Local Skaters Rip

New England Titles Comp

By Peter Pan

This contest was so big that if you are invited to skate it, that alone, is considered an honor. It was professional skater Anthony Shetler’s 3rd annual New England Titles Skate-Off, and the top teams from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states were invited to compete. This year’s contest took place at the Skater’s Edge in Taunton, Massachusetts. It was standing room only as 22 teams battled it out on the multitude of both small and big ramps, obstacles, and rails in the skate park.

The 2-day event featured two open amateur divisions, with a 14 years and under category and a 15 years and over event. But the highly anticipated team competition was the main attraction, with each team fielding a 3-person roster. Most of Saturday afternoon was spent on elimination heats as the field was reduced to a 6-team final.

Sunday featured the main event, and only the top teams were left standing, several of which included professional skaters as well as amateurs. The local Narragansett Surf and Skate Shop team was one of those teams. Outstanding riding by Wakefield’s Eli Bunten, Evan Mansolillo, and Sean Egan propelled the team into the final round. The Wakefield boys were the only team from Rhode Island to make the cut.

It was learned early on Sunday morning, that Sean Egan had broken his wrist during a run in Saturday’s semi-finals. Fortunately for the Narragansett skaters, team rider Gage DeVillis, of Jamestown, was at the event and took Egan’s place in the finals.

All three riders put on outstanding performances in their runs. Evan Mansolillo executed a number of hand plants on the top of the 8-foot ramps, and pulled off several dramatic aerials. He landed all but one trick in the session.

Gage DeVillis did an incredible job as the team back-up rider, charging both the ramps and obstacles and landing some nice aerials without a fall. It must be noted that he did this without having practiced on the course, which left him at a big disadvantage. In the end, it did not matter,

Eli Bunten’s specialty moves are old school foot plants, and he launched some big ones off the larger ramps in the skate park. Bunten’s perfect execution of a front side board slide down the course handrail was instrumental in the final scores, as the local team was awarded the 3rd place trophy.

After the contest, Narragansett Surf and Skate team captain Evan Mansolillo was interviewed and wanted to clarify that team competition in skateboarding in different than in other sports. “We are not here to make skateboarding mimic a team sport, even though we call it such. The format is rather to allow multiple skaters to be able to represent their hometown and local skate shop as one. Everyone is here to ride hard and have fun.”

Eli with a “Slob Plant” during the final

Evan taking a big drop from the top of a wall into the quarter pipe during the final.

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