The sun was out, spirits were high, and skaters out in full force at this year’s Central Massachusetts Longboard Festival. Unlike years past the event took place over a full two days, meaning there was plenty of time (and energy) for both the downhill race and slide jam — a welcome change that made Central Mass a can’t miss event not only on the east coast, but the entire country.
This year’s event saw 315 skaters and even more spectators from all over the world descend upon sleepy Harvard, MA for two days of relaxed longboarding fun with friends as well as some of the biggest names in the industry.
All in all, 208 people total entered the downhill event for the 4 divisions (Junior, Am, Women, Pro) and an additional 107 riders entered the slide jam – an epic turnout in a town of 6,000 residents.
The folks over at Resource Distribution (Riviera Skateboards, Paris Truck Co.) made some seriously fly custom banners for the event, including the Start/Finish lines and a huge race bracket that was updated throughout the day as heats were raced.
What was really awesome was seeing how many riders made the trip from far away places, a testament to the reputation of the event Mike Girard has managed to cultivate over the years. ‘Big name’ riders such as Liam Morgan, Dane Weber, Amanda Powell, Matt K., Ethan Cochard, Cindy Zhou, Levi Green, Brian Bishop, John Kruetter, Norman Plante and many more all came out to throw down and compete for not only pride and reputation, but a prize purse of $4,500, alongside some of the region’s gnarliest local rippers.
Day 1 – Downhill Race
With $2,200 in cash and more in prizes on the line, racers went hard in the paint no matter what division they were racing.
Junior and Am Divisions
Both the Junior and Am divisions had some notable names and very fast racing. NYC and CT held it down in the Juniors division, with David Ramirez taking 1st place, followed by fellow NYC native Robert Burns in 2nd, and two of our grom shredder homies, Brendan Allen and Eli Healy from Colchester, CT, taking 3rd and 4th places respectively.
The Am division was comprised of a mix of riders with a wide range of skill sets, from first-time racers to fully sponsored riders who weren’t up for racing Pro but were too old for Juniors. A bit of a proving ground for riders looking to start taking their racing more seriously as well as a division for those looking for some good ole weekend competition the Am division ended up being a lot of fun to watch. Joey Nickell from NYC took 1st with Kevin Kang (Charlotte, NC) coming in 2nd, Byron Idrovo from New Jersey in 3rd and NYC native David Yang in 4th.
Women’s and Pro Divisions
Despite having some great action in the Junior and Am divisions, the majority of the attention was focused on the big shows: the Women’s division and Pro division, both of which contained a mix of fast course locals, notable east coast skaters, and professional skaters which came together to make for some heated racing heat after heat.
The women’s bracket ended up being the most dramatic part of the afternoon, when in the finals Emily Pross went to pass Amanda Powell in the last turn. Amanda was in the lead going into the turn, when Emily went for the pass she used Amanda to pull herself past and take the lead. After the heat Mike Girard pulled together some folks with photos and video to make a final ruling that the pass was indeed illegal, and decided that instead of disqualifying Emily he would lock their positions from before the turn in, giving Amanda the win with Emily in 2nd, Monica Mejia in 3rd and Laura Nocka in 4th.
The 64 man Pro division dwindled down to Dane Webber, Matt Kienzle, Levi Green, and Daniel Fissmer for the final heat of a great day of downhill racing. When all was said and done though it was Dane Webber far out in front to reclaim his title for another year on his hometown hill. Matt K came in second with Daniel Fissmer taking 3rd and Levi Green coming in 4th.
I’ll take a second here to note that while the Tri-State area represented well overall, the Pro Division of one of the best east coast events of the season ended up being dominated by 4 dudes from out west. While they’re all super nasty skaters it’s sad none the less; the east coast has got to step it up next season and come correct haha! The talent is definitely out here, it’s just a matter of time.
Since I know many people won’t want to read the paragraphs above to see the results, I’ll make them super easy to read along with podium shots courtesy of Khaleeq Alfred.
Junior Division (Presented by Paris Trucks)
- David Ramirez (NYC)
- Robert Burns (NYC)
- Brendan Allen (Colchester, CT)
- Eli Healy (Colchester, CT)
Am Division (Presented by G-Form)
- Joey Nickell (NYC)
- Kevin Kang (Charlotte, NC)
- Byron Idrovo (Kearney, New Jersey)
- David Yang (NYC)
Women’s Division (Presented by Orangatang Wheels)
- Amanda Powell (Los Angeles, CA)
- Emily Pross (New Jersey)
- Monica Meija (NYC)
- Laura Nocka (Harvard, MA)
Pro Division (Presented by Loaded Boards)
- Dane Webber (Culver City, CA)
- Matt Kienzel (Los Angeles, CA)
- Daniel Fissmer (Los Angeles, CA)
- Levi Green (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Mike hooked it up big time by setting up a live music show hosted by DJ Squnto (Eric Roth) at a local watering hole, Billards Café, with lots of pool tables (13 to be exact) and a shuttle bus to and from the hotel and bar. Good times were had by everyone, no one died, and there was a guy wearing a horse head mask for the majority of the night. Team Mids and Earthwing definitely won the party, killing it as usual, and providing some much needed antics to keep things just rowdy enough. Things got even more interesting when Earthwing’s Jean ‘Tazer’ Teaza ended up taking home the Team Mids Award by getting a stick and poke tattoo on his inner lip that read ‘Fiend’ in the bathroom. Needless to say it was about as fun as event after parties get and was a great new addition to Central Mass.
