It all comes down this. The overall Dew Tour Park Championship will be decided this weekend in Las Vegas, NV, a city where dreams are made and nightmares are cubed. A wise man once told me that the more glitter and lights a place has, the more it lacks substance. That may be the case most of the year in this isolated city of sin, but this week the Dew Tour Championships are in town.
Due to a scoring boost at the Championships the overall title in this division is wide open with Greg Lutzka being the favorite to win. All he has to do is win or finish second and he’ll have his first Dew Tour Championship. And guess what? This year he has only finished first or second. He’s about as consistent as it gets on the Dew Tour, and doesn’t seem to be affected by pressure. Plus, he always has “The Lutzka” in his pocket, a front 270 to frontside boardslide and Vegas is guaranteed to see that one come Saturday. If Lutzka can continue his 2010 ways it’s his.
Chaz Ortiz, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez and Bastien Salabanzi are the four others who have a shot, but they are going to need some help from one or two of the other competitors. Help that won’t be willingly given out.
In the second place slot going into Vegas is sixteen year-old, Chaz Ortiz. He’s sitting in pretty good striking distance since he only needs one person to slip. If Lutzka finishes forth or lower and he wins or gets second he’ll have his second title. And if there is a Lutzka slip, Ortiz will more than likely take advantage because as tour event announcer, Dave Duncan, would say, “he’s coming in hot.” And by “hot” I mean he won the last stop in Salt Lake City, UT and finished second at the Ontario, CA Street League event, with a mental mistake on his last trick being the difference. Not to mention, there isn’t a single contender in this that finished ahead of Ortiz at any of the Street League stops. Dew Tour and Street League may be two different formats, but this is still skateboarding.
After Ortiz the hopes dwindle a bit, but there’s still a shot. In third place overall this year is Ryan Sheckler. The ex-reality television star is about as competitive as it gets in skateboarding, and will be just itching to win his third Dew Tour Championship. He is however going to need some help from not just one, but two competitors. He needs to win which is always a possibly, and he’ll need Lutzka to finish forth or lower, and Ortiz third or lower. From the looks of the course there will be several opportunities to get burly, and Sheckler always looks to go big and that’s where he can separate himself from the others. Expect to see more than a few huge kickflip variations from this guy.
Next, sitting in forth, is the 2010 Wendy’s Invitational (Dew Tour stop 2) winner Paul Rodriguez (P-Rod). If P-Rod is feeling it, he’s almost unbeatable. He just gets into a cruise control like state and will just bombard the judges with all kinds of switch and nollie tricks. Like Sheckler he needs to win, but unlike Sheckler he needs reluctant help from three other competitors. He is going to need Lutzka to finish fifth or lower, Ortiz third or lower and Sheckler second or lower. Not totally out of the picture, but it is asking a lot.
Then there’s Bastien Salabanzi, who the skateboarding world is so glad to have back after a bit of a European sabbatical. He first popped up earlier this year at the New York City Maloof, then did every stop of the Dew Tour with another Maloof appearance in between. Salabanzi is a skateboarder’s skateboarder. I can remember talking to P-Rod in Boston during the first Dew Tour stop and he asked with the enthusiasm of a fan, “Did you see Bastein’s heat? How’d he look?” That’s the kind of respect this guy gets. He doesn’t have much of a chance, so it’s not worth going over what has to happen. I’ll put it like this; he needs a plane crash, or an earthquake, or a few Jeremy Rogers-like spur-of-the-moment retirements, but you never know. And how good were his parts in those Flip videos.
There you have it. Everything comes down to Sin City with Greg Lutzka being the only competitor controlling his own destiny. It is Vegas, so I guess we can expect the unexpectable, but if everything goes as it has been we’ll have a new Dew Tour Champion in 2010. And if he and a few others falter, it may get wild. We’ll see.
Greg Lutzka fronside noseblunt via Allied Sports
Chaz Ortiz and Ryan Sheckler via Allied Sports