DC King of LA 2008

Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 by Rob

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

DC King of LA 2008 Full Results
When the day first started, just about everyone was a "Who Dat?" As the day went on, we all quickly figured out who the stand-outs were. This kid, however, I can't remember. Front feeble on the bump to Pang bar
Who's this Ryan Sheckler lookin' ass kid? Well, that's Trevor McClung on DC flow. He was one of the stand-outs for sure this weekend
I wonder if he has his name tatted across his back? Trevor McClung - frontside nosegrind
Paul Flores has some snaps on the flat. 100% Mexican kickflip over the bench
Robby Hargreaves - smith grind kickflip out in a Tampa kit
Kirk Rocha - kickflip backside tailslide
Chris Compton Nichols - switch flip over the bench
Reemo Pearson - full cab over the bench
Vitor Burger - kickflip front crook on the bench
Moose - frontside bluntslide on the bump to Pang bar
Keelan Dadd - switch heelflip manual switch flip out - damn!
We'll see Daniel Rodriguez in the Damn Am this weekend at Volcom. Nollie flip backside tailslide on the bench
Somehow I missed everything Nick Merlino did. I got this switch flip, though
When we got to Belmont, Trevor McClung blew the place up. That's a switch backside flip
Julian Arellano - 360 flip
Trevor McClung - switch backside 360
Trevor McClung - switch backside big flip. Wow, kid
Ricky Webb - frontside bluntslide shuv it out on the Belmont rail
Trevor McClung has the tech and he's not afraid of rails either - nollie lipslide
Keelan Dadd - back lip on the Belmont rail
One of the only times Paul Flores had a shirt on was for this frontside flip over the Belmont rail
Taylor Orman - frontside 360 contest make over the Belmont rail
Shaun Hover - nollie back lip on the Belmont rail
I had to go do a bunch of computer nerd work and get a head start on getting the results ready so Mikey Sanchez's 360 flip was the last thing I got. Check that back foot. We will also be seeing Mikey Sanchez this weekend at Damn Am. Apparently, the last jam with Nick Merlino was insane
Kevin Romar is usually seen flipping down stair sets
Fat Bob, Rothmeyer, Pan, and Jani are taking notes on you
Ricky Webb - kickflip over the bench. See you at Damn Am, Ricky
Solomon Mosley will also be at Damn Am next week. Bring this switch heel
Another Who Dat? 360 flip
Cesar Fernandez - kfbsts
Lindsey Robertson was hanging out all day. Rene Rene is probably giving him wardrobe advice
That's my man Ricardo Paterno here all the way from Holland to switch flip this bench and tear it up in Damn Am next weekend. See you there, Ricardo
You know you want a seat at this cool table in high school. Heavy from DC, Jeff Pang, and Ryan Clements take a cafeteria break
Not many people hit the this rail at Belmont. Who Dat? Front blunt
I spy Jeru the Damaja. He was hanging out all day and shooting skate photos. I was trying real hard not to go overboard on fanning out
Kirk Rocha - nollie backside 180
There were plenty of places to get a good view of the Contest
Greg Myers was hanging out all day, too. That's a switch backside flip
Here's a newspaper photo of Boo Johnson, another young ripper you'll soon see more of
Giant letters are the new all-over print
Keelan Dadd makes ugly tricks look good like this crook back lip. I bet he could do a heelflip indy that doesn't make you want to puke, too
Usually when you see a front feeble on a rail, it's some tight pant wearing dirtbag emo with a band shirt on. Keelan Dadd's got it all around like that
The DC crew was at Belmont the day before to hack the knobs off the rail. That's Ryan Smith doing the work
That's the most normal clothes I've ever seen Rene Rene in
Ryan Smith finished it off by chopping the kink off
Congrats to this year's King of LA, Nick Merlino. Now he just needs a queen. Don't go to the after-party looking for that because there were no girls there
We are now at the After-Party and Jason Rothmeyer is getting started with some good 'ol fashioned smokin' and drinkin'. Put that fool on the Skatepark of Tampa Party Team
Alex Carolino destroyed the manual pad at Belmont. I missed getting photos of it, but I sure didn't miss the party photos with him
The chick to dude ratio was pretty much zero. You don't care about that stuff if you have a girl, though. Free drinks, free food, all the homies, Jeru on the mic? Hell yeah, thanks DC
Louis Pinzon has been a local at SPoT for quite a while. He lives in LA now with his girlfriend Lindsey. Louis is a pediatrician. Yep, a full blown doctor. Maybe he can help out some of you babies that read this website and get upset at the jokes I make. Let's do a foot fetish, doctor. Lindsey, thanks for making the ratio .01%
That's Rene Rene's choice of footwear for the night
Jeru did Come Clean, The Bitches, Playin' Yourself, and maybe two other songs before the hotel staff came and shut it down on us. I spy women. With bad gear
Vincent Alvarez was last year's King of LA before anyone knew who he was. He was limping around with a crutch this year. Get well soon, Vincent
Bud Bundy from Married With Children was hanging out at the Party all night. He was cool with our drunken photo requests
Another fantastic airline meal and amazing fly-in back to Tampa Bay for a couple days. On Wednesday, I'm right back to California for Damn Am. See you there or check the live webcast out on Sunday
I got bumped up for some First Class treatment while Rob and Brian remained Working Class. I don’t know how Delta concludes who gets bumped up or not because I’m typing this on the flight home and Rob is in First Class while I’m stuck in the middle seat of Row 12. Go figure. Brian stayed in CA to build the street course for next weekend’s Damn Am, so that means that we’ll be flying back to CA yet again in only a few days.

