5 Things We Learned From Red Bull Joyride 2023

Jul 31, 2023
by Christie Fitzpatrick  
1. We are really going to miss Thomas Lemoine's creativity on the course.

Saturday marked Tomas Lemoine's last competitive slopestyle run, and we going to miss him. The French rider's 2022 Joyride run was inarguably the most mind-blowing moment of the entire festival, when the entire crowd held their breath (skip to 1:10 if you're short on time!). His creativity can be seen across all his projects - if you follow him on Instagram you'll get an insight into his love for French rap as well as a Levy-esque obsession with aliens.

2. Emil proves he is this generation’s god of slopestyle.

All eyes were on the Swedish star after he crashed and injured his shoulder during practice Saturday morning. After much anticipation, the crowds were treated to an amazing show where Emil Johansson once again proved unstoppable, pulling off the perfect season with a winning score of 92.4 points. This was enough to secure Johansson a 13th Crankworx gold medal, become the winningest Slopestyle rider in history, and also pull off an undefeated season whilst winning the Crankworx FMB Slopestyle World Championships.

bigquotesI don’t even know where to begin. I busted my shoulder this morning and I wasn’t really sure what level I would be able to perform. I decided to play it as safe as possible and really just wanted to make it down the hill. I made it down and I don’t know, I just try to pinch myself because it hasn’t really sunk in yet and I don’t know if it will.Emil Johansson

3. Judging is Hard, but (Mostly) Fair.

Emil’s score - well clear of Paul Couderc's silver medal score of 87 and Tom Isted's bronze score of 83.8 - left a few viewers confused. Opposite spins and complex tricks are hard to follow as a spectator, and demand incredibly complex judging rules and criteria that most of us struggle to fully comprehend.

Paul Couderc put down the run of his life including two double flips, including one on the gnarly final step-down feature. Likewise, Tom Isted put down a heater of a run, including a frontflip tuck no hander and a 1080 twister, earning his second podium of what is definitely his breakout season. Emil did a bunch of stuff that makes me go cross eyed just typing it, including a three downside double whip, his signature three windshield wiper, and an opposite three whip over the awkward final jump. The finesse and skill required to pull off these intricate, opposing movements remain extremely highly valued by the judges, and Emil is a seasoned expert.

In the end, both judges and athletes had a long wait, and in the end only had one chance to score. It's hard to imagine sitting at the top of the course for as long as they did, and still have the mental space to perform at the absolute highest level, and all riders absolutely delivered.

Brian typed up a nerdy comparison of the top 3 runs for you all to argue about.
Footplant 3
truck to downside whip
opposite 3 undown to x-up
3 windshield wiper
flip double bar to x
3 downside double whip
opposite 3 no foot can on
nose press 3 can off
540 xup undown
3 toboggan
opposite 3 whip
flip bar
opposite cork 7
double flip
flip whip
whip on
flip off
180 whip
double flip
flip tuck
cork 7
double flip
frontflip tuck
truck on
cork flip off
cork flip
flip tuck

4. Women Belong on the Slopestyle Course

One of the major takeaways from the Women's Slopestyle Jam on Sunday was that a) Patricia Druwen is the future and b) it's time for women to be hitting the Slopestyle course more often. Not only did Patricia just earn a Red Bull helmet, she 360'd the first drop of the course, suicide-nohandered the second stepdown hit, and tricked several more massive jumps on her way to the middle of the course. It’s clear that with some more practice time, she and the other ladies riding the course would have no problem doing top to bottom runs.

We’d love to see the ladies get more time on the course. This year was challenging for organizers as they were forced to move practice around constantly to find weather windows, but we hope that a few top women get the opportunity to practice with the guys in the future, and get to drop in and compete when they decide they’re ready.

5. We Need To Heli In A Giant Wind Blocker / Dome

This year, riders had a massive time crunch on their hands after three hours of painful weather delay, mainly due to high winds and riding with the sunlight directly in their faces. The crowds - in their thousands - were running wild when the contest finally got underway, and the Red Bull Joyride delivered an absolute pressure cooker of a 1-run contest. However, we still prefer the regular format of 2 runs and would like to see some kind of Simpson's Movie-esque dome installed next year to mitigate any weather hazards.


