Street League Skate Competition Heats Up

Georgia Briskey

The underappreciated sport of skateboarding kick flips into high gear as the Street League Tournament started on May 19. This annual tournament takes place over the course of four months, with competitions in May, June, July, and the championship in August. The first competition was in Kansas City, Missouri, the second is in Ontario, California, the third is in Glendale, Arizona, and the championship is in Newark, New Jersey.

The idea of Street League was developed by Rob Dyrdek, who wanted to have a contest that professional skateboarders would want to participate in. The skateboarders compete on specially designed courses, and play for the first place grand prize $50,000.

Some of the professional skaters signed to the league include young skaters like Chaz Ortiz, Sean Malto, and Nyjah Huston, in addition to older skaters like Chris Cole, Mikey Taylor, and Eric Koston.

This year, five new pros were signed to Street League including Ishod Wair, Tom Asta, Jimmy Carlin, Matt Miller, and Austin Gillette. Other European pros have been added as well.

For the past two years of Street League, Huston has dominated the course at each stop, but at the championship last year, Malto took home the first place trophy. This was a big surprise for Street League fans, but everyone was proud to see a rider that had been injured earlier in the year perform so well.

Each stop for the Street League competition has its own unique course designed by Dydrek himself. The skaters practice on the course a day beforehand to get a feel for the course, and potentially plan out their tricks.

There are three different sections within each competition that include the 45-second run, the Trick Section, and the Big Section.

On May 19 the first stop of the Street League took place in Kansas City. This televised event featured skaters Huston, Malto, Ryan Sheckler, Bastien Salabanzi, Ortiz, Cole, Paul Rodriguez and Mikey Taylor.

Each section tests the skaters’ strengths and weaknesses. For the 45-second run, skaters take advantage of the whole course perfecting their kick flips and boardslides. For this section, judges evaluate the consistency of tricks executed by the skater.

Ortiz obtained the highest score in this section, while Taylor was eliminated from the competition.

The Trick Section involves the skaters perfecting a single trick and landing smoothly. Malto remained at the bottom of the line of skaters, and ended up being eliminated when he didn’t land a nollie nosegrind. This was a big upset because Malto was skating in his hometown and had a stadium full of supporting fans. Still holding first place, Ortiz won the Trick Section as well.

The Big Section involves the skaters performing their hardest and most creative tricks by either attempting buttery heel, tre, and kick flips, or various grinds with the two rails boarding the gap. In this section, the judges take the skaters’ four best scores out of six so the skaters could take more risks.

Huston made his jump to first place as he landed a big spin to frontside hurricane. This 9.4 score was the highest of that day’s scores and was how he kept the lead until the finish. Not far behind however, Salabazi earned a 9.2 and hung right on Huston’s heels in the last attempt. It was an epic victory for Salabanzi because he scored second overall in his first Street League Competition, and made the 9 Club with his last trick.

The overall results of the competition ended with third place winner Ortiz with a score of 44.2, second place winner Salabazi with a score of 47.8, and first place winner Huston with a score of 51.5.

The next Street League stop is in Ontario, California on June 15-16. Tickets are inexpensive and the skaters are more than just impressive to watch.

 

Miramonte Speaks:

“I would love to see Eric Koston win, he’s a beast,” said Zachary Francis ‘15.

“My favorite skaters are Shane O’Neill, Eric Koston, or P-Rod. It would be dope to see any of them win,” said Cevae Nava-Lewis ‘13.

“Definitely Eric Koston or Jimmy Carlin,” said Dillon McCumb.

“Not Ryan Sheckler,” said Hank Kaplan ‘12.