Surf Expo & Volcom Mini-Ramp Jam September 2008

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek


Wow, I haven't seen this one since Danny Way on the mini-ramp in Questionable with his arm in a cast and sling. Don't remember that? That's good - it means you're not 60 like me. Dustin Blauvelt - blunt back 360 out

Lee Loughridge blew it pretty bad in Damn Am 2005 and 2006, but is since growing up and killing it. There is no delay of game in this lein noseblunt looking like Dylan Rieder

David Loy won Best Trick with this ollie up, nose grind across, and pop out back into the tranny. He's going to use the $1,000 to take Sierra on a date when he's finally old enough to stay out past the street lights turning on

This was the scene all day at the mini-ramp. Volcom booth madness is on the left

Alex Brunelle comes from Colorado every year and made it to the Finals this time

Shawn Hale is going to backside 180 out of this frontside 5-0 front tranny to tranny. No clean roll-away, but that was one of the craziest stunts of the weekend

I wonder if I could do meron grabs like that if I was still Jereme Knibbs' age. Nah, back then the wheel wasn't even invented yet

Every time I see how easy Shawn Hale has backside noseblunts, it reminds me that this trick is on my skateboard trick to-do list. Still pooping on that one

Blake Mercer was on the skater list I sent to the Surf Expo management two weeks ago. He was one of many that got denied anyway with extra salty treatment from the manager at check-in. He ended up having to buy a badge to get in. Sorry the Surf Expo staff can't use a keyboard and mouse correctly, Blake

Grant Taylor didn't skate much, but when he did, it was mind blowing

Anyone else out there waiting until their mid-20's to learn 360 flips? Porpe did a touchdown celebration after the first one he ever made this weekend

Chris Lehman got a haircut and a sleeve cut. This two limbs down backside boneless is coming in backside revert

Jereme Knibbs - leveled out and ready to punish the coping on a lein disaster

Kids like Louie Lopez are going to take the Man-Am age and bring it from about 25 to 18. This is a nollie big spin backside disaster

Chicken suits never get old. Here we have one beaming us right before taking a slam

Curren was with his mom when she went to get a pedicure the other day. Rather than wait around bored, Curren went ahead and joined her for the toe treatment. A freshly groomed set of piggies probably helps with smooth frontside flip disasters like this

George Evans kickflipped into the tranny from up on top of the bank deck - wow

Schaefer and I went to Orlando on Thursday night to sauce ourselves at the BBQ Bar and meet up with some girl that knows him as The Reverend. Bless that ass, Schaefer

Here's the text message of the week. I woke up to this on Friday morning. They want to cut me from the Party Team??? That's it, I'm going out for lunch and getting wasted not now but right now

Here is where elderly women that don't know what scrolling is attempt to use computers to find you on the list of people that should be granted access to this trade show. They can't find you or someone didn't enter you or Surf Expo doesn't care and then my phone rings off the hook all day. We then have to sneak in like vagrants

I bet the G-Purse people had no trouble getting in. That kook stick there on the left is a great accessory for this gear

Wow, Red Bull has a soda now. It's made of sticks, dirt, rocks, and a bunch of other all natural hippy stuff. Whatever happened to good old high fruitcose corn syrup? That stuff has made me the man I am today

Curren, hurry up and grow up so you can take Sierra on a date before David Loy makes his move. I was woken up at 4am the other night with these texts from David

Rothmeyer, Clements, Schaefer and I are having a serious skateboard bid'niss meeting. Body is having a serious hibernation

Vans is buying dinner and they're taking us in the RV? Nice! This is going to be great!

Wait, what's this crap? Where's dinner? Damn, I need a drive thru

It was a bigger gathering of dinner guests than I thought. That stuff on the bottom makes me wanna puke. Puke puke puuuuuke. What's that on Kid Will's head?

