Vans Downtown Showdown 2006

Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Corey Duffel - frontside tailslide on the rainbow rail Girl Mini Mega Ramp
I started firing off the shots a little too late on this sequence of Nyjah Huston's huge fakie flip down the Element Double Down set
Rammy Issa is warming up on the Girl Mini Mega Ramp. He's a real nice kid and he rips. That's why he's on Baker and all you other kids that rip but are dicks are stuck lurking on benches in skate parks complaining about stuff
You can't even tell how hard this frontside ollie Rick McCrank is doing until you kickturn on the enjoi Dick Gauntlet
One of my favorites warming up on the Dick Gauntlet. Kenny Anderson - backside disaster
Can you guess who the new enjoi team rider is? That's Louie Barletta, Caswell Berry, and Jose Rojo
This was the first time I've seen Alex Olson skate and after that, I'll never forget who he is. A frontside feeble on a ledge is pretty damn hard
That's Dennis Busenitz's frontside nosegrinding at the base of the Paramount Pictures water tower
Dennis Busenitz's frontside bluntslide across this is faster than normal people just 50-50 it
Justin Figueroa recently got 2nd at the AmsterDamn Am. He's claiming he's still got some of the 2,500 Euros he won. I would have spent it before getting back on the plane. This is a frontside feeble
Sean Malto has an interivew at The Skateboard Industry.com if you haven't seen that yet. This is a backside nosegrind
Nick Dompierre did amazing stuff on everything as usual. This is a backside blunt on the bank to wall that only took him about five tries
Louie Barletta frontside rocks the Dick Gauntlet
Jerry Hsu tries not to feel homophobic while he blunt fakies the Dick Gauntlet
It's not a make, but still worth checking out. Kenny Anderson was locking into backside noseblunts on the Dick Gauntlet thing - amazing. I'm sure he could have made it if there was more time
Gareth Stehr backside 5-0's the Element Double Down hubba
If you were watching the live webcast, it was Dave Duncan and Chris Troy entertaining you over the internet while posted up in various spots in the fake buildings at Paramount Pictures
Corey Duffel wasn't shook by the large, steep hubbas. This is a pop shuv frontside 50-50
Sierra Fellers - one large nollie flip
I only saw Nyjah Huston try this switch flip once - and it was a perfect make
Half way through the Element Double Down Jam, the set was converted to a five flat five double set and a rail added in about five minutes. Everyone got quite a shocker out of that large jump getting suddenly larger
After the rail addition, Nyjah Huston warmed up with a back lip
Josh Harmony ripped everything to pieces. This is a frontside lipslide to fakie on a real scary hubba
Nyjah Huston made this noseblunt slide in two tries
Sean Malto - frontside feeble
Nick Dompierre skated everything. This is a kickflip 50-50
Angel Ramirez and Corey Duffel go doubles on the Girl Mini Mega Ramp
David Loy - salad grind on the rainbow rail
Braydon Szafranski held it down for the whole Baker team. Here he's kicking a foot out frigid style on the Girl Mini Mega Ramp
Dustin Dollin was extra hammered all day. He went for it on the Girl Mini Mega Ramp and ate so much poop he had to get dragged off the ramp by his friends
I approve of Caswell Berry's melon grab over that thing. I tried it, but was too chicken not to deck check it
Multiple flashes going off from an army of photographers sorta' messed this photo up. I can't believe Nick Dompierre backside noseblunt slid that thing
Rick McCrank's got a nice looking stalefish grab over his company's obstacle
The sketchy skateboard industry's media frenzy documented the whole thing
Josh Harmony won the event on the Real Hella Hyphy Bank to Wall
Corey Duffel won the Element Double Down Jam
Rick McCrank won the Top Pro Performance Award
Nick Dompierre won the Girl Mini Mega Ramp Jam and also the Top Am Award
The Girl Team walked away with 30 large for taking the Overall Team Award
A bunch of random chill shots from the last few days. We got to surf with Tosh Townend and Chris Senn. I don't get in water that cold so I just stuck to the land and the beers

These photos were posted earlier in the week before the event:
The Vans Downtown Showdown at Paramount Studios starts tomorrow. Check out a few lurk shots and previews of the obstacles that each company designed...
enjoi's obstacle for the Downtown Showdown is a large penis called the Dick Guantlet
Leonard Trubia is helping us film for our Fuel TV trailer/pilot thing. He put down the camera for this frontside phallic transfer
Paramount Studios - fake sky. Rob Meronek - fake rock
Caswell Berry strokes the Dick Guantlet with a backside disaster
Jerry Hsu hits "just the tip" on this blunt to fakie
Jose Rojo has to do a hard reach around on this front rock
Results from the Vans Downtown Showdown 2006 presented by SPoTlight Productions
Practice – Teams – Format
What better weekend to make this happen on than Labor Day Weekend? Nearly everyone has Monday off, so why not throw a contest in the late afternoon on Sunday and have a good ol’ time celebrating Labor Day?

And better yet, the setting for the event couldn’t have been more interesting. It was a real movie set inside the Paramount Pictures compound on Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood.

