Not even the rain could stop the Whistler Skateboard Club’s Mayhem in the Mountains competition on Saturday—despite trying its best to do so.
After four rain delays and more than 10 hours outside in the chilly September air, the competition was finally able to wrap up just after 8 p.m. with just a few curveballs and minor adjustments to the original plan.
“I should have expected this as it is with planning an event, very rarely does it all go to plan. In an ideal situation, we would have had everything wrapped up and over by [5:30 p.m.] and there would have been finals for both men’s and women’s,” said Harry Gray, owner of the Whistler Skateboard Club and organizer of the event.
“But obviously with the rain coming in, the main thing that was modified was the schedule and then from there it was modifying the event format. So we ended up foregoing finals for basically every category and we ended up having a two-run skate contest, which was not the most ideal but at least everyone got to show us something.”
While the highlight of the night may have been seeing Team Canada skateboarder Adam Hopkins pull off an insane run in the first heat of the Men’s Pro category, capped off with a handplant on the skate park’s infamous Jaws wall, one of the best moments of the day was 17-year-old local skater Truth Smith leading off the same category to a huge ovation from the mostly local crowd.
“It was definitely crazy. Harry asked me at the start if I want to go first and I was like, ‘Sure, why not? Let’s get the nerves out of the way,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going first in front of my hometown. All right, let’s do it.’ So pretty much the whole run, dude, I was, like, blind. My eyes were blurry, there was so much nerves, it was crazy,” said Smith.
“I came to that first rail, and I was starting to really shake, I can feel it now and I kind of did it and was like, ‘OK, just keep going.’ And then I heard some people cheer and the whole time it was just ‘All right, keep going.’ All just adrenaline and momentum.”
Smith, who was competing in his first competition since the age of 12, went into it with the mindset of “let’s just see what happens,” while just hoping for a top-eight finish against some of the skaters he’s looked up to for a long time.
After his stellar run, Smith took home second place—and $750—only losing to Hopkins, one of his mentors in the sport. Jayden Murphy took home third place and a check for $375.
On the women’s side, another team Canada skateboarder, Maddy Balt, took home the big cheque of $1,500 for first place.
“I am so stoked. I mean, this has been my local for a little while, so I was definitely excited to come and skate in front of all the homies and have a good time. I think that Harry and the Whistler Skateboard Club did a really good job dealing with the weather and it’s been a really good day so far,” said Balt about coming in first against the depleted field on the women’s side.
“I think there was supposed to be eight of us, but with the rain, I think a lot of people thought it got cancelled. But yeah, (second-place finisher) Alexis [MacRae] is dope, I skated a bunch with her in the city, she pulled out some cool stuff. (Third-place finisher) Emily [Miller] is super dope, too; I know her from back home in the Toronto area, so it was great to see them and have a good time.”
For Hopkins and Balt, who are often competing in higher-calibre, sanctioned and international contests, Mayhem in the Mountains may not have been a huge event, but it represented what skateboarding is all about: bringing people of all ages and skill levels together to celebrate the sport.
“It feels like skateboarding, I think that's important. I think when you go to some of the more high-stress events, sometimes it seems like a sanitized version of skateboarding and its very top-level pro athlete, that's who it's for, nobody else,” said Hopkins.
“When you are at a contest like this, it's not just about the contest, it's also about the crowd, what's going on around the event, you notice everybody's having a good time, everyone's laughing. They're doing a good job of kind of incorporating everybody and that's what's important about skateboarding it's not just about the best, it's about community. And I think it’s also worth mentioning having a matching prize purse for both men's and women's is a great start to bringing more people to these events as well.”
Other winners of the day included Presley Husky, Floyd Guy and Calian Cairns finished top three in Men’s Amateur, and Molly Goodwin, Luella Jones and Ally Hickman rounded out the day’s winners in the Women’s Amateur category.
Despite the rain delays and all the extra work put in squeegeeing the park multiple times, Gray sees the event as a success and is already looking ahead to running it again next year, but this time going even bigger than the approximately 50 people who signed up for this one.
“The goal now that the proven concept is here is [to] actually spend the winter and plan it properly and blow it out and maybe elevate it and make it a lot bigger for next year,” he said. “But the goal is definitely to make it a yearly, end-of-season bash, and bring everyone together and have a good time.”