... come on Pinkbike, get your shit together and stop picking the 'bro's' with average shots. There were some really strong contenders this year from amateurs. Not to rain on all these photos, some of them are phenomenal but some of them could have been shot on iPhone. This competition needs a refresh or some new blood.
  • 26 0
 Or maybe they shouldn't allow Pinkbike "staff" photographers to be included in the contest...
  • 12 0
 Exactly...I feel like I've been posting this same thought for years. Always the same names behind the lenses. C'mon PB let some new blood in. Otherwise this just becomes an exercise in giving a big prize to one of your bros (again!).
  • 2 0
 @stevemokan: Exactly my thoughts as well, hardly fair having the same names every year!
  • 36 4
 A lot of these are very familiar in styrlle but I look at that one by Ross Bell and think , yeah now THAT is what mountain biking is.
  • 7 1
 Yes, that's the winner for me. Original composition and has a great sense of action and atmosphere.
  • 12 0
 Splash is the new roost?
  • 6 2
 Yeah Ross Bell for the win. Everyman mountain biking, cool composition, and not a bunch of man made stuff.
  • 28 2
 Bit underwhelming this year isn't it? First year I have been clicking through them and think, whatever...

Seen a lot of good photos this year, but somehow that didn't completely trickle through here in my opinion
  • 23 4
 Lots of air shots and I personally don't like any of them - none of them capture the sense of defying gravity or the movement, but just the rider striking a pose ' dude, snap this!' ... except the nice shot by JB Liautard - very nice.
  • 2 0
 Liautard's shots are tights. sorry, I'll show myself out. . .
  • 22 4
 I wish instead of similar pairings they photos were "Ranked" initial by either photo views, or in a poll where people got to pick their top 3. Then the rankings would be paired like in a college basketball tournament. That way a single elimination style bracket would make more sense.
  • 5 1
 100% - that makes a lot more sense
  • 6 9
 best photo is going to win no matter what.
  • 13 1
 I agree. It would be much better if everyone was able to vote for their top choices and the bottom half of the photos are dropped after each round instead of these brackets. There were some brackets where I liked both and other brackets where I didn't think either were special.
  • 3 5
 @ebrown123: photos are a very subjective and you can't please everyone. The best photo is still going to win. No prizes for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.
  • 3 0
 ...Runner-up will receive a check for $3000 ...Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000
  • 3 2
 @jaydawg69: someone who don't understand keep downvoting you...

All right guys, if you have a favourite picture, you're gonna vote it every time, doesn't matter what's he option b. Hence, the picture favoutite to most people wins, simple.
And if you still haven't choose and wanna go with the flow, sooner or later you'll have to chose between the ones you like, so still the one liked the most wins.

Whatever the system you choose, the most liked wins, the rounds system is just to spread it in time and get some clicks
  • 2 2
 @ismasan: yup. Doesn’t matter what photo is paired with what.
  • 7 1
 @jaydawg69: It does make a difference how they are set in each round. If two of the best pictures are posted next to each other in an early round then the one that loses that round doesn't have a chance to be a runner-up (and get prize money), even if it is better than photos that won in other parts of the bracket.
  • 1 0
 @owenskyle4: how can a person determine what the best photos are to begin with? A good lot of them could win and as said before, art is very subjective. It is what it is.
  • 19 0
 There seems to be an aversion to showing wheels touching the ground.
  • 3 4

Here ya go, probably rides the same trails as yourself
  • 14 0
 The first are literally the same photo (come to think of it the next 2 as well and if we're going that route 17 and 18 too).
Euro tables- 5
Roost- 1 (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!)
Tiny rider vista- 7
Indians- 4 (the trick ,not the ethnicity)
  • 2 0
 Ya, I voted for the splash. So tired of all the roost shots the past few years.
  • 10 1
 Congrats to Boris for getting a shot of Brendog (I assume its brendog) backflipping his canyon gap. Seems like that should muster some strong votes.
  • 5 0
 I don’t think anyone else flipped that canyon gap... Hopefully Brendog doesn’t get robbed again...
  • 7 0
 Like others have said, lots of big dirt jump + trick photos this time, which was a bit repetitive.

My personal favorite ones are ones where you get some sense of scale and the landscape that they are riding through, yet are still close enough to actually see the rider, and tell that they are also doing something moderately engaging looking. And I tend to like head on shots better.

That means my favorites were ones like the ones taken by Ross Bell, Bartek Pawlikowski, Manuel Sulzer, Andy Lloyd, and Dylan Sherrards.

