Blading Cup 2019 is done and in the books. It was a great event with some small tweaks to the layout and format that made a large difference to an already strong competition. Notable improvements such as a straight-line course layout and the new “family friendly” environment all lended themselves to making Blading Cup as inviting as can be to both competitors and spectators. Speaking of competitors, this year saw a big increase in international skaters, with a large contingency from Japan, Australia, South Korea, the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Latvia and more. It was awesome to see so many friends from far-off places make it to Santa Ana for a taste of the event that Jon Julio and his team have put so much work into creating. Now here’s 86 photos from Sean Macgowan and Steve Steinmetz to show you everything you may have missed. Enjoy!
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Nils was lacing all day long, and after the event plenty of people we spoke with had him in the Top 3. But comps are wild and you never know how things are going to end up. Either way, this trick produced a great clip and this very cool photo that Steve nabbed.
We think this was the moment right before Randy Spizer dropped from Topsoul to True Soul on the quarter, a move that became one of his signature tricks. If this isn’t that, which is possible, then it’s just a vanilla-ass Topsoul and the combo was later on. Either way, Randy was blading in a stacked OG comp.
Between running the comp and all that, Jon Julio laced up some fresh 909s and put a few tricks down for the OG comp. Here he is doing that Top Mistrial he does. And to be honest, Top Mistrial was one of the most popular tricks in the whole comp. Go figure?
As you may have noticed, these photos are not in chronological order, so here we have one of the night’s best tricks early in the rotation. Speaking of rotation, that’s what Montre was doing well all day, as he laced flips and big spins, including this smooth 540 Disaster Soyale. He was on fire like we haven’t seen him in awhile. So cool!
Not sure Derek Henderson has a solid nickname, so we just christened him War Child here because, let’s face it, Derek is a beast. Incredible family man, hard worker, great dude — but a friggin’ beast that could jump up on the high flat rails from the ground and then 540 out. This picture captures one of the many technical switches he laced on this spot, but we have no idea which one it really was. Oh well. War Child rules.
More Nils making it look easy on the long transfer rails. People have some pretty polarized thoughts about the Blading Cup course and its many iterations over the years, but this year had a couple awesome elements, like these rails, and I think for the first time had all the ramps in a straight line! No swerving or carving to having to go only one way into a quarter, etc. Well done, everyone.
For us, this was one of the winning tricks. Throughout the event a couple people cleared this thing bank to bank, and Miguel Ramos 360’d the thing, but as his last trick in the finals Montre threw a huge 540 to flat — easily clearing what many had struggled to make — and rolled away with a huge smile on his face and hands in the air. Really cool that Sean was ready on the shutter to make sure we had it.
Everyone loves to watch Alex skate, and his runs at Blading Cup are no exception. While putting together lines he was hitting the flat transfer rails, making each pass look way too easy. After locking and lacing with the usual precision, he’d ride away with tons of speed to hit the bank to down box… and we all know that’s where he got himself the Best Trick award.
The Japanese contingency was out in force at Blading Cup, and it’s clear that vets like Yuto here are laying the groundwork for incredible new bladers to come up and learn the ropes. With a new Fifth Element skate out and high profile contest wins under his belt, Yuto was one to watch all day as he locked technical tricks on obstacles all around the course.
Soichiro is one of the coolest bladers on the planet, so of course he found unique ways to make the Blading Cup course his own. For this trick the caption just can’t explain concisely so here goes: Right rail Makio hop to Left PVC Transfer Fishbrain. A couple people hit the rail to drop. We remember seeing Alex, Fritz Peltner, Chihiro and Ichy here. This was one of the most technical for sure.
Double shot of Soichiro here where Sean catches a super sick Outspin Darkside Fish Revert on the bank to down box. Other notable moves the man laid down here were 360 Darkside Soul, Aley-oop Soul to AO Fish, and a real sick Fakie Truespin Makio. Real good day for Soichiro at Blading Cup 2019.
