Our new interview series "Contenders" highlights the past contest series of the year through the eyes of the best! Pro, Am or flow, get their insight on the past contest year and more. Clay Kreiner is in the hot seat for our first Q&A!
Clay is no beginner when it comes to the contest series and has had a great 2017 year winning 1st in the Vert World Championship, 3rd in the Dew Tour Bowl Comp and Vans Pool Party, while also earning two bronze medals in X Games Big Air & Vert.
To begin with, what contests did you compete in this year?
X Games Qualifiers and X Games vert, big air, park. Dew Tour, Bondi Bowlarama, Vans pool party, Vert attack, Vert World Championships, Lisboa Stone crushers, Nitro world Games and Vans Park series (Australia).
Is there a specific contest you look forward to each year?
X Games is always a rad one just because of the stature of the event. (Vans) Pool party is a sick one as well, best vibes with everyone packed around the decks. If you skate vert, Vert attack is a no brainer! It was my first year competing but Dew Tour was super fun this past year as well.
Favorite course of 2017?
The course at X Games was pretty sick this year. I also enjoyed the simplicity of the design at Dew Tour.
Any least favorite obstacles to you on a course?
Spines are kind of weird...if it’s not in a good spot it can just kill your speed but honestly that’s me digging deep to try and find some sort of flaw haha. I don’t really have anything to complain about.
Favorite contest moment of the year?
Favorite contest moment would probably be the Vans Pool Party this past year. I was just super stoked to be skating it for the first time and ended up on the podium with two of my really good homies Tom Schaar and Cory Juneau. Always a hype event and it was super rad to finish top 3 with the boys!
Any certain contest format you prefer?
I’m pretty into Jam formats! It’s a bit looser style of skateboarding. Takes the pressure off a little bit and allows you to try some shit you might not be comfy putting into a 30 second run knowing you’ve only got 3 chances. Pretty entertaining as a spectator as well.
Any particular obstacles that stuck out to you this year?
I like the bank walls with the quarters on the sides...that’s a sick one. The big deep end with a solid corner and a solid flat wall is tight! All of it!
What obstacles would you like to see more of in contests?
Well damn...seems like you guys have already got that part under control haha. The parks have all been pretty diverse.
Favorite person to watch skate at contests?
EVERYONE! I always love watching Sorgente find his lines in a new bowl. Watching Cory do every trick in his sleep. Tom casually doing 8 foot 540’s. Willy’s noseblunting the biggest thing in the park. Trey doing a 150 mile an hour smith grind. Karl back smith to back tail 10 coping blocks long. Literally everyone is killing it so hard right now!
Are there any big challenges in competing in these contests?
I think a challenge for everyone is just finding the right lines that you’re stoked on. Most contests now are brand new parks that were just built, and you have three days leading up to the contest to find all your lines and piece everything together. It’s always fun showing up somewhere new and seeing all the different lines people take.
Favorite Contest Course ever?
Kind of new to the whole park thing so I don’t have the widest variety of choices but the X Games course was really fun. Tricky to find certain lines but it had a lot of different obstacles that were super fun.
Any specific contest goals for next year?
In just really hoping to find a spot in the Vans Park Series for 2018. I’ve been busting my ass this past year skating every park contest possible and just spending tons of time on my skateboard to be ready for the New Year. Definitely crossing my fingers and hoping for a spot this year!
How do you prepare for events like X Games, Dew Tour, Park Series Etc..?
Just skate. Obviously the thought of an upcoming contest lingers in the back of your mind but I don’t like to let that change any of my habits that I would do daily. Ride my skateboard as much as possible, try and have my shit dialed and hope for the best haha. If anything it just motivates me to work harder.
Do you see yourself competing in the 2020 Olympics?
I mean, it’s going to be a tight cut haha. I’ll definitely be busting my ass for the next few years to try and prepare myself to skate at the same level with the best, whether it’s at the olympics or not. It would be a rad thing to represent my country doing what I love but there’s gonna be a lot of hungry dudes fighting for those spots haha.
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