The Masters came next, and these guys pretty much showed everyone why they are called masters. As usual, Buck Smith showed everyone how capable he was of starting a line wherever the hell he wanted to, or wherever he had to dodge a person's foot by popping into the pool while cruising around the deck at full speed. Buck had a few falls, but had some insane tricks as always. Lester Kasai also made an appearance, which I was really stoked about. I was not stoked about not being in the right spot to shoot a good photo of him, but I forgive him because I was probably too nerded out over him being there in the first place. Other notables included Donny Griffin, Kelly Lynn, and Dave "Double D", "Not Dave Duren" Duncan, who took a break from announcing the contest to slash the coping for everyone while keeping his sunglasses securely intact. I seriously appreciated his presence.
Buck Smith pushing the pool back into the ground.
Will Powers, boneless
Jimmy the Greek
Sergie Ventura, front smith
The pros were pro as hell. Lots of returning favorites from last year, including Kevin Kowalski, Jimmy 'The Greek' Marcus, and Sergie Ventura. I got to see a lot of guys I'd never seen skate before, which was rad. Notable runs I remember include: Will Powers starting off big with the biggest boneless i've ever seen in person, 3 feet from my face. Kevin Kowalski Hauling ass and rolling in with a smith grind. Donovan Rice doing the best looking tricks of the night, and smacking his forehead on the pool floor. Steven Reeves going faster than anyone I'd seen all night, doing all his tricks at mach 8. Sky Silzeg killing it all night, dropping his hat mid run, picking it back up and putting it on before his run was over. Tim Johnson trying to NOLLIE HARDFLIP into the deep end of the pool. Bennett Harada Having more hair than I do under his hat. And sick style. And Mikee O'Friell, who was doing sick stylish runs and crazy lip tricks, rocking two distinctly different looking kits between day and night.
Todd traded one weird helmet for another one. Ripper.
Steven Reeves. This guy hauled ass, and made me want to buy some Bones wheels.
Lester Kasai. Sorry dude, I cut off your arm.
After the pros division was over, the guys at the grill opened up the serving table for all the competitors to chow down while waiting for the results of the contest. In my opinion, this leg of the contest was an overwhelming success, pulling in a ton of amazing skateboarders and noteworthy spectators alike. It was good to see guys like Brian Schaefer from SPoT, Mike Rogers from Grind for Life, and the guy behind the Springfield Skate Plaza Project. I want to say thanks to the people at Kona, including Martin Ramos for having me out, and also thanks to everyone for not slapping me in the face when I ran up to them asking what their names were after I took their picture. For results to the contest and more coverage from the second and third legs of the trifecta, please check back on Kona's official site. And lastly, to Mike Peterson, tell your kid I said happy birthday.