It’s over! Done. Finished. The 2017 UK independent Vert series was another mammoth run of 7 competitions over 7 months from April to October. The scores were taken from the best 5 rounds for each competitor to allow for 2 missed rounds, but you were daft to miss one!
The final round, as is customary, was held at Creation Skatepark in Moseley, Birmingham where Blockless Combat has been running for the last 14 years. The reason for this is partly because it’s location in Birmingham is central (and therefore easier to get to for more people), but also because it’s become a well-oiled machine having been run by Paul Atkins and Sean Goff for all these years.
There were 48 riders on the scoresheets, making it the most well attended not only this year, but since our online records began!
The level of skating was legendary in EVERY group. We had so much progression in B Group with all riders learning new tricks throughout the season. Keep an eye on next year’s A Group for the top riders moving up! Logan Dell managed to keep the Watertons at bay with his mad mix of increasingly technical lip tricks to take the overall series win, even though Kieran Waterton took the win on the day with ninja-like Matt Hooper sneaking in under the radar for a well-earned 3rd place.
We were treated to another ram-packed Masters comp again this year with 19 riders meaning we had the first ever masters qualifying heats! Chris Hudson had already won on points at the start of this contest but we all ignored that fact since this is Blockless Combat, and everyone wants to WIN! Jussi Korhonen took the contest win just ahead of Dave Allen with Chris scooping third place and the overall win. The same three lead the series in the opposite order with Dave and Jussi taking second and third after Chris’ first place.
The A Group was utterly, monumentally, barbaric. Sorry if that sounds like hyperbole but I’m struggling for reasonable adjectives to describe the mayhem. Those guys were killin’ it! The qualifiers were gnarly as hell ’cause everyone wants to get to the final and the final was mind blowing. The neighbours even complained to the skatepark about the noise and that was probably the crowd going mental. Oakley Liddell is back in town and it was amazing to see him really enjoying himself, especially landing his melon 5. Reiss Johnson nailed third place with invert fakies, and his usual hyper-speed gnarliness. Jake Anderson is back on top form and with a couple of new tricks to boot, they earned him 2nd place on the day. Jesse Thomas got his third win of the season proving that he’s come a long way since his 2013 B Group series win. Jesse also took his FIRST A Group series win ahead of Jim Langran taking a well-deserved second (one day it’ll be a 1st!) and Matthew Carlisle who couldn’t make it to Birmingham but totalled enough points to get onto the podium.
As you’ll see by all the banners and stickers in the pics and video flying around, Vans, ProTec and 187 Killer Pads supported us really well throughout the entire series. We had prizes for everyone which is so important, especially in the B Group. These guys really know what grassroots skateboarding means to the future of the sport and the industry as a whole. Thanks for everything folks!
So, what all this means (apart from the fact that I have to teach my spellchecker the words Gnarly, Fakie and Blockless) is that our winners are Jesse Thomas (A), Jussi Korhonen (Masters) and Logan Dell (B) – massive well done to all of you!
Photos and Video
Head over to Stu Bennet’s photo stream on Flickr and also to Richie Style’s facebook page for some amazing shots of the comp and podium. There will also be a video edit out before long on Elliot Mallinson’s YouTube channel so keep an eye out for that. Also James Kenning was on hand for live snippets on Pixels TV instagram, with more footage on the way throughout the week. Massive respect to all these guys who spend hours taking pics and editing afterwards, this is how we’ll remember it!
Results are all on the scoreboard as usual, so go check out the 2017 table.
Here’s a pretty graph. Blockless Combat took the top spot on attendance again with Wheels of Steel coming in second this time. Mount Hawke Vert Jam took a hit not being on the bank holiday this year but overall, attendance was up again this year!