Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder & Other Past Crankworx Slopestyle Champions Make Predictions for Rotorua 2020

Feb 11, 2020
by Sarah Moore  
Champagne showers with McGazza looking over it all. What a day.
2019 Crankworx Rotorua podium: 1st. Brett Rheeder (93.75), 2nd. Tomas Lemoine (87.00), 3rd. Alex Alanko (80.75)

With Brett Rheeder not competing in the Slopestyle contest in Rotorua, only one prediction is certain: the podium won't be the same as in 2019. We hear from six past Crankworx champions who are not competing in the Crankworx Rotorua slopestyle contest this year about who they think the favourites are for the first contest of the year.

The 14 riders competing in the slopestyle event at Crankworx Rotorua this year are Emil Johansson, Dawid Godziek, Tomas Lemoine, Torquato Testa, Erik Fedko, Alex Alanko, Nicholi Rogatkin, Thomas Genon, Paul Couderc, Lucas Huppert, Lukas Knopf, Anthony Messere, Timothé Bringer, and Owen Marks.

Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Greg Watts, Andreu Lacondeguy, Cam Zink, and Paul Basagoitia weigh in on who is looking good heading to New Zealand.

Brandon Semenuk

Brandon Semenuk progressing it as always with a rad half cab of the top drop

11x Crankworx Slopestyle winner:
Crankworx Whistler (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017)
Crankworx Colorado (2008, 2009, 2010)
Crankworx L2A (2012, 2013)
Crankworx Rotorua (2016)

bigquotesEmil’s killing it. He’s really dialed with hard trick combinations and he’s been able to take that to Slopestyle features, so it’s cool to see.

I think Fedko’s also at a similar level. They’re doing a lot of the same things. I think Emil’s just a little bit ahead of Fedko right now in the contest format, but I think Fedko’s got the skills. He just puts his own touch on some of the tricks that he does. Watching him ride in general - his style of riding is quite nice, so I think that’s why he stands out.

Obviously Nicholi’s going to keep doing crazy sh*t.

If everyone was healthy, I’d probably put my money on Emil or Nicholi.
Brandon Semenuk

Brett Rheeder

Brett Rheeder with a signature 720. By the time practice was over he d already done his finals run a few times.

7x Crankworx Slopestyle winner:
Crankworx Whistler (2016)
Crankworx Rotorua (2015, 2018, 2019)
Crankworx L2A (2015)
Crankworx Les Gets (2017)
Crankworx Innsbruck (2019)

bigquotesNicholi Rogatkin, Emil Johansson and Dawid Godziek will continue to turn heads and win contests but I'm most excited to watch Erik Fedko because of his style, bag of tricks and attitude. I also think Paul Couderc has a good chance at doing well. He’s been up and coming for some years now and based off his most recent video isn’t scared of going for it. All impressive athletes to say the least.Brett Rheeder

Cam Zink

2x Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle winner (2006, 2010)

bigquotesEmil, for sure. When it comes to Emil, it’s kind of something that you can’t put into words or conceptualize too much, because he’s just got something different. When you watch him ride - mainly the way he practices - it’s just mind-blowing to watch how effortless things are and how dialed he is on all his basic tricks. Then you see him add something else in, or take a multi-trick combo that’s rarely been done before then add something else to that and add his own style to it. It’s just an amazing combination of pure bike control, confidence, skill, and style… He just has the whole package and knows how to attack a course and it’s pretty prevalent even when he’s just practicing. He’s definitely my favourite to watch throughout the whole weekend.

Fedko’s probably next. I’m not saying he’s a level above Nicholi or he’s guaranteed to get second, but I think he’s going to be one of my favourites to watch. Mainly because he does flip superman seat-grabs, which is my favourite trick. He’s also bringing a little different style than just the barspin tailwhip combos. I really enjoy someone who does seat grab tricks and 360 indian airs and tricks like that... I’m pumped to see him killing it.
Cam Zink

Paul Basagoitia

2x Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle winner (2004, 2005)

bigquotesI’m excited for the 2020 Slopestyle season to start off. The field is so stacked. When I think of this year, the top riders that come to mind are Emil and Nicholi. I think those two are going to be battling it out throughout the year and I’m excited to see if there’s a Triple Crown winner or if there’s a repeat. I know Emil won Joyride last year and, putting myself in his position, I know he’s going to have a really consistent year, but to defend that Joyride title, that’s a tough one.

