Five skaters to look out for at this weekend’s Backyard Party

With the Empire Backyard Party happening this weekend, event organizer Eric Mercier gave us a rundown of five skaters to look out for at the contest.

California kid: Curren Caples
Photo by Dan Mathieu

Not long ago, well-rounded skateboarders were something of a rarity. Sure, there was no shortage of skilled street skaters. And yeah, there were ramp rippers, too, though they were often older, products of a time when wooden structures were skating’s terrain of choice.

But those days are gone. Thanks to a rash of new skateparks across North America, the kids gracing magazines and videos today were raised to ride everything. They’re as adept on ledges as they are in bowls, and they’ve made the previous generation of street purists look prehistoric (even if many tricks in their arsenal were invented a decade before they were born).

Tomorrow, some of those young guns — and a few older ones, too — will compete in the fifth edition of the Empire Backyard Party, a pro-am miniramp contest that, as its name suggests, harkens to the days when backyard ramp sessions were a welcome fact of life.

With so many skaters coming to town, we gave Eric Mercier — the Backyard Party’s organizer and a longtime ripper himself — a call and got him to tell us five faces to look out for at the contest.

—Lucas Wisenthal

Adam Hopkins: He’s always been in the shadow. He’s an up-and-comer guy, and he’s been riding a bunch of contests lately. He just had the cover of SBC, and he’s been shredding ramps all across the U.S. and Vancouver. He’s getting better and better every minute.

Antoine Asselin: The local hero for Montreal. He’s been doing the Backyard Party since the first year. He’s always been skating good. Now he’s back from a recovery, so he’s at full force. And it’s in his hometown, so he’s definitely going to try to skate at his best.

Curren Caples: Second-place winner from last year. He’s from California. Shreds ramps every day. He’s an amazing skateboarder. A little surfer dude. If you’re not looking out for him, he’s going to pop up in your face, and you’re going to notice him, definitely.

Kyle Berard: Third-place winner from last year. Ramp killer, as well. He builds parks, so he knows how to ride transition [Ed. note: That is, ramps, bowls and pretty much anything with a curve], and he’s been skating for a long time. He’s just a ramp destroyer with the best style ever.

Riley Boland: Riley Boland is one of the best transition skaters in Canada, I would say. He won the Backyard Party [in 2007]. He just has the one style that nobody would expect. He flies high. ■

The Backyard Party happens Saturday, Aug. 25 from 1–8 p.m. at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau (3000 Viau). Entry is $15 in Empire stores and at the door, and $18 online. For more information, see

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