To me mountain biking is about the experience of going out and being someplace you don't see in normal day to day life, as well as the personal fitness/skill level aspect. A photo without those two elements just doesn't encapsulate all of what mountain biking is to me. The others are still good though. Just not what enough to call them "best" IMO.
  • 11 1
 I guess i have the screen-savers sorted for this yearSmile
  • 12 3
 Smashed by all the on-assignment industry mainstays, just as I suspected.
  • 5 2
 I mean it's not Amateur POY, it makes sense that the professionals who are paid to shoot the most high profile events will get a higher proportion of bangers.
  • 3 1
 Honest question, do you think your photos in your POTY album are better than the equivalent category photos here?
  • 4 0
 Just keep working on your craft, man. First couple times I made top 32 I was certainly not a "mainstay" and I'm still far from it.
  • 1 3
 @el-nombre: Bottom quarter definitely, bottom third if i'm generous to myself. Never had any delusions that 'd be winning, but thought being something like 11, 13 and 14 in nominations would count for something. I also saw some mega shots on the first few pages that didn't make the cut either. Just sad senpai didn't notice me ( ._.)
  • 5 0
 So many dirt jump photos and no DH or EWS....??
If that's the case it has to Boris Beyer with Brendogs back flip....
The only pro racer and in my opinion the loosest and cruziest pro hooner I've seen....
Lots of great captures tho..❤
  • 5 0
 I know its been said before (maybe I missed it in these specific comments), but I REALLY think the photographer & origin should be hidden during voting rounds.

Sure... if someone takes the time to research, they can discover who/when/where it was taken for some shots, but I'm thinking most will vote based on the photo quality alone.

Any reason not to hide this info?
  • 9 1
 I wanna see a Bartek v. Bartek final.
  • 6 2
 Some amazing images in the mix here taken by some amazing photographers. Some of these compositions and moments are just insane and awe-inspiring, best of luck to everyone that made it! I've got dreams of making it in the mix for 2020, see ya'all next year!
  • 4 0
 All the photos are great. But only a couple create a feeling of me wanting to be there riding that exact spot at that time. They are all jumps, air, etc... I KNOW that there is more variety out there. Where are the panning shots? Where are the winding singletrack? Where are the tech lines?
  • 7 0
 Wow this is going to be difficult. So many bangers.
  • 6 4
 That’s what she said
  • 8 1
 only 7 shots where both wheels are on the ground...
  • 3 0
 Great shots all, and all a bit stuck on being sunsetttty and trying verrrry hard to make sure no ever forgets how exxxxtreme the dawwwwgs of mountain biking are, no? My two cents (and they're Canadian cents, which don't even exist anymore) says the winner pic should be something anyone in or outside of mountain biking would look at and get goosebumps, say "Now that sums up the whole fn dealio right there." Maybe a female, some blood, bulging temple veins, unintentional upsidedownness, a terrifying mistake caught mid-way through, a touch o' humour... Respectable work, but nothing very surprising here.
  • 3 0
 hopefully a landscape shot that just happends to have a bike in the corner wont win it again this year, apparently im the only person who thinks, air photos are the best photos
  • 5 1
 Lord. I knew that big pipe shot was in Russia before I looked at the name and the little flag. Only there. It couldn't happen anywhere else.
  • 1 0
 US Rust Belt?
  • 2 1
 @taprider: Nope. I'm from there. Never seen anything like that. Big open pipes would be a huge liability. They would get sued.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: anyway I hope it makes the final
  • 2 0
 @taprider: Yeah, I thought it was cool. Voted for it first round.
  • 2 0
 Very disappointed with the overload of dirt jump type pics. They're cool and all but for the most of us is that really mountain biking?

How about just shredding trails or all mountain rides?
9 or 10 out of 32 like that, I hope they make it further than the others.
  • 4 0
 Look how many of the photos are made in British Columbia, may be I should move there Wink
  • 3 12
flag jaydawg69 (Jan 29, 2020 at 12:19) (Below Threshold)
 Squamish is off the hook!
  • 20 3
 @jaydawg69: Squamish is blown out, all the good loamers are around the Toronto area these days
  • 4 1
 I did for a summer. My ego took a massive beating on the tech features. Coming from a xc/roadie background, it was humbling to walk pretty much everything.
  • 3 0
 @N-60: so true. Also heard amazing things about Ottawa .
  • 1 0
 Check out Australia.
  • 4 0
 Match 4 was a hard one!! All great entries! Good luck to everyone who has skin in the game!
  • 7 3
 I can hardly believe it, but I am considering voting for a roost shot this year.
  • 10 1
 Me too. And like others are saying, too many dirt jump shots (or silhouettes or rider/mannequins over a landscape)
  • 7 1
 If you don't jump? ????
  • 4 0
 Yeah who knew mtb was a flying sport!? Only 1/4 of them have two wheels on the ground.
  • 1 0
 Its Wolinski for me. Love how its so understated in tone, but the move is hot and the landscape nicely weird. Makes it different and therefore a standout. Most of the others I seem to have seen before. Kudos to the canyon flip too.
  • 1 0
 They are all super sweet pics. For wow factor Id have to go with Chris Pilling's Rheeter flip whip at joyride then Boris Beyer's canyon flip at Rampage. Those are the most exciting compositions. Then for riding in nature, they're all sweet, but Dylan Sherrard's riders coming at you probably makes me want to go ride the most.
  • 1 0
 Some amazing photos this year. The one thing I wish is when I click the photo to get a better look, it would open a new window or pop-out with the original full size image. Going to their page, then selecting x-large, then right clicking and opening the image in a new tab gets old.
  • 1 0
 Amazing shots - but i see a lot of 'instagrammy' manufactured shots here. (set it up, multiple takes, etc) They may or may not be, but mtb is such a spontaneous, flowing adventure -- needs some shots that capture that. The fear, the adrenaline, the wonder, etc. It's the soul of surfing the mountain vs the heavily practiced skills of a skate park. These tended to lean more towards the rehearsed skate park feel.
  • 3 0
 I came here for the roost! The roost!

