St Kilda Vans Skating Event

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By Josie Catalfamo

St Kilda was home to the first Men’s Global Qualifier of this year’s inaugural Vans Pro Skate Series.

“Being the best skate event in the world, I’m very excited they’ve recognised and used St Kilda, it was such a fantastic event” said Deputy Mayor Serge Thomann.

The event took place on April 16th at the infamous St Kilda Skate Park of Marine Parade, with Chris Russell taking out the top prize.

An impressive score of 89.67pts earned him the win, followed by Brazilian Pedro Barros with a score of 84.67. Third place was given to Kevin Kowalski with a notable score of 83.03.

The free event was well attended with, “a couple of thousand people coming along,” said Thomann.

The Pro Skate Series consists of five competitions at five of the best skate parks in the world, with 15 of the qualified skaters in the world invited to take part in the event.

“I’m thrilled that Van’s chose us as one of the five best skate parks in the world,” said Thomann.

The five highest ranked skaters to come out of each Global Qualifier will challenge the pre-selected Vans Park Series Select pros for the title of 2016 Vans Park Series Men’s World Champion in Malmö, Sweden, August 20.

Select pro skater Curren Caples, said in a recent interview with website, Skateboard, that “It’s a contest that is needed in skateboarding and I can’t think of a more authentic brand than Vans to get behind such an event.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary Vans has become a sponsor of the event. The total prize for the Pro Skate Series is in excess of 500,000 USD.

Vans have set out to elevate park terrain skateboarding by creating the premier global points ranking system and official world championships of park terrain skateboarding for men and women.

This is in order to grow participation and promote the culture of skateboarding worldwide.

The final in Malmö will see the world’s first built-to-spec park terrain for the world championships.

The skate park is being donated to community by Vans for leading the world with their continuous support of the city’s youth through skateboard programming and activities.

“Vans loved our Skate Park and Melbourne culture, the location is beautiful with the foreshore,” said Thomann.

Vans added a new feature to our skate park for the event, said Thomann. A four metre ‘dragon wall’ was put in to close off a section of the skate park to make it more challenging.

Vans broadcasted the entire event via live stream on their website.

Thomann said, “this gave us great exposure and really put St Kilda on the map.”

“The event has been great for the local community.”

“Vans wanted to localise the event as much as possible,” said Thomann.

St Kilda has seen a lot of economic benefits from skaters staying in nearby hotels and frequenting local cafes and restaurants for ten days.

“Vans used a local caterer for the competitions food and beverage needs,” Thomann continued.

“There were also representatives of the local council at the event to ensure that it was running within the strict conditions due to residents and amenities,” he said.

Safety was also a main concern for the council, so there was an acoustic engineer on site.

Thomann said, “The event was well managed, had a great ambience and has been great for St Kilda.”

The skaters were incredibly friendly and approachable. They came down early during the week to skate with the locals.

“It’s great the skaters are getting the chance to skate with their idols and people they look up to,” He said.

Thomann said that, “the best thing about the great facility is that it is not only a great place for skaters to start. But, it is also a place of assembly, with many walks of life coming together communally.”

Despite being the first year the event has come to St Kilda, Thomann said, Vans is hoping to come back next year and making it a regular occurrence.

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