Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tampa Pro 2012 - Friday's Tampa Am Vert

Since the 80s, vert skating has been a downward curving red line on the power point presentation that is skateboarding. Actually, it's more like a mountain biking course -looking line, with little jumps spiking up here and there from things like the X-Games and the dew tour. Nonetheless, It's not the darling it once was, and unfortunately it doesn't seem like it's coming back to the mainstream any time soon. Sad to say for me, as it's probably my favorite type of contest to watch.

When we got to the Skatepark of Tampa on Friday, there were 3 or 4 kids on the ramp warming up. The contest was being pushed back due to the industry street comp going on inside.The kids held out though, and after a good bit of waiting, the contest got underway. 

For some reason I'm always amazed at talented vert skaters, or even marginal vert skaters for doing what they do. It takes a special kind of person to skate a vert ramp, and it's not something I see older people getting into on a whim. The kids skating in the contest were exactly that-Kids. One of them 9 years old. Amazing. Doing 540s and spinning upside-down at 9. Looks like I missed out on taking up vert skating.

As the first heat got underway, something struck me. Tampa am is probably the biggest event in skateboarding history, right? This place is bananas during Tampa Am. The same should go for Tampa Am vert, right? Nope. From what I could tell, 7 people entered Tampa Am Vert. I later found out that Trophies were made for the top 10 spots, meaning they have 3 trophies for nobody at all.

The contest itself was pretty rad though, especially considering I got to see a dude in a Space Jam jersey beat the living shit out of himself for the duration of the contest. Beaver Fleming kept pushing himself harder and harder till he was basically a walking bruise with a limp. He eventually made his tricks, and the crowd of 5 people paying attention went wild. Or they were bewildered, I can't really remember. He got 3rd.

2nd place winner Alex Sorgente-who also ripped at Kona's Bowlriders series-ripped hard as well, with his skate enhancing, blinged out Red Bull helmet, he got second place.

Above: Clay Kreiner, First Place Winner. Right: Beaver Fleming's Space Jam Jersey that would make Donovan Strain Proud

First Place went to Clay Kreiner, who also ripped at Bowlriders. Clay is one of those kids that at first glance, you think is a pad wearing air-baby, but since first seeing Clay a few years ago, he's really grown up a bit. He does his kickflip grabs high, his 540s higher, and has a powerful style considering his size.

"Big E" Evan Doherty must have spun at least twenty 540s in a row. 

Despite the creeping Grim Reaper coming after the vert contest (I'm not talking about Paul Zitzer, mind you) the contest was pretty enjoyable to watch. I'm thankful to Ryan Clements for letting me come take photos of it. Since Pro vert was killed a couple years ago for lack of interest I don't really know if we will see another Tampa vert contest any time soon. Which is sad, but skateboarding is always evolving, and if you don't evolve with it, you're in trouble.

1 comment: