6th Annual Damn Am MN Presented by DC and Billabong

Posted on Monday, June 9, 2008 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

This kickflip into the deep end of the bowl was nuts. Cody Davis is growing up and into some style for sure. It's nice to see the progression year after year
Wow, check the snaps on Curren Caples' 50-50 down the rail. What other site are you going to find a Tech Deck sequence on? Yeah, only cutting edge serious skateboard coverage goes on skateparkoftampa.com
While the Contest was going on inside, the Ollie Pop bar was being put to creative use. That's a crazy hippie jump right there. Who dat? I think this is one of the guys that got in with video footage
Tyson Bowerbank has the Haslam dance on lock. He must have done this at least 50 times today
You can't make it look this good on a Tech Deck. Wow, look at that tuck. Curren Caples is blasting this transfer from quarter to bank
I'm going to have to get some guitar lessons from Lacey Baker. I should probably go ahead and get some skateboarding lessons from her, too. Noseslide shuvs out got her in the cut to Sunday
Solomon Mosley, aka Baby Kenny Hughes, was throwing down one of the hardest tricks of the weekend - 3 flip frontside nosegrind on the bump to flat bar. I loved how Clyde kept making fun of white people when Clements would accidentally call him Anthonly Mosley or Gerson Mosley
Greg Myers has the Tampa kit on - all black. That's a nollie backside flip
Donovan Piscopo was a pint sized version of Rattray. One of the best things about doing am contests is watching kids grow up and into their style like we saw Dylan Rieder blossom. He won the first Damn Am when we started doing these. He had a little bit of sloppy little kid style back then, but now is one of my favorite skaters and styles today
Wow, that's a new one to me. I've never seen a nollie frontside hurricane before. Hell yeah, Davis Torgerson
Filipe Ortiz was going for this huge kickflip crooked grind, but settled for the noseslide and rode way
Porpe and I would have missed our flights this morning if Jeremy Knibbs didn't wake us up. He missed the cut by two. Check out this super stylin' crail floater in the outside bowl. Jeremy missed the cut to Sunday by two
Levi Combs got kicked out of the hotel the first night we were there. He and Lehman climbed up into the attic in the hotel hallway and were pissing down onto the floor as people would go by. There was all kinds of drunken ruckus like that going and I definitely participated. I just did mine at the bars, not the hotels. Get kicked out of the bars, not the places you need to sleep. Duh
Chaz Ortiz had an amazing second run that he finished up with a kickflip frontside feeble grind down the rail, but it wasn't enough take out Evan Smith's perfect run. Check the results for a description of Evan's run. This is Chaz on a kickflip feeble grind frontside 180 out
DMFP got second in the Blind Best Trick for this gap to backside noseblunt slide
The Darkness descends on the bowl outside with a kickflip front rock
Porpe took a beating as usual before making this backside lipslide in the deep end. He was trying hard to avoid a take a poop
I remember when Ryan McWhirter used to wear those black nerdy type glasses. He looked like he was about to jump in a phone booth and come out as Superman. He's grown up now and killing it. This is a frontside nosegrind from the deep into the shallow with proof that Joe Hammeke is actually working and shooting photos
Hammeke and I pressed the shutter button at the same time on Curren's frontside air in the deep end so you see his flashes going off also. I don't even think I could tweak it like that on the ground. Amazing
I keep saying I'm going to re-learn stale fishes. Haven't gotten around to that yet. David Loy has a good one
Damn, Wes Kremer can skate a bowl. That's a rock 'n roll boardslide in the deep end making him look like a 45-year-old man with leopard print pads
Of course Cody Davis does frontside airs the right way. That's because he doesn't suck
Chris Lehman knows the only time your hand should be between your legs is when you're looking at porn on the internet. He has a proper frontside grab
Look at Roadkill's front foot. Looks like a bail, huh? Nope, this front blunt in the deep end was scary and made clean
All young kids want to look old and all old dudes want to look young. That's why David Loy is doing this finger flip lien to tail and that's why I still try to flip my board
That's a Meronek approved meron grab right there. His are looking a hell of a lot better than my merons
Aquil Brathwaite is a super nice and super loud dude. Baby Clyde? I'm pretty sure this was a nollie back heel. What's your guess?
Greg Myers lifts his nollies pretty damn high. That's a nollie half cab flip
Evan Smith is going to frontside 180 out of this back smith and win the damn thing
Jimmy Astleford is the DC Team Manager. He took a run for fun and to see which of his guys he could knock out of the cut on Sunday. I don't think you're going to knock anyone out in 85th place
Fletcher Renegar is another one of the young ones growing into a man style year after year. Of course, I like the meron grab
DMFP had some snaps for the Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest
Dominique Johnson got 3rd
Schaefer got DFL for slamming while trying to jump it without a skateboard. Thanks for the entertainment
There's a lot of Curren photos. Yep, I'm a big fan of this kid. Check the catch on this frontside flip from the tranny to bank
DMFP, don't bring these hurricanes back to Florida. Leave them in Minneapolis with the tornados. See all you mid-westerners next year. Check back tomorrow for the chill and party photos
It wasn’t that bad of a flight. That is…until it was time to land. It was one of those deals where the bad weather holds up all of the landings, so you‘re doing circles in turbulence for a solid 30-minutes, waiting for a clear runway. Stoked.