Author Info:
christiefitz avatar

Member since May 21, 2017
104 articles

  • 142 1
 Dome idea is dumb. Let’s put fans blowing in the opposite direction. Winds will cancel out.
  • 16 0
 Issue every single spectator with a leaf blower to blow against the wind. I can't see any other way.
  • 3 0
  • 15 0
 Inhale to your left, exhale to your right.
  • 9 3
 On a similar note, solar panels are dumb. Let's create a full-on Dyson Swarm around the sun to capture energy.

(joking of course ya neanderthals)
  • 2 0
 But for real it's time to consider adopting a multi-day event window format. at least for non racing, judged mtb events, and especially Rampage. Just like so many other weather impacted judged events: surfing, FWT, Natural Selection, etc.
Does anyone disagree??
  • 2 0
 @snomaster: TV broadcasters maybe?
  • 54 4
 If I had to write up a comparison like Brian for the top three riders it would go something like this. Spinny thing. Whippy spinny thing. Wonky flippy sort of thing Spinny whippy thing Upside down whippy spinny thing. Foot down but not foot down drop off. In the air forward roll. Two backwards rolls. Another sort of spinny whippy going around and round thing. Podium.
  • 9 1
 Don't forget the "spinny thing, almost loses it"
  • 9 8
 I get the whole bit of calling their tricks “flippy, spinny, blah…”

But I can’t help finding it a little cringey, and kinda disrespectful? Especially when the podcast hosts did it. No shade to Kaz though, as he is otherwise good value.
  • 2 0
 You forgot the 'WTF was that?!'
  • 1 2
 Having read the trick list I’m still no wiser as to what each of the, did and how one is better / harder than the other
  • 14 1
 I mean... I don't follow slopestyle much either but comments like this are kinda dumb.. You just sound like any person who's not invested or interested in a sport trying to make fun of people who actually are. Any sport at high level gets intricate and it usually takes time investment and some knowledge to fully appreciate the sport at the highest level
  • 7 1
 @chrismac70: Just watch them back to back or side by side, and you will see why Emil won. Paul and Tom both had very similar runs (they even did the same tricks on some of the same features). Emil did Emil things and came out on top as usual. Emil only really got beaten (I hesitate to say even say beaten, because his tricks were still right up there) on the first hip, and the straight double before the boner log. On the Hip:Tom - twister, Paul - Oppo Cork 7, Emil- Oppo 360 unturndown to X up. Paul and Tom were probably about even on difficulty there, and Emil did a triple combo in his opposite way. The straight jump, Tom and Paul both double flipped, and Emil did a flip double Barspin to x Up. Quad combo, vs double flips. Not sure which is the gnarliest tehre, but I do know that Emil did a trick that was different/ unique compared to two guys doing the same trick, so he probably go the edge still. Emil had higher difficulty tricks everywhere else, and even blasted the quarter pipe with a tech trick.
  • 38 1
 Can we add some additional competition scoring points such as 'best costume', 'most beers consumed before run', '50% score increase for riding a recumbent', 'Fastest time with vaseline smeared goggles' or 'Most times rider shouts "gnarly dude" in a run'?
  • 4 0
 I support this.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: I see no other correct way either.
  • 2 0
 @bigtim ...if they aren't on tandem recumbents, why even watch the event right? Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I think you just invented G.N.A.R. points for mountain biking.
  • 41 4
 All the competitors know that the technicality of Emil's tricks keep winning. If they weren't miles harder than 720s and double flips, everyone would be doing them, but they can't. Emil's run was harder, more original, and more technical than any other run.
  • 4 0
 AND hat was a sefety/injury run? :0
  • 23 2
 Wait, do people actually think Courdec’s run was better? It was a cool run, but not even close to Emil. That was definitely Emil’s most beatable run this year, and i kinda think godziak would have got him if he pulled that last trick.

Also, all the complaining about this being gymnastics is weird. There are basically 4 slope style contests a year. It’s not like we have to watch this kind of riding only. It’s 4x a year that these people show us the boundaries that can be pushed on a bike, and that’s cool. Would i rather just watch Emil flow through the gorge, or something similar, definitely, most the time. But judging a contest of just dudes doing dipped 3’s and tables would be boring.

The winningest dudes in slope, also have some other the best style (Semenuk and Emil) we get to see it year round on IG and in edits. Let them throw their insane gymnastics tricks a few times a year.

