Bruises, scratches, sweat, blood and sprained ankles were common occurrences at this year’s edition of Vans King of Gap, but that didn’t throw anyone off their game! Participants from all over the country as well as from Singapore and Thailand made their way to Capsquare on 14 January, eager to compete for the title. Skateboard enthusiasts and supporters came to show their support for their favorite skateboarders and just to have a good time.
For those of you who have no prior experience with skateboard lingo, let us give you the rundown. The Carlsbad Gap is an 11-step stairway found in Carlsbad High School, California. Two grassy slopes are on either side of the stairway and skateboarders launch themselves off the top of the slope, performing tricks and stunts as they land. When a skateboarder lands after a trick, the ground he lands on goes uphill, making it increasingly difficult to roll away from the trick. Skateboard pro, Tony Hawk, is a native of Carlsbad and has featured the Gap in a video game he produced in 2000, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2! Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, Carlsbad High School is undergoing renovation and the renowned Carlsbad Gap was demolished last year.
This year though, Vans King of Gap featured an inspired version of the Carlsbad Gap! This was a smaller version than the original Gap, but worked just as well. It was specially designed, constructed and modified by Pa’din Musa, Vans very own resident skater. Pa’din, a skateboarding pro and 2-time Asian X-Games gold medalist, has been to Carlsbad High School and has seen the original Carlsbad Gap for himself. He decided it would be a great idea to recreate a similar version here so that local skaters will have the chance to experience the Gap without having to go out of the country!
The homegrown version of the Gap incorporated a curb in front of it, which made it harder to conquer even though it was smaller. Participants had to jump over the gap while performing their best tricks. There were a lot of crash and burns, but that didn’t stop anyone from getting right back up and trying again. That’s the spirit! The only category there was for the competition was the open category and everyone was welcome to join and compete for the crown. Participants were grouped and took turns performing until the end of their allocated time. They were all judged based on technical difficulty and perfect landing.
Skaters as young as 11-years old (11! We give him kudos for bad*ssery) up to 30-years old were seen competing to snatch the title. Koya Miyasaka, Vans skater said, “I participated in the first Vans King of Gap and it was a great experience. When I heard Vans King of Gap was back, I was so excited and looked forward to joining the competition. I didn’t regret coming all the way here from Penang as I had so much fun!”
After a grueling 5 hours of hard work, blood, sweat and tears in the hot sun, 16-year old Rawie bin Mahat from Singapore emerged the champion and claimed victory over the Gap! He won the grand title of Vans King of Gap and went home with a cash prize of RM3,500 from Vans as well as a Vans Gift Voucher worth RM500. Sweet! 26-year old Muhammad Firdaus bin Abdul Rahman, also hailing from Singapore, scraped in at second place and took home RM1,500 cash from Vans and a Vans Gift Voucher worth RM300. Last but not least, in third place was Malaysian Aliff Kaizzal bin Salleh, 19. He took home a neat cash prize of RM1,000 from Vans and a Vans Gift Voucher worth RM200, which is a pretty good cleanup if you ask us! All winners were also presented with a hamper from Ovaltine.
It was an exciting day, full of “Ooh”s and “Aah”s and “Ouch”es – that must have hurt like “b*tch”es. We’re definitely looking forward to next year’s Vans King of Gap competition! And the next one, and the next one, and the next one.
Vans King of Gap 2012 rolled out on 14 January at Capsquare, Kuala Lumpur. Check out the competition here.