Vans Downtown Showdown 2007: Day 2 – The Showdown

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Abdias Rivera just returned from Russia with the Circa team. After hearing his stories, I have to find a way there, or maybe just get a mail order bride temporary companion from there. This is a frontside heelflip down the Gonz Gap
Everyone got their "one mores" after time was up. Adam Alfaro made this frontside nosegrind on his last try
I haven't seen the Baby Lamb since we were both out of our minds in Europe. He's got a step off on the Real obstacle here. It was chaos trying to shoot the jams. Filmer Sara's got some video footage coming up to make up for my lack of good photos
Tyler Mumma is tail dropping into the sketchy tunnel that Omar scalped himself on. Rob Brink has a scary photo of it
Tyler Mumma won it on the Creature obstacle. This feeble is one of many tricks he did over the dome
Head SPoTlight judge Jason Rothmeyer and James Kelch. They used to be big pants 90's pros together. See here
They have super bright movie lights shining on all the obstacles. Tyler Mumma needs shades for this one foot lien over the Darth Vader helmet
The whole Creature team is amazing. They're all ATV's. Here, Gravette tucks it and clears the dome
Gibson provided the tropies which were custom guitars
That's Ian Gow, new Cali transplant, and Ally in the Gibson bus that's bigger than your house
Mic-E Reyes and Rene Rene. I need that dude's chain
Dennis Busenitz - frontside tailslide over and around the dome
Omar did a bluntslide over the dome before the scalping
Omar's head bled through several layers of towels. Here's a close up of the wound from Rob Brink
Neil Heddings - casual backside ollie over the helmet hip
Johnny Layton has some tranny skills. This is a frontside alley oop over the steep helmet hip
Rick McCrank tore up every obstacle and got Top Pro of the day
Bad timing on the click for this Tony Cervantes method over the hip. He tweaked it way crazier than this
Look at that thing. It's like a hip made of two of our kahuna's in the Skatepark. Rattray's got it no problem
Most people under 40 don't do judo airs, but Tony Cervantes has a nice one
Another one you don't see everyday - Sierra Fellers on a boneless
Johnny Layton switch 360 flipped it right out of the gate
Street Navs was throwing himself down the Gonz Gap the whole time. This is a mute grab down it
Chris Troy threw a nice and leveled out switch no comply down the Gonz Gap
I just met Devin Apello this weekend. He was doing ollies up onto the hood of the car and kickflipping off. This is a varial heel down the Gonz Gap
The gap wasn't that huge, but for some reason, there were a lot of broken boards. Nick Trapasso snapped one during the Jam. This is a switch flip
I can't wait to see Mike Mo Capaldi's part in the Lakai video next month. This is a switch 360 flip down the Gonz Gap
Billy Marks half cab flipped the Gonz Gap
Here's an overview of the scene at the Gonz Gap. It was packed, hard to see, and hard to take photos, but still a great time
This thing was pretty fun. That's Alex Olson up and back smith down
Schaefer announced from on top of the spine thing while the skating and snaking continued. He made it through his first weekend on the mic with no bad words. Wow
Matt Bennett up and tailslide down
Sean Malto up and frontside nosegrind down, first try
When the car was out in the open, Dennis Busenitz was doing 100mph frontside 5-0's on the hood from flat. This is a sailer off the jump ramp to backside 5-0 on the extra shaky and sketchy hubba
This jump ramp behind the car was like knee high. Tony Cervantes used it to meron grab clear over the vehicle
Here's an alternate view of Tony's meron grab
Justin Brock ollied over the car onto the hood. That's a scary one. He later backside 180'd the whole thing
If you're a drinker, you'd like this event. There were bars set up all over the place and no one gave you any heat for bringing your own sauce. Neil Heddings didn't put down his brew at all
Rick McCrank - crooked grind up to fakie down
Neil Heddings - frontside bluntslide down with a new can of sauce
Omar Hassan returned to the Contest before the awards were over. Looks like he's going to be fine
Rick McCrank ended up with two Gibson guitars and over 10 grand. Not bad for a Saturday night's work
It's high fives all around as Zero is announced this year's winning Team
Kristie Van Doren from Vans thought getting wristbands for the skaters with skateboarding on them would be cool. Nothing wrong with that, but maybe next time they should get some where the dude's not pushing Mongolian poop foot
The SoCal Saturday morning started out a bit wet, with dark skies looming overhead. Was it a sign that the Creature obstacle was set to go first? The Gods of Darkness held the rain off just enough to allow the Contest to happen, but kept us aware of their beyond-earthly powers…more on that in a minute…

