Phoenix Am 2008

Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Last time this bank robbed DMFP of the front blunt. This time, Dylan came and robbed the bank
Stick on our ledges and we stick you with our plants. Welcome to Arizona
A nice wallie spot in downtown Phoenix
More bank robbing going down. This time DMFP kickflips into the lobby for the heist
Tyler Adams-Hawkins is in the wrist stamp club
I see Oliver Buchanan every year at Phoenix Am. This dude rips but has been staying pretty low key over the last few years
There are no marks on this spot. Probably means an instant bust. One quick lip and we're out
We went to a few other parks around Phoenix. Some are not so hot
There was a crew of about five kids that used their shoelaces to tie their feet to their board. Someone put this back flipper on the XGames
Rosary beads seemed to be a popular new accessory. If I put those on, I'd probably catch on fire
There was an art show on Saturday night. It was bring your own beer. Jake from Volcom is keeping his close by while checking out the work
Right when things started to get loose at the party, we had to break out for a bid'niss dinner to continue our plans to dominate and control everything related to skateboarding. Before we left, the Girl crew was pretty lit. That's Mike Carroll with Sam Smyth, who passed out while multitasking
Abdias Rivera - shifty flip in his new v-neck wet suit
Chris Mendes - frontside flip over the big ass barrier
DMFP - BS180NG
That's Dom Johnson backside 180ing the bump to table. In the background in the Ariona wide stance is a rabid Adam Dyet fan. More on her coming up in a bit
Cody McEntire lost the ghetto gown kit. Looks much better. That's a switch flip
Curren Caples - frontside air
Cody McEntire - switch 360 flip
Chris Mendes - shifty flip
It's hard to find shade at this place. Vern Laird has the VX bandito mask while avoiding the harsh rays
Ryan Decenzo just won Tampa Am in January and has now won Phoenix Am
Baby Tosh is back. That's Cody Davis - nollie flip
Vincent Alvarez made an impact this weekend just like he did at Tampa Am. That's a fakie heelflip
Vincent Alvarez - half cab boardslide big spin out, poached from Vern Laird and Matt Price
This filmer has a bad beer disguise
The Decenzo brothers - Scott and Ryan
Of course, the Skatepark of Tampa Party Team is going to have a bad beer disguise
Our new friend Chanel drove here from LA or something. She had some nice road signs that we put to good use
Neither rain, nor snow, nor felonies, nor being hog tied by the po will keep Antwuan Dixon from flipping out on the street course during your run
Abdias Rivera - bad beer disguise number three
Lizard King's beer disguise works much better. Converse is trying to bust into the skate shoe game. They're currently dangling a carrot in front of Lizard King
Clyde Singleton and Lizard King - thanks so much for the entertainment all weekend
There's the rabid Adam Dyet fan. We definitely don't want to see her taint. This ain't Florida, put some shoes on woman
They've been waiting for Clyde to return to the judges stand for 20 minutes to read the results. Instead, we're all in heavy metal parking lot mode outside throwing down sauce with Chanel. David Loy will be joining us in a decade or so
These kids are the proud recipients of Antwuan Dixon's broken board
Poison was a great 80's hair band
That's Sean Slater, Kelly Slater's brother. We did a sticker bikini photo shoot with Chanel but all I can show you is the dude version. She will probably have them on her myspace soon. Make a new friend
Windsor James' hair is looking like a black ass cactus
Tony Tave - finally getting some coverage. I don't think the internet counts, though
Qualifiers & Enjoying Phoenix
It was a long, long drive. I left from Woodward West in Tehachapi, CA at 4:20pm (for real) and drove for many, many solo hours towards Phoenix, AZ. I arrived a long 468 miles and about eight hours later. There were some stretches of the journey through the Mojave Desert where not one single radio station would come in on the killer fm stereo that I had in my “deluxe” rental car.