I also think Erik Fedko could have a huge year. Watching him climb the standings last year, I can see him definitely being on the podium this year at a lot more Crankworx stops.

Emil is bringing all these crazy variations into Slopestyle, all these tech tricks, and he’s doing it both ways. He’s the only guy in the field right now who’s able to throw those combinations, he has a really unique style when it comes to that. Then you’ve got a guy like Erik Fedko that, maybe doesn’t have the biggest tricks but, by far has some of the best style out there. We’re starting to see style get a lot more points in the Slopestyle game.

The exciting thing about Nicholi is that he rolls the dice. Every time he drops in you have no idea what Nicholi is going to do. He has by far the biggest bag of tricks out of all the Slopestyle athletes, and you don’t know which one he’s going to be unleashing that day.

With Brett coming back to do Joyride, I think Semenuk should come back to mix it all up. I think Semenuk can still win a Slopestyle contest all day long if he decided to ever step back in the game. It would be really cool to see all those guys compete at Joyride - Semenuk, Rheeder, Nicholi, Emil, Fedko. That would be such a crazy showdown.
Paul Basagoitia

Greg Watts

1x Crankworx Slopestyle winner:
Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle winner (2009)
bigquotesAs far as new riders, up-and-coming, I don’t know if it’s going to happen in 2020, but I’ve thought a bit about it, and I think it’s going to be someone you kind of don’t expect. Most likely some new euro kid. Slopestyle’s such a high turnaround - you don’t really know who’s going to be there until he’s there.

Fedko - I think he’s going to do really well. Paul Couderc - I think has shown a lot of interesting new ways to ride.

Another guy, if he can stick with a mountain bike for a bit, I think Dawid Godziek would be a good choice as an up-and-comer.

I don’t know if there’s going to be a new North American champion for a bit, but I like David Lieb. He’s a young guy that’s got a lot of talent. I think if he sticks with it then in a few years he could probably be there.
Greg Watts

Andreu Lacondeguy

1x Crankworx Slopestyle winner:
Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle winner ( 2008 )
bigquotesI don’t really seems like Emil is killin’ it. But my favourite is still Thomas Genon! Dude is a boss so I hope he wins and becomes the champion of the world.Andreu Lacondeguy

NB: We also reached out to 2x Crankworx Colorado Slopestyle winner (2007, 2011) Cam McCaul, but did not hear back from him in time for publication.

Your predictions:

Do you agree with Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Greg Watts, Andreu Lacondeguy, Cam Zink, and Paul Basagoitia's predictions? Who do you think will take first place in the Slopestyle event in Rotorua?

Who do you think will win the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle contest?


