Red Bull competition hits First Fridays

Skateboarders from around Phoenix competed at Manny Mania, a skateboarding competition sponsored by Red Bull, Friday night. More than 20 skateboarders competed. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)

First Fridays is being invaded this week by ollies, kick flips and skinned knees.

Manny Mania, a nationwide skateboarding competition sponsored by Red Bull, will be making a stop in Phoenix this Friday. The skateboarding competition will be taking place as part of the regular First Fridays events, which features local art and culture.

Manny Mania will begin at 7 p.m. on North Fifth Street and East Roosevelt Street.

Manualing, a skateboarding term for riding boards using only two of its wheels, is the focus of the competition. The old-school style requires a lot of balance.

Amateur skateboarders from around the area will compete for the top three positions and possible prizes. The winners will be filmed and their footage will be put online so people across the nation can vote for a winner. The winner of the online competition will receive a high definition camera, a computer and editing software.

The audience of Manny Mania, skateboarders and skateboard fans alike, are expected to make First Fridays an even bigger event than usual.

Steven Webb, professional skateboarder and judge of the competition, said Manny Mania is “a lot of fun and usually brings out a big crowd.”

Freshman nursing student Alyssa Culp said she already knew about First Fridays but hearing about the competition gives her more incentive to attend.

“I’ve never been to First Fridays but my dad tells me they’re great,” Culp said. “He’s already asked if he can come.”

As the last stop on a 15 city national tour, Phoenix will be following and attempting to live up to the cities before it that have brought in hundreds of people, according to the event’s Web site.

Phoenix, though, is unlike other cities, Webb said. He advises the competition’s skateboarders to pace themselves.

“It’s Phoenix, so it’s going to be hot,” Webb said. “You get worn out so easily.”

In past competitions, Red Bull has been provided to many of those in attendance.

As for the skateboarders, Webb said the judges of Manny Mania will rate on difficulty, style and consistency. There will be different heats, or levels, that skateboarders will have to make it through.

Manny Mania, now in its third year, has traveled across the entire country bringing skateboarding lovers the only competition of its kind.

And for all those competing, Webb’s final piece of advice: “Try to have fun. Don’t take it too seriously.”

More photos by Stephanie Snyder | Video clips Salvador Rodriguez 1, 2, 3, 4

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