The way the Downtown Showdown works is that it’s a team vs. team contest. Here’s who was invited:

Foundation – Real – Birdhouse – enjoi – Alien Workshop – Girl – Toy Machine – Element – Baker – Zero

Apparently Zero decided to opt out, claiming that they were road beaten and battered due to Thrasher’s King of the Road. That’s a pretty legit excuse considering they won it for the third year in a row. We’re not sure what happened with The Sect, but Heath Kirchart was still there to rip the Mini Mega Ramp.

The Format can actually be a bit confusing. Here’s the basic breakdown:
  • Teams can bring as many riders as they want
  • Only three skaters from each Team are permitted to skate each obstacle
  • Top two scores for each Team are averaged to get the Team's final score
  • At least one Pro's score must be used in the final result, even if it is the lowest of the three scores
  • Overall Team results are calculated by adding each Team's individual obstacle place
  • If only one skater from a Team skates, the second score will be a zero, which will likely put the Team in last place. For best results, have at least two skaters on each obstacle, with at least one being pro
  • Alternates are permitted, but the removed skater will not be scored
Are you confused yet? I’m sure that the skaters were, too, but the bottom line is this…just go out there and rip.

Real Hella’ Hyphy
As you will notice, each obstacle is named after a company, and that means that particular company was the one that designed it. The Real Hella’ Hyphy obstacle itself was enormous. I honestly didn’t think that too much would go down on it, but once the skating started, it was on.

The bank-to-wall portion of it was ridiculously tall. Most skaters had trouble even hitting the top of it. Kenny Anderson was locking into the most perfect feebles across the channel, but he couldn’t stick one until time was over. Another ripper that wasn’t in the money on this obstacle was Justin Brock. That kid skates full-speed-ahead at all times and literally jumps right up and runs to try his trick again when he slams. He was even running when time was over. Justin almost had the fs bluntslide shove-it on the curved rail, but couldn’t seem to nail it.

When it all broke down, this is how the top three stood:

3rd – $1000 – Corey Duffel – Corey’s amazing pop got him from the bank to the top of the wall on a fs nosepick first try. Then he proceed to one-up himself by kickflipping off the platform into the bank…it was insane and the crowd went nuts

2nd – $1500 – Mike V.

1st – $2500 – Josh Harmony – Mr. Harmony was completely on fire with every trick on the bar imaginable. Even though this was the first Jam of the day, Josh was skating like it was the last session of his life

enjoi Dick Gauntlet
When I first saw the Dick Gauntlet I thought, “So where’s the rest of enjoi’s obstacle?” All that was there was this three-sided quarter-pipe that created two hips. The sketchy part of it was that it was 6’ tall with about 3’ of vert. ANY trick on this thing was good. It was SO gnar that I saw a couple of pros that were scared to do a rock-to-fakie on it. I don’t blame them one bit because just getting to the lip on that thing was crazy.

But what’s cool about skateboarders nowadays is that many that you don’t know about have more diverse skills than just jumping down stairs and rails. Guys that you would think might not have the tranny skills busted out some serious moves.

Hats off to enjoi for being so simple, yet so creative with the design of the Gauntlet. They gave it their all in the Jam, too. Jerry Hsu was the only one to do a blunt fakie on it and Louie Barletta ‘almost’ landed a fs blunt kickflip (insane); however, Louie did land a crazy-ass alley-oop fs ollie over the hip to fs rock out on the side of the ramp.

Here’s who was in the money on this one:

3rd – $1000 – Alex Olson – Son of the famed, legendary Steve Olson, young Alex does not disappoint. Not anyone gets to skate for Girl, and they picked the right kid once again. Alex has the absolute best style and had several tricks for the Gauntlet, including a back tail and bs boneless to tail

2nd – $1500 – Dennis Busenitz – It seems that at every single one of our events we’re handing Dennis some money, but he sure-as-hell earns it with his skating. Dennis had the best ollies on the Gauntlet out of anyone, and he topped it off with a fs disaster over the hip (the only person to do something like that)

1st – $2500 – Rick McCrank – A skater of all terrain with mad tranny skills from those Canadian parks, McCrankers is a machine. He’s the Energizer Bunny on a skateboard and he was just getting started. He did a fs air, fatty-to-flatty over the hip and laughed and smiled the whole time he skated. A true pleasure to watch

Element Double Down
If my reaction to the Gauntlet was wondering where the rest of the obstacle was, I had the exact opposite thought when I saw Element’s concoction. The Double Down was absolutely enormous! Rumor had it that it ended up exactly how the Element guys wanted it, and it was a behemoth. It was easily equivalent to a 14-stair and the hubbas seemed to be at a very steep angle.

Hats off to Jerry Hsu, who must have jumped down that thing 30 times trying fakie flips and nollie bs flips. I saw him icing down his ankle after the Jam. Another notable ripper was Birdhouse am Justin Figueroa, who did a nollie fs feeble down the handrail. Handrail? I didn’t mention a handrail, did I?

