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The appeal of the urban rail jam can lose its charm once resorts start firing up their lifts for the season, but when the urban locale is San Francisco and it’s a Downtown Throwdown, it’s worth skipping the white ribbon of death to check it out. Much like Seattle, announcers Jesse Burtner and Preston Strout spent October 27th, explaining inside terms such as “nollies” to the onlookers and bums, but unlike Seattle, it was Nial Romanek who rode off with the win.
In addition to being in the Bay area where pretty much anything goes, the fact that it was Halloween weekend prompted most of the riders to don costumes. Dylan Alito was some sort of crazy clown and Ted Borland dressed as a slice of pizza. Almost every one else went as a snowboarder, except for Sean Black, who wore shorts. But since it was a snowboard event, not a fashion show, I suppose you want to hear about the actual boarding.
The course consisted of a donkey dick down bar, a kinked box and a quarter pipe. Despite the 75-degree heat, the riders began attacking it ferociously and didn’t stop until Burtner told them they had to, some three hours later.
The day was a constant steam of hammers, but some highlights amongst the mayhem included Brandon Hobush’s switch back 270, back 270 and hard way front 270 in rapid succession. Johnny Brady lost his hat about 15 times, but finally rode away clean from a crippler. (This accomplishment earned him the Bode Merrill Baker’s dozen award — 13 cosmo shots at the bar later.)Ted Borland’s pizza suit made moves like a hard way 5-0 front 180 look even better, and Andrew Brewer nearly lost a finger when someone rode over it (literally), but still managed some serious presses and 270s.
Really, it could have been anyone, but when it came down to first, Burtner put it best, “This guy landed more tricks, and the hardest tricks in a rail jam, ever.” That guy was Nial Romanek, of course. As it turns out he does have much more in his bag than just nose presses. Brendan Gerard earned the best trick award for his proper utilization of the pole jam to rail (although Stefan Krumm’s tail grab off the course to pavement was probably in contention, as well as about 5 other dudes who pulled creative and technical maneuvers.)
For me personally though, the highlight of the day came long before the contest even started, when he wisest man in snowboarding, Robbie Sell, taught me the secret to never missing a high five: look at the person’s elbow. I totally used this new knowledge to congratulate Nial, who simply replied, “Didn’t see that coming.” (He was talking about the win, not the high five.)
1. Nial Romanek
2. Brandon Hobush
3. Dylan Thompson
4. Ted Borland
5. Andrew Brewer
Monster Moment: Brendan Gerard
Bode Merrill’s “Reach for the Stars Baker’s Dozen” award: Johnny Brady