The concept being used in the Ultimate Boarder competition is a unique one, but will it excite and attract the full attention of the action sports industry as it has set out to do? Judging by the caliber of athletes they’ve already attracted and a prize purse of $50,000, they just might.
Opening its field to both amateur and professional athletes, the Ultimate Boarder, held from April 13-19, gives unknown riders a chance to shine alongside the pros and compete for the first-ever Ultimate Boarder championship and a first place prize of $30,000. At the completion of each event competitors will be ranked 1st through 50th place. The contestant who consistently places the highest in all three sports and has the lowest number of ranking points overall will be crowned the Ultimate Boarder. Athletes must compete in all three sports in order to be included in the final event results and be eligible for the prize purse.
The snowboarding portion of the event will be held at Squaw Valley, the surfing will be done at “C” Street in Ventura, and they will wrap it up with skateboarding and the awards ceremony at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
I’ve seen variations of this format attempted before, but obviously none that have made enough noise to stick around. Take a look at some of the contestants who have already thrown their names in the hat to be the first Ultimate Boarder and you’ll see why this is a contest you’ll want to keep your eyes on. Omar Hassan, Andy Finch, John John Florence, Todd Richards, Tosh Townend, and many more have already confirmed their attendance at the competition. Follow that line-up with judges like Jim Rippey, Shaun Thomson, and Christian Hosoi, and the Ultimate Boarder has sufficient star-power to become a mainstay in the action sports industry.
With athletes more than likely dominating in their specific sport, it’s going to come down to whoever has polished their game enough in the other two categories. We all know what John John can do on a surfboard, but how will he fare on the mountain? Being from Hawaii I can’t imagine he gets too much time on the snow. This is where a contest of this nature will really get interesting.
No word yet on if Shaun White has decided to enter. If the ‘flying-tomato’ does decide that he’s in, the Ultimate Boarder may as well have a check already printed up with his name on it.