This year’s slide jam took place on a new hill and added a number of features in the mix to make things much more interesting and fun. A pole jam, 2 kickers, wall ride and double roller dotted the hill daring people to take advantage of them, add in with the $2,300 prize purse everyone was more than ready to take things to the next level. Tom Leary, Chris O’Brien, Finn Pounds, Liam Morgan, Kai Monroe, Billy Wilson, Ethan Cochard, and too many other people to name were going so hard run after run after run.
The jam was broken into divisions much like those of the downhill race — Open (Juniors + Am), Women and Pro Freeride — and went down in a series of mixed heats to allow riders more space on the hill and try to prevent the general chaos of riders that slide jams often become. There was also a hard wheels division and a longest slide competition for both the longest toeside and heelside slides which Liam Morgan and Josh Wright won, respectively. The turnout in every division was absolutely unreal with around 200 riders total entering – 60 of them in the Pro Division alone.
Judging was done by Mike Girard, Amanda Powell, Liam Morgan, Marcus Bandy of Wheelbase Magazine, and Brian Davenport of Push Culture News who took into account a whole number of factors to find the gnarliest riders in each heat and division.
Everyone went so hard and left absolutely nothing on the table, as evidenced not only by the skating, but also by some of the gnar crashes we saw throughout the day. At first people were a bit hesitant to hit the ramps and features, but once people got warmed up and Josh Wright, Billy Wilson, Kyle Reynolds and others started playing around with them more and more people realized just how awesome they were and started taking advantage.
The Open riders showed just how promising many of them are, making us super excited for what will happen as the younger guys and girls get a little more experience over the next couple of seasons and just how far they’ll be able to push things. The Pro Division was super fun to watch with the entire hill being utilized and the features getting absolutely shredded. Josh Wright and Will Royce were flying hiiiiigh coming off the kickers, keeping everyone in the crowd super amped.
Hardwheels was dominated by (surprise surprise) the gentlemen from New York, but other notable skaters were in the mix as well including John Kruetter getting back on hardwheels for the first time in a while. In the end it was Josh Wright, Steve Sanchez and Andriy Dash who threw down the hardest to take the podium.
The women threw down hammers as well, giving a lot of the guys a run for their money. New England local Micaela Wilson showed most of the boys how to go fast and throw some calculated, steezy checks, while Carmen Shafer showed them how to use the ramps. Laura Nocka was also going in, busting out some steeze on both hard and soft wheels. Check out some of our raw runs over on YouTube to get a better sense for just how rad the skating was.
Down at the bottom of the hill there ended up being so much thane that foot breaking to a stop when doing follow runs was actually really difficult, it was like putting a foot down on sand. Brian Babish and I were able to convince Mike Girard to make a thangel which ended up gnarly, if you look down at Mike’s feet you can see that he actually pushed around a bunch of the thane dust it was so thick.
Slide Jam Results
The Slide Jam was fun for everyone, but winners had to be chosen.
Open (presented by Dad)
- Parker Ciuzio, New York, NY
- Jordan Billingsley, Amherst, NH
- Eli Healy, Colchester, CA
Hardwheel (presented by Eastern Boarder)
- Josh Wright, New York, NY
- Steven Sanchez, New York, NY
- Andriy Dash, New York, NY
Women’s (presented by Original Skateboards)
- Alicia Fillback, Portland, OR
- Micaela Wilson, Amherst, NH
- Carmen Shafer, Portland, OR
Pro (presented by Bear Trucks)
- Will Royce, Tallahassee, FL
- Dax Pradarits, Sparta, NY
- Graeme Hystad, Vancouver, BC
The 4th Annual Central Mass Longboard Festival was an unbelievable success. Expanded to 2 days for its first time, the event ran smoothly at every turn and kept both skaters and spectators happy all weekend — something you rarely hear these days. The skating was so fun and the people even more so, we really can’t wait to get back to this event again next summer, theres a reason it’s our favorite every year. The turnout this year was incredible and a sign of how the east coast scene is growing and catching the attention of skaters from all over.
A big thanks goes out again to Mike Girard for organizing such a world-class event, the volunteers, and the Town of Harvard for hosting us for the weekend! Without all their help the Central Mass 4 Longboard Festival never would have been as big a success. Big ups also go out to Brian Babish and Khaleeq Alfred for their photos that contributed in a huge way to this post.
Make sure to check out our gallery below for more photos from the event as well as the raw runs and video recap and leave us a comment below to let us know what you thought!