June 18-20, 2004
Marseille, France
Words by Jean Terrisse
Photos by Claude Queyrel

MARSEILLE, FRANCE – BOWLRIDER 2004 – The best contest of the year took off with the usual ingredients: sun, beer and aggressive skating. It was the fifth one, and I thought that maybe they had done something for the audience. Well, as usual the spectators couldn’t see anything from the grassy hills around. I was glad I was lucky enough to obtain the sacred wristband giving access to the park, which meant that I could also drink free Fosters everyday from 4 p.m. until the bar closed. So many people were missing. No wonder the level hasn’t been improving that much. This year the bus started from Marseille to carry everybody to Brixlegg, Austria, so the contestants taking part in both contests weren’t too road weary yet. The top dogs gave it their all and Duncan went nuts on the mic. This year, Red came out and gave a great display of inverts everywhere, including off the extension wall. Some of the big names choked in their semifinal runs, like Glifberg who was injured or something. Benji Galloway hauled ass and did a million tricks until Saturday, then he blew it for some reason. Too bad. He’s turned out to be one of Marseille’s favorite skaters. Be back soon Benji, the south will rise again! Legend Steve Olson was supposed to show up but supposedly he missed the bus or something. During the finals, the organizers added a rainbow-shaped extension to the usual five feet vert wall so the pros could show how good they are at adapting. Not to be forgotten, there was also a big starting ramp for speed. During the jam, all six skaters would drop in at once and it looked great. Kanights’s girlfriend was knocked out by a flying board, and some poor bastard got a concussion half an hour after the contest. Also, Ben Krahn split his chin open and Brian Patch injured his knee but finished his runs anyway. The finalists were: 6th – Chris Senn: The usual super-stylish Chris destroyed the park, but lacked a bit in consistency. Maybe too many bails on maneuvers involving kickflips. 5th – Alex Cochini: This little boy was a surprise. No wonder though ,the park local was very fast, very high, and extremely motivated. He didn’t have enough variety, but did the tricks he knew at incredible speed. 4th – Alain Goikotchea: Fast and furious Spaniard. He got the best trick award with a frontside rock off the big wall. I wonder why Spain has so many tranny rippers. Maybe something in the water. 3rd – Alex Giraud: No-one knows the park like he does. Back after three years of injuries, the local boy flew across every hip and did the biggest transfer ever from the hip to the clover. 2nd – Tony Trujillo: After puking between his runs, he did his usual rock n’ roll show. He jumped from everywhere and always landed on his feet and added an eggplant and a frontside handplant to his repertoire. 1st – Omar Hassan: Omar won for the third time and really, no one could have caught him. He upped the ante every time and brought out some power tricks like fastplants to fakie in the big bowl and 5-O grinds to taildrop on the wall, plus all the big flip and 540 stuff. Doesn’t matter what most ignorant and jealous people think of the judging, this isn’t a fashion show and after fifteen years of pro experience, the guy knows what it takes to win. Thinking about it, the Marseille contest came down to an Omar/Trujillo battle for the third year in a row. Reminded me of the technical wizardry of Hawk versus Hosoi’s air show in the eighties. It’s about time more heavy hitters like Speyer, Petersen, Partanen, Hewitt etc. come back and duke it out. Keep coming to Marseille, we want you around to enjoy the party! – JEAN TERRISSE

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