A highlight for many Blading Cup attendees and those watching at home was the appearance of legend Aaron Feinberg. Not only did Aaron show up, but he skated and he friggin’ ripped! This Backside Fastslide was just one maneuver he laced that got the crowd super fired up, and contributed to his victory in the OG division.
More Montre burning down the course with this 540 AO Soul Revert landed with authority. By this point in the contest there was little doubt that Montre would be in one of the top spots. He spent the day lacing tricks and vibing off the crowd. We’ve seen Montre get the crowd hyped up, but this time the crowd got him going early and it never let up.
If we have a rollerblading hero, it very well may be Mike Scott. This onetime Senate pro rider with the epic “Day of the Rope” section (go watch it HERE) has come back from a major injury and subsequent rehabilitation to become a force at his local parks in Utah, and the kinda OG that throws down an AO Top soul on the gnarly bank to rail set up. This guys skating from the Senate video looks the same as it does today. LEGEND.
Our new friend Chie Inoue was introduced to us by Soichiro as “Ichi,” which was confusing because most of us think of Soichiro as “Ichy” — so anyway, my initial post-event confusion aside, skating with Ichi has been awesome! She’s staying in San Diego for a few weeks and has managed to get in some sessions with the local blade crew. At Blading Cup she was flowing around the course with smooth confidence, and even jumped up on the high bench to back farv!
A classic poise on this True Fish is a fine example of why Yuto is so much fun to watch skate, and why he keeps earning high rankings in the events he enters. One trick that went by quick was 270 BS Backslide 270 out on the same rail — we caught it in our Raw Clips Highlights edit at the top of this page.
Not sure who was first to hit this — strike that, I think it was one of the Under 18 shredders — but Dan Collins here laced it in front of Steve’s camera. Boosting from the quarter up onto the metal edge of the truck’s bed proved challenging for most, though before the day was over a couple bladers managed to get a piece of it.
This year’s Blading Cup had more international attendees then ever (by our unofficial count), and one of the faces we were most pleasantly surprised to catch was Joey Egan. What a shock! Out for a few days of break from his recurring performance of Starlight Express in Germany, Joey made himself at home in the California sun and managed to lace a few for the cameras. This boosty Zero Spin was clean.
The craziest trick Michael Braud did was launch over the high tombstone extension and Soul Grind down the backside supports. This on the other hand is pretty standard Gumby contest fare, because he’s been lacing it and people have been loving it for years. Here Steve captured him just before the grab.
Two legends in one photo. When Aaron Feinberg showed up to skate, people were sort of in disbelief. It was like a mastodon wandered out of the tar pits and roared. He was wearing his last pro Throne! Anyway, he shredded hard and I heard someone ask “When do you think the last time he skated was?” But goddamn Aaron was there and everyone knew it.
Anyone paying attention has seen Ren Fujiwara quietly become one of the most consistent tech skaters in every contest he enters. This year’s Cup was no exception, with this particular combo being a stand out moment of the whole event. So smooth and solid.
This solid AO Makio is brought to you by Salomon Skates, USD, FP, Super Computer Robot, Senate, and more former sponsors than we can remember. This year’s OG class was well represented by dudes like Aaron that showed up to represent for blading.
One of today’s most dynamic bladers is Chad Hornish. Bopping back and forth between his home in Phoenix and Los Angeles, we run into this guy from time to time, and even got a chance to shred at WYII. That was fun. With a trick bag full of flexy negatives and some of the lowest landings we’ve ever seen, Chad is always a blader to watch when he’s on the course.
The best trick we saw landed off the truck ledge, Damon Franklin used his dynamic strength to tweak this Topsoul and Sean got the shot. Anytime ramps enter the mix all that time at Woodward West shows off when Damon gets to pumping the transitions and getting that extra mix of speed and power.
Under 18 bladers are the future of our community and this Blading Cup was a great sign that a new cast of characters are on their way up. Take Miki Mizutani, the young Japanese shredder that landed some super clean grinders like an ill backslide on the bank to down box before making his presence known with the many attempts it took for him to lace this Gap to Disaster Soul from the bank to the box. It was sick.