Knibbs and Ternell are with me on the busted food hating. We have all focused our chopsticks in protest

Wow, thanks for the watches, Vans. Too bad we can't eat them

That's what's currently residing on Kid Will's head

A circle of chins with Steve Van Doren. Thanks for dinner, Steve

Nike SB staff at the Vans dinner? Yeah, we're all friends here. That's Nike Nick and Dodge

Of course we need a foot fetish at the shoe dinner. We should all step on some sushi right now

Meanwhile, back at the show, we have antics like this going down and the guy on the mic talking about how we will never see slalom in the mags because it's so "underground." I think the only thing underground was that dude's head. Thanks for the laughs

An awesome flat bottom fight broke out between chicken man and hot dog guy. Hot dog guy ripped chicken man's head off

Notice anything wrong with these tropies? Oops

Congrats David Loy for winning another two grand to take Sierra on a date with

Slalom announcer guy called this thing a "skateboard on steroids." I call it a Rollerblade with only four wheels

The models in the show don't like cameras. I'm getting the no-no finger from that girl up there

One other thing that's going to get me kicked off the Party Team is hanging with the teenie boppers too much

Josh Borden, quit looking at my daughter like that

It's puppy love all around when Ashley Harrison joins the teenie bopper party. I'm not claiming her as my daughter. I'd rather give her up for adoption

Meanwhile, the grown ups outside are getting a time out from the security guard. The hotel lobby always gets a little loose

I finished my night with bid'niss talk with Dodge and Nice Nef. Too much bid'niss is yet another thing that can get you kicked off the Party Team. Check out Nice Nef's interview with Guy Mariano. Good night. See you next year if we get in and don't get fired from all my $h!t talking
Day One – Best Trick & Big Bills
Take for example the fact that I’m writing this from my room in the Rosen Centre on Saturday morning, the second day of Surf Expo September 2008 here in Orlando, Florida, and there happens to be a bra on the floor to my left. Then on the chair in front of the desk I was going to set my computer on there was a purse with some girly socks thrown on top. As I sit up in my bed and look to my right, there are two skateboarders sharing the same bed. But then there is some movement between that other bed and the wall, and a girl just sat up…and then lay back down. What the girl is doing on the floor is beyond me, but I guess I slept through some pretty good times…

So that’s the type of stuff that usually goes down that you don’t read about. I guess you’ll have to ask the right person for the details because I sleep like a rock and certainly don’t know what really happened.

However, beyond the partying, booze, and female interaction, there was some damn good skateboarding that went down on Friday. Once again, Team Pain did a stellar job on making sure that the kiddies, who showed up from all over the States, had a properly designed ramp to rip. There were a couple of relatively unorganized demos that went on throughout the day, but the main event was an “open” Best Trick Contest at 4pm. “Open” meant that any kid that was entered in the Am Contest could skate along with any pros that decided to show up. We had $2000 to give away and the catch was you had to use the bank-ramp style extension in the middle. All of the top placers below actually transferred from the tranny onto the bank extension:
  • Honorable Mention – Mike Peterson – one of my favorite all around dudes in the world…Peterson showed up to skate, but couldn’t get the fs noseblunt slide
  • 1st - $1000 – David Loy – fs nosegrind across the whole damn thing on the last try!
  • 2nd - $500 – David Bachinsky – signature trick…frontside blunt kickflip
  • 3rd - $300 – George Evans – ollied onto the extension from the deck and then kickflip off and into the tranny
  • 4th - $200 – Ben Raybourne – if it was based on number of tricks, then Ben would have won hands down, but his 360 bs nosegrab air to pogo (board, but that’s what we used to call it) rock n’ roll out
  • 5th - $200 – Shawn Hale – the landing was sketchy on his fs 5-0 to fakie all the way across, but had it been smooth I think Shawn would have won
The lights went out as we were announcing the awards and it was time to head out. Immediately upon checking into the hotel we got a message from Barak letting us know that the Vans dinner was on and to meet him in the lobby. I was thinking that it was going to be a nice, quiet dinner with some of our reps and associates, but when we boarded the RV to ride to the restaurant I realized we were having dinner with 80 of our closest friends!

We ate tons of sushi, did sake shots, and drank Kirin Light while talking and hanging out with friends from around Florida. Then musician Matt Costa did a private set for the attendees. Things got a bit rowdy, so we made it back to the hotel, but not before finding out that dinner was over 10 G’s! Oh man! Thanks Vans!

Day Two – Volcom’s Am Mini-Ramp Jam
I bet you were expecting to read about what the pros did on the mini-ramp, too, right? Well, we didn’t host a pro mini-ramp jam this time around. The am and the pro jams every Expo were getting a little bit stale, so we split them up and ran only the ams this September and the pros will be in January.

