Words - Jenna Selby, Photos Garret Naka and Julian Bleecker

Nora Vasconcellos

The Combi Pool Classic was held at the Vans Skatepark in Orange County, California last weekend. This event is quickly going down in the history as one of the best, or possibly THE best, bowl contests there is in female skateboarding. This was the 2nd year of event and it has definitely grown in stature from last year’s comp, with a larger number of participants, a higher level of skating, many more spectators looking on and a panel of judges which boasted legendary names such as Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi, and World Cup's Sasha Steinhorst.

All the top amateur and professional female pool riders made an appearance. Ams contestant Annika Vrklan surely won the prize for best slam though - knocking out a few teeth before the comp had even started! But in true skate trooper style she turned up toothless but ready to compete the following day and went on to place 6th.

The qualifiers format for both Ams and Pros was a one 30 second introduction run followed by a 15 minute jam in running order - which equaled out to about 4 runs per skater. In the Pro contest Lizzie Armanto, Allysha Bergado, Amelia Brodka, Mimi Knoop, Julie Kindstrand, Nora Vasconcellos, Justyce Tabor, Abby Zsarnay, Mandy Esch, and Jen O'Brien all progressed to the finals.

And what an outstanding final it was! Trick after trick was thrown down - handplants, frontside bonelesses, body jars, stalefishs, lein airs, hip airs, gay twists, judo airs, backside air double grabs, frontside inverts, fastplants to name but a few. It was just super gnarly lines in an extremely challenging pool!

Allysha Inverts

Ist place and a hefty $3500 cheque went to 15 year old Allysha Bergado. Her effortlessly flowing runs included an amazing stalefish, a line of double grabs, inverts and frontside boneless footplants.

Mimi Knoop

Mimi Knoop placed 2nd landing some incredible indy airs, frontside boneless, ollie to nosegrinds, fast plants and eggplants! Lizzie Armanto came in a close third nailing feebles to fakie, stalefish frontside airs, and textbook backside airs.

Well done also to those riders in the Ams comp - 'chomping at the bit' as they say - 13 year old Mikayla Sheppard from Anaheim took first with smooth 50.50s, frontside and backside airs. There were even two 7 year olds and a 9 year old ripping the pool - the future of girls pool skating right there! Events like the Combi Pool Classic demonstrate just how much female bowl riding is growing and flourishing.

Mimi Knoop said: "The hope is to create more big events like this in the future to continue to raise the bar in not only skating, but also competition/and event standards. Womens (transition) skateboarding easily stands on it's own now and it's only the beginning for these riders!"

Pro Results:

1 - Allysha Bergado $3500

2 - Mimi Knoop $1800

3 - Lizzie Armanto $1500

4 - Julie Kindstrand $1000

5 - Amelia Brodka $750

6 - Nora Vasconcellos $400

7 - Justyce Tabor $250

8 -Abby Zsarnay $200

9 - Mandy Esch $200

10 - Jen O'Brien $200

Pro Winners

Ams Results:

1 - Mikayla Sheppard

2 - Arianna Carmona

3 - Hannah Branom

4 - Tarryn Ross

5 - Madi Thomas

6 - Annika Vrklan

7 - Hannah Chumley

8 - Lilly Graves

9 - Brenna Pawley

10 - Ava Cavanaugh

Ams Winners