Another surprise face was Vinny Minton, who put the bank to down box through the paces with some epic tricks including this smooth Truespin Topside Soyale. We saw on IG where Vinny said he needed to do more squats to get ready for next year’s comp — so we can’t wait to see what he delivers this because this year was already pretty ridiculous!
More TTS for ya! This time it’s Montre, possibly warming up for something hotter to come, but nonetheless making a difficult trick look way too effortless on his way to winning the whole damn thing. We said it above and we’ll say it away — Montre was in rare form. It was fun to watch.
Here’s another angle on that Feinberg Backside Fastslide to Fakie. Earlier we showed the fisheye from Steinmetz, and this time it’s the long lens from Macgowan to show the full context and just how upright Aaron was flexing and his laced the whole thing.
Detroit’s latest export is the Issue #24 Am Hour feature himself, Luke Naylor. Earning himself the Overall Points title for Blading Cup 2019, Luke is a humble talent that is quick with an unusual line and solid execution. This AO Unity followed that trend.
Not too many people got down with the extension, but Joey Egan made sure to boost this Mute Air right off the top. Can’t stress enough how cool it was to see him skate the Blading Cup course.
Did someone say “Oso Skatepark?” Well they should have, because owner and operator Phil Gripper was straight out of Charlotte and ripping the streets of Santa Ana, as seen here in this final example of folks getting wild on the truck ledge. Props to everyone that gave it a shot or laid one down.
Angle two on the Mike Scott AO Topsoul, which was an epic trick by a dude that inspires us everyday on social media. Keep it up, Mike!
The PZA brings that old school flavor with this Topside Torque Soul on the shotgun rail. Little story about the rail: at the start of the event, that thing was rock solid and super stable. By day two it was loosening up, and when finals rolled around the bolts had a ton of slack and the whole thing was pretty wobbly. Definitely added another variable for anyone looking to switch up.
Remember how we said Topside Mistrials were really popular at Blading Cup? Case in point. Roces team rider and purveyor of unique blade stylings Grant Hazelton is always making skating look precise, so even though this trick was popular, this was one of the cleanest done all day.
This photo is epic because somehow Sean managed to frame Chad perfectly between the stoplights, and then if you look closely you’ll see that Chad’s fingers are just hanging on as that grab tweaks itself to perfection. So sick from both sides of the camera.
Full disclosure, we’re calling this a 540 but we really don’t know! Kalléo is one of our favorite fresh faces from the international scene, and if you’re not following him on IG then you’re missing out. We have some more photos of him you’ll see below.
We met Tomek after Blading Cup last year, saw him rip at Winterclash in February, and now here he is again skating like a badass in Santa Ana. Here he cruises in for Fakie 450 Fishbrain on his way to progressing through the comp.
More from the boss. He really got a lot done during the hour or two that he skated. Nice work, Aaron. It was cool of you to come out.
Skating with confidence and power that usually comes later on, D.J. Kang was flying around the course every time he laced up. He was also one of the first to get wild on the box to launch, so this 900 he laced kinda got the party started.
There’s so much to look at in this picture! Montre giving some advice. Little Miki watching the event. Godfather Frank over in the left corner at like 76-years-old! Not to mention Hayden Ball messing with Marco’s helmet spikes, Julian Bah with the eye of the tiger, and more.
This was during warmups or something, since Nils doesn’t have his helmet on. Anytime he gets serious that thing goes right on — POP! Good habit to have, too.
Textbook Fishbrain from Aaron Feinberg, another instance where we captured it from two angles at the same time, so be on the lookout for the other shot from Steinmetz.
At one point we had this labeled as True Fish but looking at it more and watching the clips on Ren’s IG, we think it’s alley-oop. Ren, tell us if we’re wrong! Poise and grab are perfect, which are hallmarks of this young skaters talents.
Fastest guy on the course Antony Pottier came all the way from Belgium with his Nomade Shop teammates to visit his second Blading Cup. This Fishbrain Stall was done with a little 270 cess slide back in, the way Antony does.
