Throwback Thursday: The Evolution of Slopestyle at Joyride - 2004 to 2020

Aug 13, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Brandon Semenuk progressing it as always with a rad half cab of the top drop

From Paul Bas' backflip-on-tailwhip-off the final feature to Brandon Semenuk's half cab drop to Emil Johansson's show of perfection last year, Crankworx has delivered 16 stunning slopestyle competitions in the Whistler Booneyard. Unfortunately, we won't be getting a 17th this weekend but thankfully we have lots of memories to look back on. here are the highlights from nearly 2 decades of slopestyle's biggest prize.

2004


The event that started it all. Paul Basagoitia took top honours in 2004 on a bike borrowed from Cam Zink although the event is probably best remembered for Timo Pritzel's insane overshoot. Keep an eye out for Kirt Vories clinging on to the teeter totter (or Tower of Power as it was known) after getting off line with a bar spin.

Results

1. Paul Basagoitia
2. Timo Pritzel
3. Kyle Strait



2005


18-year-old Paul Bas defended his crown with a run that included a 360 off the quarter-pipe, two big backflips and a tail whip off the Giro trailer. Berrecloth came second with a 360 over the road gap that was described later as the trick of the night.

Results

1. Paul Basagoitia
2. Darren Berrecloth
3. Cam Zink



2006


Cam Zink was the first man to wrestle the title off Bas in 2006 with a run that included a one footed x-up back flip on the step up and a 360 on the Gap O Tron.

Results

1. Cam Zink
2. Cam McCaul
3. Kyle Strait



2007


2007 represents a changing of the guard where the freeride legends such as Strait, Zink and Berrecloth start to get pushed aside by a new generation of slopestyle riders that have no fear going as big as the Crankworx course demands. Ben Boyko takes top honours and a Whistler local by the name of Brandon Semenuk takes to the Crankworx podium for the first time.

Results

1. Ben Boyko
2. Andreu Lacondeguy
3. Brandon Semenuk



2008


As captured by the New World Disorder filmers, 2008's edition saw the double backflip pulled in competition for the first time by Andreu Lacondeguy on the first jump of his second finals run. It was enough for him to take the win ahead of Lance McDermit and Semenuk.

Results

1. Andreu Lacondeguy
2. Lance McDermit
3. Brandon Semenuk



2009


Greg Watts takes the win with a combo packed run finishing off with a backflip off the final feature. Semenuk flip whips his way to second and Soderstrom gets third. The event also gets its first-ever streaker.

Results

1. Greg Watts
2. Brandon Semenuk
3. Martin Soderstrom



2010


Cam Zink's first run score of 95.0 was untouchable in 2010. Mike Montgomery came second and local 18-year-old Casey Groves was third despite dropping a chain just before the final drop on his run. Safety was a big talking point in 2010 with Semenuk, Berrecloth and Granieri all getting injured. Groves said afterwards, "I never want to trick a drop that big and gnarly again because of how many of my friends got hurt!"

Results

1. Cam Zink
2. Mike Montgomery
3. Casey Groves



2011


Brandon Semenuk finally wins Joyride after nearly 5 years of podiums. It was a hugely popular win and he was able to celebrate with a massive fist pump off the final drop as 20,000 fans cheered him home on his victory lap. The big breakthrough performance came from 15-year-old Anthony Messere who went stratospheric off the hip to pick up 3rd.

Results

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Cam Zink
3. Anthony Messere



2012


Mechanicals and spills plagued the competition in 2012 but Tomas Genon was able to keep it rubber side down and take the win. He did get a cracked tooth courtesy of a champagne bottle on the podium though! Martin Soderstrom picked up second and Cam McCaul came back from injury for third.

Results

1. Thomas Genon
2. Martin Soderstrom
3. Cam McCaul



2013


Brandon Semenuk is back on top with a score of 96.4 in his second run. He's hotly pursued by two Euros in Martin Soderstrom and Sam Pilgrim.

Results

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Martin Soderstrom
3. Sam Pilgrim



2014


Semenuk becomes the first rider to win back-to-back Joyrides since Paul Bas and makes himself the most successful Joyride athlete in the process as he picks up his third win. Brett Rheeder announces himself with a second place finish while Anthony Messere picks up another third.

