As the final minutes of the skateboarding event ticked away, it appeared that Simple Session 2023 would witness a Nordic double triumph. However, the United States’ 13-year-old sensation, Julian Agliardi, and the seasoned Simple Session veteran from Spain, 28-year-old Danny Leon, had incredibly strong second-round performances that secured them the top honors.
Julian Agliardi had entered the final with the highest score from the previous day’s qualifying round. Despite not cracking the top three after his initial run, his second attempt garnered a remarkable 83.08 points. “I didn’t expect to earn such high marks,” Agliardi admitted. “But in that second run, I went all out, executing all the tricks I had in mind, even summoning the courage to pull off a 50-50 kickflip on my back atop a towering box.”
Julian expressed surprise at his victory, noting that he had primarily come to Simple Session to enjoy skating and spend time with friends. “The park here is more geared toward BMX, which challenges skateboarders to push their limits and step out of their comfort zones,” the young champion commented on the event.
Dan Cates, the head judge of the skateboarding competition, remarked on Julian’s journey, stating, “The qualifiers showed that Julian had the potential to win Simple Session, but his first final run was not as convincing. However, in the second run, he turned up the heat and delivered precisely what we all hoped to witness.”
Cates particularly lauded Julian’s entire performance, singling out the breathtaking 360 flip down from the box. “It’s a massive, towering flight that might not seem that high to the audience, but in reality, it’s a staggering height to conquer. It was one of the standout tricks of the entire competition.”
Three-time Simple Session medalist Danny Leon secured second place, earning 80.08 points in his final run. The bronze medal went to Elias Nilsen from Norway with 78.83 points, followed by Sweden’s Hampus Winberg, who scored 73.33 points.
The sole Estonian finalist, Meelis Erm, claimed the 13th spot with 63.16 points. Reflecting on his performance, Erm expressed satisfaction with his entire week and the journey to the finals, aside from a minor hiccup during his final trick. “I entered the final with a fair degree of confidence because I knew it couldn’t get much better than this. Yesterday, I gave it my all, and today, I aimed to improve even further,” said this year’s top Estonian competitor in a global-scale contest.
The judging panel for skateboarding consisted of Dan Cates (UK), Vesa Ikola (FIN), and Kristjan Prik (EST).
Boyd Hilder – a two time Simple Session champion
In the BMX street racing category, the winner was clear from the outset. Last year’s Simple Session champion, Australian Boyd Hilder, who topped the qualifications, delivered an impressive performance, earning him a commanding score of 90.33 points.
“I managed to pull off all my favorite tricks, and they all landed perfectly, so I’m thrilled with my rides,” Hilder exclaimed, hinting that it would almost be impolite not to return to Simple Session next year and aim for a third consecutive gold medal.
Bart de Jong, the BMX chief judge, commended Hilder’s performance, noting that as both a street and park rider, Hilder seamlessly blended the best aspects of both disciplines. “No one can achieve the heights he reached. He executed tricks that others couldn’t, and his rides were exceptionally clean,” he emphasized Hilder’s unique qualities. “In general, this sport evolves rapidly, with the level of competition rising year after year.”
American Matt Ray secured the silver medal with 88 points, while Jordan Godwin from Great Britain clinched the bronze with 87.5 points.
Unfortunately, no Estonian BMX riders reached the finals, with the highest-ranking Estonian being Tauno Krüüts, who secured the 31st spot in the qualifications. The BMX judging panel for Simple Session comprised Bart de Jong (NED), Markus Wilke (GER), and Toms Silins (LVA).
Looking ahead, Simple Session 2024 is scheduled to take place on August 24-25 at Tartu Kammivabrik.