All that said, i think slope is less gymnastics-y than even bmx dirt or park. Watch bmx parks contests for the Olympic shit, and there is zero creativity in those runs. Complete video game stuff.
  • 2 0
 I think you're spot-on that this was the competition's best chance of the year to beat Emil, but none of their runs were perfect either. I'm OK with the order, but the gap between 1st and 2nd had me a little confused. I don't see how Emil's run with obvious mistakes and downgrades still scored in the 90's and so far above Couderc's 2nd place run.
  • 4 0
 @plyawn: They just do that to leave room for people who may score in between them (especially as there was still 5 heavy hitters to drop after Paul, and Emil was the end of the line, and in theory, another run from everyone lol). I don't think the number is as important as the ranked position
  • 2 0
 The comments on IG are all complaints and saying Paul should have won, but PB nailed the reality of it. People just get bored of the same person winning, but ultimately, that means the other riders just have some work to do. Emil crushed it, in his stylish fashion as always.
  • 13 0
 Thanks @brianpark, looks like there's a direct correlation between words needed to describe the run and the score, other guys just need to create new tricks with longer names!
  • 2 0
 Combos FTW
  • 13 6
 #6. Slopestyle is cool but way Over-Hyped for the amount of riding that goes down.

Alot of money, hype and hoopla for what amounted to about 8mins of actual riding. All course issues and weather delays aside this is not enough riding for me. I enjoyed watching the practice runs. Fill out the format and at least have a single trick booter for demonstration purposes when there is a crash or delay. Shield one jump from the wind so that riders can safely jam in the downtime. Great chance to throw in some ladies or amateurs. There are lots of ways to get more ridng in the broadcast without wearing out the stars. Back to World Cup DH where the action is full on for a lot longer than 8mins.
  • 7 8
 Cool, don’t watch it then
  • 2 2
 @olafthemoose: solid response. lol
  • 7 2
 i watch almost every slope event and the judging is almost every time close to perfect. same with rampage. dont look for the drama where there is none
  • 4 1
 Kyle got robbed
  • 5 0
 @RonSauce: you mean norbie?
  • 13 10
 This was by far the worst Joyride I've ever attended. I get wind and weather to a point. But these guys were sending backflips and 360's for hours when it was toooooo windy to compete. If you're able to throw a backflip or 360 the gaps in training then you can compete. Maybe you don't throw the wildest tricks then and you dial it back and send old school tricks with perfect precision then. But that's just one small issue. The other was the Chinese military style security they had out in force. It really made Whistler feel not like Canada. A group of spectators were peacefully chilling in the trees with hammocks watching the event and they had security with full face coverings going through the crowd harassing everyone, you couldn't even get outta Lots 1-5 without the RCMP performing police state checkpoint stops. Lots of little things added up to really take the Joy outta Joyride. I'm sure all the VIP areas though milked the most outta the patrons while they continued to promise a show that they couldn't do because of wind as all the riders continued to ride the course and perform tricks in front of them. What a sham.
  • 14 3
 Tell me you don't ride jumps without telling me you don't ride jumps. 360s and backflips for these guys are pretty well straight airs to them. Linking up a cork 7 into a double flip with inconsistent head winds?? That's just recipe for injuries man
  • 8 4
 This article was made to not only defend the judging, but defend a poorly executed and ran event. Redbull has deep pockets, but no plan B
  • 2 0
 Red Bull only puts their name on the event, CWX is the organiser
  • 4 0
 Should be having the event in the early morning when the sun is fine and the winds are low same thing every year dealing with the wind.
  • 3 2
 I remember first time Whistler back in 2007 the course of the redbull BMX dirt jump contest was still there and clean it was really big jumps and as clean as the joyride this year with insane rockless dirt
The Slopestyle course was raw it was still MTB but we were able to compare both build
Somehow I do miss this raw riding on un manucured trail…

