Ten years may have passed since the last BCSD but the excitement raged on as an international field of bladers took to the course at Modern Skatepark for a chance to earn the title of BCSD Champ. After a long day of impressive blading and exciting tricks, Luke Naylor took the title with an incredible Finals-round showing where he leveled up in real time, linking highly technical tricks back-to-back to come out on top. Congrats to everyone that came out to Detroit for the event and each and every competitor, with special thanks to Daniel Kinney for making it happen “one more time.” Now read on for our thoughts on this historic anniversary, with dramatic black and white photos by Mike Lufholm.
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In February 2013, skaters from all over the world came together for BCSD XIII — then, when the weekend was over and everyone went their separate ways, the announcement was posted: “Nothing cold can stay.” It was an abrupt and unexpected end for a beloved trade show and contest. And that was it for the Bitter Cold Showdown… until February 24-25, 2023, when Daniel Kinney invited everyone to Modern Skatepark for “one more time.”
While talking with dynamic upcoming talent Lauric Picard on Friday night about his experience at Winterclash a few weeks ago, and whether or not he’d ever been to an event at Modern Skatepark, something he said hit the nail right on the head: “This crowd is older.”
His voice rising at the end made it sort of a question, but looking out at the surrounding crowd I suspect it was really a careful observation. Which was exactly right. A skater that was 17 years old at the last BCSD in 2013 is now 27 and almost 30. The 32-year-old blader in 2013 is now ensconced in middle age and “enjoying” life in their 40s. According to our calculations, George, the park’s owner, is approaching Gandalf levels of seniority. Time has kept slipping into the future and this event was a crowd of adults.
Like many others, at ONE we lamented the end of BCSD. From somewhat humble beginnings in 2001 at Blindside Sports in Indiana it grew to become the marquis North American event. I did a lot to personally promote it. From pushing Daily Bread to run a short one-page article on the second event in 2002, which preceded the whole DB contingency coming out in 2003 and dedicating more page space to the story. A few years later ONE debuted issue #2 at the 2007 BCSD at Vertigo skatepark and Wes Driver started the “photo booth” precedent that same year for our first BCSD appearance. By now I have lost count of how many articles or words I’ve committed to page for Daniel Kinney’s rollerblading contest.
And when he called it quits in 2013, BCSD took a good part of the continent’s momentum with it.
(Blade) Life found a way, of course, as the forced evolution of the American contest scene created space for today’s critical events like Blading Cup, numerous NYC comps, the new Franky Morales Invitational in Miami, and the long-running regional street comps that serve as the backbone for so many scenes. But there still wasn’t a big, indoor contest to bring everyone to one space, with a convenient trade show setup, and then let loose the best skaters to battle for honor and cash.
So the announcement of a ten year BCSD reunion landed to a mountain of enthusiasm and high expectations. And having just lived through it all we can say that it pretty much delivered.
Framed as an advanced level event that decided to eliminate many regular categories like Amateur and Women, BCSD tossed qualified expert-level skaters into heats to let them scramble for a place in the semi-finals. That saw bladers like Becci Sotello and Chynna Weierstall skating against CJ Wellsmore and Antony Pottier, and veteran skaters like Chris Couture rise to the semi-finals while perpetually “upcoming” shredder Adam Bazydlo took himself all the way to the finals with his unconventional use of the rail and ledge setups. Frankly there is no need to run down everything that took place because the multitude of edits can show you all the action. And there was a lot of it.
Ultimately the day came down to the ever present tension between park dominance and street skating technicality, with the judging lineup—Adam Johnson, Brian Weis, Grant Hazelton, Tory Treseder, John Adams, Kevin Chow—looking towards the streets and recognizing the nuances and tricks that most resonate with today’s dedicated bladers. Which is why Detroit’s own Luke Naylor emerged as the unanimous champion, after linking tricks all day, using the kink coping ledge, rainbow rail, up-and-over rail, and of course lacing the top acid to drop true acid 270 rewind cess slide to fakie on the big quarters that came right at the buzzer.
Out on the floor we overheard so many funny, insightful, and chaotic things that you can only really hear in a place like the crowd at a skate contest. Some of it had to do with the present and future of BCSD. Everyone had something to say on the subject. While old copies of DVDs were being thrown into the crowd, some bystanders theorized on a wife calling for closets and garages to be cleared out of DVDs and t-shirts. But mostly people wondered if there will be another event next year. Respectable heads of former blade companies mulled stepping into the vacuum to keep a similar event running in much the same way as BCSD. Skaters of all kinds expressed a desire to return to Modern in 2024 to do it all one more time, annually.
We’re ready for the announcement any day… — JE
Share your thoughts on BCSD 2023 in the comments.
Photos by Mike Lufholm