Words: The Catfish
Photos: Ashley Rosemeyer
After my fourth Long Island Ice Tea during my flight to the Downtown Throwdown in Boston, I made a series of two realizations. My first was that drinking while some 40,000 feet in the air gets you faded really fast. The second, and more relevant realization, was that the era of the rail jam pro snowboarder has pretty much come to an end. Once there was a time when riders could travel from event to event and live off the prize money of being in the top ten. Events like The Hard Rock High Roller, Red Bull Heavy Metal, Vans Cup, and Honda Sessions offered huge payouts. Riders like Mike Casanova, Yale Cousino, and Lucas Magoon dominated from year to year winning up to $100,000 in a season and building professional careers off rail jams. Today, I can only think of a handful of pro level rail jams, let alone in the US. Is this a sign of the times in the industry? Do people not really give a shit about watching snowboarders hit down rails? Has the video part become more relevant than a contest? Who the fuck knows.
This year the event was held in the heart of Boston at City Hall Plaza, only a stones throw away from the tourist trap that is Faneuil Hall. The central location attracted a mix of booze pounding bums, tourists filming with iPads, East Coast snow bros with gauged ears, Massholes in Boston sports gear, white boys wearing salmon colored shorts and the Dad Cam God, Blake Paul.
As in years past, Capn’ Krush and the Snowboy Productions crew put together a solid set up consisting of pole jams, Jersey barriers, snowflex quarterpipes, a down-flat-down box and a down rail. The straightforward set up allowed riders to bring their hardest tricks to the course along with some creative lines.
The contest kicked off with The Feeders qualifying jam, with the top three riders moving on to the finals. Some of the East Coast’s web edit boarders took to the course including the likes of Eastern Boarder’s Cole Navin and Bar Dadon, Burton Knowbuddys Jack Kyle and Ezra Racine, Darkside’s Nate Haust, and Nowamean’s Alex Go Go. When all was said and done three riders were clear standouts from the field; Shaun Murphy, Timmy Major and Parker Szumoski. The riders got a half-hour break while some course maintenance went down before the finals kicked off.
The finals were a whirlwind of boarding making it really difficult to remember what exactly went down. Based upon my recollection here were some of the highlights:
– Feeder qualifier Shaun Murphy got down on the bottom quaterpipe doing multiple different handplant variations and some big cripplers.
– Mike Rav kept it weird all contest long with tons of different flips and handplants.
– Tahoe’s Nial Romanek made the treck to defend his title as the most technical presser in the game. See is part in Think Thank’s Almanac for more proof.
– Poacher Forest Bailey laid down a bunch of 270s on the down rail as well as some maneuvers on the quarterpipe extension.
– Windell’s Feeder qualifier Max Lyons managed to take a break from editing another part for himself to hold his own against the competition.
– Sababa boarder Tyler Lynch brought his patented smooth style to the course putting down some lofty air to fakies on the bottom quarterpipe.
– Frank Bourgeois almost killed himself on the quarterpipe doing half of a crippler onto the deck.
I could go on forever and I am sure I left plenty out, but now for the part that actually matters, the podium. Taking home the best trick was Quebec’s Jeremy Cloutier, who somehow got the speed to transfer from the pole jam to lipslide the downrail at the top of the course. Fifth place went to the pride of Peterborough, New Hampshire, Brandon Reis who consistently killed it all day. In fourth place and winner of the Crab Grab Best Use of a Grab Award was Dillon Ojo, who put down a bunch of clean grab nosepresses and slides. Masshole Ted Borland ended up in the third place spot making his parents and brother very proud. Jesse Paul added another reason for people to comment #TurnJessePaulPro by absolutly killing the course the entire time landing him in second. Taking home his third consecutive Downtown Throwdown win was Ryan Paul who did almost every 270 possible onto the downrail and a bunch of crowd please flips. It’s all about the crowd pleasers.
The era of riders making a living off rail jams may of come to an end but events like the Downtown Throwdown are good for snowboarding. They help expose the general public to snowboarding more. They put a little extra money into riders pockets. They serve as a platform for regional riders to ride with people from around the world. They help support local scenes in creating events for everyone to sync up before the season. Most of all they have after parties.
1st Place – Ryan Paul
2nd Place – Jesse Paul
3rd Place – Ted Borland
4th Place – Dillon Ojo
5th Place – Brandon Reis
Best Trick – Jeremy Cloutier
Crab Grab’s $500 Seafood Dinner – Dillon Ojo