The second stop of the 2012 Street League produced a familiar storyline with Nyjah Huston earning another victory and $150,000 to his bank account.
Huston's win at the Citizens Business Bank arena in Ontario, California gave him his seventh victory out of the nine total Street league events. Huston's silky smooth style and level of consistency is the formula for success but whether it's a good thing for Street League fans is another question.
The instant scoring system the series utilizes to separate itself from other skate contests thrives off competition and rivalries. And currently Street League competitions utterly lack rivalries as Huston continues to dominate. It could be argued that Chaz Ortiz and Sean Malto are his biggest challengers, but they lack the ability to win contests. Rivalries are critical to building a sport's popularity. Take a look at the NBA with Magic and Bird or the MLB with the Yankees and Red Sox.
Both Ortiz and Malto have managed to motivate Huston, forcing him to elevate his skating. Malto has the other two Street League wins including last year's championship in New Jersey, but has failed to challenge Huston on a consistent basis.
Although the sport lacks a true rivalry, the level of skateboarding is at an all-time high, which is evident in Nyjah's Best Trick-winning Caballerial Kick Flip Backside Lipslide.
Stop three of Street League moves to Glendale, Arizona July 14-15.
Etnies gets around but just don't make them wait.
They are ready to burn some daylight and over the summer, the etnies team went on a Euro tour with Sean Malto, Jose Rojo, Devine Calloway, Nick Garcia, Ryan Pearce and Willow with appearances by etnies Euro riders Albert Nyberg, Barney Page, Axel Cruysberghs and Julian Furones.
They traveled and skated throughout Scandinavian Europe hitting up shops and skate spots in Helsinki, Finland; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam, Netherlands; all the while trying not to be the last one to the van and having to hear the resounding phrase of the trip, "We're waiting on you, Dude."
Exclusive video from the trip by Ricki Bedenbaugh and Sam McGuire, and for the exclusive photo content and full play by play, go directly to the Etnies website HERE
South Shore skate park in Houston, Texas gets ready to host the 15th annual Johnny Romano benefit Skate Jam. Over 50 of skateboarding's best including Chris Cole, Dennis Busentiz, Sean Malto, Tommy Sandoval, Ishod Wair, Steve Berra, Silas Baxter Neal, and more are all expected to be there to help generate funds for the children who are in need.
The event is held in memory of Johnny Romano, a young skater who grew up in Galveston, Texas. In 2005, at age seven, Johnny was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, he was able to attend the annual Texas Skate Jam (the previous name of this weekend's event) and meet and skate with the pros. Johnny passed away, at age 10, in September 2008.
Tickets are $40 each with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Gulf Coast & Louisiana.
In 14 years the JR Skate Jam has raised over $650,000 for Make-A-Wish thus directly effecting about 130 kids in making their wishes come true!
Johnny's parents set up foundation in his name to continue the spirit he brought to life. The mission of JohnnyKicksCancer is to cure childhood leukemia's through awareness, research and advocacy, as well as empower and encourage patients, families and doctor's in their fight against the number one childhood cancer.
Check out the touching story of young Johnny Ramano.
As promised here's Part 2 of Skateboarder Mag's contributing photographer Aaron Smith's trip to Kansas City with Ty Evans to start working on his full interview with Sean Malto.
Chocolate's own Stevie Perez joins Malto in Part 2 of the trip to Kansas City to help make things interesting.
Also don't for to check out Skaterboarder Magazine "Straight to the Internet"l feature with Sean Malto & Friends this Friday.
Photos & captions: Aaron Smith
Malto warming up with a backside nosegrind in St. Louis.
The face of a winner.
Ty, Malto, Joseph, and Chris Roberts watching the slam Malto just took.
Sliced legs are no fun. Just ask Sean.
A friendly neighbor whose house overlooks the spot saw Sean go down and thought he would come out and lend a hand. He patched Sean up in no time.
You can't win them all.
Skateboarder Mag's photographer Aaron Smith hopped in a van with filmmaker extraordinaire Ty Evans for a road trip to Kansas City, the home of skateboarder Sean Malto. Lucky for us Aaron kept his camera out to capture the madness along the way.
Ty Evans beginning the two day journey from California to Kansas City.
All of Kansas City came out to surprise Sean for his 22nd birthday. Ty, Stevie Perez, and myself occupied Sean by going to a Haunted House (against Sean's willingness) so that Sean's roommate Joseph could secretly get everyone in and set up. The surprise was worth a few scares.
Stevie high fives Ty.
Check out more images from the trip.
Stay tuned to next week for Skateboarder Magazines "Straight to the Internet."