Garden State Skate:
2010 World Championships, Freestyle Skateboarding

By AJ Kohn, Professional Freestyle Skateboarder / Event Organizer / Activist for the skateboard community, Philadelphia, PA

On September 18-19th, over 90 skaters from 10 different countries converged in South Philadelphia for the 2010 World Championships of Freestyle Skateboarding presented by Powell Peralta. This annual event marks the 10 year anniversary of the re-birth of competitive Freestyle and the Who’s Who of the modern freestyle world were in attendance including some of the pioneers and legends of the form. With the bar raised from last year’s championship in Tokyo Japan, expectations ran high for this epic meeting of styles to finally clash in the United States. The stage was set with a $5,000 Pro purse on the line and it was literally anyone’s to take as this event saw the highest overall level of talent in over 30 yrs.

The two-day competition felt more like a family reunion than the highest level competition of the best riders in the world. The competitors got to meet and skate with their favorite skaters throughout the weekend––up until now, most of them have only talked to or seen them online. Everyone was excited and it fed into the energy and positive vibe that prevailed throughout the days and into the wee hours of the night! I can’t tell you how many places we visited, how many restaurants / pubs / hotels we chilled out throughout the weekend when the Freestyle skaters were in town but looking back, it was a blur, like a wonderful vacation somewhere overseas but all in our own backyard!

During the days of the competition, although friendly, it was intense as skater after skater threw down their own unique stamp on the surface pushing the technical and creative aspects of skateboarding to new levels. Think of it as a great hardcore session with your friends, where everyone is pushing each other, not only by their actions but by their support of what you are doing. What really stood out is that every skater brought something new or different to the table as no two skated alike and from that fact there was never a dull moment in the action. Everyone was on the edge of their seats looking for what was next and the guys and gals of the Freestyle Skateboarding family delivered big time!

In the end it was German pro Gunter Mokylus who had a flawless run to attain the title. Greyson Ashton flowed into his second world amateur world title. Japan’s Mic Murayama wowed the crowd with her colorful flowing style in the Women’s division and Freestyle legend Yo Yo Shulz won the Masters division with two inspired improvisational runs. The event also gave exposure to local talent, including performers as well as worthy causes such as the Mike Rogers Grind for Life Organization with proceeds benefiting the Franklins Paine organization, a nonprofit that advocates/builds/maintains skate areas and provides free educational after school programming such as the popular Gear for Groms after school skateboard program. Overall, it was a great weekend of skating, outreaching to the community and camaraderie all for a good cause. I was especially psyched to see some of the local legends and the Who’s Who of the Philadelphia skate scene comin down to check out the action and show their support! Special thanks to Powell Peralta, Eastern Skateboard Supply, Red I Nation, all the skaters who traveled on their own dime, all the sponsors, media and volunteers that made it happen, as well as the new fans of this pure artistic form of expression on a skateboard we call Freestyle!