The four obstacles were designed by each respective team and built on site by Four Down. Each competing team (Girl – Creature – Foundation – Real – Alien Workshop – Black Label – Toy Machine – Zero) was permitted to enter three riders on each obstacle, with the requirement of one of the riders being pro. Then they got 30 minutes to show us what they had on the various terrains.

Obstacle 1: Creature’s Darkest Passage Into the Depths of Doom and Despair
Was the name of this obstacle a sign? Was the keen resemblance to a larger-than-life Darth Vader helmet fair warning that something disastrous was on the brink of happening? Not too sure because the Jam started out in full force and seemed to be going fine, but may have gotten a bit too dangerous with the through-the-tunnel-up-bank-ramp approach.

No one really knows how it happened, but Omar Hassan went through the tunnel and came out when a huge, bleeding gash on the top of his freshly-shaven head. Rumor has it that it could have been one of Darren Navarrette’s pet gargoyles hiding under the ramp, looking for some fresh meat. Or was it that Omar stood up early and got knocked in the head by a 2x6 above? No one except Omar knows for sure, but the Gods of Below got their blood and Omar received a couple dozen stitches and a headache. He’s as tough as any demon, and came back from the hospital by the end of the event.
  • 1st – $2500 – Tyler Mumma – bs 5-0 crail grab fakie, smith grinds, and a lien 360 air over the death gap got this happy kid into first
  • 2nd – $1500 – Tony Cervantes – how in the world does he rip tranny so hard? Tony is a natural and makes skateboarding look fun. Long live the airwalk!
  • 3rd – $1000 – Al Partanen – between giving out mustache rides to his female fans, Al spent his time bs tailsliding to revert over the death gap
Obstacle 2: Girl Gonz Wild
We went from a scene of darkness to a scene of “vibeness” down the street. The Girl Gonz Wild obstacle was a replica of the both famous and infamous Embarcadero Gonz gap in San Francisco, originally made famous by Mark Gonzales for being the first to ollie it. It then earned its infamy in the early ‘90’s courtesy of Mike Carroll, Mike York, Rick Howard, Henry Sanchez, and James Kelch, just to name just a few. This group of skateboarders ran things up there in SF, and if you were a kook, you got the boot.

They had a nickname for us kooks…you got called a “t-dog,” as I did by Keith Hufnagel when I visited way, way back-in-the-day. It was great to experience such an historic and progressive era in skateboarding. This was the most “normal” of all of the obstacles that we had at the Showdown this year, which led to some serious gap ripping.
  • 1st – $2500 – Billy Marks – he busted out the full cab and the half cab kickflip…and a few more that I can’t recall
  • 2nd – $1500 – Mike Mo Capaldi – I think that I witnessed the best fakie tre of all time. MikeMo is super-cool, super-sooth, and had it under control on his own obstacle
  • 3rd – $1000 – Sean Malto – the second Girl rider to make top three in this Jam, Sean had the nollie flip over the gap and then threw in a quick hardflip off the three block right after it
Obstacle 3: Real’s Sacto Rebate
I took one look at this obstacle and thought, “What the hell is this?” I know that it was supposed to resemble the OG Sacto Street Contest from 1985, but really? I mean, the little angled spine was rad, but what in the hell is anyone going to do on it in the Jam that’s going to be that sick? Then there was the jump ramp to the car and hubba. The hubba was huge and the gap was far, but that didn’t stop it from getting shredded. What ended up happening as the Jam went on was that it turned into a gigantic huck-fest from the jump ramp over the car. It was totally sick, with skater after skater pushing full-speed-ahead toward the jump ramp, trying to clear the car!

