Kids Who Rip: Finn Iles defies the rules and wins

To start off this next post in the series Kids Who Rip, I first have to introduce the legendary mountain bike festival known as Crankworx. Crankworx originated at Whistler Mountain as a week-long series of varying events including, but not limited to, downhill racing on different styles of trails, slopestyle, dual speed and style, enduro racing and the pump track challenge.

Since its inception in 2003, when it was called the Whistler Summer Gravity Fest, Crankworx has expanded to include four stops all over the planet. However, the one at Whistler still holds the title as the most watched and highest regarded stop among riders. One of the events at Whistler Crankworx is called the Whip-off World Championship. What originally started off as an unofficial gathering of some of the top riders, the Whip-off has evolved into a legitimate judged contest where contestants show off their best style on big jumps in order to grab the top spot. It’s an event best described through video rather than words.

Throughout the years, one athlete has gained world-wide notoriety through the Whip-off World Champs -- and not for his results but rather how he initially received an invite to compete. Finn Iles, born in 1999 in Banff, Alberta Canada, grew up racing and riding his bike around Whistler Mountain Bike Park. As his skills increased, competing in Crankworx seemed inevitable, and in 2014 he applied to compete in the Whip-off World Champs at the ripe age of 14.

While Finn had the ability, the official rules stated that only riders 16 and older could compete, so he was initially denied entry. Upon hearing the news, respected local riders like Adam Billinghurst started a campaign called “#LetFinnIn,” which exploded on mountain bike websites and social media. Under tremendous pressure, Whistler allowed Finn to compete alongside his heroes in the sport. When the dust settled and the top three results were announced, Finn stood on top of the podium, kicking off a promising career in incredible fashion.