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
There was a time, not that long ago, when skateboarders and school officials were hostile warring parties.
Administrators, school boards, and city officials fearing the long arm of litigation declared war on skaters years ago, making them outlaws for riding anywhere near a schools' coveted features like high curbs, manicured concrete roll-ins, and flat handrails, all of which make campuses a target rich environment for skaters.
In several instances the bans became city wide. To this day, the cat-and-mouse game skaters play with most security detail, be they hallway monitors, mall cops or fully deputized police officers, is not just a past time, but a source of pride.
But times are changing.
More and more schools, desperate to do anything to encourage kids into some physical activity, are warming up to the idea of bringing some "controlled chaos" into the P.E. class by not only encouraging them to take up the sport, but instructing them in the fundamentals.
Dave MacDonald, a P.E. Teacher at California's Fillmore High, was the first in his state to adopt the innovative new program. He told NBC news reporters that after visiting a skate park with his kids, where he saw the same skilled kids and the apprehensive ones that are in his class, a light went on. "I thought...wow, this is the activity for our kids. If we can incorporate this into P.E., what an awesome thing that would be."
And with skaters like Tony Hawk, Shaun White, Rob Dyrdek and Ryan Sheckler being household names to most teens, it's a pretty easy sell to the kids -- even the ones who dread physical education.
While pro skaters like Hawk and Dyrdek are actively involved in getting more municipalities to build skate parks, Eric Klassen, a longtime skater and former pro snowboarder, launched Skate Pass to incorporate skating programs into schools. According to ESPN's Matt Higgins, Klassen's Skate Pass curriculum is now being put to use by more than 500 schools in 31 states, as well as other countries, including Canada, Germany, Singapore and the Dominican Republic.
The program is designed to fit what's called the New P.E., which caters to those who aren't necessarily athletic by giving them individual, non-competitive activities that get the blood pumping. In essence, they're actually fooling kids into exercising by making P.E. more fun.
The Skate Pass program, which costs schools about $3000 to implement, has been getting rave reviews. And the positive effects go well beyond just the physical. According to Brandan Aldridge, who runs both before and after school programs at Will Rodgers Middle School in Fair Oaks, Calif., the real measure of the program's success can be seen in his school's attendance records. "We're drawing 25 students every morning faithfully," he testifies on the Skate Pass site. "Since we started our AM club, the tardies and absences of the students in the club have dropped dramatically!"
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GRINDTV Newswire via Allied - Stage is Set for Winner-Take-All at Dew Tour Championships in Vegas Between Greg Lutzka, Chaz Ortiz, Ryan Sheckler and Paul Rodriguez.
Salt Lake City, Utah - Saturday, September 18, 2010 - Chicago's Chaz Ortiz, 16, won the skate park final at the Dew Tour's Toyota Challenge, marking his second win in Salt Lake City over the last three years. The victory puts Ortiz in second in the overall Dew Tour rankings behind Greg Lutzka of Milwaukee, Wisc., with Ryan Sheckler and Paul Rodriguez close behind in third and fourth respectively.
The skate park super final came down to a six-man battle between Ortiz, Lutzka, Sheckler, Rodriguez, Ryan Decenzo and Carlos De Andrade. In the end, Ortiz came out on top of the podium after throwing out a big flip frontboard, a smooth kickflip 50/50, front blunt and a nose blunt for a winning score of 89.25. Lutzka, 25, placed second with an 88.90 and Sheckler, 20 of San Clemente, Calif., rounded out the podium in third with an 84.55.
"I feel pretty good going into Vegas," said Ortiz. "It's going to be an intense final, but I'm going to try my best and just have fun."
Results from today's skate park final set the stage for a winner-takes-all in Vegas between skateboard superstars Lutzka, Ortiz, Sheckler and Rodriguez. With only 40 points separating fourth place (Rodriguez) and first place (Lutzka), everything will be on the line at the Dew Tour Championships in October.
The four-day skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross event will conclude tomorrow with the skateboard vert finals and BMX park finals. The Dew Tour will continue on to Las Vegas for the final event of the season - the Dew Tour Championships this October at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Skateboard Park Finals
1. Chaz Ortiz, Chicago, Ill., 89.25. 2. Greg Lutzka, Milwaukee, Wisc., 88.90. 3. Ryan Sheckler, San Clemente, Calif., 84.55. 4. Paul Rodriguez, Tarzana, Calif., 83.55. 5. Ryan Decenzo, Canada, 81.63. 6. Carlos De Andrade, Brazil, 78.33. 7. Sierra Fellers, Whitefish, Mont., 76.70. 8. Jereme Rogers, Boston, Mass., 72.85. 9. Bastien Salabanzi, France, 72.20. 10. Fabrizio Santos, Brazil, 69.40. 11. Adam Dyet, Salt Lake City, Utah, 68.05. 12. Andrew Pott, Inglewood, Calif., 55.80.
Dew Cup Rankings - Skate Park
1. Greg Lutkza, 280. 2. Chaz Oritz, 264. 3. Ryan Sheckler, 248. 4. Paul Rodriguez, 240. 5. Bastien Salabanzi, 204. 6. Ryan Decenzo, 172. 7. Sierra Fellers, 167. 8. Jereme Rogers, 153. 9. Rodolfo Ramos, 147. 10. Danilo Do Rosario, 145.
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