Time as change Slopestyle is not my stuff anymore …
I am really glad I lived those moment back in the days when dust and rocks were flying on the landings.
  • 2 0
 Olympic figure skating solved the problem of judging and scoring by displaying in real time the name of the trick, degree of difficulty, best possible score and judged score. This is the way.
  • 3 2
 A big majority of the delay was sun shining directly into the take offs of some of the big hits. Seems like course designers will account for sun direction in next years design...
  • 5 1
 Yeah they should of designed the course uphill, to avoid the sun shining in the riders eyes.
  • 3 1
 It's not like this is a new event at a new location. They'll always come up with an excuse as to why they can't run the event. The dirt not being dirt enough one year was an excuse.
  • 1 0
 Maybe take care of weather would be better for competition instead of only seeking for live stream. In summer , hot days mean wind often builds up in the afternoon. Shame this is not something anybody seem to want to learn
  • 37 38
 I appreciate and understand the extra difficulty of 'opposite' tricks but, as a spectator, I don't really care about them. From a viewers perspective it's basically the same trick. The back-to-back opposite tricks go someway to making it worthwhile I guess, but I'd still prefer to see a double backflip or front flip combo instead.
  • 14 13
 I prefer bike handling innovation and progression and feel like flips and flip combos are old and more relevant to gymnastics than riding a bike.
  • 6 1
 Unfortunately like most judged sports the ability of afew to push things to that point it becomes uninteresting or in this case not entertaining to the majority, even to those that know what Emil in this case is up to, have arrived. The golden era of these sports comes and goes, judging and athletes move on. Just what happens.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: you mean a corked 1080 tailwhip no hander? Yeah i agree
  • 16 20
flag Curator88 (Jul 31, 2023 at 5:06) (Below Threshold)
 Pinkbike have been quick to jump to the defence of the judging and to explain why Emil's run scored higher (that most of us who care enough to be here do understand).

However, given the precarious state of the discipline (far from a mainstream sport), the live crowd reactions to the runs, and the reaction in various forums thereafter, it'd be folly to continue to deny that there is an issue with there being such a disconnect between the judging criteria and spectacle.

BMX has to some extent cracked this by adding in additional judging criteria and considering the diversity of runs, and originality of course usage, as major factors.

Oppo scoring should be a very minor criterion - some people are naturally more ambidextrous and it is currently used as an excuse for repetition of tricks without penalty.

You can jump on the Emil hype train all you want, but it is the sport - upon which the industry depends - that will suffer.
  • 20 2
 well every dirt rider agrees with judging so my advice is for the crowd to get educated, for example start trying tricks themselves
  • 36 7
 @Curator88: I'm sorry but, this comment is so incorrect.

First, there's no way to 'water down' a competition to cater to spectators. If you want a spectator-oriented slopestyle event, you want a show like Masters of Dirt. A competition is about being the best, even if it goes over the heads of the common spectator.

BMX has in no way cracked this problem, and nothing you've listed would end Emil's domination. Within freestyle BMX the same disconnect between what spectators liked watching and what judges value highly definitely exists. For example, during the Olympics many people felt like bronze medalist Daniel Dhers deserved a higher score. Similarly, the same problem is all over freeride events like Rampage, where fluidity and speed also exist as judging criteria.

I think the real problem is just that common spectators don't have the skill to be judges, and so can't judge for themselves what a good run is. I would even say you can see this play out when you watch women's BMX. In women's freestyle BMX, where the skill level is lower, it's much easier for spectators to understand these judging decisions and so there's less controversy. It's easy for us all to understand when one competitor does a backflip and the other does not, or one does a double tail whip and the other does a single.

Ultimately, yes, it's frustrating when the run you liked best doesn't score the highest. But this clearly exists in BMX and Freeride, and I think it's just the price of progress. To say it's damaging all these sports to the point they need to change is incorrect.

And finally, it is absurd to suggest that opposite tricks should not be worth more, or that an opposite trick is 'the same trick' as a regular one. Ask anyone in these sports and they will tell you about huge struggles to learn opposite tricks. Many people will tell you that learning an opposite trick can be more difficult than learning it regular was. We can't discard that reality just because one person has gotten so good at oppo tricks.

I'm honestly not on the Emil hype train. I'd love to see a rotating cast of winners. And I would love to continue to see changes to slopestyle courses to make them more dynamic and challenging to the athletes. I think innovative courses are a key to maintaining spectator interest and sustaining the sport.

