NZ Vert Champs 2022 – A Recap

by Marta

NZ Vert Champs is a Quad and Blade vert skating competition, celebrating Vert Skating in New Zealand. “Share the love for skating and encourage each other to fly” was and is the motto. On Feb 26th it took place for the second time. To give you an idea what was going on far away on the other side of the globe, the organizers shared a little recap with us.

Returning for the second year in a row, The Vert Champs is the only 8 wheeled Vert skating event in New Zealand (so far) and is hosted at the biggest vert ramp in NZ.

Blake Park Vert ramp, Mt Maunganui, is a 14-foot-high, 20 sheets wide, smooth wooden half pipe, with loads of space to do tricks within and above the curvaceous arches. When Ivy Bates  got into vert skating she started connecting with the local OG vert skateboarders, she was inspired to follow in their footsteps of running Verticous – the name of their Skatebaording Vert event held every year at Blake park. Seeing what they could do Ivy was inspired, “If they can do it, we can do it, and maybe one day roller skating can be in the Olympics too”.

She then wrangled her local CIBBbop crew Camille Roberts, Hellvetica Caitlin Burns and MC Onie Cairns to help get the event rolling smoothly. This year Ivy supported the event through her business Let’s Roll Coaching. Let’s Roll Coaching provides coaching, mentoring, bootcamps and classes for learn to skate, play roller derby and skating skills for park, ramp and street skating.

“I love skating in many forms, I figured skating was a sport worth taking seriously enough to provide a coaching option for those who want to excel and build up confidence for skating and advice on how too mentally prepare. Focusing on personal development”, Ivy says.

“Having someone on hand to guide you, helps make things click, with just enough encouragement and critical feedback to work with.”

Let’s Roll Coaching also run learn to skate classes in schools around Bay of Plenty, providing opportunities for kids and youth to have a go, in a non-competitive activity, that’s social, enjoyable is getting them active while still having fun.

Covid still prohibited some skaters from attending NZ Vert Champs

The Vert Champs happened – Amidst the doom and gloom of Covid restrictions closing in and despite some of the favorite skaters not able to attend… It still became a fun and inspiring event. Skaters travelled from across Aotearoa from as far south as Wanaka and from East to West coast. All keen to be part of the 2nd annual Vert Champs on Saturday, 26th February Mt Maunganui. Impala Skate were a fantastic sponsor that provided free entry fee for all Junior skaters who made up for over half of the competitors.

The Juniors skaters were certainly the highlight. The enthusiasm and improvement in skill level this year was noticeably higher. From aerials being thrown, to sit drops, to 540 spins to airs above the coping. They brought it each run, improving more and more across the day.

Across all the levels the positive comradely between skaters was really enjoyable to see and how they encouraged each other to go for tricks.

Queen of our hearts went to Best trick winner Kuini Rose Shewry aged 7 who silenced the crowd when she stood atop the 14-foot vert, starring out ready to drop in for the first time. She dropped maybe 5 feet before touching the ramp, she slid out but quickly recovered and ran back to the top to try again. The second drop in, was a success!! The crowd exploded with cheers and celebratory relief.

Another standout youngster was Wellingtonian Blader, Malachi Matheson aged 11 who travelled up with his family after Ivy encouraged him that this event would suit his style and love to for big ramp skating. He did not disappoint, flying high above the coping, pulling 540 tricks and grabs and even attempting a few 720s!

In the open section we had Hawkes Bay local Kyle Hamilton win the Open Quad award and regain his biggest air crown with Malachi not far behind. Whakatane local Fiona Dominick took out the Open Intermediate award. Mickey Muller a regular street skater adapted his style to win the Open Blade award.

Juniors Quad award was re-crowned to Mount Maunganui’s local skater Ishta Joyce. and Junior Blade award went to the amazing Malachi Matheson.

The competition also saw the return of the crowd judged doubles run, with skaters teaming up and taking to the ramp in pairs, a few who winged their routine on the day make for great watching. The Skaters pulled out all the stops in this category, entertaining the crowd with timed drop ins, cartwheels, jumping over each other and carving around one another.

The most practise team; Ishta Joyce and Milla Smith-Horne took the win.

The day was a positive day of skating, encouragement and celebrating Vert. We couldn’t have done it without all our helpers, family friends and sponsors who provided all the goodies to keep everyone rolling.

Prizes kindly sponsored by @letsrollcoaching @saltairsurf @seaside_skates_nz @shredcityskates @mountlongboards @cib @chuffedskates @brunnyhardcore @pierpeoplenz @impalaskate @s1helmets @s1rollerskate

Photos by Joyce Mahe 

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