This complete contest coverage of the Ninja Spin flatland contest and dvd set, May 2006, was recorded by Andy Wood, the same guy who brought us the (free) Braun Flatground coverage from late 2005. I emailed Andy a couple of times, and there were some problems with making an NTSC (North American tv format) version of the dvd. Andy had made a full working tv playable dvd in PAL format with no problems, and full working menus etc., but the conversion to NTSC format did not go so well. So if you end up ordering the NTSC version, it will be in mpeg format on data dvdrs, and it may have some audio distortion and/or a few glitches, but it is still complete coverage and close up shot footage at that, like front row close.
Adam Kun was having a rough time with his 360* barflip to spinning halfhiker landing, only hitting one after several tries. Adam just had a lot of trouble with some very difficult moves and simply didn't have a good run, I won't expect to see him in the finals.
Alex Jumelin had a pretty good run, quite a few touches though and nowhere near what he's capable of, he seemed to lack concentration. He might get a chance to better his score in the finals though.
Alex Desolneux pulled a couple of whiplash things, but not all the g-turned ones he wanted to. I think the area was a bit small in length for him, or he just couldn't get used to the floor with his brakeless riding.
Ben Kammoun just simply couldn't hang on to his tricks, he won't be in the finals.
Benjamin Grossjohann started out good, pumping a cliffhanger into a pumping halfhiker, but fell apart in the 2nd half of his run. He didn't pull in/out, but he pumped a no handed 2 footed forward straddleroni for like 4 circles or so, a pretty cool looking move if he'd have pulled it. Tough to say if he'll make the finals or not.
Bram just couldn't hit the kickflips he's known for. Bram pulled a couple jump the frame whiplashes and that might've been it, it's unlikely we'll see him in the finals today.
Daniel Fuhrmann had a pretty average run with quite a few mistakes, but he hit a few links, and almost pulled that cool step around/through to crackpacker of his. He might make the finals.
Effraim put down a fairly solid run, nothing too new, but some solid riding, he has a good chance at making the finals so far.
Fabien Stephan had a sort of unique though less difficult than standard, front wheel routine. He touched too many times though and didn't have enough difficulty overall to make the finals I'm thinking.
Martti had a solid run full of the usual Martti signature links, starting off with the shortest cliffhanger ever, from a 360* around the world cliffhanger varial, you know, that Martti trick that no one else tries. That looked like a qualifying run to me overall.
Frank Lukas started out like a 5 alarm fire, riding with a fierceness not usually seen in contests, but the floor almost immediatley started to eat his routine. Obviously a rider to be reckoned with, but doubtful he made the finals this time.
James White rode very methodically, but failed to hit some of his signature moves. Mr. White started out strong, but he probably didn't make the cut.
Jay Forde seemed to have some cool moves, but just couldn't seem to pull anything today, he won't be in the finals.
John Leblond couldn't seem to pull anything either, although it looked like he had a couple of unique things he was going for. Some kind of hang5 jump to kick the tire steamroller, sort of like Jesse P. does.
Next up, Justin Miller, and higher expectations.
Justin Miller wins contests, and today might be no different. I counted 3 mistakes in his run, all of which he went back and hit the 2nd time. 1st place qualifier so far, no doubt.
Keelan Phillips has hard tricks, and quite a bit of originality, when he's on you best look out. He had some trouble today, but I'd still call that a qualifying run.
Lee Musselwhite pulled the crane and the probe, but may have touched too much other than that to qualify. He seemed to be trying to go from halfpacker, straight into that sitting on the bars holding the seat one handed barhop nose wheelie, but couldn't get it to go.
Matthias Dandois had a somewhat *off* run with several step-offs and touches, he's capable of much better. He did hit some switch footed steamroller turbines, jumped straight into a halfpacker without kicking the tire, and it was smooth. And the upside down turbined megaspins would have been a good scorer had he pulled them, but he may still qualify.
Michael Sommer had a few touches and 2nd attempts, but he pulled some fast and technical front wheel stuff, including some 360* barflips and some barsplit steamroller combos. He most likely qualified.
Michael Steingräber had a very solid run of his usual tricks, starting off with the x-footed halfpacker swivel to hiker, followed by pretty much all his latest combos but the upside down stuff to no handed blender. But something tells me he'll go for that in the finals, as he no doubt just secured himself a spot there.
Nathan Penonzek, as good on the backwheel as he once was on the front, technical, fast, and always changing directions. The dumptruck to switch footed upside down wheelie/g-turn back to caboose, then spinning the bike around behind his back in 2 tight circles then stepping back to the pedals, never ceases to look awesome and difficult. Nate had a few more touches than in the old days, but his style shone through, and I'd be surprised if he didn't make the finals.