But changing the structure of the sport just to make it harder for one guy to win is reductive and harmful. This line of thinking is like saying since women's downhill racing was boring when Rachel Atherton won every race, because Rachel was so good racing with both arms, we need to change downhill so that everyone races with one arm behind their backs so it can be more fair and exciting to spectators.
  • 2 0
 I've always thought spins in both directions looks cool. I don't "care" that the trick is opposite/switch/unnatural and don't need to know which is which, I just like it.
  • 3 0
 Coming from a music/music competition background I totally appreciate the subjective/complex nature of judging and the reality that many people won't arrive at the same "feeling" of each run's quality.

One thing that might help, and is done elsewhere, would be giving more of a breakdown- produce an individual score for each feature, potentially have a seperate column for flair, etc, then we'd have a greater understanding of how (points wise) a 1080 compares to an oppo 3 truck driver.
  • 2 5
 @nikifor88: where can I see that every single dirt rider agrees? I'd like to educate myself on your statement.
  • 3 1
 @Moonduster: go to dirt spot and talk to people
  • 3 2
 @Rudy2455: I think everyone knows that opposite tricks (non-natural tricks, whatever) are more difficult. Everyone has tried riding with their feet switched.
There was a rider who did back to back 720's if I recall which looked really good and stylish, but only because they were back to back and demonstrated a clear distinction. This made it stylish. I suppose I'm trying to say points for style rather than for oppo tricks just for the sake of an oppo trick (which are virtually always done worse than the natural way).
  • 2 0
 bro, that's just you. I was the other runs and say, wow that was crazy and then Emil's does his thing and im like. Damn, mind blown.
  • 3 0
 @Curator88: You can't get it unless you are trying to pull these tricks yourself or have some experience in this kind of riding, even if its just trying to learn opportunities 3s on flat ground after you have easily mastered regular 3's. That's just the reality. The riders know how good Emil is.

I used to be a Bmx street rider and did a lot of tricks. When you are watching a Bmx video edit and you don't know the complexity of the tricks, its just like okay that was cool. but when you are trying the tricks and learning them yourself, it brings a whole new level to watching edits and comps. You really understand how complex and technical those oppo tricks are and how a ridiculous amount of hours went into learning them.
  • 2 0
 @ridingbiking: oppo tricks or not, i agree that Emil is on another level and deserves his victories.
  • 4 0

Catering something relatively niche and special for the general public seems like a great way to destroy it for those who hold it really close and passionately. The last thing they should do is chase a bunch of temporary fans who want to go party in Whistler once a year. Buy them Nitro Circus tickets.
  • 4 0
 @Rudy2455: Many people will tell you that learning an opposite trick can be more difficult than learning it regular was

Oh god yes, you approach something that you feel you should already know how to do and feel like you're starting over with your hands and legs tied together.
  • 1 3
 @pargolf8: Nah. I mean I get it, since style is supposedly subjective, especially at a judged event, spin to win is a thing. Style and precision is just so much more fun and inspiring to watch.
I really don’t care how many rotations after 1, maybe 2? I mean if you can 7 you can 1080 it’s not like they’re different.
  • 3 5
 Paul still robbed. Emil would have won IMHO if he didn’t have the few mistakes. You could tell he messed up on certain tricks and almost crashed. Paul was all landed perfect and clean

It what it is. Hats off to the riders.
  • 1 0
 @pinkbikeaudience — excellent trick comparison but we need a column indicating which feature
  • 1 0
 6. With total respect to the brothers, I still get confused which Godziek I'm watching. They both shred so hard
  • 1 0
 Also learnt that slopestyle isn't a one run event.. I feel robbed.. can't begin to reflect on how the riders feel about it
  • 1 0
 Seeing the lists side-by-side, it looks to me as though Isted did better than Couderc. Just me though, I guess?
  • 2 0
 Paul double flipped the last step down compared to Isteads Flip no hander (which he also did on the first step down). Otherwise, their runs were very similar.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: Fair enough. I'm probably biased as I've been following Isted on Youtube for a while.
  • 1 0
 Why Lemoine retired from slopestyle?
  • 12 6
 prob tired of the way of judging that creative tricks score not as high he also said he wanted to try new things
  • 2 0
 His style of riding is way more effective in speed & style than SS
  • 1 0
 6. It got more views than all the WC rounds so far............?
  • 1 3
 Emil Johansson wins because his tricks need more words to explain
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