Surf Expo January 2006 - Volcom Toga Toga Toga Rush Mini-Ramp Jam

Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 by Ryan

Surf Expo January 2006 - Volcom Toga Toga Toga Rush Mini-Ramp Jam
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

I don't know how any business gets done at the Volcom booth. Who cares? It turns into a pretty loose party there by 1 or 2pm with a product toss, free beer, pizza, chicks in togas, and more
Angel Ramirez and Abdias Rivera - joined at the hip and trying to look grown up at the bar
Tony Trujillo - on the sauce all day from a pitcher, rocking a toga and some chick's bra
Tosh Townend was getting all kinds of illegal in whatever club we were at on Saturday night
The SPoTlight Productions crew that is making sure your skateboard event doesn't suck. Ryan Clements, Brian Schaefer, and Rob Meronek - frat boys for the weekend. Thanks to Volcom for our gear
I handed the camera over to Scotty for a while and he came back with these chick shots. Girls like this are walking around everywhere at Surf Expo
How many cops show up for sketchy stuff like domestic violence or a convinience store robbery? Two? Maybe three? Schaefer broke a glass in Hooters and got escorted out by about six cops and five security guards. He then got a tresspass warrant and is never allowed back in. Guess they were pretty bored that night
The frat girls paddled Grant and Jake with the trophies
Omar Hassan is lipsliding from the left of this photo to the right
Ryan Clements and Kris Markovich
Chris Lehman - crail slide over the love seat thing
Spotted on the way home - only in Florida
Kyle Berard gets a champagne shower from the toga girls after being announced winner of the Pro
Not many people do this trick. This is a sugar cane. It's a backside 270 to traveling backwards smith grind. Kyle Berard doesn't have a problem with them
When Kyle Berard smacks his tail on these lien airs, it sounds like someone lit a firecracker
Jake Duncombe is serving up a nice frat boy beer bong to Kyle Berard right after he won the Pro
It was nice to see Karma Tsocheff skating the mini ramp. This is a blunt fakie
Jake Duncombe finally put down his beer and took a few runs and ripped. This is a frontside hurricane to fakie over the love seat thing
Grant Taylor - stale fish over the love seat thing. You and I both wish we looked that good on a skateboard
Matt Giles loves those bean plants. This one is to fakie on the love seat type thing
Sarah and Dayna - thanks for hanging out with us and putting up with our crazy antics. Oh, and thanks for repping SPoT proper
That's Dave Smith from Vans. Send him your tape since he's the Team Manager. Omar Hassan was getting pretty loose in Lu Lu's this Saturday night
Every time you hang out with Danny Renaud, you have a new crazy story to tell
Dennis Busenitz - always nice to watch him rip the trannies. Don't you wish you could float a frontside ollie like that?
I'm a big Brent Atchley fan. Spotted him out at Lu Lu's on Saturday night
Austin Seaholm is going to come out frontside on this 360 flip to rock
A crazy jump rope session with a toga started up. Angel Ramirez was ruling it. Where's Abdias Rivera?
That's Schaefer and I with our frat boy get-up thanks to Volcom. Can you guess which body parts on this girl are only three months old?
Check out ebinezer steezer with a gangsta lean frontside 5-0. Grant Taylor is one damn good skateboarder
What the Hell is a Trade Show Anyway?
I always give a quick breakdown of what a trade show is all about. Here’s the deal: Think about your favorite company. Perhaps it’s Flip. You’re a big Geoff Rowley fan. Well, Geoff Rowley gets paid big bucks by companies like Vans, Volcom, and Flip to rep their gear. These companies go to trade shows to show off their upcoming season’s newest product. Skate shops like us, Skatepark of Tampa, go to shows like Surf Expo to see what the companies are trying to push on us for the next season. So, for example, at this Surf Expo, Flip is trying to get Skatepark of Tampa to buy all of the decks, wheels, clothing, and so on that you’ll see in our Shop in the upcoming months. Then we sell it to you. That’s how skateboarding (and retail business in general) works. Even though these trade shows are fun as all hell from our perspective, we can’t do them unless we’re all making some cheddar.

Fortunately they host some type of fun activities to keep the attendees entertained. That’s why Volcom, SPoTlight Productions, and Surf Expo host these killer mini-ramp jams. You can only look at new skateboarding product for so long, right?

Nightlife - Friday Night
I know I’ve mentioned it 100 times, but I have been coming to these shows for quite a while now. Over the years we’ve built some great relationships with different brands. But business is business. And if you’re spending money with the vendors, they’re going to treat you well once in a while.

