The 6th annual Vans Downtown Showdown went down as usual at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA Saturday night. The teams participating in the obstacle building were Black Label, Pretzel Grip, Zero and Foundation.
The performer of the contest was without a doubt recently turned Chocolate pro, Vincent Alvarez, who was his usual tornado of fast skating destruction. Other standouts included legends Chris Cole and Omar Hassan. Cole even put in an extra effort in Foundation's "F'd Up Stair Set," which he wasn't slotted to skate, but because of an injury to Jamie Tancowny re-checked and saved the day for Zero.
The overall winning team was Pretzel Grip a controversial combination of members of the Girl, Chocolate and Anti-Hero teams. A bit questionable as far as "fair," goes, but who doesn't want to see Tony Trujillo, Vincent Alvarez, Chris Pfanner and Mike Carroll skate.
Nick Merlino tre flip. Photo: Zimmerman via Vans
Here are the full results:
Black Label's "Off the Wagon"
1. Chris Cole (Zero) - $2,500
2. Chris Pfanner (Pretzel Grip/Anti-Hero) - $1,500
3. Nick Merlino (Foundation) - $1,000
Pretzel Grip's "Time Trials Classic"
1. Omar Hassan (Black Label) - $2,500
2. Steven Reeves (Powell Peralta) - $1,500
3. Nolan Munroe (Powell Peralta) - $1,000
Zero's "Blood Bath"
1. Vincent Alvarez (Pretzel Grip/Chocolate) - $2,500
2. Guillaume Mocqui (Element) - $1,500
3. Tony Trujillo (Pretzel Grip/Anti-Hero) - $1,000
Foundation's "F'd Up Stair Set"
1. Nick Merlino (Foundation) - $2,500
2. Garrett Hill (Zero) - $1,500
3. Chris Cole (Zero) - $1,000
Top Am Performance Nick Merlino (Foundation) - $5,000
Top Pro Performance Vincent Alvarez (Pretzel Grip/Chocolate) - $5,000
Overall Team Winner Pretzel Grip (Girl/Anti-Hero) ($30,000), Zero 2nd ($15,000), Powell Peralta 3rd ($5,000)
How many bike companies can say they have a clip of the world's top skateboarder doing a 360 in their video? That's just fun to say. But Chris Cole isn't even the main attraction in this Cult video. Chase Dehart, Chase Hawk, Dakota Roche, and all the flow guys go crazy in this Defgrip edit. Click the image to watch it on Defgrip!
The Street League Skateboarding Ontario, CA stop at the Citizen's Bank Arena has come and gone and a few things can be taken in from this past weekend in the Inland Empire (IE). First of all, we have a good idea of which competitors will consistently make the seven man final. We're also getting more evidence who'll be a threat on which types of obstacles. And we now know for sure that the young guys of this league are for real, and are not intimated by their heroes, who are now their competition.
Sean Malto, Nyjah Huston, Paul Rodriguez, Chris Cole and Chaz Ortiz have all made every final of the year. It's only been a total of two, but for now they are the constants and have to be the five favorites to win going into the final stop in Las Vegas. Huston won the Glenadale, AZ stop and finished third at the Ontario stop, so when the official season standings are tallied he should be the mid-season leader. He also further proved he can handle the pressures of this league when he failed to qualify last Friday. He was forced to skate the Last Chance Qualifier, an all out battle between all the competitors who did not make it through, all fighting for the one open spot in the final. Huston was able to land the tricks he needed and skated his way into the main event . Malto won the Ontario stop and finished forth in Glendale, so he should be in the second spot when the season standings are released. He proved he is a major force in this league this past Friday and Saturday by making all but one of the tricks he attempted. He skated a perfect qualifying heat landing 21 of 21 tricks, and 20 out of 21 in the Final.
As the landing percentages are added up and dissected we're going to get a good a idea who the standouts are on which obstacles, and which are going to be the Achilles heel to a few of the guys. Take Ryan Sheckler for example. In Saturday's final he was on lower end leader board going into the final obstacle, the "big" one. And that is Sheckler's zone. The kid goes huge! The Godfather of "going big" in street skateboarding, Jamie Thomas, once said he thinks Sheckler could of kickflipped the "Leap of Faith," a notorious two story ollie in San Diego, now extinct because of the addtion of an elevator shaft. Thomas being the only person to ever land it, an attempt he did not ride away from because he broke his board. The fact that he thinks Sheckler can kickflip it is a testament to the Street League competitor's ability to jump down giant obstacles. Back to the final on Saturday. Sheckler used the kicker at the top of the big four to simply put "go gigantic" three times: a kickflip, a backside 180 and a backside 180 kickflip (his signature move). He fell on a frontside flip and a hard flip that may have made this contest a different story. That said, his three giant tricks propelled him into full possession forth place within striking distance of third, a mere two points separated him and third place finisher Huston.