Tony Cervantes twisted his ankle due to skating with reckless abandonment, Justin Brock was killing himself with bs 180 ollies, and we had to extend the Jam in honor of Mr. Ed Templeton! Here’s how it ended up when the hell was finally done breaking loose:
  • 1st – $2500 – Rick McCrank – 180 ollie (no grab) over the car to flat. Rick can still huck himself with the best of them
  • 2nd – $1500 – Alex Olson – when it was a race to the jump ramp, Alex had the most powerful push and out-skated the rest
  • 3rd – $1000 – John Rattray – he’s an ATV and threw down a bunch of moves on the spine ramp
  • Honorable Mention from Me – Ed Templeton – gap to fs noseblunt. He stuck it, but couldn’t seem to roll away. Ed is still killing it into his early 30’s. I’m a huge fan
Obstacle 4: Foundation’s Former World’s Biggest Skateboard
I had my doubts about how realistically practical this obstacle was to skate. It might have looked cool…sort of, but I figured that there was pretty much nothing too impressive that was going to get pulled on this gigantic skateboard. What it really boiled down to was an oversized step-up and sketchy ledge with a huge drop off into a steep bank ramp. I thought that Foundation had just outdone themselves on this one. The runway was short and the ramps were steep, but when you put some of the best skateboarders in the world to work on something like this, well, that’s when the magic happens.

When the Jam began, just making a kickflip up the thing was getting cheers, but then it turned into an ollie onto the skateboard, ollie off to flat session, which was just a huge drop…definitely around the 8’ mark. When all of the dust settled and amazingly no one got hurt, here’s how it ended:
  • 1st – $2500 – Tommy Sandoval – when Tommy gets serious about winning, he just goes to work and makes it happen. He had a few moves, but the 100 mph crooked grind on the skateboard took the cake
  • 2nd – $1500 – Johnny Layton – he skates “beast” at all times and stomps his tricks when it’s a make. The double kickflip onto the skateboard sticks out in my head
  • 3rd – $1000 – Rick McCrank – after almost killing himself on a sketchy noseslide on the skateboard, McCrankers came back with a fs 180 nosegrind to 180 out
Overall Results
The tallying of the scores at the Showdown is a bit tricky. Even though each team was permitted to enter three skaters in each Jam, only the top two scores were counted. But the catch is that one of the scores that counted HAD to be a pro’s. So if your pro bombed and got a 50, well, that was then averaged with the score of the highest skater, regardless of am or pro status. Confused? If so, don’t worry about it because SPoTlight Productions had it under control behind the scenes. In addition, a top am and top pro were chosen based on their overall scores.
  • MVP Am – $5000 – Alex Olson – with one of the illest styles in skateboarding, Alex entered three out of the four Jams and came up with enough to earn him a heavy 5 G’s
  • MVP Pro – $10,000 – Rick McCrank – here I am mentioning his name again, but the 31-year-old ATV shredder is showing no sign of slowing down. Long live McCrankers!
  • Overall Team Winner
    • 1st – $30,000 – Zero – with more skaters placing higher on more obstacles than any other team, Jamie’s squad takes home the big money
    • 2nd – $15,000 – Toy Machine – they’ve been in top three all three years, with a win and two 2nd’s…nice job, boys
    • 3rd – $5000 – Girl – like Biebel said in a recent interview, Girl is the best
    • 4th – Creature – just out of the money, but the TM still shot me a bird
    • 5th – Real – great effort, but no trophies
    • 6th – Black Label – angry team manager (Lance Conklin)
    • 7th – Foundation – they gave it their all
    • 8th – Alien Workshop – last place is what happens when your skaters don’t skate
Thanks
Hopefully you got to check out the webcast of this event because 411vm.com did a great job producing it. Gibson made some amazing guitar trophies. Vans is always a pleasure to work with, and after all, who’s going to complain about free food and drinks on site? Thanks to the fans and industry folk that made it out for a unique Saturday evening. Special thanks to all of the teams. Without the ams, pros, and team managers, none of this would be possible. One day events are the most fun, so let’s do it again sometime soon…like next weekend! See you there… Ryan

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