Upsets abound at Kimberley Diamond Cup
The World Skateboarding Grand Prix's big-money Kimberley Diamond Cup in South Africa over the weekend was full of surprises, from Nyjah Huston's streak of six consecutive 2014 skateboard street contest wins coming to an end to 13 year-old Alana Smith beating out the boys in the Mini Mega Big Air Gap Best Trick contest.
Huston, who won the KDC Street World Championships in 2013 and whose 2014 streak has included wins at Tampa Pro, X Games Austin and a sweep of the 2014 Street League Skateboarding World Tour, was the top qualifier heading into the main event, but was eliminated in the second round head-to-head heat battle by underdog Nassim Guammez of the Netherlands.
"What happened was some awesome competition," Huston explained, during the live webcast. "I'm psyched for Nassim. He's my teammate. I'm really hyped to see my good friend do good. That's the thing with skateboarding, you know? Anything can happen."
Brazilian skater Kelvin Hoefler went on to win the $100,000 prize, beating out Australian Tommy Fynn and American Louie Lopez for the top spot, with Huston in fifth place behind Guammez.
"I can't find the words," Hoefler said, after the contest. "This is so great! The first time I came to South Africa I made it to the final 12 and I promised myself that I will make it onto the podium this year. I never expected to win and am very happy and excited. This was amazing."
American skater Jimmy Wilkins won the KDC Vert World Championships and $35,000 grand prize with a run that included the frontside ollie that has become his signature, a backside 540 ollie, and an alley-oop tailgrab 540. That was enough to put him ahead of Sandro Dias and Elliot Sloan on the podium, a fitting follow-up to his win at X Games Austin in June.
Jono Schwan topped the main event on the Mini Mega Ramp after landing a heelflip body varial 360 over the gap and a 900 on the quarterpipe, besting Elliot Sloan and Clay Kreiner for the $22,000 top prize.
Smith, the only female competing on the Mini Mega Ramp, won $5,000 in the Best Trick event with her backflip over the gap, the first time a female has ever landed the trick in competition, beating Schwan and X Games Big Air veteran Andy Macdonald, among others.
"I think her win is insanely significant just because it's never been done before," Mimi Knoop, Smith's Hoopla Skateboards team manager, told ESPN. "I mean, there's been girls throughout the history of skateboarding who have entered guys' contests and held their own but... I may be wrong but I don't think there's ever been a time where a girl has actually won against the guys in a pro contest. It's significant for that reason but also just for the progression of skateboarding in general. It's not that she's 'good for a girl.' She's an awesome skateboarder period, and pushing envelopes. That's what hypes me up about it."
Smith's Hoopla Skateboards teammate Samarria Brevard won the Women's Street Championships after edging out two-time X Games gold medalist Alexis Sablone and Pamela Rosa, the X Games Austin 2014 silver medalist, for the $15,000 Women's Street Championships prize.
"The plane ride was really long and I was kind of nervous about it, but when I got here it was really worth the plane ride for sure," the always understated Brevard said after the contest.