Another look at that awesome combo that Ren Fujiwara landed during qualifiers. This 270 Backside Torque pivot into Top Porn took a few tries, which sometimes is perfect because it lets the crowd in on the anticipation as they wait for the trick to get landed properly. Everyone went nuts when Res laced this one.
One of the most stand-out skaters all day was Mina Lee, a Bladie from Japan that had a nice bag of tricks and a whole heap of determination and perseverance. Taking some of the harder slams we saw during the event, Mina would pop up and take another shot at the trick. This bank to AO Pornstar was super sick and got massive cheers from the crowd.
More warmup action from Nils, this time with a perfect Fishbrain.
Anyone that may think these young shredders are lacking finesse need look no further than D.J. This combo of 450 Backside Royale to Cessslide through the transition took a times for him to work out, but he got it clean.
UK’s Dan Collins pushes up onto the drop-in ramp for this picturesque Fishbrain Stall. We had no idea who Dan was during the event, but we caught many moments of this shirtless blader making good use of the course. Wish we’d have had the chance to say “Hi!”
Here’s one of the best keepers of the day, a perfectly-timed snap of Vinny Minton about to lock Truespin Fishbrain on the down box. The Vinny appearance was up there with the Feinberg pop-in, so we know that we were thrilled to see this style icon on the course and that he still had moves like this.
The King of Cruising is almost all healed up from a bad knee and ankle injury, and at this moment he’s pumping a concrete bowl somewhere here in Southern California on that rehab tour tip. He Pottier floats across the flat rail with a high-speed Backslide to Fakie.
Bladies blading is on the move thanks to the incredible talents of skaters like Chihiro Azuma, who has a list of technical tricks she’s ready to pull out on the world’s largest competition stages. This Misfit to get her run started during Qualifiers was badass. So is she.
Fritz here runs Carriers Skateshop down in Texas, and also happens to have been a serious street skater for about as long as he’s been around. When not lacing these picture perfect Top Mistrials, Fritz is motivating the skaters in Plano and getting more people on blades. Keep it up!
Jo Zenk was another face we did not expect to see in Santa Ana, so we almost didn’t recognize him that first day when we crossed paths. Ha! We’d have figured it out eventually, because Jo was the only guy at the event putting down finesse moves like this Backside Channel 1 Fastslide or Fastslide cess slides in the quarters.
Despite the photo we ran above of Austin doing something similar, it seems like there’s not enough Torque Souls being done in the world. Thankfully Chihiro is doing her part to see the problem is resolved.
Another shot of Chihiro as she boosts up on that rail with a Misfit.
Dom Bruce hit the course like a hurricane, or a force of nature, pushing himself around the ramps at very high speeds with a lot of energy. Here he make short work of the Backside Fastslide across the transfer rails, which was the rail to fastslide at Blading Cup.
Showing she can do it alley-oop or just regular straight-on, Chihiro has no trouble with Mistrials of any flavor, as she shows here in a shot by Sean.
Another look at Chad’s Negative Makio, this one from a bit further back to give more context. Lots of heads turned to watch what Chad was gonna do.
Back from a few years of missionary work, Wake Schepman showed up at Blading Cup like he never missed a beat. This trick stood out because only one other person — Cameron Talbott — aired the transfer (though he went the other direction). For this shot, Wake aired from the left truck ramps over the crowd and landed fake in the ramp on the right. People were pretty stoked when he landed it!
San Diego’s Hayden Ball has made good appearances at a few Blading Cup events, and this year was no exception. Big Puller slid this Fishbrain on the whole pole to fakie, while he dog Dusty was growling at people in our booth.
Alex Burston popped up with the whole Ground Control team to work on a deal, and while here he managed to pop up on this high bench obstacle with a Rocket Backside Backslide that we’re guessing was to Fakie based on his shoulders. Anyone know for sure?
We mentioned earlier that this year’s Blading Cup course was in a straight line for the first time maybe ever, but we should also point out that being on the wider street allowed more room for booths and spectators, meaning this was probably the most easily viewed event that Jon & Co. have put on yet. Thanks to everyone who played by the rules and made for a great weekend.