Results

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Brett Rheeder
3. Anothony Messere



2015


Double? Make it a three peat. Semenuk was becoming untouchable at Joyride events now throwing down runs that came close to perfection. Only the deep trick bag of BMX convert Nicholi Rogatkin could come close.

Results

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Nicholi Rogatkin
3. Thomas Genon



2016


Two time winner Zink started the show with a cruisy run and a heartfelt goodbye but it was Brett Rheeder who grabbed all the headlines as he picked up his first win. We didn't get to see Semenuk's fully planned run due to mistakes but continued to progress the sport by half cabbing one of the drops.


Results

1. Brett Rheeder
2. Thomas Genon
3. Max Fredriksson



2017


The world stands still for two minutes as Semenuk takes win number 5 and managed to stamp the half cab as part of a full run. Semenuk hasn't been back to Joyride since. 18-year-old Emil Johansson continued his meteoric rise to the top of the sport while at the other end of the age spectrum, Ryan Nyquist reminded us what made him a BMX legend.

Results

1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Emil Johansson
3. Ryan Nyquist



2018


A smoke-filled boneyard saw Nicholi Rogatkin take his first Joyride crown in 2018 and the Triple Crown in the process. It was a clash of styles as the frantic spins and flips of the American beat out the languid style of Canada's Rheeder in the judges' eyes.

Results

1. Nicholi Rogatkin
2. Brett Rheeder
3. Erik Fedko



2019


Emil Johansson completed an emotional victory following a ten month break from the sport with an autoimmune disease. Rheeder was second place again while Dawid Godziek layed down some huge tricks for third.

Results

1. Emil Johansson
2. Brett Rheeder
3. Dawid Godziek

Regions in Article
Whistler Mountain Bike Park


34 Comments

  • 34 0
 Mid 2000's were a hell of a time.
  • 3 0
 Every year it was exciting to see the build and what insane features they came up with. I could be wrong but wasn't the Tower of Power supposed to be 5-6 ft. taller and they cut it down for the event?
  • 7 0
 looking at the end of that 2013 video seeing brett and brandon hugging at 6:05 :c
  • 22 4
 In comparison the features are so boring now, a jump onto a seesaw drop in 2005 yet in 2020 the best we have is maybe a whale tail? It was so much more creative back then, they need to bring it back...
  • 10 1
 But the riding is so much better today... and to me more fun to watch. But you are right in that the courses look way better back then (though not as smooth)
  • 6 0
 The discipline has changed. You cannot have a world tour and solid point system on a judge-based event with different features at every stop. Unfortunately this is the natural progression of turning a one-time event into an actual sport. Same thing happened to Ski/snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle.
  • 12 0
 @scott-townes: a lot of folks also dont understand that the variance in courses severely injured lots of riders. The slopestyle athletes are the ones that push for what the courses are looking like, they practice their tricks and need somewhat controlled jump designs in order to showcase them, they require a certain amount of amplitude and landings that don't require massive exertions just to not wreck yourself. When you wreck in slopestyle there's such a high chance of injury that sets you back, and with the field being more and more competitive this can mean never having a shot at making it to the top. Which absolutely sucks because the current athleticism and dedication to get to the top these days means you're putting slopestyle riding first and trying to make a career out of it. If you make that kind of life decision, the last thing you want to do is get injured and destroy your prospects of making it on this path. With that, I'm totally at peace with not having things like seesaws and shit. I'd wager most people don't understand that riders can't just hit these courses the way snowboarders and skiiers can hit a bunch of different features in varied slopestyle courses. In this discipline, you're basically relegated to jumps/drops/whaletails/toilet bowls and the riders push the creativity within those elements.

Theres a matt macduff podcast with brett rheeder where he talks about how one of the courses (les 2 alps, maybe?) was SUPER shitty, and how the builders on that particular event in 2013 didn't know how to build what the riders were looking for. They basically turned a skills park into a slopestyle course. This is the event where Rheeder broke his back.