Nicholas Ferrando had too many mistakes to qualify, but looked like he had a few unique combos in his bag of tricks, Interesting moves attempted included, some cross-footed backward karl kruzer stuff that he wasn't always able to hold onto, and a switch footed hang5 in a circle jump to halfpacker, that looked like it might've been slightly different than other ones I've seen people doing.
Pete Brandt had a few touches to start, but quickly warmed up and spun his way into the top 5 qualifiers easily, a powerhouse rider to be sure. He's also doing some short pedal turbines (kind of like Jesse P., but not as extreme) before stepping over the headtube and into no handed blenders.
Raphael Chiquet did manage to hit and land, 6 turbined hikers, and his nose wheelie whiplash varial to backpacker, then back around in a tailwhip for a short halfhiker. he had a lot of touches and problems otherwise, and it's anyone's guess whether he will make the finals or not.
Sebastian Pospischil's Martti meets Benkhe smooth yet awkward style seemed to have a lot of trouble with the floor or something. He did manage some twisted hang5 to whiplash combos, the elbow glide seat grab to tire step to halfpacker move of his, and then around into a x footed hiker, as well as some pedal hang5's in the middle of combos. Hopefully he gets used to the floor and does better in the finals, which I think he qualified for.
Simon O'Brien seemed to have a bit of trouble overall and just couldn't hit a lot of the stuff he wanted to, a couple of x footed whiplash attempts didn't pan out. He did pull the switch footed kruzer boomerang jump through to regular kruzer, a pretty long nose wheelie, and quite a few difficult and technical front wheel moves, but he also touched quite a bit. Perhaps he will get another chance in the finals to better his score.
Terry Adams started off strong with an inside karl kruzer shove-it type move to halfpacker, but then had a few touches here and there and blew his first Katrina attempt, following it up with a successful combo starting the with Katrina crackpacker to halfpacker jump, into a x footed hiker, and then on to some front wheel tech stuff.
Travis Collier rode recklessly and dropped his bike as many time as most people touched. Travis has some very difficult and technical stuff as evidenced by what he was trying, but he wasn't hitting it today and I don't think we'll see him in the finals this time.
Viki Gomez had a solid run, but it was obvious that he didn't hit everything he wanted to. The first couple links went well, ending the 2nd one with his patented switch footed behind the back karl kruzer spin from a halfpacker, followed by his wheelchair 180* to crackpacker hop, pulled on the 2nd attempt. Look for him to be back for redemption in the finals.
Wolfgang Sauter had some problems and touches, but also enough speed, grace, and front/back wheel variety to most likely secure himself a chance to move up in the finals.
A quick note before getting to the finals. The video footage so far has been a bit orangish-red tinted, and thusly a hair dark overall, but as I mentioned earlier, it is all front row close, you feel almost as close as future ESPN Nascar announcer Scott-O, and I mean that in a good way. A close view makes for more energy, as well as does Scott's announcing. If anything, I wish Scott would throw in a few more trick names. (which he seemed to during the finals and the battles, just for some reason not so much during the qualifiers) and expand his call-out repetoire a bit. But overall, he adds to the excitement of the event, and you can't help but feel his energy at times. It should also be noted that I didn't hardly even look at the results of this contest before watching these videos, and I watched the runs as they appeared on the data dvd, in alphabetical order, qualifiers first, then finals, then battles. I also for some reason, assumed there would be 10 finalists, not 18, so that's why I was a bit more critical in guessing who might've made the finals. All the riders at the Ninja Spin had good tricks and combos, but some of them had bad days and/or blew signature tricks, this is just a report of what I saw on the video. Enough disclaiming, let's see who did what for the finals.
Alex Jumelin did lots of switch footed whiplash and steamroller combos, and his nose wheelie boomerang to spinning hiker, but he also messed up quite a bit. I don't think that was a top 10 run.
Benjamin Grossjohann started out with the cliffhanger pump to halfhiker pump, then went on for some x footed dumptruck stuff into a lardyard whip. He had problems with his upside down stuff, and couldn't hit the forward straddleroni this time either.
Bram Verhallen hits the cliffhanger barflip to steamroller, to hiker, around into a 360* barflip to short pedal steamroller. Some x footed hang5 to double jumplash attempts. More problems with his kickflips, finally hitting the g-turn halfpacker 180* kickflip. He did land the x footed hiker kickflip, but blew the end of that combo. Some very difficult stuff, but a lot of touches and mistakes. Tough to say if he's in the top 10, but he's got a chance with a better run than his qualifier.