The First Class treatment continued at the hotel because we got put up in the Bonaventure Westin, which is really nice and located right in the Downtown LA Business District. Rob and I spent all day working on our computers, but I had the pleasure of rolling with the DC guys over to Belmont to de-knob the handrail.

How often do you get permission to do this type of thing? No too often, but I heard that DC made a generous charitable contribution to the school, so the Dean was cool with pretty much anything, including providing the power. Ryan Smith took charge with the grinding job, cutting off three knobs and finally removing the kink. Rene Rene smoothed down the cuts with the other grinder and the rail was ready to be ripped.

The evening ended early with a business-type dinner, sharing stories and talking the usual crap. One thing that added a bit of a spark was our crazy waitress who didn’t hesitate telling Smith what she wanted him to do to her. I saw him lick her foot at the bar, but didn’t get any details beyond that…

Before we go any further here, I wanted to explain the basic premise behind King of LA. A couple of famous LA spots were picked, the negotiators at DC then made a deal with the facilities, which happened to both be schools this time around, and LA-area shops were invited to send a couple of their top riders. But there was a catch, the entrants were supposed to be relatively unknown guys that were on flow at the most. This is the exact opposite of every other am contest that we run. We’re usually looking for all of the top, most-well-known, sponsored guys to skate in the Damn Ams and Tampa Am, but this time around we were supporting the underdog. That’s a pretty damn good feeling and great way to give back to the unknown rippers that are laying it down on a daily basis and getting very little, if any, recognition.

Lockwood Elementary
The sun was peaking through the buildings of Downtown LA when I woke up on Saturday morning at 6:30am. That’s a bit early, but the event started at 10am and we still needed to figure out the format because we didn’t know what obstacles were being dropped off in the Lockwood schoolyard.

After eating McDonald’s for the first time in seven years I was reminded of why I haven’t eaten McDonald’s in seven years. The coffee was good though, and got my brain geared up to enter into work mode for the next 10 hours. It was the beginning of a very long day. There were about 60 total entrants, but we could have had a lot more had we permitted anyone to enter. Sorry to the guys that didn’t get to skate…maybe next year. After checking out the potential obstacles we settled on two mini-picnic tables, a curved led, manny pad, regular bench, a bench on top of the bank, and the only really gnarly obstacle…a very small kicker up to big rail.

The skaters were broken into four heats and got to have a free-for-all for 20-minutes. Since we didn’t know most of the entrants, we had them do an “intro trick” to take note of their clothing in order to match it up with their name for judging. Judging itself is difficult, but judging a jam with a bunch of unknowns doesn’t make things any easier.

After the shredding, here’s how it turned out. We actually announced these results right before the jams got started at Belmont, so the guys knew where they stood with being crowned King:
  • 1st - $1,000 – Ray Maldonado – I know that this kid was blowing minds and literally doing everything, but of course I can’t remember one single thing since I was announcing and unable to take notes. But I do recall him getting to Belmont and not doing a damn thing…ha
  • 2nd - $500 – Kirk Rocha – you know the guy that you see that doesn’t look like he rips, but then gets on a skateboard and you’re blown away? I’m not saying that to dis him at all, but Kirk was the guy that you least expected to kill it…and to top it off he was really nice, too
  • 3rd - $400 – Ricky Webb – I’ve seen Ricky around for a while now, but I have a feeling that he won’t be on flow much longer…he’s going to move it up
  • 4th - $300 – Billy Davenport – he skated fast and put lines together, sort of like Busenitz before he started to really kill it
  • 5th - $200 – Dwayne Fagundes – this ill brotha’ had the biggest gear in the Contest and a great style. He’s definitely a candidate for a DGK hook-up
  • 6th - $100 – Cesar Fernandez – originally from Orlando, Cesar has made the move to LA to make it happen for himself. I really like this kid…and I hope it works out for him
  • 7th - Nick Merlino – we were able to squeeze Nick into the Contest last minute because a spot opened up. He immediately proceeded to destroy the kicker to rail that we dubbed “The Jefferson Pang Bump to Rail” because it was his idea to put it out there
  • 8th - Richie Amador – aw man…I can’t remember a damn thing about him
  • 9th - Vitor Borger – this dude definitely had to be from Brazil or Europe
  • 10th - Robby Hargreaves – once again…no recollection
It was now 1pm and we packed up the gear and made the short drive over to Belmont, but I think that someone forgot the generator. Oops. Hey, I know…no one specifically said, “Make sure you get the generator,” but I guess we just figured it was covered. It was a small hiccup that no one really noticed, but now you know.

