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A BALANCING ACT

2Up's Second Year

 

WORDS: Stu Gomez

 

On February 26, 2014, Marc Johnson's 2Up entry was posted, capping off the contest's first year. Once the polls closed and Daewon was announced as the winner, we knew that a second round was in order. We soon confirmed Shane O'Neill, Chris Haslam, PJ Ladd, Bobby De Keyzer, Walker Ryan, Theotis Beasley, Sebo Walker, Tom Asta, Cody Cepeda, and Richie Jackson, for the 2015 contest; it was a staggering lineup. 

Back at the drawing board, we brainstormed a bunch of different block shapes. And, once again, our tightknit squad became very passionate about… math. All the granular details and measurement mumbo jumbo that street skaters rarely need to concern themselves would consume us for weeks. Everything had to be just right for our second go-round—and that takes an inordinate amount of planning. (Who thought that manuals could be so hard?) Here's a sample discussion from February 2015:

"Considering the proportions seem right, if we wanted to scale it down in length, then we should decrease accordingly for all features. If we want the block to be 10 feet long, then it should be roughly 12 inches tall on the ends and 7.5 inches tall at the base. If we want it 8 feet long: about 10 inches on the ends and 6 inches at the base."

Ugh. This was not skateboarding.

After ultimately landing on a wish list of a dozen unique designs—even spreading our wings with an ill-fated mini halfpipe (pictured below)—the general consensus was: simplify. If there was one take away from the first edition of 2Up, it's that our manualers are kings of adaptation. They will make do with whatever is on hand, and that improvisatory quality is a huge part of the magic. Besides, there is such a thing as too many choices.

 

Proposed blocks for 2Up 2015.

 

Out with the old, in with the new and improved: we put the word out to our local fans that the old 2Up blocks are up for grabs; new versions of the blocks would have "slits," making the modular aspect of filming less of a nightmare.

On the digital content front, we focused on how we can create more of an impact. Last year's 2Up rollout was a spartan affair—one part per day, bada bing bada boom—and we planned a more robust footprint for our sophomore effort. Each rider would have a behind-the-scenes "Manual Process" and we would produce a few one-off edits as well, including a literal lunch break filming sesh featuring facilities manager, and SOVRN rider, Justin Damer. (Some of the additional 2Up content was inadvertently named after old Tilt Mode videos: "Man Down" and "Bonus Round". We were obviously running out of ideas for titles.)

Chase filming Chris Haslam. Photo: Yoon. 

 

After weeks of filming and editing, the series was announced for late May and scheduled to wrap up just before BATB 8 Finals Night. On June 10, Chris Haslam was announced as the winner with an entry that is nearly impossible to duplicate. 

In retrospect, it was fitting that Haslam followed Daewon Song as the winner of 2015's 2Up. The 2006 Almost video, Cheese and Crackers, served as an influence in the contest's early phases. The video's spirit of invention was pinned to each of our mental mood boards, and each year the riders exceeded our expectations. 

Sebo makes his mark. Photo: Yoon

And, we can't stress this enough, 2Up is an extremely challenging contest. Creativity is as important as physical ability. Thankfully, the riders we picked over the years love a good challenge.

Season 3 starts on Tuesday. You'll notice that there are some returning 2Up alumni involved—call it a 2Up re-up—and some familiar block designs. But so what if the blocks are the same? We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here; we're leaving that up to this year's 2Up manny men.

Watch all of 2015's 2Up entries below, and read about the contest's first year here.

 

Shane O'Neill

 

Chris Haslam

 

PJ Ladd

 

Bobby De Keyzer

 

Walker Ryan

 

Theotis Beasley

 

Sebo Walker

 

Cody Cepeda

 

Richie Jackson

 

Tom Asta

 

And the winner of the first 2Up is…

 

Honorable mention: Justin Damer's "Manual Labor"