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The appeal of the urban rail jam can lose its charm once resorts start firing up their lifts for the season, but when the urban locale is San Francisco and it’s a Downtown Throwdown, it’s worth skipping the white ribbon of death to check it out. Much like Seattle, announcers Jesse Burtner and Preston Strout spent October 27th, explaining inside terms such as “nollies” to the onlookers and bums, but unlike Seattle, it was Nial Romanek who rode off with the win.

In addition to being in the Bay area where pretty much anything goes, the fact that it was Halloween weekend prompted most of the riders to don costumes. Dylan Alito was some sort of crazy clown and Ted Borland dressed as a slice of pizza. Almost every one else went as a snowboarder, except for Sean Black, who wore shorts. But since it was a snowboard event, not a fashion show, I suppose you want to hear about the actual boarding.


Pizza enthusiast Ted “Bundy” Borland.

The course consisted of a donkey dick down bar, a kinked box and a quarter pipe. Despite the 75-degree heat, the riders began attacking it ferociously and didn’t stop until Burtner told them they had to, some three hours later.

The day was a constant steam of hammers, but some highlights amongst the mayhem included Brandon Hobush’s switch back 270, back 270 and hard way front 270 in rapid succession. Johnny Brady lost his hat about 15 times, but finally rode away clean from a crippler. (This accomplishment earned him the Bode Merrill Baker’s dozen award — 13 cosmo shots at the bar later.)Ted Borland’s pizza suit made moves like a hard way 5-0 front 180 look even better, and Andrew Brewer nearly lost a finger when someone rode over it (literally), but still managed some serious presses and 270s.


Nial. All smiles.

Really, it could have been anyone, but when it came down to first, Burtner put it best, “This guy landed more tricks, and the hardest tricks in a rail jam, ever.” That guy was Nial Romanek, of course. As it turns out he does have much more in his bag than just nose presses. Brendan Gerard earned the best trick award for his proper utilization of the pole jam to rail (although Stefan Krumm’s tail grab off the course to pavement was probably in contention, as well as about 5 other dudes who pulled creative and technical maneuvers.)

For me personally though, the highlight of the day came long before the contest even started, when he wisest man in snowboarding, Robbie Sell, taught me the secret to never missing a high five: look at the person’s elbow. I totally used this new knowledge to congratulate Nial, who simply replied, “Didn’t see that coming.” (He was talking about the win, not the high five.)


These guys.

1. Nial Romanek
2. Brandon Hobush
3. Dylan Thompson
4. Ted Borland
5. Andrew Brewer

Monster Moment: Brendan Gerard

Bode Merrill’s “Reach for the Stars Baker’s Dozen” award: Johnny Brady

San Francisco is an accepting city filled with diversity and rich cultural heritage, or to put it more bluntly, a total freak show. But the local color was only slightly weirder than a bunch of trucked in crushed ice and snow bros that made up the first-ever SF Downtown Throwdown event at the Civic Center on October 29th, 2011. As with any inner city rail jam on a 70-plus degree day during Halloween weekend, there were acrobatic maneuvers, ambiguous costumes and beers cleverly disguised by sponsor stickers. If all that wasn’t random (or normal) enough, even Thrasher editor Jake Phelps rolled by to scope the action.


A cultural display of some sort is apparently now a fixture at Snowboy events. Can’t be mad at that.

For the Yobeat crew, a snowboard event in San Fran mostly seemed like a great opportunity to road trip down, do some drinking, skateboarding and touristing, while simultaneously writing things off our taxes. It also helps that Yobeat is now a media powerhouse, so we dragged along the Intern and even flew Pat in from Utah to make the video extra spiffy (watch it here!) Neither intern nor Pat had ever been to Rice-a-Roni town before, and you’ll be happy to know, they made the most of it. On night one, Pat managed to kill his phone battery with Instagram and get completely lost, winding up sleeping on some strangers’ couch. This morning, Intern showed up with his face painted like a pirate, which means he must have had a good night, too.


I took a photo of snowboarding. This is it. Dylan Alito, Juggalo.

But enough about us. You’re probably reading this to find out what happened at the contest. Luckily, I assigned Josh Parker to pay attention and take notes and here are some of trick the highlights, in convenient bullet point form:

Ryan Paul
Boardslide front flip pole jam
Suitcase method to front board gap – dfd
Front board to back rodeo pole jam
Switch back 270 gap – dfd
Crippler wall ride
Back 360 onto downrail

Spencer Schubert
Front 270 to flat off dfd

Dylan Thompson
Pole jam front flip
Cab 270 gap – dfd
270s – downrail

Andrew Brewer
gap 270s front and back – dfd
Fakie ollie switch front board gap – dfd
Gap front 270 – dfd to handplant
Switch back lip

Dylan Alito
Cab 270 – downrail
Back 270 over front off dfd
Front 270 – downrail
Back 270 – downrail
Switch back 270 to regs – downrail

Johnny Brady
Hard way back 180 on cab 360 out – downrail

Nick Visconti
Back 180 on switch back 180 off – downrail
Pole jam backflip to hand plant on wall
hardway front 180 switch 5050 back 360 out – downrail


Expect TOTAL COVERAGE. Pat Fenelon and Mike Morgan, getting the shot.

As soon as Dylan Alito appeared dressed as a juggalo, complete with plastic hatchet he actually used as a prop during tricks, it was pretty obvious he would be a stand out. But it was actually the fact that he landed approximately 10,000 maneuvers over the course of two hours made that him a pretty obvious winner. The rest of the places weren’t so clear cut, as there was no shortage of “killing it” going on. Ryan Paul (4th) may very well be clinically insane with moves such as boardslide frontflips, even though Brandon Hobush (5th) was the one donning a Alcatraz psych ward shirt. Nikki Fresh got some redemption from his 6th place finish in Seattle, coming in second.


“I just feel weird riding with bare hands,” Ryan Paul.

In a day with no shortage of randomness and freaks, perhaps the strangest part of the San Francisco Downtown Throwdown was even though it was hot as hell just standing there, and the riders were racing to get in as many laps as possible, more than 50 percent of them wore mittens the whole time. Guess Jerm was right, for once — mittens are in, gloves are out.


Snowboy Productions is not afraid of child labor laws.

Thanks to Krush and Snowboy Productions for an always-fun event, SFO for letting us hang out, and all the other event sponsors that made it possible.

Results:

1. Dylan Alito
2. Nick Visconti
3. Dylan Thompson
4. Ryan Paul
5. Brandon Hobush

Zumiez Destroyer Award: Andrew Brewer
Crab Grab Style Award: Chris Brewster

Now click through the whole Jared Souney-created gallery and see how much awesome stuff you missed.

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