A Little Balance

Josh Brooks

Mike Mo didn't come in first because Eli Reed crushed it all around, but this switch tre flip switch manual was no joke.

Besides all the East Coast West Coast jabber, there's something else that the Red Bull Manny Mania contest shines a light upon—manual magicians. There are a handful of skaters that are known primarily for their manual skills, like Brandon Biebel, Ronnie Creager, Stevie Williams, Rob Welsh and Joey Brezinski —I could keep going, but I won't—who might not get the chance to show their skills in a contest format.

Although skateboarding is starting to round itself out, we're still in an era that thrives on gaps, rails and feats risking nard smashing bodily harm. The skill and technicality of flicking and turning into and out of two wheels is often overlooked even to an avid skate fan, let alone the general public, who's mouth waters at the sight of a skate bail that comes close to Jake Brown's forty foot Mega Ramp debacle ("Make it or Jake it!").

So, it brightens the world to highlight skateboarding's more precise side, especially at the tail end of a weekend that brought the best to celebrate New York's unique history in the big picture of skating. Last year's winner, Joey Brezinski designed the decidedly less frightening obstacles (when compared to the ledge, spine ramp and rail at Brooklyn Banks) and a lot of people expected him to manual himself into the finals.

But, in the end, éS and Expedition's Kelly Hart , Girl's Mike Mo and the East coast's Eli Reed made it to the finals. Kelly Hart put down a switch shov-it switch manual among a few other things. Mike Mo killed it all day, with a hang ten nollie 360 shov-it manual (you're just going to have to see the video for this one) earlier in the day and a load of bangers in the finals, like switch heel switch nose manual, switch tre flip switch manual, and halfcab manual backside flip. But, Eli Reed, hot off the premiere of Zoo York's State of Mind video (in which he has been rumored to have best part), pulled out a variety of bangers, like switch backside 180 manual nollie bigspin out, backtail on a box to manual to front board on a flat bar (also makes more sense in video), manual to feeble, backlip to manual and too much stuff to write here...really.

It was heartwarming to see a kid who's been loyal to the East Coast for years (including repping homegrown companies and hooking up local kids with product, tools and advice) win the Red Bull Manny Mania championship belt, $10,000 and a lot of notoriety for one of skating's often ignored skill sets. In an industry born out of California and fixated on stunts, the underground was front and center today and there's probably no better winner than Eli to finish it all off.

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