I arrived wanting to do something fun, but Dylan and Rob were out cold when I got to La Quinta. That worked well because I needed the rest. We were up bright and early on Saturday morning and made our way to Rio Vista Public Skate Park, the site of PHX Am. I don’t know where they got the name because I didn’t see any rivers, but the place is definitely a sick park.

Before we go any further, I want to explain how gnarly the sun is in Phoenix. I know that it’s hot in Florida, but the tanning index on a scale of 1-to-10 must be an 11 in Phoenix because if you’re in the sun for more than an hour you’re instantly burned, lips and all. So as hot as wearing a long-sleeve might have been, I survived one more week without melanoma on my forearms.

Dylan skated in the 1st Heat on Saturday morning, which was strategically planned so we didn’t have to sit there the entire day. Not that sitting there is a bad thing by any means, but I just wanted to get out and experience the local terrain. After watching Dylan and socializing for a bit we headed out to skate a few spots.

Stop number one was only a couple of exits away, but I’ll be damned if I remember the name of the park. But in true Phoenix fashion, it was free and there we no silly pad rules. It wasn’t the best park of all time, but the bowls were good and the street course was okay...and running into Andrew Cannon made it all the better. I don’t think Rob snapped any pics, but you’re not missing anything epic.

From there we headed downtown and put Dylan to work on getting some sequences. It was fun cruising around looking for stuff. We got to skate that bank spot until we got tired of riding it…didn’t even get kicked out at all. Our final stop of the evening was Tempe, where I carved and slashed until the sun went down with old friends George Nagai and Tony Tieu! The Tempe Skate Park is pretty much the perfect mix of obstacles at any skate park…you can’t go wrong with copying that place.

The Art Show/Benefit later that evening was cool. It reminded me of some of the older Skatepark of Tampa Anniversary Parties…when we used to do them at SPoT. It was laid back and fun and there were both Mike Carroll and Rick Howard sightings. Everyone was getting loose and from what I understood it was a benefit for this Lee Bender dude.

We found out later that evening via the Internet that Dylan ended up in 43rd place. 35th was the cut-off for the Semis on Sunday. Bummer for us…

Semi-Finals
Phoenix Am is on point. They start on time. We showed up at 11:30am and missed the first few runs of the Semis. You know the routine already…two, one-minute runs and top 10 are taken to the Finals. There was some serious ripping going down and here are some highlights:
  • Abdias Rivera was there and he was on point with noseblunts and front krooks down the hubba and a proper-ass kickflip shifty over the fire hydrant, but he missed the Final cut by a few
  • I don’t know much about him, but local dude Jaws is sick
  • Since he looks more like an athlete than a skateboarder, Kechaud Johnson can always fall back on being a wide-receiver in the NFL if all else fails. Let’s hope not though because the dude is a pleasure to watch
  • Ever wonder where the inspiration for Chris Gregson’s attire comes from? I did, so I decided to ask. Answer: Jim Morrison. I should have guessed it
  • Jordan Hoffart – please quit skating these top-am contests or just turn pro. You’re too good already
  • This just in! Mike Mo actually skated in public. Rumor has it that he skated in the Contest, but I don’t believe it. However, I did see him cruising around the edge of the course at one point
  • What the hell happened to Oliver Buchanan? Is this dude okay? Did he join a Swedish black metal band or something?
I would have loved to see all of those dudes in the Finals, but things don’t always work out like that.

