Skateboarding2:29 min

Enjoy all the skate radness that was Simple Session 19

Written by Niall Neeson
From the depths of Estonian winter, watch relative unknown Liam Pace edge out Greyson Fletcher to take the title to the USA. Watch a full highlights edit and read the report right here.
Tallinn’s Simple Session, held in the snowbound environs of the Baltic nation of Estonia every February for the last two full decades, is a unique thing in many regards.
In the first instance, it's a European winter contest – something not everyone can rise to the challenge of delivering.
Secondly, the size of the space itself is mind-blowing, taking up the entire dimensions of the floor of the Suurhall sports arena.
Some might argue the course is too big for a 14-inch wheelbase, but then again summertime will bring as many driveway contests as anybody can want or need, so vive la difference there.
Simple Session has had crazy old roll-call down the years. Skaters Of The Year Silas Baxter-Neal and Jamie Foy, Chase Webb, Josh Matthews, Ben Grove, Neil Smith, Zion Wright and this year none other than Tony Hawk himself. The weekend is always guaranteed to bring out unexpected faces for a weekend of charging, when – let’s face it – very little else is happening.
Among the American contingent who landed out en masse this year were Greyson Fletcher and Chris Gregson, accompanying Bam Margera and Transworld Skateboarding’s Blair Alley.
Fletcher and Gregson are a double team of extra-largeness in the transitions game, and so we were guaranteed if nothing else to bother Estonian air traffic control over the weekend.
Locking horns with these hombres after the field of 60 entrants was thinned out to just twelve by Sunday were Finland’s Jaakko Ojanen, Americanss Carsten Boyer and Kechaud Johnson, Joseph Garbaccio of France, Italian styler Ivan Federico, Spaniard Jaime Mateu, France’s magnified man-of-the-moment Aurelien Giraud, Brazilian gentleman Luiz Neto and relative unknown Liam Pace,who put down a marker by knocking the UK's sublime Jordan Thackeray off the top qualifier spot the day before.
Tony Hawk rocked the crowd during a legend’s jam before taking up MC duties as Simple Session debuted its first women’s contest. The Russian contingent of Kate Shengeliya and Kseniya Maricheva stunned many members of the crowd at how far the women’s scene has progressed in terms of going big and consistently with it. Sky Brown was crowd favourite and obvious winner, but the one-to-watch award must surely go to Holland’s Keet Oldenbeuving, who took second but threw herself into the course’s huge hips with effortless 270s up and over every single time.
The men’s final threw up many interesting contrasts, from Greyson Fletcher’s once-in- a-generation super-sized flotations, to Joseph Garbaccio’s nail-gun precision setdowns. Then there was Jordan Thackeray’s endless inter-generational trick bag and Liam Pace’s ‘who dat?’ full-send first run of the finals which brought the crowd to its feet and him straight onto the top spot on the podium.
Surrounding the on-course skate hullabaloo each year is an organisational orchestra at play – deals with taxi companies, food joints and nightclubs which make the experience into a seamless weekend for the riders and their crews, including the large squads of Finns and Russians who come along for the weekend.
It's a marvellous thing to behold, and one that deserves our tipping of the metaphorical hat towards.
Given that the budget airlines are kept busy with regular punters who just want to come and experience some of that crips Baltic winter, why not give Simple Session your consideration for some dead-of-winter excitement – and where we might then just see you next year?

Simple Session 19 Results

Women's winners:
  1. Sky Brown
  2. Keet Oldenbeuving
  3. Kseniya Maricheva
Simple Session's Sister Session 2019 winners.
Keet Oldenbeuving, Sky Brown and Kseniya Maricheva at Simple Session 19
Men’s winners:
  1. Liam Pace
  2. Greyson Fletcher
  3. Joseph Garbaccio
Simple Session 19 winners' podium.
Greyson Fletcher, Liam Pace, Joseph Garbaccio and Jaime Mateu celebrate