  • 60 2
 I love what Bas said. It would be awesome if Whistler wasn’t just another points battleground but truly a “show” like an NBA all-star game. Semenuk, Rheeder, Rogatkin, Emil, all the top names past and present just put on an incredible show, jam format
  • 22 0
 That's what makes the Backwoods Jam so great over at CGP. Most of the top dogs jam session on some of the biggest dirt jumps
  • 3 0
 Extend some invitations to the OG's that want to participate too. Having been at Crankworks the last 6 years I'd love to see some of the riders from the era that got me into the sport mix it up with the new(ish) guys!
  • 2 3
 I don’t know if I’d like to see the biggest legends doing crazy ass tricks every other jump. I totally understand where you’re coming from but I love the adrenaline of watching this guys battle and feel the frustration when one my favorite riders doesn’t finish their run. It really is a debatable topic.
  • 1 0
 @lalientoxc: I should have clarified my comment a bit. I was agreeing with the OP about making the last Whistler stop a "Jam" or "show". Let the season be over and the pressure be off the riders. This would be all about the fun, riding with your friends, all with the stoke of the Crankworx vibe and the crowds. They'd still be there. Honestly for me, I don't follow slopstyle as a hardcore viewer over the season. I think it would be a bonus to all involved in the sport to see it in this type of format.
  • 53 0
 @krashDH85: Everyone who has won at Crankworx Whistler has a lifetime invitation to drop in, to any Crankworx Slopestyle contest they want. It's one of the lifetime privileges of being a Crankworx Whistler Slopestyle winner.
  • 3 5
 If they offered up more $$$ to the winner and podium spots maybe we will see Brett and Brandon come back into the mix.
  • 2 0
 @officialcrankworx: I have a question for you guys!! If there’s so much money involved as far as media and preparations, why do you only allow 12-14 riders (if I can remember correctly) to ride in the final competition? Wouldn’t it be better to let a few more athletes participate and have a longer show? It doesn’t seem like it would affect you guys at all since only the top three get a money prices.
  • 2 0
 What if there was both? Seriously. Have a jam session or even label it as a best trick or whatever you want and then have the finals?
  • 5 0
 @hyroller80: Brandon didn't quit contests because he wasn't making enough money lol.
  • 2 0
 Nicholi Rogatkin, Emil Johansson and Dawid Godziek for sure the battle this year. It depends on judging and bangers over spin combos debate.
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: great point! I haven’t been to a Backwoods Jam since the first one. They look like they’re getting better and better. Will have to be sure to go watch this year’s one.
  • 3 0
 @north-shore-bike-shop: I went the last two years, and they are getting better! Plus there is no security/ bag check like at Crankworx these days.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: true...but what if they were offering 50,000 or more for 1st place? Maybe it would be a harder decision for the top guys who gave up competing? I guess we will never know because I doubt payouts will ever be that big for riding a bike....but they should be!
  • 23 2
 I like Andreu s reply : " I dont really know ..." Smile )) he s proved it so many times he doesnt give a f*ck loooking into that ha ha he s focused on his own stuff ha ha

Love Andreu
  • 4 0
 It's so sick
  • 14 0
 Off topic sorry.. Those shots of Paul and Andreu on their Konas made me feel all warm inside, took me back to being a kid. Memories of hanging out with my buddies watching NWD videos on repeat.
  • 9 0
 I think it comes down to the technical style of Emil vs the heavy hitters from Rogatkin with Godziek falling in between the two.
  • 8 1
 Has Nicholi ever got below 2nd place without crashing? I love his all or nothing style
  • 4 0
 When your favorite freerider is stoked on your favorite slope athlete. Can't wait to see Genon come back after that dislocation last year. Also, really surprised Lemoine's name didnt come up
  • 1 0
 This year is gonna be crazy!!! It could be a Rogatkin Triple Crown Repeat or maybe in madness Emil might fully come out swingin and take the Triple Crown that would be crazy cool! Fedko is good but I think Dawid Godziek is gonna be one to watch doing a 1080 no hander and tricks close to what Rogatkin brings! This year is gonna be great!
  • 1 0
 Emil, Emil and err EMIL!!
but, I hope Godziek bring back some old school style. I miss Lacondeguys supeman extension since he left Slope an David is the only rider with that BMX/MX superman style.
With Semenuk an Rheeder gone there's alot of huck an hope flippy spinny riders lacking in finesse, so Emil will DOMINATE this year. Genon could challenge though...
  • 4 0
 David Lieb will win. Watch it. #TeamLieb
  • 2 0
 Would be cool see another baller run by Lucas Huppert. Boy is holding down a full time job and still keeps chasing his dream! Gotta love that!
  • 1 0
 Yeah he is also one to watch ,extremly talented.
  • 3 0
 Surprisingly little love for Dawid Godziek considering how good he was last season
  • 1 0
 We need a big prize money event where all the big names will get involved
  • 2 2
 I think Emil will probably take the win!
  • 2 2
  • 7 9
 Just what Emil needs. Lot's of extra pressure from everyone's high expectations.
  • 10 2
 Is he a pro athlete or not? He's a big boy. He can handle it.
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