Action sports reach further into the world of mainstream each year, earning legitimacy in the eyes of media and governing sports organizations. And every August, Red Bull Joyride, part of the Red Bull Signature Series of events, celebrates the pinnacle of slopestyle mountain biking competition as part of the Whistler Crankworx Festival. Few sports have come so far in such a short time, as the burgeoning world of slopestyle mountain biking continues on an explosive trajectory of popularity. With the sport receiving more support from new events such as the Crankworx Triple Crown of Slopestyle, you have to wonder what the future has in store.
How will the sport progress, and what will the new face of slopestyle competition look like?
Two leaders of the pack, Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder have a strong vision of how the sport will continue to evolve, and by no means does it show any signs of slowing down. Semenuk, a three time winner at Red Bull Joyride, and Rheeder shared their thoughts on just what will shape the future of the sport, from the stylish vs. technical progression of tricks, specialized skills vs. well-rounded riding to their very own rivalry... Style vs. Tricks
Progression in any sport is often driven by increasing technicality; more rotations, more flips or more trick combinations push the boundaries and up the ante for athletes. Making those tricks look effortless is just as important, with style displaying a level of confidence in the execution. But then sometimes… a stylish whip just feels “You need to be fluid and consistent with your tricks, but also give it that special touch that’s kind of got that ‘wow’ factor.
"You want to do that trick and it just looks that much better than the other guy’s trick
.” – Brandon Semenuk
“Sometimes it’s hard to ride the way that you want because it’s not always that you want to do flip double whips, and flip whips and front flips all the time
” – Brett RheederBrandon vs. Brett
Rivalry can only exist in a sport that has matured enough to develop a deep history and cast of characters who have challenged one another time and again. And such is the rivalry between Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder, two athletes at the top of their game. While the two friends and competitors may not enjoy the ‘Brandon and Brett Show’, they agree it is a necessary evil that propells the sport of slopestyle mountain biking, driving new and emerging athletes to continue pushing the sport.
“We’re just friends. It’s all cool, I don’t picture it as a rivalry but those are guys that are ontop of the sport and pushing it, and yeah I want to beat him
.” – Brandon Semenuk
“It keeps Brandon and I on our toes. We’re probably both trying to do the craziest tricks every… we’re both trying to one-up each other
.” – Brett Rheeder Specialized Skills vs. All-Around
Many young riders starting out on a mountain bike are moving directly into slopestyle given it’s rise in popularity. But for veteran athletes who began riding before it even really existed, they have pulled from a varied skill set influenced from different disciplines to bring slopestyle to where it is today. It seems that both Brett and Brandon agree that all-around experience is essential to bringing fresh approaches to slopestyle riding.
“If you’re bred into slopestyle, you’re probably going to follow the way slopestyle’s always been. But if you’re coming in with different backgrounds like enduro, crosscountry or downhill, I’m sure there’s going to be some sort of different spark.
” – Brett Rheeder
Watch Red Bull Slopestyle live on Pinkbike and also available on Red Bull TV
August 15th from 4:30pm – 7:30pm PST.