Also, I declare "Rider in a Sunbeam" the new roost.
  • 2 0
 I was thinking Puddle Splash was the new roost, but I can dig Sunbeam.
  • 1 0
 @JarrodB: I think you're on to something, but the sunbeam as become more prevalent the last few years. I'm not noticing the puddle splash as much. I do think it's a cousin of the roost, though, at the very least.
  • 3 1
 As a matter of principle, I will never vote for the berm explosion photo that inevitably makes in to the photo of the year contest.
  • 3 0
 Whoa wait a minute, when did dirt jumping become the new down country enduro?
  • 1 0
 "Biking" usually means 95%-100% of the time the wheels are on the ground. Although these are really nice photographs of "outdoor gymnastics" -- only missing are the leotards.
  • 2 0
 Let me guess...the Roost shot makes it to the finals! (shhh, don't tell anyone I voted for it this round.)
  • 2 0
 Is the one by Ian Collins considered 1 photo?....its 3 photoshopped to create the image and sequence. Still dope.
  • 3 0
 Wow. Congrats to all the photogs. Amazing pics all around.
  • 2 0
 two of my favorite going head to head in the first round. Bummer. (12th set)
  • 3 0
 So how can we get some high res versions of these brilliant photos?
  • 1 0
 contact the photographer that took the photo
  • 3 0
 Steve Shannon WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Matt DeLorme has a billion photos and you chose that one? Blurry blue butt?
  • 3 0
 Vlad Bakumenko is rider Ph: Alexey "Molotov" Shabanov
  • 1 0
 Dows anyone know where you can get high res versions of these images? I wanna add them to my wallpaper collection.
Happy to pay for them, if that is required.
  • 1 0
 contact the photographer
  • 3 2
 The canyon gap shot is the only one that stands out vs the others imo. Landscape shots with a bike thrown in don't do it for me in a bike photo competition.
  • 1 0
 OK this is impossible , I give up, how could I possibly narrow down such an amazing field of mind-blowing moves with jaw-dropping scenery!
  • 2 0
 First round is easy... all the best ones are in it.
  • 4 2
 Big dirt jumps aren't very photogenic, are they?
  • 1 0
 @delriosudiego posted pictures for this contest that are better of some of them Frown
  • 1 0
 The Lear Miller shot... if they had only been lucky enough to not have wind!
  • 3 0
 Ross Bell WINS!
  • 1 0
 "Okay, I'll just vote according to which one I would want hanging on my wall"
"I need a bigger wall"
  • 2 0
  • 5 2
 Worst year ever...
  • 2 0
 Love the pipeline pic even if it didn't have a bike in it.
  • 2 0
 It may be my 6th or 7th sense picking up a theme here..
  • 1 0
 I am honestly blown away by how good the pictures are this year! Amazing work
  • 1 0
 How do we enter this contest ?
I tried to contact some people referenced in this website and no one ever answered me..
  • 6 5
 I never get here this early. What do I do?

Looks like sess.....
  • 5 1
 Norbs got...
  • 1 0
 Brendog got...
  • 1 1
 Hey what happened to Snotty McSnot Face??!!
It was getting lots of faves and nominations
  • 2 1
 Looks like the ranking of nominations didn't even come into play. All 3 of my images were on the first page when sorted by number of nominations, and look how far I got!
  • 3 2
 It's a common misconception that the number of nominations is what determines the final 32. Votes only matter now that we're into the brackets!
  • 2 1
 @sarahmoore: PB was just worried McSnot Face would have been a darkhorse winner

There would have been lots of people voting for it just to spite all the jump shots ;-)
  • 2 1
 Mcsnot was robbed.
  • 2 0
 Cool way of doing it.
  • 1 0
 Best photos so far, it's so hard to choose...
  • 1 0
 JB- please make urs available as a print!
  • 1 0
 Matchup 9 & 15 were tough to decide!
  • 1 0
 Match up 9 is not fair IMO
  • 1 0
 Trevor Lyden my favorite. Just great composition.
  • 1 0
 The @davetrumpmore photo was shot at snowshoe, wv not in VT
  • 1 0
 Just give it to Sterling and be done with it. Smile
  • 1 0
 Match 10 was not fair! Do Over!
  • 3 3
 No tail dogs this year Frown
  • 2 1
 aren't most dogs tail dogs? Smile
  • 1 0
 @savagelake: They might have been docked
  • 1 0
 B&W for the win
  • 1 0
 zero race photos.
  • 1 0
 Not enough ROOST.
  • 1 0
 Nathan Hughes
  • 2 4
 Unreal finalists this year! Far better than last year.

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