Oh, I almost forgot…so at 20 minutes into the Jam there was a surprise. The already gigantic stair set got an improvement (so to speak). We actually made it bigger! The Contest was stopped and Four Down came out and did some magic. In only a few minutes the 10-stair was transformed into a five-flat-five and a handrail was installed. The participants were less than excited and some were shaking their heads in disbelief. They couldn’t believe that it had gotten even bigger!

Remarkably, no one got noticeably hurt in all of the mayhem. When someone would fall at the bottom of the stairs, the stairs were so big that the skaters at the top on the platform couldn’t see the landing, so there were many near collisions.

The top three ended as follows:

3rd – $1000 – Josh Harmony – 100% heart and tons of guts describes Josh’s skating all day long. He slammed SO hard so many times on the hubba, but he just got up with a smile and went for it again. He’s a true professional and I know Ed Templeton must be proud to have him on the Toy Machine squad

2nd – $1500 – Nyjah Huston – One word describes Nyjah’s skating: Unbelievable. He started off with a kickflip, landing it his first try. And that set the stage for the carnage that was to come. Heelflip, switch heel, fakie flip, 360 flip…and I can’t remember anymore because I was announcing and not taking notes, but he had moves on the handrail as well, including a back lip and several kickflip back lip attempts that had him landing like a sack of potatoes on the ground

1st – $2500 – Corey Duffel – It’s rad to see someone win a Jam that’s not your average contest skater. The best was when Corey accepted his award…he yelled, “SATAAAAANNNN!” He was joking then, but he was dead-ass serious when he did a pop-shove to fs 50/50 and a 180 fs nosegrind on those gigantic hubbas. Nice work, Corey

Girl Mini Mega
The Mini Mega is exactly what the name states. It’s a miniature version of the real-deal Mega Ramp. I heard that the Girl camp called Mr. Danny Way himself and received the blessing and go-ahead to name it the Mini Mega. In case you haven’t heard about the controversy that I’m talking about…rumor has it that D-Way put a copyright on the name and he’s the only one allowed to call something a “Mega Ramp”. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s what I heard. If that’s the case, I think it’s pretty damn cool that he allowed the play-on-words to go down…at least it shows that Danny has a sense of humor, which is something important for a professional skateboarder to have nowadays.

This obstacle ended up being the last, and most anticipated Jam of the day. There were a great combination of competitors, with some straight-up street guys like Braydon Szafranski, who threw down a great frigid air (Don’t know what that is, do you?), and others like Heath Kirchart, who did the most perfect bs 360 nose grab of all time. Then he backed it up with a stylish bs nose grab air on the quarter-pipe.

When the tricks were counted and the scores were tallied, here’s what we ended up with:

3rd – $1000 – Mike V.

2nd – $1500 – Rick McCrank – He was a total natural on this thing. From his fs boardslide on the rail to his countless floating ollies over the whole deal, McCrank skated the Mini Mega like a master

1st – $2500 – Nick Dompierre – If you’ve ever seen Dompierre skate in person, you know that he’s a beast. He rode the rainbow rail like it was a flatbar on the middle of a pyramid, with the confidence of a season professional

The raddest part is that McCrank would not stop skating after time was up. He entertained the crowd for a solid 30-minutes after the Jam. He had kids chanting and the crowd smiling. Good times leading into the Awards.

Final Results and Awards
The best part of the Awards was when we were announcing each winner the DJ had some DMX ready to go for the hype-effect. We would say, “And congratulations to Rick McCrank!” and the music would start in. I couldn’t believe how well he timed it each time…guess you had to be there.

Overall Team – Girl Skateboards
When all of the placings were tallied on each individual obstacle, the top team ended up being Girl Skateboards. All I can say is that they earned a well-deserved $30,000.

Top Pro:
Top Pro went out to Girl’s Rick McCrank. I don’t think that anyone could have skated as many diverse obstacles as Rick did that day and put a beating on them like he did. Enjoy the 10 G’s from that, the $2500 from the Dick Guantlet, the $1500 from the Mini Mega, and your share from the Overall Team prize. Damn.

Top Am:
After Nick Dompierre did a bs noseblunt on the rainbow rail on the Mini Mega, it was over and we knew that he was getting the $5000 for Top Am. Between that and the $2500 he won on the Mini Mega, Nick had a pretty good day I would say.

Honorable Mentions:
There weren’t really any Honorable Mentions, but there are definitely a few skaters and others that deserve some notoriety:
  • Braydon Szafranski – He’s not getting mentioned just because he’s my boy, but Braydon took it upon himself to represent all of the Baker pros. Herman, Leo, Dustin, and Lenoce were all present and Reynolds was at home babysitting. Herman and Leo claimed injury, Dustin was trashed, and Lenoce was chilling with girl in tow
  • David Loy – I think I’ve written it before, but this ATV is already, and will be much more in the future, a force to be reckoned with
  • Ryan Dewitt – Thanks for trying to be the peace-keeper, Brother. We’re still backing you and the rest of the Element boys. Now send me my royalty check!
  • Vans – Once again, the entire Vans crew was truly a pleasure to work with. From Steve Van Doren to Kristy to all of the crews that put it all together, it was a fun event and we’re already looking forward to next year

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