- Brian Tunney, General Editor, Action Sports
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Flatland in the NORA Cup. Well, before I get too ingratiated in my not-too-carefully thought out predictions, I'll first say that Ride BMX announced the final nominees for the 2011 NORA Cup Flatland Rider of the Year award, and those nominations went to Matthias Dandois, Chad Johnston, Martti Kuoppa, Moto Sasaki and Matt Wilhelm. All well deserved nominations to great riders who definitely pushed the envelope in 2011.
There is one name missing from the nominations that I thought was a shoe-in for votes though -- Terry Adams. Terry's currently on a month-long Red Bull flatland tour, visiting nightclubs and college campuses to spread the gospel of flatland and entertain. Terry dropped a number of edits in the past year, rode competitively in contests all year long and did his part to bridge the gap between flatland and BMX by filming edits with Ben Hucke in Portland, Ore. and shooting ads with Aaron Ross for Odyssey/Flatware. Terry also dropped a signature Flatware frame in the past year, and by all accounts, had a great year. I'm not taking anything away from the final nominees at all, I just thought Terry's name would be alongside them.
And now that we've got that out of the way, it's time to embarrass myself. I was more impressed by one video in the past year more than anything. That video, from Denes Katona, appeared online five months ago, and it featured Denes' brand of flatland, influenced heavily by whiplashes, cross-handed variations and coasting in a straight line -- everything I love about riding flatland. So I went with my gut instinct and voted for Denes on the strength of one six-minute long video. And I felt good about that.
Then, after turning my votes in and checking out the same video again (just last week), I noticed the title of the video: "Denes Katona Spring 2010." So I voted for a rider based on one video part that wasn't even from 2011. Not to take anything away from the riding in the video, which is still incredible, but I threw my vote away on the past.
Had I possessed a time machine made out of a DeLorean, I would travel back a few weeks and re-edit the email I sent to Ride BMX's Ryan Fudger, and voted for the rider in the video at the top of this page: Dane Beardsley. Dane didn't make the cut on final nominations this year, but he has in year's past, and he continues to push his personal brand of flatland riding at his own pace, both in and outside the competition atmosphere. Dane also isn't concerned with being the face of modern flatland. He does what he does and doesn't force himself or his riding on anyone. I get the feeling Dane Beardsley would like nothing more than to ride on his own, away from the spotlight, but he's constantly pushing his riding against the ebb and flow of today's flatland trends, and I've gotta give him credit for that.
So let's review. I messed up terribly by voting for a rider who took a year to load a video section online, then rescinded my vote here and gave it to a friend. How's that for proper journalism? Good thing these are opinion pieces.
The 15th annual NORA Cup Awards visit the Pearl Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nev. on Thursday, September 15. I may be there, not driving the DeLorean I mentioned earlier.
The nominees for 2011 NORA Cup Flatland Rider of the Year are discussed.