Finals
This is what we all wait the entire weekend for, right? There must have been a Golden Ticket from the Qualifiers that I missed on Saturday because there were 11 in the Finals. The skating was amazing and here’s how it turned out:
  • 1st – $3000 – Ryan Decenzo – how are you gonna’ win Tampa Am and then come back and win Phoenix Am less than two months later? Unreal. His fs blunt on picnic table and nollie nosegrind on the handrail earned him three g’s as opposed to simply the glory at Tampa Am
  • 2nd – $2000 – Chazz Ortiz – the lil’ man with mad style was so on point. I’m really feeling this dude and he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in professional skateboarding in the near future. Shecks look out
  • 3rd – $1000 – Vincent Alvarez – this dude is so sick. He’s got the full Girl/Chocolate hook up due to his switch everything, including switch lipslides and switch fs blunts on the quarters every try
  • 4th – Dustin Blauvelt – look at my boy just missing the money. Doesn’t that suck? He must have not drank any of the 20 beers that his pops threw down in the parking lot
  • 5th – Collin Provost – he’s running a close second on Jim Morrison attire next to Chris Gregson, but gigantic collar shirt or not, Collin always skates solid as hell and is a cool-ass kid
  • 6th – Matt Berger – no, not “burger,” but ber-ger. Matt corrected me one time at a Damn Am Contest in his weird Canadian way, so I will never forget the dude. His 360 flip down the 11 was pretty memorable, too
  • 7th – Andrew Langi – I’m just wondering…is this guy the new Phil Shao? I’m telling you, there isn’t a skateboarder that is much more enjoyable to watch than Langi. Dude has it all from lofty ollies to a very proper Madonna
  • 8th – Timmy Knuth – another one of my boys made it to the Finals, but missed the cash. I don’t care what you have to say about him because Timmy has a huge bag of tricks and is a very nice young guy
  • 9th – Robbie Brockell – top 10 in the Street and then win the Best Trick? Not a problem at all for Mr. Brockell. This local kid has a clean style and ability to throw down for Cowtown, his hometown sponsor
  • 10th – Josh Hawkins – really sick, but how long will they keep him on Powell, along with the rest of that good team they have? All I really remember was a fakie flip down the 11, but he definitely made an impression on me
  • 11th – Cody McEntire – his steez change makes him resemble a redneck gangster version of Brent Atchley, but I can’t talk smack because he’s got the biggest nollie bigspin of all time. If you’re going to do that trick, do it like Cody. He couldn’t pull it together in the Finals…I think his tricks were just too damn hard to pull every try
Best Trick
Here are some memorable highlights of what got done down the 11:
  • Antwuan Dixon – Wtf? Isn’t this dude pro for Deathwish? Then why was he skating an am best trick? I guess it’s just easier to let him do it as opposed to calling him out. His nollie heel was smooth as butta’, but he broke his board on the fakie flip
  • Louie Lopez – fs nollie 180 heel and a back foot kickflip (risky, but he can get away with it since he’s a little dude)
  • Walker Ryan – switch bs flip
  • Nick Fiorini – nollie double heelflip. He was going for triple after making the double!
  • Josh Hawkins – nollie 360 shove-it. You don’t see that too often
  • Timmy Knuth – he skipped the stairs and did kickflip krooks down the rail
  • Ryan Decenzo – I’m pretty sure he did a nollie heel bs 50-50 on the rail, but don’t hold me to it. There was a lot going and if you dipped your head down to write a note just for a second you missed something
The skating in Best Trick was top notch, and although everyone above definitely deserved an Honorable Mention, this was a true Best Trick Contest, therefore leaving one true winner. And man did this dude deserve it if anyone ever did. The bar has been raised.
  • Robbie Brockell – $2500 – bs bigflip revert – holy $h!t!!! Do you follow me on that one? Imagine a bs bigspin kickflip, catching it, and the coming all the way around 360 ‘til you’re riding straight away. Marc Johnson may have done it over a hip, but Robbie did it down 11. Hats off, Son
Thanks
Trent and Laura at Cowtown have done a great job of putting this event together year after year. Considering it’s held at a public skate park, I’m sure that there is all sort of red tape to jump through. The effort is truly appreciated…thanks to everyone else involved, too. Come check it out next year, and enjoy the other fun parks in the vicinity. Great job goes out to Clyde Singleton on the mic, too. Although he looked like he was filming a rap video on Sunday, Rob and I were constantly entertained with his diatribe, black jokes and all.

By the way, it’s a little late, but Rob’s birthday was Sunday, April 6th. He’s still in his 20’s.

Ryan
Here's a minute of boredom in the airport using the escalators and a skateboard.

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