Woodward Beijing Grand Opening

Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

I'm stoked to head home from China, but I feel like we barely scratched the surface of such an interesting country. As I type this I'm sitting on a long, long flight from Tokyo, Japan all the way to Atlanta, Georgia. It truly is amazing that you can be on the other side of the world in a matter of a day.

From walking around Beijing, to "climbing" the Great Wall, to haggling for deals at the Silk Market, the culture was fascinating. We spent five days being straight-up tourists. One of the highlights for me personally was being in Tiananmen Square. I asked the tour guide, "So what is the significance of this place?" She replied, "It's a place where all of the Chinese people meet." I said, "I know that, but you know, tell me about what happened in 1989."

Just when you're feeling like it's not a controlled environment, you have a Chinese tour guide adamantly telling you that nothing really happened at Tiananmen, that it's simply a meeting place for the people. And then when I Googled "Tiananmen Square massacre" back at the hotel, for some odd reason I couldn't get to a single source that told of the incident.

We all know that the Chinese are some intensely serious people. With the new Beijing Woodward, they are now taking skateboarding just as seriously as covering up the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The facility was actually built at an existing resort about an hour outside of Beijing. Apparently, the resort, which was originally built exclusively for Chinese government people, wasn't being used to its maximum potential. So Woodward got together with the powers that be and created a Woodward Camp at the existing facility.

The Chinese really know how to throw a party, or Grand Opening in this case. They had Tony Hawk and other superstars on the vert ramp, cheerleaders, and government ceremonies galore. The highlight was a $15,000 Street Contest, courtesy of Alli and Woodward, with some great skating from guys you might not always see in the top five.

Jam 1 - Small rail, long three, & gap ledge
  • 1st - $1,500 - Tom Asta - the kickflip nosegrind was hard, but the backside noseblunt was perfect
  • 2nd - $1,000 - Ryan Sheckler - on his way to dominating overall
  • 3rd - $750 - Dane Burman - the 360 flip lip was just one of many
  • 4th - $500 - Billy Rohan - switch crooks and a head smack on a fall
  • 5th - $250 - Aaron "Jaws" Homoki - switch heel to land on the last stair to still make it
Jam 2 - Manny pad & a-frame
  • 1st - $1,500 - David Loy - came from not landing anything in Jam 1 to killing Jam 2
  • 2nd - $1,000 - Jaws - kickflip fsbs on the steep a-frame rail
  • 3rd - $750 - Jimmy Carlin - fs halfcab kickflip nose manny 180 out
  • 4th - $500 - Ryan Sheckler - giant kickflip bs 360 fatty to flatty after time
  • 5th - $250 - Curren Caples - little ripper...you know this
Jam 3 - Stairs, handrail, & hubbas
  • 1st - $1,500 - Tom Asta - nollie into everything and a nollie heel crooks was his ender
  • 2nd - $1,000 - Ryan Sheckler - kickflip bs lip and 10 other tricks
  • 3rd - $750 - Jimmy Carlin - fakie big heel otherwise known as the "Satan flip"
  • 4th - $500 - Dane Burman - hardflipped the rail, but the fs 180 fakie 50-50 180 out on the hubba was sick
  • 5th - $250 - Jaws - kickflip backside tailslide. How does he do it?
Overall - $3,000 & custom Woodward Epiphone guitar - Ryan Sheckler - he's such a good sport he gave his guitar to Jaws

What Woodward has created and accomplished in the past 20 years is pretty remarkable. From humble beginnings in rural Pennsylvania, they have transcended what's cool and not cool in skateboarding, attracting literally every skateboarder, regardless of cool factor. Thanks to Neal Hendrix, Gary Ream, and the entire Woodward staff for including us on the trip of a lifetime.