Leave it to Sole Tech to drop a few G’s on dinner every show. They took Rob, Barry, and I and 25 of our other closest friends to an authentic Italian joint just off of I-Drive. I know it’s hard to believe, but there is actually a legit Italian restaurant in the middle of the world’s biggest tourist trap, Orlando. It’s so authentic that I forgot the name, but the sea bass and house cab were great. Thanks to the guys at Sole Tech once again for taking such great care of us.

From there we hit the Matix Party at a nightclub called “Glo.” The entire place is done-up with black lights so you get that glowing effect...so cool, Dude! I had one of those free entry/free drink wristbands, but the bartender must have been over the Expo crowd by the time I got there because he poured my vodka/tonic so strong that it wasn’t even enjoyable. I can attest to a Daewon sighting and a really crappy band though.

PRO – Volcom Toga Toga Toga Rush Mini-Ramp Jam
Volcom always seems to outdo themselves every trade show. This show their gimmick was basically what boils down to a college frat party. Everyone was decked out in argyle prints, khakis, and frat-boy sweaters, not to mention the toga parties that went down daily at 4pm. The beer seemed to be endless and lasted until everyone was having a damn good time.

Not only did Volcom come up with a killer gimmick, but the most-fun-having publicly traded company on the NYSE kicked down 25 LARGE for prize money for yet another off-the-hook mini-ramp extravaganza. Who the hell would have thought that there would be $25,000 up for a mini-ramp contest? This is the third show in a row that this has gone down and they just seem to get better and better.

Some of the guys that didn’t make the cut that deserve some recognition are as follows:
  • Tony Trujillo was there and tweaked his ankle on his third practice run. Better luck next time
  • The competition was tough out there and Benji Galloway was super-pissed when his named wasn’t called for the Finals. Benji has a huge bags of tricks, but I guess the judges just weren’t feeling him
  • I got a phone call to get this guy in the Jam named Aaron Court. I had never heard of him before, so I was a bit hesitant. But his Nice Skateboards team manager convinced me that he was deserved, so I gave him a spot. Upon seeing Aaron skate, I, along with everyone else, was pretty impressed. Maybe the Pro Jam jitters got to him because he ended up DFL...dead f**king last. At least at that point you know it’s only up from there
  • The living legend Pat Duffy is ripping as hard as ever. His backside 360 ollie and bs noseblunt reverts in practice were textbook. He’ll always be one of my favorites
  • One of Santa Cruz’s newest pros, Emmanuel Guzman, almost pulled a bs kickflip from the deck into the tranny. He had the crowd behind him and took several extra tries, but couldn’t seem to hold onto it
Here’s the top 10:
  • 10th - $500 – Nilton Neves – Just like the rest of Brazil’s pro skateboarders, Nilton kills the tranny. He doesn’t really like hectic sessions, so he sat out most of the Jam, but his skills shined when he did take a run
  • 9th - $600 – Tosh Townend – A serious black eye didn’t stop Tosh from making the cut
  • 8th - $700 – Karma Tsocheff – This is the first time that I’ve ever actually seen Karma skate in person after being a fan for 15 years. I wasn’t let down at all
  • 7th - $800 – Chris Senn – Aloha to my man Chris for coming out to skate the Jam once again. His half kickflip-casper stall deal on the coping is one-of-a-kind
  • 6th - $900 – Anthony Furlong – Furlong and I “trained” for the comp and he walked away with almost a G...not so bad
  • 5th - $1000 – Omar Hassan – If there’s tranny Omar will rip it. I would venture to say that he has the best lipslides of all time
  • 4th- $1500 – Dennis Busenitz – Even when Dennis is sketchy it’s still the most stylish skating around. He’s got every slide/grind variation on lock
  • 3rd - $2500 – Austen Seaholm – We finally got Austen to come out to Orlando for one of these and he blew minds with 360 flips to nosepick, nose stall, and board, with every variation out possible
  • 2nd - $5000 – Mike Peterson – My favorite Florida Cracker came up on some serious loot for skating his redneck ass off. Mike drove down the day of and left right after the Jam because his wife is expecting any moment
  • 1st - $10,000 – Kyle Berard – What can I say about my boy other than he is literally THE mini-ramp champ? Kyle has the smoothest backside tails in the business and he can throw down the hugest ollies and lien-to-tails to match. 10 G’s goes a long way
Nightlife - Saturday Night
There was a bunch of stuff going on downtown on Saturday night, but that’s about a 15-minute drive from the Convention Center, so I wasn’t really feeling it. Drinking and driving just isn’t worth it. So we decided to throw our own Skatepark of Tampa Hooters Party. Even though we actually have a Hooters Party every time we go to Expo, this time we announced it to make it official.

