Local skateboarder headed to B.C. for World Freestyle Round-Up

Justin Lloyd practices his routine in Conservation Park as he prepares for the World Free Style Round-Up. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Justin Lloyd arrived early with his skateboard to the Conservation Park pavilion on a Friday morning, ready to practice some cooper flips, truck-stands and the like.

The Napanee native agreed to run through his routine for the Beaver as he prepared for the World Freestyle Round-Up, which takes place May 17-20 in Cloverdale, BC.

Lloyd will not only be performing in the amateur division, but also sponsoring a team with his MLM Skates brand (https://mlmskates.com/), which he operates from Taken Back Retro in downtown Napanee as well as from his home, selling custom freestyle skateboards.

His trip out west will mark his first major event, competing against freestyle skaters from across the globe.

“Everyone choreographs their minute and a half, or if you’re in the pro division it runs a little longer,” Lloyd said of how the competition works. “It takes place over the course of four days with two of the days being the primary days in the contest.”

Skaters showcase their skills to a panel of judges who are looking for degree of difficulty, style, originality and consistency when completing tricks.

“You’re trying to string it all together smoothly,” said Lloyd of a boarder’s routine. “It’s a lot like figure skating.”

Lloyd’s team is made up of skaters from across Canada and the U.S., with one hailing from Brazil.

“I just picked a handful of people that seemed cool and enjoyed skateboarding,” he said of his sponsored teammates.

Lloyd fell in love with the sport of skateboarding at the age of five when a family friend placed him on a board and sent him down a hill. Only recently did he get back into it after suffering a major setback.

“(The first ride at age five) was exhilarating and that got me hooked and I skated downhill from ’97 until 2013 when I had a pretty bad accident, just over by the skate park actually,” said Lloyd, who is now 31. “I took a break for years and had issues with physiotherapy and had do the whole routine with the painkillers and ended up addicted to those.”

What followed was a dark time but through some determination-and motivation to get back to his passion-he was able to get back on track.

“I got clean back in 2015 and started straightening my life out again. (Skating) was the only thing that got me active again,” he said. “I kind of sat around and wasted away for a few years and I’ve still got chronic injuries from that. But I find being active and being on the board, I’m better off than just sitting around the house.”

Though it may be often though of as a young person’s sport, Lloyd says its never too late to give it a try. Freestyle is unique in that it actually requires very little-just a board and a flat surface. Typically there are no obstacles, no half-pipes, just a skater and their board.

“I know people that are just getting back into it in their 50s and I know people in their 70s that are better skaters than I’ll ever be,” said Lloyd.

A live broadcast of the World Round-Up will be available at https://www.theworldroundup.com/about-the-event/.

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