This long shot of Mike’s transfer really shows how far the gap was. He didn’t land the trick until after his heat, but everyone got to see his determination in real time, and it paid off. Awesome!
Did he 360 out? Maybe. But otherwise this is a classic Feinberg sweaty, all stretched out and flexed, leaving everyone on the line. Learn from this.
The incredibly determined Mina Lee did Truespin Topside Pornstar up the box, even though it took a handful of pretty hard slams to make it work. This was so dramatic that the cameraman ran onto the course with his vintage tape recorder to stand in the way of JE as he’d been patiently waiting from a respectable distance for Mina to figure it out.
Look at the crowd watching Yuto and ask yourself “Do I think they liked it?” The answer should be obvious just like the control on display on this Backside AO Unity.
We can only imagine that as Miguel stands proudly above a course he’s helped pull together for years, that maybe he’s thinking to himself “Damn right, beeeeches, I built this shit.” But we know he’s much too polite for all that. 😉
Alex’s skating is always on point and his laps at Blading Cup this year were no different. He he showed the crowd the best way to do a flawless Backside AO Unity on the down box.
The tall man with style from Brazil did his thing on this Backslide to Fakie. Photos of Kalléo are so awesome with this tall steez, long hair and unique execution all coming together to make something that’s unforgettable. Always fun to watch him skate and figure out lines on a course.
East Coast meets Far East in this shot where Miki talks strategy with his crew and Jordan Baez the mastermind behind Ghetto Community. So much rad in this photo. Nice eye, Sean.
One of the more dynamic and unpredictable skaters at Blading Cup 2019, Danny Beer made some solid moves including this AO Unity. We think it was frontside but apologies if we’re wrong!
However we sorted these photos, our computer decided all these Unity tricks should be grouped together. Ha! Here’s Kalléo getting in on the action with a fully-committed Backside AO Unity.
Adrian has been in San Diego all week skating with the homies, and we got to see him lace some fire on the streets yesterday, but for all the rest of you this X-Grind is a little taste of the strength this Swiss blader brings to his tricks.
Smooth and solid AO Top Acid from the Open Division Champ himself. Ren’s skating has really come into its own and we look forward to watching it develop even more for years to come.
We had to go to IG for help finding out the identity of this skater that turned out to be Carla Pasquinelli from France, but her skating sure stood out at Blading Cup. Here she puts a Fishbrain Stall on the highest part of the course, where only a few other feet dared to go. Nice work!
Misaki is another of the totally incredible young Japanese female skaters, and after seeing her shred last year at Winterclash we know to always watch he runs carefully. Style and grace and good tricks come together for precision that must make all her elder “coaches” proud.
Another look at one of Jon’s tricks from the OG comp. This is the Top Mistrial that everyone is trying to recreate. So take notes.
Making it look so easy, Chihiro rides this Sweatstance across the transfer rails and into victory for the Bladies Division. She’s leading a new generation of Japanese female skaters to incredible heights.
We saw him chilling earlier, but here’s Miguel doing one of the things he does best — get upside down! Classic poise on this Invert from one of the event’s main organizers. He says “To da top” and then did it.
After she impressed the entire crowd with the TTP up the box, Mina Lee came back and blew everyone away with this Truespin Fishbrain. Look to the right corner and see how many cameras are pointed at her. Everyone was watching because they’d already learned: When Mina skates you better pay attention.
It not have been this pass, but before the day was over Carla had landed Fishbrain Stall on the rail to Drop Soul Stall on the coping for a line that we think only Randy Spizer messed with otherwise.
Robert Guerrero was at Blading Cup and skated in the OG group. It was great to see this guy on blades.
Jo Zenk was a surprise face at the event the we were happy to see. Hope the California trip was fun, Jo, even though we read that you got hurt. See you in February!
None of Blading Cup would have happened without this guy. Thanks, Jon.
All photos by Sean Macgowan and Steve Steinmetz