For their fifth year in Europe, Vans headed to the beautiful French capital for their latest Downtown Showdown. Naturally, we were in attendance. Set at La Grande Halle de la Villette in northeast Paris, the event was attended by over 15,000 people from all corners of the globe who descended upon the structure to watch some of the world’s fastest-rising skateboarders compete for €50,000 in prizes.
The competition took place among four obstacles designed by the Palace, Element, Cliché and Flip teams, making for a total “for skateboarders, by skateboarders” course. Members of Antiz, Cliché, Death, Dropdead, Blind, Element, Flip, Isle, Metropolitan, Palace, Radio and Sweet went head to head on all four obstacles, while judges made note of each rider’s unique offerings.
As far as pro riders go, Luan Oliveira placed first on the Palace obstacle and took home the award for Best Pro. Nassim Guammaz represented the amateurs and placed first on the Flip obstacle, while taking home the prize for Best Amateur. Overall, the Element riders placed first for Best Team with Sweet, Flip and Dropdead placing second, third and fourth respectively.
In between sessions, different events were held including a fantastic barbecue hosted by none other than Steve Van Doren. Professional barbers were on site as well, offering locals and tourists alike a free haircut, while design and graphic fans could learn how to screen print their own T-shirt. Of course, no Vans event would be complete without artists bringing their creations to life in front of attendees. This year’s artists included an international cast featuring the likes of Jay Croft, Jay Howell, Rich Jacobs, Jim “Jimp” Hollingworth, Chris Versteeg, French, Russ Pope, Kev Grey, Nicolas Thomas and Nicolas Le Borgne, whose works were auctioned live with all proceeds going to the A.skate foundation. After the day’s events, riders and visitors kept the energy going at the killer after party featuring the music of legendary hip-hop ground Black Moon.
All in all, this year’s Downtown Showdown, just like last year’s in Amsterdam, already has us excited for the next one. For more information and to see who else took home a piece of the pie, head over to the official website. Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Nassim Guammaz and in the meantime, check out the video below.