Additionally, we had heard the horror stories of people getting their gear stolen, being beaten up, and Chuck Wampler actually getting shot at Lockwood way back-in-the-day, but we didn’t run into even the slightest of problems. Good vibes, Man…

Belmont Senior High
This is one of those spots that you see and you’re like, “Oh yeah…I know this spot…I’ve seen it in tons of footage.” There’s a small three-stair up and then a nine-stair down on one side, with a smaller rail that you can only hit bs if you’re regular footed. About 200 ft. away is another rail, I think maybe 10 or 11 stairs and just pretty big and intimidating overall. This is the rail the Ryan Smith went to town on with a grinder the night before.

After taking a Chipotle break and grubbing on some free burritos (thanks DC), we informed the participants of what was up. There was going to be a 15-minute jam on the nine-stair followed by a 10-minute jam on the big rail. This was really the only way to do it because time and ultimately daylight would be an issue in the next few hours.

All four jams (eight total) on both areas were amazing. However, it was such a long day that I’m assuming that some of the skaters were over it because when it was time for the big rail a lot of them opted out. Either that or the fact that the thing was simply intimidating. Considering the situation, we decided to not count each jam as 50% of your score and made the second jam more of a “bonus” instead of your score. So when Nick Merlino stepped up and did nollie noseblunts and nollie fs feebles, he got A LOT of extra credit.
  • 1st - $1,000 – Nick Merlino – I’ve known Nick for the past three years or so. I met him at Tampa Am when he showed up without properly registering. But after seeing him skate I was like, “You’re the first guy in the first heat on Friday morning.” He ended up making the cut to the Semis that year
  • 2nd - $500 – Ricky Webb – I thought that he was simply going for a fs bluntslide, but when Ricky did a shove-it out on the big rail the place erupted
  • 3rd - $400 – Keelan Dadd – I think that Keelan was the only dude in the event that snuck in as a flow guy even though he’s a full-on am based on his recent DGK ad. He reminded us of a young Kareem Campbell with his confidence and buttery style…the dude even makes falling look ill
  • 4th - $300 – Trevor McClung – I think I had this guy confused with someone else
  • 5th - $200 – Kevin Romar – nollie bs 360 is his go-to move, but he’s got many more in his bag
  • 6th - $100 – Michael Sanchez – we had to keep giving him “one more” to see that crazy-looking (in a good way) 360 flip down the big stairs
  • 7th - Moose! – the man with one name has been showing up everywhere. After putting his name on the map up in SF at that recent Thrasher Rail Challenge, he’s showing up a bit on the radar. The skating was so good in this jam that his cab kickflip down the stairs didn’t get him into the money, but maybe because it was after time
  • 8th - David Vargas – I recall him wearing a Greg Lutzka style hat, but that’s it
  • 9th - Shaun Hover – he’s as tall as Sean Payne (Think am from way back), so getting up on that big rail wasn’t such an issue and Shaun did a smith grind 180 out on it
  • 10th - Paul Flores – across his chest it reads “100% Mexican,” but he should get “100% Good Attitude” on his back because this kid is super-cool
Before you knew it, it was getting dark out. Upon the first signs that the sun was going down and the day was ending, it was literally no time before nightfall was upon us. On the way out of Belmont Vern said, “There used to be a time when you were walking out of this school at dusk and you would have to be really careful. This was known as a bad neighborhood.” We seem to hear that a lot in LA.

King of LA
Although we only truly crowned one King of LA, I would like to point out that there is another name that is damn worthy of a mention and that’s Ricky Webb. He was the only other skater that was even close. We calculated the King by combined scores from Lockwood and Belmont. Therefore the final King was chosen based on performance as opposed to strictly placing.

The King of LA is…Nick Merlino. Upon hearing his name called I think that he was truly shocked because he was pretty much expressionless. Once reality set in and he was holding that big-ass check and everyone was shooting photos and videos of him I think he finally realized that he had just come up an additional $5,000.

One of his pals told me that Nick was about to run out of money and head back to the east coast where he’s from, but now it looks like he’s got another shot at making something happen for himself.

After-Party & Thanks
It was a long day and everyone was beat. You could tell by the mellowness of the After-Party. But that didn’t stop the guests from enjoying the complimentary adult beverages and Jeru performing to the intimate crowd.

Thanks to our judges – Jason Rothmeyer, Bob Reynolds, Jefferson Pang, and special guest pro skateboarder judge Jani Laitiala. Let’s not forget that DJ Alfred Hawkins did a great job of spinning the records all day. And thanks to all of the skaters and supporters that attended both stops.

DC does it right…and they had a lot of their other guys like Colin McKay, Lindsey Robertson, Matt Miller, and Greg Myers just hanging out. Additionally, everything was free…no entry fee, free water, free food, free t-shirts…all for a bunch of ams that no one really knows. The concept is sick and hopefully it continues. So thanks BG, Heavy, Jimmy, Sean, Blabac, and rest of the DC guys for having SPoTlight as a part of your event. We’re stoked on the concept and look forward to the next one.

Clem

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