That's the thing with this league, different guys are going to excel on different parts of the course, making trick selection such a chess match. For example, if PJ Ladd, a ledge skating technical wizard, and David Gonzalez, a guy who loves to throw himself down huge obstacles, were in a final together they would have to know to put down the bangers in their preferred sections. Kind of like their home field. Ladd would have to link his most difficult tech combinations on the ledges, and Gonzalez would have to let it fly on the big stuff.
Another theme of this league is youth. The average age of the top three finishers in Ontario was 17, and in Glendale it was 20, with the winner in Glendale, Huston, being only 15, and the Ontario winner, Malto, a fresh 21 (his birthday was on the Thursday before the contest). So, it is safe to say the young guys of this league are handling the pressure well, with both teenagers of the league making both finals, the above mentioned Huston, and Ortiz, who is 16. Although, Ortiz did have a bit of an unraveling in Ontario when he fell on his last trick, giving Malto the win. He had been winning most of the final and was the last skater of the day. All he had to do was score a 2.0 or higher, a rather low score in Street League. He went for a crooked grind on the out rail of the big section, a harder trick than he needed to attempt. Thus, a mental mistake may have cost the teenager $70,000 since he missed out on the $150,000 first prize, and had to settle for the $80,000 that went with second. Besides that though ,he had been composed for the rest of the day, and will certainly learn from his mistake.
As Street League heads to it's final stop in 2010, Las Vegas, NV, there are still a few things up in the air. Will the same five guys be in every final? Or, will a few of the league heavyweights who haven't made both finals so far (just one or the other) such as: Torey Pudwill, Shane "Nugget" O'Neill, Ryan Sheckler and Greg Lutzka be able to shake things up a bit. Also, will any of the strictly video guys, who only flirt with contests like: Mark Appleyard, Marc Johnson, Brandon Biebel, PJ Ladd, Dyaln Reider, ect. ever make a final. We'll see.
Sean Malto completed an exciting week in his life by winning the Ontario stop of Street League Skateboarding, a week that included his 21st birthday, a perfect 21 for 21 qualifying heat, and the $150,000 first place prize. Imagine that, one hundred and fifty Gs two days after you turn 21.
The contest reached its climax after Malto stuck a backside over crooked grind on the out rail of the "big" obstacle, which put him ahead of Chaz Ortiz, who had been leading for most of the contest. Ortiz was only two points behind and was the next and final skater of the day. All he needed to do was land a trick that would give him a 2.0 or higher score, a rather low score in Street League. For some reason he chose to do a crooked grind on the same out rail, his truck got stuck and kicked away his board along with the $150,000 first place prize.
"I guess I should of went to school more. I'm not that good at math," said Ortiz when Street League founder Rob Drydek asked him why he attempted the crooked grind.
Next stop is Vegas where Ortiz will be looking to bounce back along with other Street League heaveyweights like: Chris Cole, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez and Greg Lutzka who will all be looking for their first win of the reason.
Here are the Top 7:
1. Sean Malto
2. Chaz Ortiz
3. Nyjah Huston
4. Ryan Sheckler
5. Chris Cole
6. Paul Rodriguez
7. Greg Lutzka
Sean Malto completed the first ever perfect heat in Street League skateboarding Friday at the Citizen's Bank Arena, in Ontario, CA, when he landed 21 of 21 tricks in his qualifier, and in the process brought home the highest score of the day an 81.5. Malto finished forth at the first Street League in Glendale, Arizona, and is looking to move further up the standing in the Final on Saturday.
Besides Malto's performance the story of the day was the less than stellar skating of the top three in AZ. Nyjah Huston, Shane "Nugget" O'Neill and Torey Pudwill finished one, two and three at the Jobing.com Arena two weeks ago and all three failed to qualify for the Final. They'll be skating against each other in the Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday, all battling for the one last slot into the main event.
Here are the Top 6 Qualifiers:
1. Sean Malto - 81.5
2. Greg Lutzka - 79.5
3. Chris Cole - 74.8
4. Paul Rodriguez - 72.0
5. Chaz Ortiz - 71.5
6. Ryan Sheckler - 69.3
Photo: Rob Brink via Etnies