Monday, August 22, 2011

Pro Comps. Too much Drama? What's Going On? (part 4 of 4)

Dane Beardsley takes first at the final stop of the AM flat circuit, 2011. The largest flatland circuit in the USA!

Part 4!

Yesterday we left off talking about moving from a "comps + sponsors" way of thinking to a "shows + sponsors" for making it as a pro rider and how to organize ourselves to be able to handle TV appearances and commercials.

Bobby: All that needs to be discussed with the riders and input given from different people's experience.

Effraim: Seems like you agree bobby we are at an all time low

Bobby: hmmmm....depends on what aspect you are talking about...

Effraim: Contests, lack of structure.

Bobby: I think we were at an all time low right after x-games dropped us and before the first Voodoo jam. At least now flatlanders are still trying to do something for flatland, organizing flatland jams and events. That stuff wasn't going on as much as during x-games era.

Effraim: The positives are the amount of blogs, websites popping up, motvating riders daily. The x games was just a paycheck.
There was no judging system that i knew of in place. "Why did i get that score?" You know what i mean? People need to get a reality check and work for the long term. Not the short term pay check.

Bobby: Yes. I think there are a lot of possibilities, but we will have to think differently and experiment with new things, not just go through the same motions over and over again, expecting a different result. I don't think judging is appropriate for pro riders. They need the freedom to create their own tricks and flow. They need to create and ride without worrying about doing things that the judges will like. Just like Martti does in his web edits.

Effraim: I always remember Steve Mulder...How on earth did i ever beat that guy? The guy was a machine, one of the best riders, but because he had one hit tricks and i had combos, I'd place higher What was harder? His tricks for me.
No system in place for judges to go "wait a minute?"

Bobby: See what I mean... let Mulder do what he does and let Big E do what Big E does. No need for judging. You guys have created different albums. You guys can do more good working together than battling against each other these days.

Effraim: I see what your saying..hahaha! i like that. Well right now my album would be called "Less is More."

Bobby Carter: Nice!

Effraim: Hence the clips not edits.. Its to the point.

Bobby: Right. Understood.

Effraim: What were you saying about martti? We got side tracked there?

Bobby: He's achieving what I call "pure flatland." He's doing what he wants to do on his bike free of judgement.

Effraim: Yes, hes a purist, he's one of a dying breed you might say. He hasn't given up the fight.

Bobby: Or maybe the first of new breed that has yet to be born?

Effraim: We'll he's one of a kind, that's for sure. He's a role model in so many ways. Look how he broke up that fight at fise. He could have walked away. I know he wanted to. I wanted to also.

Bobby: I wasn't there, so I didn't see the altercation...

Effraim: I'm just saying hes a role model.

Bobby: Word.

Effraim: He didn't have to do that. He inspires....Intrikat video parts, his contest training methods inspired a new generation (terry, justin for example)...junglerider...groundtactics....He's active.

Bobby: The Intrikat years...That was a sweet era. Now let's see what's in store for the next era.

Effraim: He brought video tricks to the contests. So it can be done. If you want it?
Do you want it? How much do you want it?

Bobby: Do I want what?

Effraim: I'm just saying in general..if you want something, make it happen, nothings impossible.

Bobby: Yes, somethings happen, maybe not in the way you first envisioned them, but they happen.

Effraim: Exactly, someone's interpretation..there's room for so much in flatland.

Bobby: I think that people want flatland to grow, but I don't think that's going to happen through pro comps...probably more likely through shows, demos, jams, commercials, TV appearances etc., web blogs, etc.

Effraim: Sure everyone does. Just needs a central point to flow out of.

Terry Adams handling business on MTV Singapore.

Bobby: And on the underground, the tricks are just going to keep getting harder. People are going to keep riding, that's not going to stop. Money or no money riders will find a way to ride...

Effraim: Of course they always have. No different than when i started.

Bobby: But for those who are inclined to putting in the effort to develop flatland, I think we have to experiment and think outside the "box" of pro-comps. I think there is a great opportunity for creativity at the moment for flatland companies. The web edits are a very efficient way for companies to let the world know what their company stands for and what they are about. A 4 minute web edit allows the world to focus on your brand and riders. Since comps are not covered very much in the magazines, there is the opportunity for flatlanders to come up with stories, link lifestyle with sport, and create interesting articles that magazines can print. This type of article can engage people much better than a contest report.

Effraim: So what are the solutions Bobby? Perhaps a independent panel to look at contest formats and see which format riders would like the best, I mean who decided almost every contest would be a battle? Who decides where each event will be in the World Circuit? Who decides there will be 4 rounds?
There's room for so much more, 2 run formats, 3 min runs, (i.e, Masters), its a big deal if you win the Masters. that contest in the past would attract big crowds and a lot of riders, 59 one year for example. I remember that one year at the Worlds in Koln, Martti kicked all our asses hard, he brought the house down, that was one of the loudest crowds for flatland I've ever heard, without a drop of showmanship. There's other things like more recently Rad dad's Hitchhiker juggler contest, it kind of judges itself, its fun, it will no doubt bring people out of the woodwork to get involved and have a crack at that.

Bobby: Well, I don't have any solutions for the contests. That's the problem with contests...In my opinion they aren't the solution. Back in the day it was a different era. It was the main place in which we could exchange information with a bunch of other riders. It was a platform to show new tricks. Magazines covered these events extensively. Now we have the web edits to show new tricks and facebook to exchange information. Also, nobody will agree to one format. Deep crew will come up with their format for their comp, but then KOG will have a different set up, and yet Battle at the bricks another format, Jomo Pro will do their thing and so on.... Every time a formula is suggested, some organizer or some riders or both will throw a fit. If people want do comps, that's cool, they can do each pro comp as they see fit, but I don't see pro comps as the major component for the development of flatland anymore. That's just my opinion...

Bobby: Basically, pro flatland comps are like scrimmage games. It's for our own enjoyment within flatland, but it doesn't have the same impact as back in the day in terms of developing flatland. Except in specific situations like the Masters or Circle of Balance, they are not efficient at getting pro riders paid, nor are they efficient for brands to get their message across, and they are not efficient at engaging the pros with the rest of the riders. Jams are very efficient at letting AMs interact with Pros and see the products first hand. Web edits are very efficient at getting a brand's messaging across. They also allow riders to show their hardest tricks! Commercials, shows, corporate demos, flatland schools, and the sponsors one could get from these forms of exposure, could get pros paid while building the flatland community at the same time.

Well...that's the end of conversation Effraim and I had over a facebook chat. I hope you learned something. I hope you can share something with us. Thanks for reading. Keep riding! Keep experimenting! Keep enjoying flatland! Keep flatland FREEstyle!


  1. I have to say it again. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. I want to keep reading. It was like you were both in the same room. This is real content at its best.

    Rad Dad

  2. I agree, Rad Dad, good reading.

    That governing body concept seems like it could do some good. Something that could be tested with BMX in general at a micro level here in Hawaii, then applied specifically to flatland on a global scale.

    I'm just saying, if that's something you want to get started, I'd like to help when you're out here, Bobby.