James White starts out with a no handed backpacker, steamroller, to no handed hiker, with a 540* barflip out. 5 packer whips that he just couldn't hang onto. And finishes with his throw the bike down hitchhiker. It didn't look like a top 10 run, but James repped his rolling style.
Justin Miller, no kickflips, but what appeared to be a touchless run of fast front wheel halfpacker switches, and an almost vulgar amount of halfpacker ride in variations. It looks like Jumelin is announcing for Justin's run, he names more tricks, but no "Booyahs", or "Yeps" ha-ha :) Justin will definitely be in the final battle and top 10.
Keelan Phillips with a very good finals run, as good or better than his qualifier which was one of the hi-lites of the day. Starts with a quadruple turbined cliffhanger, (and Scott is back on the mic, going "Yep" each time Keelan turbines, am I the only one who enjoys this guys announcing, come on, he's fun at least), triple halfpacker turbine, back around to hang5, to steamroller, to his karl kruzer on the frame with the foot off the peg, pulled. Definitely a battler, and definitely top 5 up there with Mr. Miller.
Martti Kuoppa with his 2 foot seatpost, he hits most of his stuff, except the hang5 kickflip to halfpacker at the end. He'll be back for the final battle though, a top tenner for sure.
Matthias Dandois is back with an array of switch footed steamroller and tomahawk moves, into a x footed crackpacker, and barflip out. I see Alex and Scott with mics now, can a battle of the announcers be far off ? One at each end of the riding area could be cool, trading off, tag team announcers, why not, sounds like something Scott would clone himself and do if he could maybe :) Some turbined steamroller stuff into a spinning halfpacker, and touches at the end. Steamroller g-turn into a pumping no handed crackpacker, back to some steamroller and tomahwak stuff. A solid finals run, a battler to be sure, and top 10 material.
Michael Sommer looked a bit tired, but managed to pull a few of his insanely tech front wheel pretzel switches and barflips for a solid finals run. Some pedal steamrollers regular and switch footed thrown in the middle of combos, spins and g-turned moves galore, probably a final battler run there.
Michael Steingräber rolled back out with an almost identical and flawless finals run, including the darkside to blender move as predicted. A final battle given, and top 10 rider today.
Nathan Penonzek with more endless flowing backwheel links, a solid run with only a few touches. Nate will probably be in the final battle after, and after 2 solid runs, he may well finish near the top.
Pete Brandt with another very strong run full of rapid fire tech moves, as well as many turbined/g-turned moves, and 2 pedalling tricks. That is a top 5 finals run for sure. Scott's announcing is getting as hectic during Pete's run as the drum-n-bass Pete is riding to.
Raphael Chiquet riding to Hendrix starts with a dozen or so turbined steamroller spins, then basically does the same move again, can't hit the whiplash to halfpacker, 6 turbined hikers, and then kind of sketches out the rest of his run. It's doubtful he'll make the finals this time.
Sebastian Pospischil starts out with some pedal hang5 and whiplash stuff, with Alex announcing. Back to Scott announcing, Sebastian is looking a bit sketchy, but pulling some of his slow patented combos. A link into a front wheel undertaker from a halfpacker, a fire hydrant to 180* varial to steamroller, to switch footed whiplash to regular whiplash. A pretty solid but sketchy run, he might make the final battle and top 10.
Simon O'Brien starts with a long nose wheelie that he can't hang onto and tips forward, hits a triple x footed whiplash, some g-turn/nose wheelie stuff that he just can't hang onto. The floor did not seem to agree with his style, it's anybodies guess whether he'll finish top 10 or not.
Terry Adams finals run had a really rough start, but he finally hit his stride in the 2nd half though, and pulled out his usually bombs. Katrina back to crackpacker to barfip to hiker, into a link with a kruzer stall, some showmanship there, and he also hit his pedalling deathtruck jump to rolling caboose. A good run, top 10/final battle moves.
Viki Gomez looked a bit tired, but still did more tricks in less time than probably anyone else except maybe Sommer or Miller. Some very on edge combos, fast movements, and magnetic feet that seemed to literally snap back to the pegs and pedals. A very solid finals run that should put him in the top 5, and make him even hungrier in the final battle.
Wolfgang Sauter had a much improved finals run. I'd place him top 5 after that, pumping a lonnggg halfpacker one footed, and also pumping a no handed time machine, nuff said there.
