The competitors came from all over the world -- places as varied as Peru, Kazakhstan, and Denmark -- to New York’s Chinatown to prove one thing: when it comes to skateboarding, the devil is in the details.
Casual fans of the sport have seen the big-air skateboarders, the ones who soar above ramps and trick their way into their fans’ hearts. These athletes usually also have access to well-maintained skateparks -- and to corporate sponsors that are willing to fork out for the medical bills that inevitably come with attempts to defy gravity.
But big air has a low-to-the-ground, more-egalitarian sibling. Manual skating -- a discipline where riders flip and spin in and out of two-wheeled balancing acts -- is one of the most difficult forms to master. A very different skill set is required: patience, perseverance, and an adroit pair of feet.
Pro skaters who excel at manual tricks -- such as Joey Brezinski, Brandon Biebel, and Kenny Anderson -- are revered by their peers for the amount of technical acumen and creativity it takes to master the moves.
Part of the joy of manual skating is its simplicity; it is accessible to anyone with a skateboard, a slab of pavement, and a willingness to twist an ankle or two in the name of sport. This allows Red Bull’s Manny Mania contest series to seek out manual masters from around the world.
Check out the November issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands October 11) for more of the article. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.