World’s best skateboarders coming to London

UK Skateboarders Helena Long and Alex Decunha

One of the world’s top skateboarding competitions is returning to London this May.

The Street League Skateboarding world tour will be coming to the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on May 25 and 26 and will feature some of the world’s top skateboarders.

Following the success of last year’s SLS London event, Mayor Sadiq Khan is “delighted” for the tour to return this year.

He said: “It promises to be a great weekend and once again showcases our credentials as a leading global city for major sporting events.”

It is also a chance for some of the top UK skateboarders to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ahead of the sport’s debut as an Olympic sport.

The event will also help put London on the skateboarding map as SLS London will celebrate the capital’s rich street skating community for millions across the world to watch online.

There will be a custom-built concrete skate plaza for the event, designed to inspire audacious new tricks and to allow the competitors to perform at the top level.

The competition is easy to understand even for people not familiar with skateboarding as the scoring is instant and it provides excitement with ‘buzzer beater’ tricks to send the crowd wild.

The Copper Box Arena Pic:Wikimedia Commons

Londoner Helena Long, 28, is competing and explained what she loves about skate events: “I think it’s incredibly important to have as many skateboarding events in London whether its Street League or a local skate park hosting a fun little jam.”

She calls it “an opportunity to bring back some appreciation for skateboarding,” and hopes that it breaks down London’s negative association with street skating. She emphasises that skateboarding should be acknowledged for the incredible skill involved and says the event will “demonstrate skateboarding at its best.”

“It’s really important to a lot of skateboarders who want to make it to the Olympics so spectators are going to see some really high standard, incredible skateboarding.”

Alex Decunha, 22, is another of the UK skateboarders competing at SLS London and trying to qualify for the Olympics. He explained how the competition works:

“You have your own single run for one minute, so you have to plan out your run and plan what tricks you want to do. After that you have maybe seven attempts to try whatever tricks you like around the park, the more you land, the more points you’re getting.”

“It’ll be judged by five judges on the panel who will score you out of ten. They will judge you on selection of tricks, how much of the park you’re using and how you’re using the park. You have to play it smart and do what you know you can do.”

Home to some of the “most well known skaters” the event will be live streamed on the internet for global reach.

Alex urges even non-skaters to come and watch because the atmosphere in itself is incredible: “The vibes are crazy. Someone will land a trick and the whole stadiums screams, they’re so hyped.”

Tickets for Street League Skateboarding London are on sale now.

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