There were about 40 ams that Rob let enter through his process of high-tech registration application elimination. But at least 10 of the skaters that registered didn’t bother to even show up. Why register if you’re not going to show up? Quit wasting all of our time, okay? So we ran through the 30 or so contestants’ two, 45-second qualifying runs rather quickly. Then we took the top 10 overall from the three heats into the Finals. Their final score was based like this: 15% of it consisted of your 45-second intro run and the other 85% was for the 20-minute jam.

The level of the skating for a lot of the ams is on its way to the next level. Similar to the pros, they are ollieing into and out of tailslides and 5-0’s and showing a lot more board control overall. Two skaters that didn’t make the cut that stuck out to me were Grant Taylor and Chris Coogan. I’m sure you’ve heard of Grant…and he’s getting more and more impressive in person, but you may not have heard about Coogan yet. So let me tell you, he’s friendly, stylish, and skates fast with difficult tricks thrown in. Enough ass kissing for me…here are the finalists:
  • 1st - $2000 - David Loy – not a bad weekend for David Loy. After taking home a G for Best Trick on Friday, he came back and skated the mini-ramp like it was his last session and won the whole damn deal on Saturday
  • 2nd - $1500 - Curren Caples – if the scoring was based solely off of the jam, then Curren would have won because he got a 92.33 and David got a 89, but David’s run score was higher
  • 3rd - $1000 - Shawn Hale – he has been to many of our Damn Ams and is a really nice kid. Shawn just needs to get a little more well known because he’s certainly got the drive to make it happen for himself
  • 4th - $800 - George Evans – if you don’t know George, he’s from Jax and one of the nicest dudes you could ever meet. He’s also got a great kickflip and can nollie flip straight into tranny!
  • 5th - $700 - Jereme Knibbs – that’s our boy! He’s never even been to Expo before, but all Jereme has to do is skate like he does every time I see him at SPoT and he’s guaranteed a top 10 spot in any mini-ramp or bowl jam
  • 6th - $500 - Mike Barnes – you may not recognize the name “Mike Barnes,” but that’s because he goes by DARKNESS. This dude is one cool cat and has a bag of tricks that belong to a 35-year-old, along with the newer stuff, too
  • 7th - $400 - Louie Lopez – he’s a little dude that skates like a grown-ass man with bs nollie bigspin disasters and lots of transfer variations onto the extension. Oh yeah…he can do cab kickflips on command, too
  • 8th - $300 - Blake Mercer – out of Georgia, Blake came correct with a good qualifying run that included a huge melon to fakie transfer onto the bank extension. A crazy-looking, mid-air collision took him out of the jam though
  • 9th - $200 - Dalton Dern – Dalton skates in many of our events and is very consistent. He’s got a 540 on vert, but grabs it early and can do it on mini-ramp, too. We’ll see his street skills at Damn Am Volcom
  • 10th - $100 - Alex Brunelle – all the way from Colorado, Alex knows how to put together runs although he didn’t excel as much in the jam. However, he’s got a great backside boneless. Mike Peterson would be proud
Immediately following the results I had to book it out of there to go judge a wakeboard contest in downtown Orlando. More on that in a What’s Up post later, but it was quite an experience…

Day Three – Demos & Thanks
As much as I was dreading getting out of the comfortable bed in my hotel room at the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando and heading over to the Orange County Convention Center to announce demos on a Sunday morning, it sure ended up being a really fun time. I don’t know why, but the vibe was great and the demos were super-fun, with a lot of participation from the kids. Schaefer took off during the first one, so I had some help announcing from Justin Williams, Porpe, Scotty Conley, and whoever else grabbed the mic.

The skating was amazing, with Chris Coogan transferring up to the extension to bs noseblunt revert, and Curren and Louie doing their usual destruction of the lip. I almost forgot to mention the name of Volcom’s bi-annual trade show gimmick this time around. It was Volcom’s “Atomic Jigsaw on a Stick Mini-Ramp Jam.” Don’t ask me what it was supposed to mean, but we did wear outfits that were similar to fast food restaurant employees. Good one Volcom…and always a pleasure working with you. Thanks also to Team Pain for building yet another great ramp and Surf Expo for pretty much letting us do whatever we want.

See you for the Pro Jam in January…it should be a good one.

Ryan

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