The first season of Olympic qualifiers consisted of 5 contests in which you're top 3 results from all the contests counted towards your World Skate Ranking. However, the South African federation doesn’t have the finances to help contribute to my travels, accommodation and entry fees therefore with the budget I was given from my sponsors, I was only able to choose 3 events that I wanted to compete at. The 3 events I chose were SLS London, SLS Los Angeles and the World Championships in Sâo Paulo, Brazil.
SLS Los Angeles was the 2nd stop for me on the Olympic Qualification series of season 1 in which the pro open qualifiers was held at the California training facility in San Diego. After my first performance at the Olympic qualification event in London, I went into this qualifier with a lot of confidence. This contest was exactly like SLS London and consisted of over 100 of the worlds best skateboarders. To qualify to skate this contest, you had to skate a national championship and place in the top 3 of your specific division. This means that the top 3 street skateboarders from each of their countries would be participating in the pro open qualifiers. The format again consisted of a 3 minute jam format that 5 skateboarders would skate the park at the same time.
In my 3 minute jam I made sure that I used the entire course while doing some technical tricks into the handrails and hubbas and also filling in the space with some basic tricks to combine my lines. Some tricks that I did on the rails to name a few were nollie bigspin lip, flip front board, 360 shuv lip and bigspin front board fakie. While some of the tricks I did on the hubbas were half cab krook, flip back tail and half cab nose slide 270 out. I honestly believed that I had done enough to qualify into the top 10 through to the semi finals but the judges obviously thought otherwise. At the end of the day the results came through and I found myself in 40th position which means that I wasn’t going to qualify through to the quarter finals at SLS Los Angeles to join the pre seeded skateboarders.
The way the skateboarders got pre seeded was at the World Championships from the year before. Therefore, all the skateboarders that made the finals at the 2018 SLS World championships in Rio De Janeiro would be pre qualified into the semi finals for the remainder of the 2019 season. Then all the skateboarders that made the semi finals would be pre seeded into the quarter finals for the remainder of the 2019 season. Lastly all the skateboarders that qualified through to the quarter finals at the World Championships would be put back into the mix of over 100 skateboarders to compete in the pro open qualifiers.
In the end I was happy with my performance and felt like I gave it all I had. I was proud to be at the event and represent my country at the highest level of competitive skateboarding. I also ranked 45 positions clear of the next African Compeitor which means I am still qualifying for the Olympic Games on the African Continental quota. However, This doesn’t fuel my drive and I knew that I had to make some changes to the way I was skating these jam formats because clearly my current strategy to qualify for the quarter finals wasn’t working for me. One of my good friends Matias Dell Olio (ARG) skated the pro open qualifiers as well and I saw him miss a significant amount of tricks in the Jam format but he landed about 3 really technical flip in and out combination tricks that got him into the quarter finals. I now know that its not all about staying on your board the whole 3 minutes in the jam format but rather executing extremely technical tricks that would amaze the judges and show them you have potential to score high points in the best trick section in the SLS format.