FISE 2022 just happened and we’re still reeling from it! It’s always been the perfect way to kick off the summer, and this year was a wonderful reminder of that. Two years break meant that riders were keener than ever to prove what they’ve been working on, crowds were even more hyped, hell, even the sun seemed to be shining brighter than before.
I was happy to be there with cameras but this time, I wasn’t filming. I cut around with a mix of gear to capture stills. Stills of the riding, of course, plus snippets on the deck and behind the scenes.
The women’s park contest held some surprises. First up, our Charlotte Worthington struggled a bit. She didn’t find much luck and crashed during practice, so I guess she wasn’t feeling 100% going into the final. Hannah Roberts was also suffering with an injury, though still threw down some good tricks. I missed watching Perris and Teresa flowing around the course, but other than that, it was a hell of a show. Lizsurley Villegas Serna blasted a solid first run, then blasted even harder in her second run – until she ejected from a huge frontflip over the box, landing hard away from the bike. A scary moment, but she walked away. Her first run secured her first place, and luckily, her twin sister (who also rode very well) was available to stand in for the podium.
The men’s contest was pretty epic. I mean, it does go on for a few days, with qualifiers, semi-finals and finals spread across the weekend. I won’t describe much of what happened, except one thing: Anthony Jean Jean. He delivered a staggering performance. Nobody rode that course like Anthony. The crowd were pretty biased, cheering their countryman on, but it seemed almost every other rider was also on his side. His first run, though strong, only landed him third place. The crowd may have booed the judges at this point – in their minds, it was the winning run. Logan Martin and Rim Nakamura kept slaying, coming in at 2nd and 1st respectively, but it was Anthony Jean Jean who would take the last run, as he had qualified in the top spot the day before.
Jean Jean’s second run was it. A genuine tour de force. Full of surprises. A performance full of heart, on home soil, with thousands and thousands of people screaming for him. That insane gap from the vert wall to bank that you see in the photos below? He sent a double whip over it, out of nowhere. That was a big surprise. And he landed that with enough speed to stick a perfect double backflip over the box immediately afterwards. Oh man, THIS WAS IT. He kept it up, with more big tricks, a transfer up into the smaller section towards the step down spine, kicked a triple whip… and didn’t quite catch it. That was that. Not a huge crash, but a run ending crash. Everywhere I turned, people looked heartbroken for him. Without taking anything away from Rim, who was also a proper joy to watch, and Logan, who was on solid form, Anthony Jean Jean deserved to win that day.
Words & photos: Robin Pearson