Now, before I get ahead of myself here, let me just say that 2010 was like a rebirth for flatland in North America. I think it would have been another lack luster year if it hadn't been for the huge efforts of Steve Lapsley and the North American Am Flat Circuit. This really revived the contest scene amoung the expert and master class. With that said, a huge thanks to all the contest organizers as well. You guys put in a ton of work only to be plagued with complaints after the contest (I know I've been guilty of this myself a couple times even). It's not that your work isn't appreciated, it's just that...I dunno what it is, we all just see a greater potential I suppose, and everyones idea of a contest is different...ANYWAYS, thanks guys.
Alright, now, riders to look out for. First off...I'm calling out Daniel Burnett. Prasheel and I loved that kids riding two years ago at Red Bull's Fight with Flight, and now he's disappeared off the map! We hope he's still riding, someone point him in our direction and let him know we think he killed it in intermediate class.
Next up for beginners we got Fat Tony, he placed well in intermediate class at three of the am circuit stops and if the Am Circuit adds a intermediate class (over if Fat decides to man up and move to expert class) you might just see him make podium!
The expert class is tough, there are a lot of guys in this class with a wide variety of styles, its hard to pick who might stand out next year. Obviously Bryan Huffman killed it in 2010, and hopefully we'll see him in the Master class for 2011 (and even there I'm sure he'll kill it and place very well). After that it's very hard to choose, the class is stacked and the odds are pretty even for almost anyone to take it next year. Alexis La Grass would be an obvious choice, along with Johnny Tamayo, and ride along side them I think we will have Mark Kuhlmann, Omari Cato, Alex Johnson, and Andrew Wickham if they make it to most of the stops. With Bryan hopefully moving up, this really opens the expert class wide open for 2011. I'm really excited to see how it plays out over the next year and to see who really puts in the time, because almost any of the guys that competed last year in expert has a chance at taking first overall at year end.
Master class is a lot less tough, I'm not going to lie. The top two guys destroyed in 2010, and obviously are Tyler Gilliard and Percy Marshall. Hailing from opposite ends of the country, these two without a doubt are guys that will be making the leap up to pro someday (I think everyone else in the master class is hoping sooner rather then later). There were even some complaints about these two competing in Master as guys want them to move up to pro, I personally love competing against these two, they have so much focus in their runs and are a ton of fun to ride with outside of the contest floor as well. It's an honour to get to ride with these two on what feels like a pretty regular basis. Going down the list you have a lot of staple North American competitors...So I'm going to skip down to Koit. Whether or not he rides well in his contest run, this guy is unreal positive. I never really know when he's going to show up to contests, but he always seems to be there, and its always a pleasure to see him ride. His consistency went through the roof in the past year and I can't wait to see what he brings to the contests in 2011. That'll do it for my choices in 2011 to watch out for, it's going to be another amazing year and hopefully we'll see some new faces on the circuit rankings...STOKED ON BEING STOKED!