|Kaalob Moran, a first year Visual Media student, attempts to land a flip trick during the Skate Battle at RIT on Saturday.
Kaalob went on to win the whole competition.
Up-tempo music filled the area as skaters battled it out on the pavement, spectators cheered, and photographers snapped shots of every trick. Those who lost received warm embraces, and those who advanced were congratulated with vibrant cheers. Make no mistake, this wasn’t the X Games, and these guys weren’t Tony Hawk. It was the Skate Battle at RIT, and each competitor was fighting hard, some for more than just the top prize.
On the perfectly sunny afternoon of Saturday, October 8, the skateboarding competition held on the pavement beside the Gordon Fieldhouse drew a crowd of several dozen. Started as a clever way to lure students into starting a skate club on campus, the event was organized by second year New Media Design and Imaging major Clarence Alexander who had a smile on his face throughout the duration of the event. While Alexander initially expressed his doubts that many people would compete, he was confident that many would watch. Though his prediction proved accurate as spectators outnumbered skaters, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the competitors who came prepared to impress.
The rules for the competition were simple; ground tricks only — no handplants, no grabs, and no grinds. As Alexander put it, “This is basic … battle of the barracks rules. So if someone does a flip trick, you have to do the exact same flip trick in the position they did it in.” Despite its simplicity, this style of competition worked well. It was fast-paced, crowd-pleasing and safe. No half-pipe, no ramps — just the skater and his board.
There was a $2 entrance fee for competitors, who each received access to footage of the competition and pictures of their match-ups. The prize for being the top dog was $100 cash.
When the battle began, two close friends realized they were competing against each other. Both first year students, Mechanical Engineering major Jay Ingardia and General Science Exploration major Mark Eberhard heard about the competition via a flyer that was posted on campus. Ingardia is part of the RIT Longboarding Club, and was ousted quickly in his second match up. “I was matched up with [Eberhard] who knew what I couldn’t do,” he said with a smile.
However, there was no bad blood between the two. Keeping his chin up, Ingardia insisted that he was just competing for fun. “My goal was to at least win the first match.”
After about an hour the final match took place. Both skaters had already used most of the tricks in their repertoires, and were starting to feel fatigued. After a few impressive moves, a winner was declared. First year Visual Media major Kaalob Moran was congratulated by a swarming crowd of ecstatic friends and spectators. Feeling overjoyed, Moran proudly took the $100 cash prize and shared the moment with his friends.
Among the tricks he successfully performed were the toeflip, the hardflip, and the 360 flip. Moran said that although he was pleased with how the event went, he acknowledged that it would have been better if more skaters participated. “We all need more challenges to keep us focused,” he explained.
Alexander affirmed that he will do more events much like the one on Saturday if he is able to start a skate club. He expressed an interest in group events as well, bringing the club to local skate parks to practice their skills.
All things considered, the Skate Battle at RIT was a good way to plant the seeds of a new club. As Clarence mentioned, anyone can come, even just to watch. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and it’s downright cool.