Back to the Banks 2007

Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2007 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

To be exact, I haven’t been to NYC since I was 20, so we’re talking 14 years. Damn, that’s a lifetime for some of you kids reading this.

NYC is amazing. There is more stuff going on all over the place than you could ever possibly imagine. Upon arriving at our hotel, Rob and I grabbed a map and hit the town on our skateboards. Our first stop was the site that was formerly the World Trade Center buildings.

I’ve been wanting to see what it looks like since 9/11, and being the patriotic American that I am, I guess I expected a lot more. It was rather disappointing to be honest with you. The entire area is blocked and fenced, and it even has that cloth up where you can’t see into the site. I guess I figured that there was going to be something more, something meaningful…something profound. I mean, there were some pictures and quotes posted, but as hard as 9/11 hit me I guess I just expected more out of it.

Rob and I just skated around it and looked in through the cloth where you could see some construction going on. As much security and cameras and such as that place has, you couldn’t get in there if you wanted to. Not that you want to, but you know…

Anyway, enough of that. It was just something that hit me rather hard, that’s all. Now onto some damn skateboarding! Let’s not forget we hit the infamous Max Fish for some drinks to properly put an end to the evening.

The Contest
Saturday morning we walked to the event site after a proper East Village breakfast with some local friends. How rad is that? How often can you really say that you walked to a skateboarding contest? Upon arrival at the world-renowned Brooklyn Banks located under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bride, there were already kids everywhere…the skating was heating up, the weather was beautiful, and the vibe was just perfect.

It had been a long time for me…I was reminiscing. After a couple hours of hanging out and doing a little skating, it was on. The Contest actually consisted of four Best Trick Contests and then an overall King of the Banks that went to the hardest ripper of the day.

Wallride This is where is all began, but somehow I missed the entire thing. You have to picture the scene: There’s no one talking on microphones and there are no bleachers for viewing. This is as raw as it gets with a skateboarding contest. There are no frills, just skateboarding. And literally anyone can skate during the Contests. For better or for worse, there are pros, ams, and kids that can barely ollie skating next to each other.

- Winner: Jimmy Mcdonald – $1000 – switch wallride bigspin out (that’s just what I heard because I obviously didn’t see it)

Bank to Ledge/Tight Tranny
This obstacle was recently built and super-gnar. It was basically a tight-tranny spine with a big-ass cement slab on top of it. Then there was a little bank ramp set up perpendicular to the spine that created a gap-to-whatever you wanted to try. There was some serious ripping going down with Dustin Dollin and Dennis Busenitz up in the mix. Dustin has more moves than anyone, including a kickflip noseslide come in fakie on the tranny and Busentiz’s fs smith grind across the whole damn thing was insane.

- Winner: Jake Duncombe – $1000 – backside noseblunt slide from the bank across the entire spine to flat – this was seriously ridiculous and Jake nailed it so perfectly…full-on vertical-board noseblunt style

Ledges on the Banks This part of the Contest was sick because it took place on the legendary Banks that everyone remembers from back-in-the-day all the way up to modern street skating times. I skated them for the first time when I was 17…exactly half of my life ago. Damn it’s crazy to think of it like that.

A double-tiered ledge that was about 10’ long was placed at the top of the Bank. You needed some serious pushing room to get up to the top of that thing, but the top dogs made it happen. Willy Akers nailed a lipslide and Anthony Schultz locked into a feeble grind. There were a few other rippers up there, too, like Malcolm Watson, Nolan Lee, and Ron Deily.

- Winner: Billy Rohan – $1000 – I checked my notes and I wrote “Rohan – krooks at 100 m.p.h.,” but I’m sure that he did more than just that when I wasn’t looking

Handrail/Stairs
The handrail and stairs are so gnarly at the Banks that they literally shouldn’t even be skated. The run-up to them has a curve and the landing over the stairs is uphill. Anything pulled on this area is worthy of noting, but unfortunately I can’t recite the entire session. I’ll tell you what though…if Andrew Reynolds can’t land a bs flip over the rail in an hour’s time, then the spot is tough to skate.

NYC local Luis Tolentino was working on fakie ollies over the rail there while there was actually another guy trying bennihannas over it. Whoa. This part of the Contest seemingly went on forever, and right before they called ‘time,’ Nick Dompierre started trying bs noseblunts down the rail. About 30 minutes and 20 tries later history was made and Nick was stoked!

- Handrail Winner: Manny Santiago – $1000 – he started with a kickflip boardslide (by accident of course), then did a kickflip feeble, and ended with a fs bigspin to regular boardslide

- Over the Handrail Winner: Nick Fiorini – $1000 – okay, it was tough to see the landing from my perspective, but I saw Nick land a bs smith and nollie krooks on the rail, but apparently what won it for him was a switch heel over the rail (didn’t see it though)

- Overall Winner: Willy Akers – $1000 – he placed 2nd in two of the events, so with that he earned the King of the Banks title. It was rad to see his pops there, too

Nice Work – Volcom’s “Let’s Live” Premiere
Hats off to all of the guys that had a hand in running Back to the Banks. It was all about real skateboarding and an excellent way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the northeast. Steve Rodriguez of 5Boro is a class act all the way around and Mark Waters from Sole Tech was busting ass, too, along with the rest of his crew. So thanks to Sole Tech for their part in the chaos. It was as raw as you can possibly get. NYC rules and we’ll be back next year for sure.

I skated back through the City to my hotel with local Jerry Mraz, Strubing (who wanted you to know that he was hurt or else he would have skated the Contest), and a few others. Weaving in and out of traffic, running lights, and hopping up and down the curbs was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

The fun never ends in NYC…and Volcom does it up right. At a bar called Lit they had free drinks from 9pm – 11pm. No special wristbands or anything…just walk in the bar and it’s all you can drink. From there we walked a few blocks to some old theater for the Premiere, which began at midnight (full-on NYC style, I guess).

I’m not going to get into the video…all I’m going to say is watch it. It’s dedicated to the memory of Shane Cross and the skating is just amazing.

Manny Mania coming up next…

Ryan

Dustin Dollin - kickflip noseslide fakie (click to enlarge)

I like how Dennis Busenitz backside powerslides out of everthing like this 80mph lipslide (click to enlarge)

Dennis Busenitz - smith grind (click to enlarge)

When we got there at around 11am, it was already super packed. Stuff here is not so easy to skate. That's Anthony Shetler - gap noseslide

Who dat? This thing is hard to skate, too. I didn't see too much go down here

It's crazy how many locals here in NYC are amazing skateboarders. That's Ron Deily

Remy Stratton from Volcom was killing this thing. That's a layback grind

It's always nice to be at an event we aren't running. There's much more time to skate and just hang out. That's Ryan Clements on a rock and roll

I didn't see too much go down on the bank to wall either. This thing is rough. SAD has some pretty big frontside wallrides on it

The snake session didn't make it any easier

Billy Rohan says he's going to skate the Dew Tour contests and if he makes it to the finals, he's wearing a ninja suit for TV. This is a frontside flip wallride

Robert Lim - switchflip wallride

Donny Barley showed up and ripped

Who dat? BSTS

Good to see Willy Akers made it out of Europe alive. That's a lipslide

Billy Rohan - frontside noseblunt slide across the whole thing

This was insane. Jake Duncombe did a backside noseblunt slide across the whole thing and came out forward

Six years later, the events that went down here are still very fresh to me and I don't even live in New York. This is the first time I've gone to see the site while here

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