Zaturdays: A Damn Am 2017 Primer

Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017 by Paul


The Damn Am is a global amateur skateboarding contest series. Established in 2001 by Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT), the series built on the success of Tampa Am by taking that experience on the road. Over 5000 skaters have participated in Damn Am events, including most of today’s top professionals. The Damn Am series serves as the only qualifier to both Tampa Am and the SLS Pro Open. In its 16-year history it has become the number one amateur skateboarding contest series in the world.

The first Damn Am ever took place in Volcom’s parking lot back in 2001 and Dylan Rieder [RIP] was the winner of that historic event. Schaefer built the course that year and continued to do so for the next ten years, until Volcom finally opened their TF. Over the years the Damn Am has included stops in Shanghai, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Portugal, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York City, and many other locations. This year the Damn Am will consist of eight stops. In addition to the annual Volcom stop it will be returning to Brazil for the second time along with the newly added stop in Sydney, Australia.

Anyone who is really good can skate the Damn Am, girls included. There are few ways to prove that you should be in the contest. Registration is granted to skaters based on their ability to meet the criteria below in the following order of importance.
  • Skaters with prior participation in Damn Am / Tampa Am events
  • Skaters who have the support and backing of established skate sponsors
  • Skaters recognized and respected within the industry
  • Skaters known to us at SPoT who we recognize as able to skate at a Damn Am level
  • Skaters who provide us with a link to footage that shows they can hang (We’re looking for skaters that we think can finish in the top 10, if you’re not there yet keep practicing)


To register for a Damn Am go to, look at the upcoming events in the column on the right and click the stop you’d like to enter. Click the link to REGISTER at the top of the page and off you go [Registration tends to open about one month before each stop]. For personal registration requests email Derick at


There are generally between 100 and 125 skaters at any Damn Am event (except for Brazil where in 2016 there were over 180). Different formats are used depending on the number of days and location of the contest. But you can expect to skate in a three-minute jam with two other skaters in the Qualifying round. You’ll need to finish in the top 30 if there is a Semi Final on the schedule. If there isn’t, well then you’ll be gunning for a top 12 spot to make it to the Final. The Final always consists of three one-minute runs per skater. Your best run counts.

Judging is pretty subjective, but we know how to do it right. Each Damn Am has a three-judge panel of skaters that have deep skate roots, historical knowledge, and the respect of their peers. Most of them are former pros. The judges work in the industry and know the relevance of what they’re looking at. They assign scores based on the following factors: difficulty of tricks, style, technique, choice of tricks, variety, use of course, flow, consistency, originality, and whatever other undefined thing a skater might bring to their run. The judges’ scores are averaged to determine a final score on a 100-point scale.

  • APRIL 8-9: Atlanta, GA (Already happened, and Marcos Montoya won it)
  • JUNE 9-11: Costa Mesa, CA / Volcom TF
  • JULY 8-9: Chicago / Grant Park Skatepark
  • JULY 21-23: Australia / Monster Skatepark / Sydney
  • AUGUST 4-6: Europe / TBA
  • AUGUST 25-27: Brazil / TBA
  • SEPTEMBER 2-3: Woodward West / Tehachapi, CA
  • SEPTEMBER 23: NYC / LES Skatepark

  • The top 10 skaters from each Damn Am automatically qualify for Tampa Am Saturday Qualifiers, meaning they will already be in the top 90 skaters when they arrive in Tampa, and they will need to make a 30 cut to advance to the Semi Finals.
  • The winner of each Damn Am receives $500 towards travel to Tampa Am and a Straight Shot to the Semi-Finals, meaning they will already be in the top 30 skaters. (Skaters who have not placed in the top 10 at a Damn Am will skate Friday’s Open Qualifier at Tampa Am, meaning they will be going up against as many as 150 other amateurs, trying to make a 10 cut to Saturday’s Qualifier).

This is a big deal, because the Damn Am of the Year gets a Straight Shot to the Tampa Am Finals and an invite to skate the 2018 SLS Pro Open. The skater with the best two finishes will be Damn Am of the Year, so you’ll need to enter at least two stops to be in the running. You are free to enter as many stops as you can get to. Only your best two finishes count. It traditionally has taken wins at two stops to win Damn Am of the Year.

Here are all of the previous Damn Ams of the Year…not a bad group of dudes.

2008: Felipe Gustavo
2009: Luan Oliveira
2010: Alec Majerus
2011: Ishod Wair
2012: Auby Taylor
2013: Nassim Guammaz
2014: Anthony Anaya
2015: Yoshi Tanenbaum
2016: Zach Saraceno

There are two direct paths from the Damn Am series onto the SLS World Tour, but you better be ready to kill it. Choose your poison:
1. Win Damn Am of the Year, go to the SLS Pro Open in Barcelona and finish in the top two among all of the other non SLS pros there and congratulations, you’re a new SLS World Tour Pro.
2. Place in the top 10 at any Damn Am, go to Tampa Am and win it. From there you’ll be invited to the SLS Pro Open in Barcelona and you already know the rest. Good luck!
Visit for more information and follow @SPoTTampa –93 ‘Til Infinity


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