By Brian Beagle
The Sun Diego Vans Am Slam hit Chula Vista on 7/17/10 for the third stop of the tour. The tour culminates with a championship contest at the Vans skatepark in O.C. If you are not familiar with this tour, take it from me that you need to get out to the next stop on 8/28/10 at the Carmel Valley skatepark. There is incredible amateur skating happening right here in San Diego. You will not believe how amazing these skaters are. These riders will melt your face with amazing tricks and powerful skating. Each stop I am blown away that the riders can keep up this level of riding stop after stop.
In the 13 and under division you had skaters as young as 6 showing the crowd what they have. It was great to see some of the smaller kids not being afraid to mix it up with the bigger kids. The three kids on the podium had great use of the park and tricks that were well above their age. The results had Alexis Ramirez in third, Zach Saraceno in second, and Rene Serrano with the win. Zach and Rene are only 100 points apart going into the next stop.
Things started to get hotter with the 14-16 division. They took the riding to another level. Big airs, use of the whole park, and long grinds stuck out to me in this group. I was impressed that at this age they were kick flipping down 6 stair sets and pulling long board slides. In the end, creative use of the park helped propel the winners to the podium. Diego Navarez gets third, Eric Winkowski comes in second, Peejay Encina gets the win. Peejay has a big points lead going forward.
Moving into the 17 and over division the skating just keeps getting better. Higher airs, longer grinds, kick flips into board slides, and tre flips and big spins down the 6 stairs stood out in this division. Use of the park, creative and flowing lines, and big tricks were necessary to get on the podium. Patrick Swiggs had the best combination and took the win, Joshua Briggs gets second, and Dolan Stearns earns third. Patrick and Dolan are very close in points, look for these two to step it up moving forward.
Now on to the money round. The open division is where the big show is, and these skaters delivered. This group is really close to making it to the big league AM contests, and you will hear about several of these riders in the near future. These guys really used the park to it’s fullest. The crowd had to get out of the way a few times to allow these skaters to go places that no one expected. Kick flips into manuals, flip in shove it out board slides, the biggest airs, and tricking the biggest obstacles were par for this division. There were lots of contestants so this division had 3 jams and a big final. If you have not had the chance to watch a quality skating competition with 9 or 10 skater jams you are really missing out on a great show. There are skaters all over the place with non-stop tricks being thrown each second. In the final the skating only got better. Full park use, the biggest tricks on the most difficult obstacles, and style had to all come together to place in this tough division. At the end of the day Jake Hill gets third, Brandon Villanueva lands in second, and Bryant Chapo gets his second win of the tour. Brendan has a 600 point lead on Bryant, but Bryant has two wins. This division will not be decided until the end in Oceanside.
The trick of the day is usually quite difficult to decide, but Ivan Ortiz’s frontside bigspin off the waterfall roll in to flat easily stood out. This is a giant trick he did with a 12 foot fall to flat concrete.