The mind of skateboarder Ryan Sheckler has given the skate world a first-ever competition set for Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit: two-lane skating.
The Red Bull-sponsored competition features two distinct lanes, each with its own set of skateable features woven into the existing stair sets, rails and ledges in Hart Plaza, along with additional custom-built features designed by California RampWorks.
Each athlete—and the lineup of 20 skaters is impressive, to say the least—will skate each lane once and then select which lane they want to try again, in an effort to improve their score.
“I wanted to create a completely new style of skateboarding contest, one based on speed, time and trick selection,” Sheckler tells SI.com. “Something that inspires people to rethink the contest format and enjoy skateboarding. Red Bull was behind the idea and really helped to develop a unique event concept and blow this idea up bigger than I ever imagined.”
Sheckler intentionally varied the two lanes—dubbed Hart Lines for the location.
“One lane is technical and the other is gnarly with bigger obstacles,” Sheckler says. “I was going for a mix of technical and gnarly features to showcase everyone’s different styles of skateboarding. Hart Plaza in Detroit has so many different features already there and we were able to integrate these already existing features into the course design.”
The response from the skate community has proven intriguing. Along with Sheckler, 20 other skaters—including Felipe Gustavo, Chris Cole, Torey Pudwill and more—have signed on for the event, which Sheckler says has to do with the new format, design and location.
“We’ve got guys who skate in contests all the time and then we have other guys like Wes Kremer and David Reyes who never do contests, but this course and format is so sick that even these guys agreed to compete,” says Sheckler. “And the result is a lineup of over 20 of the most versatile and talented skateboarders on the planet. It’s going to make for a very interesting competition, since everyone skates differently with so many unique styles.”
After hitting each lane once and then having the opportunity to better their score on one lane, the top score form each lane will get averaged to determine the skater’s overall score.
“This is definitely a course that has never been done,” David Reyes tells SI.com, “and I guarantee that everyone will want to replicate this idea in the future.”
With California the common ground for the professional skate scene, Sheckler gave his event one extra little tweak by moving it to Detroit: "Skateboarding has passion and I want to use that to impact the Midwest and skate scene as a whole.”
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.