It is tough to imagine that the Dime crew went even a day through the grimmest days of lockdown without plotting the next Glory Challenge. (Montreal, by comparison to anywhere in the U.S., had way gnarlier COVID lockdowns.) The early days of the pandemic were fraught with unknowns, which gave way to hyperbole. Large-scale gatherings seemed like a fleeting figment of a recent, unreturnable past. There was that stupid meme mocking us for ever having gone bowling. One friend claimed that casual sex would forever cease to exist — a concept that had already survived the AIDS epidemic.
The very thought of the Dime Glory Challenge comes searing with anticipation. A four-year hiatus — one self-imposed sabbatical in 2019 that was filled-in by the “Live At Stadium” event, the others forced on by COVID — is an eternity in the skateboard world. Some brands and skaters that were popping in 2018 have already receded into the sunset (pour out a bit of your drink if you miss Clubgear), while the pandemic gave way to a skateboard boom that far exceeds the global scene that existed at the time of the last event.
Videos drop every day and gear from our favorite brands releases seasonally — those mills continued to churn even through a global downturn in activity — but skateboarders of a certain mind have arrived at the conclusion that this is the only contest worth caring about. And contests, of course, need a somewhat functioning world to proceed.
“Contest” is obviously a placeholder word. There is no money awarded and no rankings bestowed at the Dime Glory Challenge. “Real-life skateboard fan fiction” may be a better way of looking at it, in which adult versions of the Dime crew tap their childhood selves into the present to hand-pick the skaters they’d most want to see ride up a fuming volcano or grind over seven rainbows.
But writing about the Dime Glory Challenge is a challenge in and of itself. What aspects of it are common-knowledge to the reader at this point? How do you continue to explain it to somebody who has never been in real life, without sounding like a rehash of the last time you explained it? We’ve compared it to wrestling, unpacked the ethos of the event, and treated its attendees as models on a runway. We even sent Chuck out for some fashion reportage at this year’s event, in high hopes that it wouldn’t come off feeling too close to the Jenkem series with a similar aim.
Video by Eric Lebeau
If we’re this distraught about how to cover the Dime Glory Challenge, one can only imagine the heated debates that took place within Zoom calls and boardrooms at the Dime office about what else there was left for them to do, having already checked Jamal Smith on a unicorn, a giant skateable sword covered in blood, and the gladiator challenge off their list. Our giddiness about what’s behind the curtain of Glory — compounded by four years in limbo — means that the burden on Bryan’s shoulders must have been unlike any before.
It often feels as if there is a halo surrounding the Glory Challenge — like everything is going according to plan, even though there was nerve-racking, painstaking precision poured into every measurement of every obstacle that makes its way onstage, and proceeds to get expanded ten times over.
The gnarliest trick always gets landed just as the volcano is beginning to erupt. The seventh rainbow is the height of a second-story window, but everyone approaching it does so with feline-like agility. In years past, the devil would enter the angel Dustin Henry at just the right moment, and even the crowd’s perspiration evolving into indoor condensation was not enough to stop the World Championship of S.K.A.T.E. Everyone performs to the heights of their abilities, though many stayed out until 3 A.M. and had a late-night A&W meal, before ultimately having to wake up to take a bus and warm up in the shadow of an Olympic Stadium. Every potential hinderance gets accounted for, and absorbed into the mythology of it all, not unlike filming a dream trick at a high-bust, high-variable spot.
At no moment was this divine skateboard intervention more present than the hill challenge on Sunday. By every measure employed by other skateboard events, the second day of Glory Challenge festivities looked like it would be called off on account of incoming rain.
While I cannot attest to personally overhearing this conversation, a close QS colleague recounted an exchange between event organizers that went something to the tune of covering the rail and a portion of the hill itself with an overhead tarp, while blowtorching needed parts of the asphalt dry.
“…wouldn’t it be more beast if we just did it in the rain?”
And so, hundreds of people suited up with whatever plastic ponchos or substitutes they could find, umbrellas in tow, and stood for two hours as their shoes soaked through with water.
Pedro Delfino barely blinked before hopping onto a torrential downpour of a 5050, Alexis Lacroix secured the Dime x Soap Shoes collab, and Rowan Zorilla’s guardian angels guided him to safety every time he slipped out before succeeding on the boardslide that would cap off the event.
It is not even the fact that they all stared in the face of Mother Nature and refused to allow her to impede their mission.
It is that they embraced this development that would’ve cancelled any other event in the same sphere, and managed to make it the best part of the entire weekend.