One day Jaws' tongue is going to get caught under his wheel. That's a kickflip front board.
Skater Profile: Aaron Jaws Homoki
Riley Hawk starts things off with a joke on the bump. What if we could censor and alter skateboarding history like the Chinese government is doing with Tiananmen Square and the internet? We could completely pretend the bennihanna never existed.
Skater Profile: Riley Hawk
Tony Hawk was barging the street course for skate photos with his new G11 and adding them to his blog.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
It was great seeing Tom Asta skate in person this weekend. He's the newest addition to the long hair and beanie types. This is a kickflip frontside nosegrind.
Skater Profile: Tom Asta
Andrew Cannon provided entertainment both on the board and on the mic all weekend.
Skater Profile: Andrew Cannon
The Chinamen with their gear is always amusing to me.
Oops, ledge chip repair.
I wonder how jacked the translation and typos are when we try to speak and write their language. This is the important people line-up in front of a typo on the grand opening banner.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
I had to get a Google education on who Shawn Johnson is. She was part of our huge crew this week at Woodward.
Before things got started, there was a pale skin cheerleader demo. David Loy and his Tampa Kit provide good contrast.
Skater Profile: David Loy
Jimmy Carlin described Curren Caples as having hair like a stallion and a tan like a god. The cheerleaders are all about it.
Skater Profile: Curren Caples
Here's what the alternate view of Shawn Johnson looks like. Serious camera clicks.
Jaws is like a Chinese serpent with that tongue flapping. This is a kickflip over the rail.
Skater Profile: Aaron Jaws Homoki
It's always a pleasure rolling with Billy Rohan. That's a frontside flip off the bump.
Skater Profile: Billy Rohan
I think the backside ollie is one of the scariest looking vert tricks. Tony has always had them on lock. I guess when you have done them this high in pools for 20 years, it's not so scary on vert.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
A kickfrip meron in China? My oriental jokes have come full circle. This guy I guess is a local.
Tony Hawk - smith grind over the bell curve.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
You can see the cotton balls flying through the air on Sandro's meron 540. It was like it was snowing with all these little allergy bombs flying around the entire time.
Skater Profile: Sandro Dias
I don't get to see Tony Hawk skate too often, but when I do, it reminds me of the very early days when I started skating. He's been doing this tuck knee Indy for as long as I can remember. Looks good.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
I find comedy in all stereotypes, not just racial ones. Thanks Kevin Staab for keeping the leopard print pads alive on vert. He's got the full matching kit like a stripper. That of course will land you the cover of Frontside Grind Magazine.
Skater Profile: Kevin Staab
PLG's Indy one foot is looking good, too.
Skater Profile: Pierre Luc Gagnon
The best Indy nosebone got passed down a generation to Zach Miller from his father, Chris Miller.
Skater Profile: Zach Miller
Tony Hawk - varial 540 (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
Is that bootleg Red Bull or is it legit?
Skater Profile: Ryan Clements
They make good use of the flat here in China, too. Looks like some cheerleader practice going down.
Only a true double decade skate nerd knows all their invert names. I can't remember what this one is called that Tony Hawk is doing.
Skater Profile: Tony Hawk
Meanwhile, inside Curren Caples has learned frontside heelflips on tranny and they're looking super good.
Skater Profile: Curren Caples
Paul Schmitt is always up to something nerdy.
Skater Profile: Paul Schmitt
Colin Clark will be coming through with the video footage soon. Check out this Chinese baby stroller.
Looks like Zach Miller and Shawn Johnson will be coming through with the footage, too.
Skater Profile: Zach Miller
Ryan Sheckler - switch flip (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
It was good seeing Dane Burman skate in person, too. He's killing it - frontside 180 fakie 5-0 or switch crook. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Dane Burman
Tom Asta - switch frontside heelflip. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Tom Asta
Sheckler's got the superhuman moves along with the flip in flip out? Can't wait to see his video part. Yeah, it's a contest make. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
And there's the superhuman moves. Holy crap, Ryan Sheckler. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
Jimmy Carlin has the most unique tricks going like this fakie hardflip. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Jimmy Carlin
Ryan Sheckler - nollie flip.
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
Ryan Sheckler - switch frontside bigspin. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
Curren Caples - kickflip crooked grind.
Skater Profile: Curren Caples
Tom Asta's back foot on this nollie frontside noseslide shows how light footed and in control his skating is. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Tom Asta
Dane Burman - hardflip over the rail. (click to enlarge)
Skater Profile: Dane Burman
David Loy's got the Gonz move - frontside 180 fakie 50-50.
Tom Asta - backside noseblunt slide. (click to enlarge)
Jimmy Carlin - dolphin flip. (click to enlarge)
Thanks to these three volunteers for the microphone entertainment - Mark Waters, Ryan Clements, and Andrew Cannon.
Skater Profile: Ryan Clements
Sheckler whipped all three sections and got the Overall Winner Award.
Skater Profile: Ryan Sheckler
Neal Hendrix and this guy have done important things to get Woodward Beijing going here.
Skater Profile: Neal Hendrix
Tom Asta and David Loy won the other sections. Look at all those Chinamen lenses pointing at them.
Fireworks closed up the weekend. Then we went to bed early for a 5:30am departure and a 24 hour trip home.
There were just as many cameras pointed at the fireworks as there were at the skaters. Full chill cam dump coming later. Thanks to everyone at Woodward for having us. What an amazing trip.

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