History was made last weekend when Community in Bowls (CIB) and Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest partnered to host their first transition skating competition. While transition skating, which involves using ramps and other obstacles to achieve acrobatic (and frequently aerial) maneuvering, is often associated with skateboarding, this inaugural event summoned competitive roller skaters of varying levels from around the world.
Erica Vanstone (board member / part owner of CIB / event organizer) told Irvine Weekly how far and wide competitors had come from. “We had competitors come from as far away as Australia! Nationally, we had folks come in from Colorado, Oregon, Nevada. And the judging staff came from as far as NYC and Hawaii! Many skaters came with support from local skate shops like Pigeon’s Roller Skate Shop out of Long Beach, and some have national/international brands like Moxi Roller Skates, S1 Helmets, and Triple 8.”
When asked the extent to which roller skate and roller skate accessory companies sponsored the competitors and the event, overall, Vanstone responded, “We couldn’t have had the event we did without our amazing sponsors! Not only did they contribute gear and swag to prizes, they also helped financially support the prizes for competitors.”
Three levels of skaters competed in two categories: Street and Bowl. For the Street category, each competitor took three turns on the street section of the skate park, which included sets of stairs, ramps, rails, boxes, etc. For each turn, the skater was given a couple of minutes to show their stuff while a panel of judges observed. For the Bowl category, the skaters were restricted to the confines of a concrete bowl, wherein they again had three turns to demonstrate their chops. Each turn in the bowl lasted 45 seconds. In total, there were 62 competitors – 23 of which ran the street course and 44 of which skated the bowl category.
Most of the competitors and spectators were women, which is not surprising since CIB [which originally stood for “Chicks in Bowls”] was started as a means to give women the agency to show how badass they can be on wheels. However, since the organization is not gender exclusive, there was some variety in that regard within the competitions. In any event, the overall spirit of the competition was extremely positive and inclusive with the sentiments of support, encouragement, and fun dominating the park throughout the day.
Of course, in addition to the community aspect of Rollpocalypse, there were high levels of skill on display, and the showcase was quite spectacular. Vanstone explained, “One of our big goals for CIB was to create a judging and scoring system for competitive events, and testing it was a big win for us at Rollpocalypse. Our Head of Judging, Nick Stewart, worked with judge Mary Smith, CIB founder Samara Pepperell, and me to build it. This weekend was our first live event use of our scoring rubric, which includes both objectively scored tricks and a subjective creative score for building lines.”
As to the success of the competitive / scoring logistics, she added, “We had a few lags in the beginning, but the system smoothed out over time and was incredibly successful. And [I’d like to give] a huge shout out to our first judging team, which included some amazing skaters: Irene Ching (NYC), Mary Smith/Kid Ace (Buffalo, NY), Hayley Havick (San Diego), Swampy (LA), Tarah Bishop (Oakland), and Duke Rennie (CA). Our support staff was Leonette Miksis and Nica Umeda – an incredible math team! Since we introduced the system to the community, we’ve had multiple requests from events to use it, and now that we know it works well, we’re going to build out our use of it over time… And, huge thanks to Scott Stewart, the incredible staff at Etnies, and the City of Lake Forest. We couldn’t have done it without their generosity!”
In closing, Vanstone expressed what was evident from the electricity in the atmosphere. “I thought the event was a smashing success, and it was really validating to have so much support and encouragement from Etnies and the City of Lake Forest. When we first came to them with the event idea, they were pretty stoked, but I knew they didn’t have a clear idea of what the community brought to the table. I just knew the roller skating community was going to leave a big, positive impression on the park and with the city, and I think we achieved that.”
She added, “The COVID-19 pandemic saw significant growth in roller skating and particularly park and street skating. A few competitions happened elsewhere earlier this year, and they’ve all shown that the need and excitement is there for competition! You can expect CIB and our partners to work on creating a competition circuit as we move into 2023, and we were so excited to have Etnies and Lake Forest share their space with us for the first!”
As for the final scores of the competition, here is a complete list of the finalists in every category:
Level 1 Street
Emily Zantjer Lin
Level 2 Street
Level 3 Street
Level 1 Park (Bowl)
Level 2 Park (Bowl)
Level 3 Park (Bowl)