Twenty five years ago, skaters like Christian Hosoi transitioned from vert to street and demod their love of it on the beaches of California. Today street skating is in full swing and took wheeled action sports by storm at the 20th Annual Tampa Pro Skate Contest. After Street League showcased pro street skaters on television a few years ago, its been a steady climb upward and its safe to say street skating is here to stay. The Tampa Pro proved that with their 20th anniversary of the Tampa Pro. The thunder of this event took the skating world by storm by inviting pros from across the globe. It was a true, Whos Who of SkateboardingÂ!
Celebrity contestants Nyjah Huston, Shane ONeil, Shawn Malto, Chaz Ortiz, Eric Kosten, Paul Rodriguez, Nick Dompierre, Austyn Gillette, and Nick Merlino. Florida locals Evan Smith of Orlando and Manny Santiago of Jupiter FL along with so many other skaters, are to thank for those burned images in our brains from this past event.This years champ is not new to fame, but an unlikely winner this year as Luan Oliveira took gold.
So how did S.P.O.T. pull it off? I have no idea, but my experiences in sports tell me a few things which made them a most likely candidate for being the most recognizable and most well-respected venue for professional street skateboarding. The most interesting fact for us at FLSK8.com, a Florida skateboard contest finder, was that Tampa Sk8 Park did it with precision and class and its something every contest should try to emulate.
Tampa brought skateboarding legends in and that brought the older generation who helped make skateboarding what it is today. Christian Hosoi and Rich Grasso are two that come to mind that entertained the parents all day on the vert ramp when they couldnt sit in the jam packed event any longer. Grassos hand plant rocks for a man his size (and age!) And with the Hosoias air skills, you should be traveling with every sk8 venue in the world.
Professional skaters were active in not only skating, but embracing the crowd and their fans. When Nyjah, Chaz and Malto take time to pose for photos and sign autographs ALL WEEKEND LONG, that is unexpected. These guys and all the others who were standing ready to promote their name and their brands they represented are obviously doing it right and understand what is necessary to promote the sport to the level of infinity.
Sponsors were brought in to exhibit and were a great extension to the success of the weekend. Nike SB (would be crazy to discontinue the brand), Gatorade, Grind for Life, Coffee Spot, Red Bull girls, Zumiez water, Skateboarder Magazine, (if we forgot anyone contact us to be included).
The decision to broadcast the event live on the web, and use commentators to point out the performances of each of the board riders. Sure the microphone at the event captured the essence of the pros as they moved through the course but the polished look and sounds of the sound booth helped the broadcast to perfection. Closed circuit tvs were everywhere and everyone who didn’t have a view inside the event could easily pull up a chair and watch from a cooler place. (I hope this event lands on television all summer long and any television producer should be smart and grab it before another network does.)
Tampa brought in the big guns. The local news of Chanel 13 got the event aired on television which brought more hype for Sundays sold-out show, and last a two day appearance by Lil Wayne at the skate park had schools of kids running to catch a glimpse of their favorite pop star, and the photos on Facebook, and tweets were maddening bringing a social climax for the Internet world of skaters worldwide.
Prizes, giveaways and food and drinks were amazing and supplied by event sponsors. (Go to Tampa Pros website for all the details on this). But the real reason the event was a success was the hospitality donned by the personnel at the park. Rob M. ran around and helped so many like us, who he didnt even know (and probably still doesnt), Alex at the front gate, and Keith whom I met outside the Bricks of Ybor Saturday night party.
The only thing missing was a kiddie night skating session on the weekend so the adults could kill it in Ybor with their crowd favorite skaters. Maybe next year?
Until then my friends, Ollie Rages on!
(p.s. dont kill me for any inaccuracies, Im just a Dad who likes to watch skateboarding!)