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/7-ego-is-the-enemy-with-brett-rheeder/id1503451187?i=1000477385596

Think he starts talking about it around the 47:10 mark
  • 4 1
 @anchoricex: "a lot of folks also dont understand that the variance in courses severely injured lots of riders. The slopestyle athletes "

I wouldn't say the variance is what hurt the athletes but rather the absurdity of said different features and as you pointed out, it was up to the different build crews to get it right. I remember this coming up a lot during the 2010 crankworx with the massive drop with a sort of hip landing that Zink 360ed and Montgomery tailwhipped. So many people got destroyed on that.

You're right though, having a consistent build leads to better features thus less injuries but to bring any event to the next level, in this case into the Olympics and as a world-wide certified series, the features need to be as consistent as possible for each level of competition.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: yeah ik, i'm sadly just dreaming here, would love to see a throw back event though, that would be sick, one comp on old style features instead of the new stuff
  • 1 0
 @Bikerdude137: the circus has what you're looking for. The days of rinky dink features are behind us and I think it's definitely better this way. That sky totter was kind of dumb. What kind of tricks do you expect to see off something like that?
  • 1 0
 @nickel: i just liked the creativity of it, although i will admit that this wouldn't work nowadays just because of the nature of slopestyle, the riders back then weren't pulling the kind of tricks they do nowadays, these features wouldn't work with the things those guys do now
  • 10 0
 So wild to look back on the early days. I was in college then and definitely had the thoughts "hey I've got spins and tailwhips and sometimes barspins" while seeing pro riding like it was something actually attainable.

Fast forward only a few years and slope guys are making this sport look more video games than Matt Hoffman's Pro BMX. The progression is unreal.
  • 5 0
 Timo overshooting the jump in 04 was a truly horrific crash. I also remember that Paul Bas was running v brakes that year and the pads got stuck in the wheel when he destroyed it on the last jump. The best thing we saw all weekend was Cedric Gracia sitting up and kissing both his biceps half way down the Garbonzo DH race, which he won by a large margin.
  • 6 0
 Whatever happened to Lance McDermott? a quick stalk suggests hes not ridden professionally for a while, but he was everywhere in the mid-late 00's
  • 2 0
 He had a bad injury and went back to BMX for a bit I think. Probably struggled to get up to speed as tricks really exploded? Good question!
  • 1 0
 I first met Lance McDermott when he rode Cowans Jam on a 24" (frowned upon at the time by the US riders) and killed it there, was popping flares at teh quarter at the end of the course. Then got sponsored by Saracen, big deal, salary, van etc.. them a month later broke his leg badly and was hardly seen again on the MTB circuit. Was a real nice kid, just had a spot of bad luck at the beginning of his career.
  • 6 0
 Lance McDermott frontie king. Also rip Kyle ebbett. Miss the old slope days
  • 4 0
 Paul Bas coming out of nowhere and Darren B's 3 drop are the iconic ones for me.
  • 4 0
 The riding has gotten progressively better and the partying has gotten progressively worse.
  • 2 1
 Can someone point out were Paul Bass did his big trick? I want to see it. My 2010 Kona Bass just died yesterday, and I am feeling morose (The "creak" was actually a crack across the bottom bracket) *sob* Thank you.
  • 4 0
 Whatever happened to Boyko? Did he ever compete after he left Norco?
  • 3 0
 so crazy to see Semenuk and Rheeder where such good friends and then had huge rivalry haha
  • 2 2
 I know Emil is crazy and his style is amazing (as is Brett's) but for me, Rogatkin's run in 2018 is the best yet. Just banger after banger—he threw an extra rotation or trick into absolutely everything and seemed like he was barely hanging on the whole time. Amazing stuff
  • 3 0
 They should have never stopped the pop-punk soundtracks for these lol
  • 2 0
 Didn't remember you could chose your line during early crankworx
  • 2 0
 Seeing that Marzocchi tent in the 2004 video. RIP.
  • 3 2
 Sam Pilgrim is such a good rider, shame he's been reduced to touring Europe with his teenage girl gang
  • 1 0
 I was there in 2010, and that course was ludicrous.
  • 1 0
 "Lance McDermit".... come on man
  • 1 0
 Whatever happened to Boyko?
  • 1 0
 This was great.....thanks for compiling PB
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