As It Was: OQS Budapest In Review

Written by Niall Neeson

The thing about these lookbacks upon all of the events on the Road To Paris – whether  World Skateboarding Tour events or  Olympic Qualifying Series – is that they  aren't necessarily meant to impart any new information: by now, the dust has settled. The scores and intrigues and ramifications and permutations have, by now, all been figured out and processed.

Joeseph Garbaccio 270 lip WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 8

Joseph Garbaccio, 270 lipslide Ph: Kenji

This is just about looking back at the skating itself, and the people and the atmosphere and the love and the energy and the crowds and everything else which contributes to skateboarding's greatest rolling roadshow of this new era.

Kokona Hiraki nose grind WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Bryce Kanights 8867

Kokona Hiraki, nosegrind. Ph: Kanights

As this is a standalone article we shouldn't assume any prior knowledge, so to be startlingly brief: OQS Budapest was the second leg of what you might consider a Semifinal for the Paris Olympics. 44 per discipline are entered, but only 22 skateboarders can proceed to the end.

crowd WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 8

Full house. Ph: Kenji

Even more so than with the previous OQS leg in Shanghai , Budapest was understandably fraught with tension and dreams on a knife-edge.

Hinano Kusaki 540 WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 4

Hinano Kusaki, 540 Ph: Kenji

With all that said, though, the thing that stands out most in my memory is seeing people skating the public ramps just for the sake of it. OQS Budapest, you see, took place on a huge triangular campus of one of Hungary's leading third-level education centres for public service.

Yuto Horigome WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 2

Yuto Horigome, backside nollie to backside bluntslide NBD for the win. Ph: Kenji

As well as Climbing (which proved to be a much bigger draw in Hungary than China), BMX Freestyle and Breaking elsewhere, there were also spaces set aside for people to try out all the activities for themselves as well as graffiti workshops and so on. Schools and youth groups visited throughout the week to get involved for themselves – and who knows what future talent that may yet spark.

Tom Schaar tail grab 540 WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Bryce Kanights 6107

Tom Schaar, tailgrab 540 Ph: Kanights

Among those spaces was a small skate area which included a respectable mini-ramp, a couple of flatbars and the like. It was in pretty much constant use not just by visiting newcomers but by skateboarders and coaches who just wanted to have a little skate action in the sunshine.

Minna Stess celebrated by the girls WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Bryce Kanights 32

Minna Stess qualifies for Paris. Ph: Kanights

In the end there was a lot of both. Budapest has never hosted an international skate event before so the stands were always full and autographs were in hot demand.

Liz Akama WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 9

Liz Akama, back lip Ph: Kenji

It would be remiss of us at this point not to extend our thanks to the army of volunteers who gave of their time to make the entire jamboree run smoothly; the security who were firm but unfailingly poilte with it, and Mr Burritos across the road from the University who did a rip-roaring trade off the Americans. Homeboy must have thought all his Christmases had come at once.

Felipe Mota heelflip back tail horizontal WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Oliver Barton 2

Filipe Mota, heel flip backtail Ph: Bartok

With this new multi-sport event format concept now successfully established in two very different destinations, it now seems likely to continue as a funnel format for future Olympic Games.

Cordano Russel and dad and brother hug WST Street WCH OQS Budapest Kenji Haruta 8

Family. Ph: Kenji

Where next for the OQS, we wonder?