Earlier this month, Woodward West was once again the meeting place for scooter riders of all sorts, congregating to battle it out for a spot in the World Finals in Barcelona next month. However, a few riders had sparked a flame under each other to do something a little bit different the night before the big contest. The idea came from longtime ISA competitor Chris Farris and was agreed upon by a few other riders attending the contest. Scootering was missing something. Something that all other action sports have, but we don’t. A vert contest.
A few years back, there was a vert contest on the other side of the planet — I want to say Switzerland. However, we’ve never held one in the U.S., and definitely never on this size ramp. Woodward is known for their massive vert ramps. The Hanger is home to a 12-footer where professional athletes from all over the world train for events like X Games and Dew Tour. Even this weekend, X Games BMX athlete Coco Zurita was hanging out and riding this ramp while other contests were going on.
Within scootering, we don’t have too many athletes that can take to a ramp like this and perform to the level of BMX legends like Jamie Bestwick. However, we have a few that can come close. Chris Farris really wanted to make this event happen because he has been having a ton of fun on vert and progressing at an alarming rate. Raymond Warner has spent a few years at the YMCA Clairemont in San Diego, and even before that taking to the vert ramp at Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania, where he took sound advice from Bestwick himself. Jamie’s advice boosted Ray’s abilities on the vert, and he has been waiting four years for there to be an event where he could put those abilities to the test.
A timer was set for 10 minutes, and the 10 athletes in the contest were allowed 35-second runs — if they could last that long in this gauntlet of a ramp. When the timer hit zero, the remaining roster would get to finish out their final run. Each rider was guaranteed three runs with this format, and possibly a fourth. The best of their runs would be chosen as their score, and the top three were taking home the cash money. Check out the full event here:
The action kicked off with Pierce Goodwin from St. George, Utah. According to staff at camp, Pierce had recently been spending quite some time at Woodward West, on the vert ramp specifically. His elegance on the ramp was unmatched. Style, flow, and elevation were the keys to his game. Goodwin was hitting back-to-back 4- to 5-foot airs with stylish tricks like fully extended tuck no-handers and clicked inverts. An absolute beauty to watch on this ramp. One key to look out for with Pierce is his ability to land right underneath the coping coming back into transition perfectly, which allows him to get maximum speed for the next wall. His performance was good enough to get him the third spot on the podium.
Next up on the highlight reel is the spark that ignited the vertical flame, Chris Farris. Chris’ ability to lay down top tier tricks on this 12-foot ramp is incomparable to the rest of the field. Whip front scooter flips, triple barspins, and coping grabbing handplants: Farris is at the top of his game. Unfortunately washing out on his first run, he only had two runs left to bring the heat. Not only was he boosting big tricks, but he utilized the coping to do grinds that nobody else could manage. Chris Farris was able to secure the number two spot on the podium with his acrobatic, stylish, and controlled performance.
The man who was able to take the cake in America’s first-ever vert scooter contest was soaring above the rest. Peaking at over 7 feet, fully extending grabs, doing triple trick combos, and easily having the most fun on this ramp, was none other than Mr. Vert himself, Raymond Warner. It all came down to Warner’s final run. He had some slip-ups in previous runs, so it was crucial he stay on the scooter for the entire 35 seconds if he wanted any chance at the podium. The crowd was hyped, the cameras were rolling, and it began. Raymond’s trick selection is like no other. Pulling off the trick that got him in run two, a tailwhip superman to fingerwhip, and also blasting higher than anyone else, Raymond was on fire! Hitting a couple setup airs as the timer ticked down, he threw a huge tuck no-hander and narrowly missed the coping as he came back in. Landing at the top of the ramp on this air set him up for the perfect pump as he boosted his final wall over the heads of the onlooking athletes and spectators and pointed a benihana straight down toward the eye of the beast. The crowd went absolutely bonkers as Raymond had just secured the victory at Woodward West. Needless to say, he was nearly in tears as he had waited four-plus years for the opportunity to compete on a vert ramp. Hard work definitely pays off, folks.
For more, check out Undialed’s coverage of the event here:
And stay tuned for more scooter news, including my coverage of the ISA North America Finals!
About the writer:
My name is Jake Hershey, known in social media land as Nekbeard. I was born in ’91 and started scootering in ’02! I was born and raised in New Jersey, but made my way to the West Coast in 2014. I now live in sunny San Diego where you can catch me at Linda Vista skatepark almost daily. Scootering is a passion for me, so I hope that you like what I have to write!