Welcome back to the 20th annual Tampa Pro contest presented by Nike SB. Ben Rayborn was doing these frontside ollies all day - they were absolutely unreal. Ben just put out an insane part announcing his addition to the Nike team, so check it out if you haven't already.
People couldn't believe how high Ben Rayborn goes. Marty Murawski was hyped! We'll see Ben in the semifinals tomorrow-- he qualified 21st today.
Felipe Gustavo qualified to skate the semifinals tomorrow with tricks like this massive switch flip down the stairs.
Member of the 5Boro family Jimmy McDonald had smooth and speedy backside smithgrinds across the quarter. His part in Chris Mulhern's "This Time Tomorrow" video is so good. I hope to see more footage of him soon.
Nyjah Huston was one of the two golden ticket winners at today's qualifiers-- that means he's going straight to the finals tomorrow. Here's Nyjah on a kickflip from the bank to 50-50 down the rail.
I guess backside 180 nosegrinds are too basic for Nyjah, so he nollies into them-- every try, too.
Silas Baxter-Neal has a mean frontside wallride across the artwork Neckface painted for the Am contest.
Andrew cannon has good reason to be so psyched. Andrew is one of the Tampa Pro hosts this weekend and made it through qualifiers, so we'll see him skating the semis tomorrow. Right now he's about to announce a game of SKATE with random kids versus Eric Koston.
Koston had to pull out all the wacky moves against "the pressure flip kid" during this game of SKATE.
Out in the courtyard I spotted Kyle Berard, the only skater to ever win the Tampa Am and then the Tampa Pro. Kyle won the Am in 2000, then came back to Tampa in 2001 to win the Pro contest. Here's Kyle with Fabrizio Santos.
Evan Smith is by far one of my favorite people to watch on a skateboard. He skates so fast and utilizes the course so different than everyone else. Here, Evan smith grinded through the corner tranny and pulled it up into 50-50, rolled out onto the deck, took a push or two then ollied across this gap into the china bank. Evan qualified 9th.
Max Genin, from Grenoble, France, had these switch frontside heels down the stairs every try during practice, but couldn't make it during his runs.
Stefan Janoski made this switch flip over the pyramid in his run. Stefan ended up in 19th after the qualifiers ended, so we'll see him in the semis tomorrow.
Lil' Wayne, or Tunechi, stopped by to watch the contest today. He had to get up in the mix with our announcers, Tim O'Connor and James Craig, along with the boss man Brian Schaefer.
Brad Cromer recently went pro for Krooked and is a pleasure to watch on a skateboard. He qualified 20th today by doing some unique maneuvers.
If you aren't already in line before 4 o'clock, chances are you'll be waiting to get to the bar to grab a tall can. Thanks PBR for supplying the booze.
Girls, PBR and skateboarding.
Last year during the Am contest I shot almost the exact same photo of the perfect man, Mr. Kenny Anderson. It's always nice to see you Kenny. Thanks for being perfect.
Louie Lopez is now pro for Flip skateboards. He qualified 6th today with some really great tricks, like this alley-oop backside ollie on the china bank straight to backside bigspin down the stairs.
Former SOTY winner David Gonzalez relaxing outside after qualifying 22nd today. David looks tired, but not from skating-- he's tired from constantly telling all the ladies no... or yes.. who knows?
Manny Santiago was ready for his heat. He's got a new wheel company called Bliss. I hope those wheels can keep him from sliding around on the course today.
I guess those Bliss wheels are pretty good. Here's Manny frontside flipping his way into the semifinals.
Ishod Wair destroyed his first run so hard that he puked the second he finished skating. Ishod is the winner of the second golden ticket today that will take him straight to the finals tomorrow. Thanks for getting this cleaned up so quickly Mariano!
Mark Suciu has been on a tear through the skateboarding world over the past year. Mark does the hardest tricks-- the tricks that we all wish we could do and say, "Man, wouldn't it be ill if we could do that?" Mark did this backside overcrook revert the hard way in practice, but didn't try it during his runs. Maybe he'll do it tomorrow during the semifinals.
Nyjah Huston. Gap to backside noseblunt. This was one of the most basic tricks to go down during the Silver Trucks best trick contest immediately after qualifiers. Nyjah took 2nd place with a slew of other insanely hard tricks on this obstacle.
Here's the winner of the Silver Trucks best trick contest-- Shane O'Neil. Shane did one of the craziest manual tricks ever. Nollie 360 flip nose manual, nollie 360 flip out. Just watch the edit that Frank made to believe it.
Lil' Wayne was more hyped during Ron Allen's run than at any other time during the contest. After the contest Wayne made a point to say what's up to Ron out in the courtyard, where he was followed and hounded for autographs, naturally.
When the dust settled in the course after the contest and the people started to file out, I spotted this guy smoking a hookah-- yeah, he brought a legit, full-sized hookah with him. Who knows what we'll see tomorrow during the semifinals and finals. I guess you'll just have to be here to see for yourself!