"The Jump Off Championships, this was my first competition, I didn't view it in a 'competitive' way as you should from a freerunning standpoint. I only wanted to meet these amazing athletes I've looked up to and show them as well as everyone watching that this sport is what I want to live my life doing. I was still nervous of course but everything went pretty well and I had a great time, lets talk about everything that went down.
I had heard about the comp but I didn't expect to compete in it because I have college, my clothing brand, and I didn't believe I was ready. On February 9th I was hit up on Instagram by Robbie Corbett, I had met him in Colorado last year for a WFPF teaching certification and he thought I was insane (not as in good but legit crazy haha). He asked if was heading to Vegas to compete and I just asked, "How do I sign up?" I bought into the comp without planning how I would fit it around my schedule (as I always do, ask my boy Lonnel). Everything ended up working out, my parents felt weird not seeing my first competition so they said they would pay for my flight, a place for me to sleep, and other accommodations.
So when the event came up, I left on Friday April 7th, and at 6:42 I boarded my flight. I was nervous all the way there because it was my first competition and the fact that it was one of the biggest in the world didn't help. I am my biggest critic and never think I'm good enough, so my expectations were that I wouldn't go far. I arrived in Vegas and went straight to the setup to sign in and ran into friends Brett and Robbie who help with the setup and arranging the competition in the first place. Got to meet awesome amateur athletes and pros. It was exciting because I've only traveled a few times and being in a setting where everyone travels across different parts of the world just to meet in one place is such an amazing concept to me.
That night there was a jam and I ran into so many friends I was excited to see again: Genji, Gage, Joey Adrian, and Sean Higgins. I of course didn't do anything because I didn't want to make myself sore for tomorrow. Oh and because I had fallen before I left and either severely bruised or hairline fractured my ribs, no big deal. Every time I did try to cheat a bit and do a small flip just so I wouldn't get bored it hurt so bad that I would have to sit down clutching my side. This wasn't going to stop me though.
Saturday, the day before the freestyle competition, I decided to take a break day. I slept in, went to the Mandalay Bay pool area, took Epsom salt baths to relax my body, and even saw Penn and Teller with my dad at the end of the day and afterwards met Teller.
But the day was over and it was time for the competition. Now for this next thing I say you need to understand that I was in unbelievable pain during any breathing, laughing, sneezing, coughing, or intricate moving such as flips so this is to be expected. My mother had prescription pain killers from the time she broke her wrist, so I took one of those in the morning along with a muscle relaxer and an Ibuprofen. I wrapped my rib cage with a bandage which felt pretty limiting but it was the only way I would be able to compete. The ground was concrete but felt harder than concrete and was extremely slick, you would watch athletes be able to slide across the floor on their shoes. So the day before, I got new shoes that would have better grip on it and lets just say they're sexy and helped 100%.
I made my way down to the course not knowing what the 'Alive after 5' round was or what the course looked like. It is where 2 pros and 3 amateurs have 3 minutes to free for all on the course and the judges will pick 2 people to go through, and of course I was put into the first group with Joey Adrian and Nick Provost. I had no idea what to do, what to throw, and had no combo ideas. I found out that though I work well under pressure, I forget all of my move set. So I am limited to certain moves my mind can think of in that situation. I did what I felt was good and even threw an ew gainer which I had learned just before I left.
I wasn't even thinking about progressing through to the next round so I sat down in the crowd not realizing everyone was lined up awaiting the results. So while looking through my phone I hear 'and Twitch'. I didn't know that this meant I went through until Joey ran up to me saying 'Dude! You made it through with me!' and then gave me a hug. I couldn't stop smiling cause it was so unexpected and Joey hyped me up.
The second round was a skill comp, we had four stations: vault, drop, wall, and bars. I was starting to feel more pain in my ribs before the round started, so I took another prescription drug and three Advil... yeah I might've gone overboard haha. The round started and I was second after Joey. So for the vault I did a cart twist and the drop I did the cleanest vortex front I've ever done in my life off an awkward takeoff. The wall and bars I decided to make them more of a challenge for myself by doing an ew gainer again getting it used to concrete and the bars an inward castaway. Which once I did it blew a lot of peoples minds, especially Joe Scandrett haha.
With the tricks I did and how clean some of them were I made it into the finals with all pros, I was the only amateur to make it to finals. Joey of course was hype saying, 'We started in the same group at the first round and now we're both in finals!'
Joey has become one of my favorite people haha.
During this final I wanted to do simple tricks with 2 decently big moves and that was it, I wasn't wanting to place but just enjoy the fact I made it to finals. My ribs continued to hurt but I still just ignored them.
My turn came up, I was 3rd to go. I started with a pop cast to an attempted shoulder cart which ended up looking more like a roll. From that to a split palm spin, kong up, pre, to headspin roll. I wanted to add that little bit of creativity and my style haha, then I did a palm spin up to turn gaet and attempted to jump my hips onto a bar and circle cast but I jumped to much into it and slammed my ribs against the bar which caused my entire body to stiffen which ended in me bailing. It wasn't too bad of a bail, I ended up with only a sprained wrist and more rib pain afterwards. But the entire run after that was pitiful haha, I climbed up onto the big box and was going to gargoyle gainer but my entire body was hurting so I threw it off axis and stumbled on the landing, went to inward sideflip and attempted to muscle up a bar to go for a double flyaway. My body was in too much pain and I knew I would just end up hurting myself so I just singled and ended my run.
The final results where Joey Adrian in 1st, Erik Mukhametshin taking 2nd as well as best trick for his double flyaway layout and a trophy for winning the skills round, Calen Chan and DK tied for 3rd.
After it all, I said bye to everyone, went and saw Cirque Du Soleil 'KA', and after that I was on my way home. Although I wasn't happy with my final run being a complete disaster, I had fun, met old friends, made new friends with awesome people such as Paulo Victor, Ace, Vinnie Coryell, Luke, Calen, Dane, and others. It was a great introduction to competitions and what comes with them. I look forward to traveling to further places having fun with the other amazing athletes I'll meet on the way."