Vert Alert is a Wrap #vertsoldiersuniteAugust 30, 2022
JACKALOPE FEST, Virginia BeachJune 8, 2023
The World Skateboard Park World Championship in Sharjah, UAE, was a full week packed with top shelf skateboarding, culture seeking, Rocking the Casbah. Steven Pineiro would be the lone Embassy entry into this line up of 60 Countries, and 125 skaters vying to make the cut in this opportunity to rep their country in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics. Jaime Mateu, the crazy “Concrete Destroyer” from Spain would leave the UAE with an injured knee. He’ll recover proper and come back stronger than ever. Bombette Martin would also be nursing a knee injury, therefore having to bow out from qualifying, however that didn’t stop here from having 2 weeks of desert fun.
Steven Pineiro came to this comp to leave a “no doubt” about it attitude.
The Energy in the venue for the Quarter finals was electrifying. Its been more than a year since the gathering of this pool of skateboard talent has assembled. This World Championship would have an exotic setting, for anyway you spin it, “We’re in the Middle East, having a Top Tier Skateboard Contest.” The Aljada Skatepark is located just 25 minutes north of Central Dubai, in the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah in the UAE. The park is a California Skatepark built with some Olympic Gold Medalist Keegan Palmer influence. Everybody seemed to love the park, Keegan did a great job with his input on design. All weeks practice was leading up to “The 32 cut”, which would be as intense as any cut. Everybody brought their “A” game. I would have liked to see Ivan Federico and Cory Juneau complete a run. They both had a great line going. Rune Glifberg was also killing it all week. The format here was 2, 45 second run’s, best run counts. That’s all it is, two 45 seconds to secure and achieve the goal. “Make it count”, that’s What Jaun Pineiro, Steven’s younger brother and coach would say. “How important is that back tail. Cause if you can’t do it 3 times in a row, or I’ll give 3 out of 5, then perhaps you should think of something else”. Situation is Steven Pineiro is made for moments like this. Make it count, leave “no doubt”. Just do the best you can. In an arena like this, with all eyes watching. Showcase the skills. Make the judges understand it’s child’s play. Busting out a “Melon 540” on the first wall is a leave “no doubt” moment, it’s making a statement, it’s earned and not given. So much for that! Below is Bombette and Mary Martin putting on the STOKE.
We partnered up with our friend “El Presidente” from Dubai, Owner of RAGE SKATESHOP, the oldest Skateshop in the Middle East. This was XDUBAI Skatepark in Kite Beach Dubai, UAE. The coping was buttery marble. The locals were stoked to meet Steven & Bombette, and all the “Pro’s”. “El Presidente” had the Pop up looking good.
It’s crazy waters as we navigate through understanding “The Path”. As in “The Path to Paris 2024 Olympics”. Skateboarding has always been an individual thing. We all grew up as “Misfits”. Now skateboarding has been widely accepted in every time zone on the planet. It’s become an Olympic event. So do you embrace the movement of being on that platform. Or do you shy away from it to keep your core value system in place, and say Skateboarding is not a sport and shouldn’t be in the Olympics. Well, if your Steven Pineiro, and you lived for this moment since you were 10 years old. (and he’s the most punk rock guy I know)Then it’s Show time. Although this arena is definitely not for every one. The level of skateboarding is top of the food chain. And let’s not forget the $50,000.00 US 1st place cash prize. All in all the vibe was very competitive, but very friendly and the stoke was always in the air. These guys and girls have been skating together, for most of their lives. To see Keegan Palmer and Pedro Barros discuss the lines and the possibilities was amazing. Everybody cheered each other on all week. The brotherhood and comradery in skateboarding at the highest level is still, JUST SKATEBOARDING. And nothing on the planet compares to it. NO JOCKS ALLOWED! EVER!
Steven & Juan discuss the possibilities.
In the Women’s, Sky Brown took the top honor’s this week. It would be the same podium as in Tokyo, but this time Sky sitting on top. The girls are all ripping. The level of skating is amazing on the progression. The trick selection is good to see the girls are being taught how to do it “proper” A tuck knee frontside air is common place as to what it was during the VPS. The girls have STYLE! Seeing Jordan Santana doing fast gnarly lip slides is just stylish. Grace Marhoefer skates, fast and hard with that Florida vibe as well. All the girls KILL IT.
All in all it was an amazing week in Dubai. ARADA and World Skate has a 6 year deal to bring the World Championships to the Middle East. We will be returning to Dubai to do demos this summer with Collin Graham, Steven, Nathan Midgette and the Embassy crew. I want to give special TEXAS shout out to “El Presidente” and RAGE SKATESHOP for the hospitality. Unitil next time, we look forward to returning to the Desert.
Words and Photos by Lee Leal.