A skater who grew up in San Clemente earned the title of the first Red Bull Solus contest winner, a unique online contest that was the brainchild of skate icon Ryan Sheckler in the duo’s hometown in south Orange County.
Taylor Kirby, who now lives in Los Angeles, earned $10,000 for his win, along with a $2,500 bonus prize earmarked for donation to help support Lotties Skateshop in Los Angeles.
“Usually contests are not for me,” said Kirby, in an announcement. “Contests for the most part are made up of people that just want to win and that pretty much means they want you to lose, so it’s an underlying false sense of camaraderie that happens in pretty much any sort of competition. That’s never turned me on with contests. I’ve never liked people low-key hoping you fall. Now, when there is a different kind of format for a contest, then I’m on board and this just sounded like a fun and different type of contest that I was on board for.”
The first-of-a-kind contest opened the doors to the SC Sandlot, set in the industrial area of San Clemente, for 13 skaters to try their best tricks with an hour on the clock.
The video skate contest, created by Sheckler and dubbed the Red Bull Solus, meaning “alone,” offered a new kind of creative contest to skaters who have been itching to get back into competition mode. Like other sports around the world, skate competitions, including a much-anticipated Olympic debut, have been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.
The competitors didn’t know who they were going up against, with their session filmed for a panel of judges to review and compare against the other skaters.
Kirby, 27, said he picked Lotties Skateshop as his shop of choice because owner Mike Gigliotti is committed to putting the prize money back into his business and supporting the local skate community.
“All skate shops deserve recognition, but I think Lotties is a very good shop to win in the sense that Mike is not taking the check and putting it in his bank,” Kirby said. “The money is going to a very selfless person – that’s huge.”
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Kirby’s best continuous line took on nearly every feature in the park, including the signature six-stair gap and hubba ledge, where Kirby landed a 360-flip to 50-50 grind. Along with a backside big spin over the euro gap, Kirby capped off his run with a switch 360-flip down the stair set, according to the announcement.
Voting is still open for the fan favorite award, which will deliver a further $2,500 bonus to the skater selected by fan vote at RedBull.com/Solus. The winner of that award is set to be announced Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Sheckler, 30, in an interview a few weeks ago, said the contest turned out “incredible.”
“No one knew who was in, what runs went down or who was in the lead. Usually, you know what the high point is, you know what you have to beat,” he said. “This one, you had to rely on yourself.”
And he was glad they gave back to local skate shops in the process.
“It was really important to us to show that skate shops matter,” Sheckler said. “To let them know, some of the best skaters in the world are looking out for them and have them in mind.”
Source: Orange County Register