The world's most unexpected triathlon is underway. An international field of surfers, skaters, and snowboarders descended on California's Mammoth Mountain on Saturday, battling the elements, each other and a three-jump, three-rail slopestyle course in the first stage of Ultimate Boarder 2011.
With the surf of Seaside Reef and the unforgiving walls of a near vertical mini-ramp waiting for them later this week in San Diego, the eclectic crew of professional and amateur boarders took to the snow in hopes of staking an early lead in the race for supreme boardsports bragging rights and, of course, a slice of the $50,000 prize purse. In the end, the win went to Reno's Chas Guldemond, who stomped a switch double cork 1080 on his final run to edge out fellow snowboarder and Mammoth Lakes local Trevor Jacob, who took second. Ultimate Boarder vet Shayne Popisil, who technically is a snowboarder but can more than hold his own on a surfboard, placed third on Saturday.
Guldemond and Jacob were the clear leaders throughout the day in a field that included snowboarders like B.J. Linne, Brian Richardson and Mugs McGuiness competing alongside not-so-snow savvy professional skaters and surfers. One of the skaters, two-time Ultimate Boarder champion Chad Shetler, placed 10th on Saturday, setting himself up to have a shot at his third consecutive overall title.
Other highlights from Saturday include Garrett Warnick, riding for Team Encrypted, taking home first place honors on the team side of the draw, while Mark Reininga, effortlessly clicking nollie front-flips off the lower rail all day, put his Revolt team in second place. And, in the first-ever Ultimate Boarder Grom division (15 and under and also team based), Gabe Ferguson led his team Big Chill to the top spot.
Now in its fourth year, Ultimate Boarder takes the holy trinity of boardsports -- surf, skate and snow -- and has athletes compete in all three disciplines over the course of seven days, eventually crowning an overall solo champion and an overall team champ (the team competition features a different rider per event).
Next up, athletes swap out goggles and Gor-Tex for wetsuits and wave riding vehicles and head to the beach. The waiting period for stage two of Ultimate Boarder starts Tuesday, April 5, at Seaside Reef in San Diego and runs through April 7. "I'll be the guy in the leader's jersey going out into the surf and getting pummeled," said Saturday's winner Guldemond about the surf portion of the contest. "Seriously, I'm thinking about bringing a life vest out there."