So I would say that there were 50-75 hungry Hooters patrons there on behalf of Skatepark. The beer was flowing and things were starting to get slightly loose when someone dropped a pint glass and the place went nuts. Two minutes later in walked five security guards and two cops to escort out Mr. Brian Schaefer...then the place really blew up. He ended up getting a trespass warrant, but we changed the name from Pointe Orlando to Pointe Schaefer for the remainder of the evening. Thanks to Jason at Cowboy Punk for scaring away the waitresses and for picking up the tab at my table. And thanks to Pat Duffy for keeping things entertaining.

From Hooters we walked across the way to Lulu’s, which was absolutely packed. Everyone from the show was there, but I ended up hanging with Mike Conneen and my friends from Melbourne. Mike kept the night interesting because he was shocking people with a real ‘tazer’ gun. Some got shocked unexpectedly and others volunteered for it. The cops showed up to confiscate the weapon and take Mike out of there, but they didn’t have the balls to lift Mike down the platform he was on (Mike’s confined to a wheelchair), so they gave up. Mike also has an uncanny ability to pick up chicks due to the fact that he’s in that chair.

After about an hour of ‘tazer’ entertainment I called it an early night because I didn’t want to feel too much like crap for the Am, which came early on Sunday morning.

Am – Volcom Toga Toga Toga Rush Mini-Ramp Jam
I think that the best “Schaefer comment” of the weekend over the mic was when he said, “Some people are born to skate; others have to work really hard at it.” If you were there then you know that he told it to Scotty Conley strictly out of love, but I can’t say the same for the comment made to Timmy Knuth...ruthless.

I can definitely say that there was NO better amateur mini-ramp skating to be seen anywhere. Considering the level present, simply making the cut was quite a feat. Matt Giles had a flawless run with hard moves and still ended up in 14th. In addition, several others with transition skills like Abdias Rivera, George Evans, and Johnny Randolph (although most fell at least once) didn’t make the cut either.

The original plan for the Finals was to have the guys skate two, 45-second runs. But Jared Lee stepped up and suggested that we have a jam for the ams, just like the pros. After taking a look at the talent that made up the Finals, we all agreed to the suggestion. The guys got one skate-until-you-fall intro run which was followed by a 15-minute jam. Here’s how it went down:

10th – Angel Ramirez – I don’t think that Angel was really feeling it in the Jam because he sat down most of the time, but his back smith around the corner and over the loveseat made up for it

9th – Tommy Evans – This kid was on a family trip from IL to Orlando and even made the cut his first time skating against the top ams

8th – Jeremy Mrazz – I’ve been a Jerry Mrazz fan for a long time, partly because of his nice personality and partly because of his ability to ride a skateboard. Jerry skates consistently and under control – you can tell that he’s been in the game for a long time

7th – Scott Dorris – My pool-ripping friend showed up to make the cut and he didn’t even have his cut-off jean shorts on. The crowd was feeling his proper layback airs

6th – Chris Lehman – His backside boneless reverts and huge fs 5-0’s to fakie around the corner were great, but Semi was a nose-grab 540 over the hip (for real) away from the money

5th - $100 – Chaz Pineda – Texas’s finest tranny destroyer almost didn’t enter at all. His lackadaisical style, long-ass tailslides, and fs 5-0 reverts off the extension were all on point

4th - $200 – Collin Provost – Collin’s intro run was perfect and that run alone without the Jam would probably have won him the Contest. Only a couple minutes into the Jam he was doing bs 360 melons over the hip. He slipped out on one and went right to his wrist. All of the pressure snapped both bones on his lower forearm. Collin took it like a man and walked off the ramp holding his arm with a “What the hell?” look on his face. Best recovery wishes to our young friend

3rd - $300 – Jared Lee – One of the nicest guys out there ended up with a top three spot. Jared’s ollie to nosegrinds/nollie out were on point and I would venture to say that he skated 12 minutes of the 15-minute Jam

2nd - $400 – Jake Duncombe – With the partying that Jake was doing the first two days of the trade show you never would have guessed that he would have been killing the mini-ramp like he was. Most of the time he seems like he isn’t even trying, but I guess that’s his style. The young Aussie had feebles to fakie around the corner traveling frontside, proper bs smiths, and a bs nollie bigspin flip above coping
1st - $500 – Grant Taylor – When Brian earlier proclaimed, “Some people are born to skate,” he was definitely talking about Grant. Grant took the Contest hands down with his ultra-buttery style and huge bags of tricks. He was the littlest guy out there and can hang in a snake session with the most seasoned tranny shredder. Grant did kickflip fs grabs every try and stalefishes over the hip higher than anyone

Thanks to Pete Kelly and everyone at Expo for allowing the Jam to happen. Thanks to Volcom for making that trade show worthwhile and keeping it entertaining. If you need a ramp built, call Team Pain because they know how to get’r done. Thanks to the crowd for hyping everyone up and thanks to the skaters for making it down to Orlando for yet another show. See you in September...

Ryan

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