Aside from Norm MacDonald and Kids in the Hall, Canadians aren't typically thought of as "funny." They often don't get the joke and don't understand the difference between being laughed at or laughed with. So how is it I'm still giggling to myself days after attending Dime's Glory Challenge and wondering how in the hell a bunch of burnt French Canadians put on the most hilarious skateboard contest ever?
Montreal's Dime is a collective of fun-loving locals that blew up on the skate scene back in 2010 with the release of the Dime Store Video. Shortly after the video's release, they achieved international fame and notoriety when rappers and models alike began wearing the extremely limited Dime clothing brand. With this success came the financial stability to make even the most ridiculous skate fantasies come true. But whereas some well-funded skaters might dream of expensive cars and lavish homes, Dime's wet dreams are completely based in the skate-nerd conversations that arise from hundreds of hours of drinking, smoking, and skating with your best friends.
"What if King of The Road's Jaws went back and early grabbed the Leap of Faith?"
"What if Gator could street skate?"
"What if Bam never got fat?"
And the one that ended up becoming the Dime Glory Challenge, the greatest skateboard contest ever: "What if the whole crew flew to SF to look for Joe Valdez?"
Joe Valdez, for everyone who isn't versed in decades-old skate trivia, is an obscure skater from the 90s who was known for riding on skinny ledges and, until Dime decided to track him down, had been MIA for more than ten years. And so for reasons that don't exist, the entire Dime gang flew to San Francisco with no known contact number or address on a hunt for a long-forgotten skater whom none of them had ever met. These boys know how to commit to a joke.
The Dime crew, being the lucky and magical Canadians they are, found Joe straight away, working at a grocery store. They dropped to their knees in bizarro, tongue-in-cheek hero worship and immediately nominated Valdez chairman of the board of the Dime Technology Center (a tip of the hat to all the intergalactic skaters who follow Scientology). Feeling they could take the joke further, they came up with the first annual Dime Glory Challenge last year, a one-day skate contest centered on the Joe Valdez Challenge, an event where skaters do tricks across an extending gap onto a narrow, 12-inch wide ledge. Alcohol was both provided and encouraged, the air was full of weed smoke, and the subjective judges didn't reward the guy who tried hardest or skated best.
It was both the best and worst idea for a skate contest ever.
Last weekend, the Dime challenge returned to Montreal, offering the largest purse in skate history at $1,000,000 Canadian dollars. Peter Hewitt, who didn't skate at all, was awarded $15,000 for coming in last place.
Here's a breakdown of the eight challenges:
Speed Challenge: A high-velocity flat-ground best-trick contest featuring a mini mega roll-in. Eighties speed shades are mandatory for all contestants. Judges clock the MPHs with police-radar guns. Veteran Anti Hero pro Frank Gerwer skated with such reckless abandon that he ran out of road and flew off the back of a ramp and nearly died.
Sluggo Challenge: A foam pit is placed in front of the roll-in for this challenge which involves blasting a trick into the pit at top speed. During the action a crowd of SPs were nearly run over and slaughtered. Or perhaps it was all for theatrics? Whatever the case, this event was made to show off the acrobatic skill of Canada's legendary skate Albino Rob "Sluggo" Boyce. Like all showmen, he put on quite the spectacle, as is tradition.
The Joe Valdez Challenge: Dedicated to the skinny ledge skating husky samurai Dime deity who inspired the Glory Challenge, this event features a terrifying expanding gap to flat bar. Skate Mafia's Wes Kramer landed straight on his head and got fucked up. No one will say it's photoshopped.
The Gangster Challenge: This one pays homage to the hundreds of skaters throughout history who have forced a very relaxed posture after landing a difficult trick. Dime owner Antoine Asselin has some of the best style and board control of any Canadian ever, so rightfully he was a ringer for this challenge. His fake style is the stuff our gangster grandchildren will be talking about for generations to come.
The Sword Challenge: A massive Conan sword raised progressively higher until it hit eight feet, guaranteeing someone sacking his nuts and potentially cutting his dick off. Unsurprisingly, this was the highlight of the contest thanks in no small part to Element's Evan Smith. Smith had killed all the previous events and had decided to call it a day after the Gangster Challenge. When his DC team manager and I found him lying in the grass, staring at the clouds and tripping on mushrooms at the start of the Sword Challenge, we convinced him to pick his ass up and get back in there. In the span of five minutes, Smith went from insisting he was done skating for the day to possibly reconsidering to peaking and trying kickflip back lips on the sword at its highest (while others tried and failed at boardslides).
An Unprecedented $100,000 Game of S.K.A.T.E.: In this event, defending world champion Wade Desarmo and up-and-coming Philadelphia skater Jamal Smith provided the crowd with the most expensive piss break/intermission in skate-contest history.
The Josh Kasper Challenge: In Osiris's 1999 video The Storm, Josh Kasper attempted an absurd ollie over a DJ spinning records in a booth. Dime recreated the hop for the Josh Kasper Challenge. Sadly, it seems Josh Kasper wasn't hyped on being a punchline (again?) and did not attend. My immediate thoughts were, Man, they probably should have done this huge ollie at the start of the day when people had fresh legs. Then I realized that was contest-slave thinking. I needed to free my mind and realize, as Dime did, that it's way funnier to see guys go splat from ten feet up when everyone is tired and drunk.
Gladiator Challenge: Ten skaters entered a circle for the final event of the day and only one was left standing. I forget who it was. After eight hours, all Canadians look alike to me. Actually, all white people look alike to me.
There's a lot of anger in the skate community about the inclusion of skateboarding in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (which I'll write about later this week). Personally, I am of the opinion that the Olympics needs skateboarding far more than skateboarding needs the Olympics. But I will say, after seeing the Dime Glory Challenge come to a screeching halt the moment Baker's Dustin Dollin grabbed the microphone and announced, "No one is skating until we get some more beer," and that demand being quickly met with several cases delivered to the "athletes deck," that if the Dime guys were in charge of skateboarding in the Olympics I might become a vocal supporter of the cause.
Fuck the Olympics! Up the Dime!
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