Grind King Gap Ollie Challenge Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Grind King Gap Ollie Challenge

Posted on Sunday, September 8, 2002 by Ryan

Grind King Gap Ollie Challenge
September 9, 2002
By Ryan Clements

    The only thing even worth talking about today was the Grind King Longest Gap Contest. It was basically a bank-to-bank type set-up, about the height and angle of SPoT’s old pyramid. There were over 30 entrants, with names ranging from Joey Corey to Fabrizio Santos, and everyone in between. Even Donger and Ron Allen were up in there. The first (and only) prize was $10,000! This fact definitely ensured that every single entrant was giving a full effort, and then some. It was cool to see them hucking themselves as far as possible and hanging on and slamming when they should have bailed. When there are unique contests such as this one, the entire industry is there to watch.

    To begin, the ramps were placed with a 15ft. gap and the first skater in was Andrew Reynolds. Push, squat, “crack,” (silence), land...and the crowd goes absolutely wild! Seeing Andrew make that first ollie set the precedent for all to follow. It was obvious that Drew was the guy to beat. As usual, we had placed side bets on what the longest distance was going to be and at this point I pretty much thought that my 18ft. guess was severely underestimated. But there must be a point of human limitations, right? For example, the world record highest ollie is 44.5” much higher can someone realistically ollie? And is someone actually ever going to make the Jamie Thomas Leap Of Faith?

    As the ramps kept getting moved apart, surprisingly, talented skater after accomplished skater was becoming eliminated. Reese Forbes...later. Kris Markovich...peace out. Harold Hunter...whatever. Kareem Campbell...“Most Expensive Pants Award.” Robbie ‘love.’ Justin Strubing...outta’ there. Diego Bucchierri...chopped. Jud Heald – the Lord was not working in mysterious ways.

Justin Strubing
Mike Peterson
The crowd takes it to the head on a shot out board

    It got down to three amazing skateboarders: Mike Peterson, Mike Vallely, and Andrew Reynolds...all making the 17ft. mark and going for the 18ft. Andrew Reynolds does it on his first attempt, not even needing the other two! Florida in the house, but Peterson was unable to go the distance after five attempts. Mike V. missed his five, but on his fifth called “crowd interference.” The judges could have gone either way with that claim, but allowed him to get another try. The entire audience was getting ridiculously close to the ramps, so it’s easy to understand how V. could have psyched himself out or “mis-pushed” on the runway. Try six: Mike V. was pushing his ass off, aggressive Mike V. style, 110% determined, ollie, mute grab, hold on, hold’s a make!

    At 19ft., it was only Andrew and Mike V. Amazingly, Drew pulled it on his second ollie. (He only ollied five times in the entire contest!) The 2000+ crowd was absolutely out of hand. It was kind of evident that Mike V. was pretty much could just tell that he was struggling to make it happen. And after five tries, he just couldn’t pull it off. I was standing about eight feet from Drew on Mike V.’s final attempt, our eyes met, and I just gave him the biggest smile. It’s like you just “knew.”

    After seeing Andrew really focus on getting the job done, he definitely has secured himself a spot as one of my favorite skateboarders of all time. He’s proven that when he puts his mind to the task at hand, that he can simply do whatever he desires. Andrew was calm about the whole deal throughout the entire contest; the way he pushed up to the bank exemplified confidence mixed with natural ability and determination. I’m proud of him and it gets me especially stoked to think that he came right out of Lakeland, FLORIDA! Congratulations, Andrew, and thanks for winning me $110 on my side bet.



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