The video quality during the finals improved a bit, less orange-red look, better lit in general, and just as front row close, shot straight across from the announcers area. Also, the sound on my NTSC mpegs wasn't distorting hardly at all compared to the qualifiers. It should be noted that I did not know how many riders would make it into the final battle either, so my comments on the likelihood of them making it was kind of random. I just watched these runs barely remembering this contest and enjoyed it more not remembering who placed top 10. And for the most part, this is written as it was watched, live, with a few additions (mostly trick lists) on a second viewing. And as you can see, I was wrong with a few final battle predictions, as Terry Adams did not make it for some reason, and neither did Mathias Dandois.
Battle #1 - Brandt/Verhallen/Phillips/Kuoppa
Brandt and Phillips rolling strong for their first runs, Pete having trouble at the end, and Keelan hitting his lean over the bars no handed one footed nose wheelie. Bram stumbling on his barflip to steamroller combos. Kuoppa having some problems, but then hitting a long tech front wheel link that looks made up on the spot and includes several plasticmans and some pedal hang5 tailwhip switches and crackpackers galore. Pete with a whiplash to triple turbined hiker, some steamroller stuff, hang5's to tailwhips, and out and up on the back wheel for a on handed blender. Bram with some whiplash kruzers into a halfpacker but can't stick the kickflip from g-turned halfpacker. Martti hits a combo he couldn't hit in his finals run, ending with a hang5 kickflipped to halfpacker. Keelan hits a long signature combo, ending with a karl kruzer multiple barflip out. Bram fails two more x footed hiker kickflip attempts. Pete hits the backpacker to hiker jump switch, he goes through some turbined steamrollers into a turbining crackpacker, then to some hang5s with tailwhips between each one, then out and onto the back wheel, jumps from the peg to the pedal for a quick blender. Keelan hits a short foot-on-bar steamroller 3rd try. Bram with half a dozen or so whiplashes, just looking tired and frustrated overall. Martti pulls his last link which starts with a 360* barflip karl kruzer. It's hard to say who "won" that battle, but Bram had an obviously rough day and couldn't make friends with his kickflips.
Battle #2 - Penonzek/Steingräber/Gomez/Miller
Viki starts out and pulls a fast and smooth batch of front wheel moves, sparing no difficulty along the way. Nate on the backwheel looking good, but can't hang on to it. Steingräber with some backwards wheelies to upside down wheelies, and back again 3 times, to a foot jam decade out. Viki attempts a backwheel tailwhip jump to switch handed landing, not really that close but wild looking. Nate looking a hair sketchy, but pulling his backwheel link this time. Miller's 2nd run, no kickflips, but some solid front wheel switches and more halfpackers than I can count. Viki not hitting his new barhop boomerang wheelie move. Justin Miller, more dialed than a phone salesman on crack. Steingräber, not able to get from darkside to blender this time. Viki riding fast and furious loses it on the behind the back halflash jump through to steamroller. nate p. can't hang on to an upside down spastic wheelie to end another long backwhel upside down and back again link. Miller blows his backwheel link, but then hits a 360* barflip to wheelchair, and out into a barflip to pedal steam and out without touching on that "replacement" link. Steingräber, whiplashes into some front wheel tech, looking wobbly, but pulls it in the end. Nate rallies on the backwheel for his final run, and pulls a long smooth link. Miller hits a long link starting with a hiker to backpacker kickflip for his final run, that's gotta be worth some points along with his overall consistency.
The video quality here is half and half, shot from lengthwise of the riding area (instead of across from the announcers width-wise) it's half in the dark a bit, and half in daylight coming through the windows. The sounds acted up a bit during the battles footage too, but not a real problem unless you insist on cranking the volume.
Overall, good footage with some shakiness here and there, but not too much, a variety of views but all front row close, and only missing the first 2-3 seconds of a couple of runs, otherwise complete. You get 30 qualifier runs, 18 finals runs, 2 12 minute battle runs, and a 5 minute little roadtrip bonus video, and a 45 second credit video with the top 8 listed and some song credits. Andy assured me that the PAL format dvd plays on tvs, with full menus, no glitches and no sound problems, and I have no reason not to believe that, however, I did have sound problems with the NTSC format mpegs, that was a result of converting to NTSC format. For the price, you're not likely to find more footage, it's a matter of taste, if you like raw comp footage then go for it, and if you don't, then it's a coin toss, but it's still a good value and about $12 U.S. shipping included. Contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy.
Thanks to Andy for getting all this on video, and congrats to all the riders, the pro class ain't no picnic and everyone has bad days, so enjoy the winner's circle when you're in it :)