With a man-sized check for $30,000 waving above him in the wind, celebratory champagne pouring over his head, and a well-earned ear-to-ear grin plastered across his face, professional skateboarder Aaron Astorga celebrated winning the first ever Ultimate Boarder championship on a mini ramp in Ventura yesterday afternoon.
A grueling week-long board sports triatholon–saw 45 competitors charging equally hard on snow, surf, and skateboards–the Ultimate Boarder, created by Goleta’s Tim Hoover, concluded late Saturday afternoon at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, with Astroga narrowly grinding, airing, and stalling his way past former Olympic snowboarder Todd Richards for first place in the groundbreaking event.
Earning 17th place in a slope-style snowboarding event at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe last Sunday, eighth place in a surprisingly surf blessed wave riding contest at C-Street in Ventura on Wednesday, and a second-place finish in Saturday’s mini-ramp skate jamboree, the 37-year-old Astorga proved the most well rounded in his devotion to the holy trinity of board sports. With live webcasts beaming his image the world over and hundreds of assembled fans and media types celebrating below, Astroga was a visibly surprised and humble champion, “I can’t believe this,” he shouted into the microphone. “No way in hell did I expect to win this thing.”
In second place overall was original U.S. Olympic snowboard team member and Southern California resident Todd Richards, who received a fat $10,000 pay check for his surf, skate, and snow skills, while New Zealand’s Kristian Philipp got third and $5,000 for his efforts.
Not only composed of a collection of internationally known surfers, skaters, and snowboarders like Nathan Fletcher and Chris Senn, the field of competitors also included a healthy dose of 805-based athletes. The highest placing of these was 17-year-old Logan Preston from Solvang who, with a smooth and powerful style that far exceeds his years, finished a more than respectable 17th, followed by Hollister Ranch regular and all-round surf freak Robert Curtis, who came in 3rd during the wave riding portion of the festivities on his way to a 24th place overall. Jalama barrel hunter Miles Wallace and the eternally stoked Mike Kresky, both proudly representing Goleta, also carried the 805 flag with fine showings, the latter giving all in attendance an absolute schooling in creative, buttery smooth, mini-ramp skating during his Saturday morning heat. For complete results and video footage, visit ultimateboarder.com