To top it off, I was rolling solo, so there was none of my buddies along side me to share my misery. I was coming to MN a day later than everyone else, straight from my 24-hour mission to Vegas. So it was two long flights in two days, but I’m not complaining because it’s all good times.

Jorge was waiting for me in Baggage Claim and we booked it immediately to 3rd Lair. He filled me in on what went down the previous evening:

  • Levi Combs, Chris Lehman, and Darkness got booted from the Super 8 for trying to climb on the roof
  • Clyde Singleton got kicked out of the Super 8 for wearing a towel (only a towel) in the hallway
  • There was a big posse from Tampa on-site, including Sierra, Oliver Giles, and Brandon Bristol that made the trip up just to chill and hang out
After trading plenty of gossip, we arrived at 3rd Lair and I was just in time to help announce the Friday Night Bowl Jam…

Bowl Jam
There were just over 20 competitors, which is down a few from years’ past. And just like many other skateboarding events, the age of the participants is getting younger and younger. That seems to be the current trend anyways.

We split the group into two heats and they got two, 45-second runs each. That got it broken down to a top 10. The finalists got one intro run, skate until you fall, and then it was an all-out, 20-mintue Jam. Honestly though, it was pretty tame, and most of the guys weren’t dropping in on each other. Here’s how they ended up:

  • 10th – Alex Brunelle – he qualified 6th, but got bumped down to 10th
  • 9th – Mike Owen – Mike has some new lines and spared us from the 540 attempts this year
  • 8th – Dustin Blauvelt – I didn’t know that Dustin could do handplants on vert, but I do now. He’s also got the blunt bigspin in damn near every try
  • 7th – Chris Lehman – what happened to Lehman? He wasn’t 100% during the Jam. I guess sleeping outside 3rd Lair didn’t work out so well for him, but he still did the bs boneless revert in the deep end
  • 6th – Cody Davis – Lil’ Man is skating like a top level am on all terrain. He’s got the flick, the airs, and the grinds, all adding up for some impressive skateboarding
  • 5th – Mike Barnes (Darkness) – do you know what a “windshield wiper” is? It’s where you go up fakie and do a 180 fs turn to board and then a rock n’ roll out. That’s weird one, but you can’t make fun of a guy that learned inverts to fakie right before the Contest started. Props!
  • 4th – Trevor Osterholt (Roadkill) – I’m feeling the nicknames, and a guy with as many crazy moves as Trevor should be called Roadkill. He’s skates his ass off and it’s a pleasure having him at our events
  • 3rd – Curren Caples – Curren is a winner by default because he made it through the Jam without losing any teeth, unlike last year. When the Jam started he was gone for the first five – 10 minutes, so we thought he was sitting it out. But he made an appearance with no fluff, only bangers, and earned a top-three spot
  • 2nd – Josh Folley – local dude absolutely destroys the bowl and goes faster and grinds farther than anyone. He’s got 5-0’s to fakie, bs tails, and bs lips from shallow to deep on lock at 100 mph
  • 1st – David Loy – he barely squeezed his way into the Final Jam by qualifying 10th, but David turned up the heat with big bs ollies from deep to shallow, finger flip lien-to-tails, and nice fs stalefish airs in the deep end

The prizes were really sick, too. All of the top 10 got a framed print of a Jimbo Phillips drawing done especially for the event, but 1st place actually got the original. Add in $500 gift certificates from Zumiez for the top three and a bunch of Dakine backpacks and you’re stoked!

It was nearly 10pm once we made it back to the hotel, which is conveniently right across the street from 3rd Lair, and right next to both JJ’s and Majors. There was a party going on for the anniversary of La Familia, but all I could think about was chicken wings from JJ’s, so I opted out of the party and ordered two servings of hot wings. Good night.

You know the deal. How many Qualifiers can you really sit through? If we weren’t running this event, you know that we’d take off and go skate somewhere in the city, just like we do at PHX Am. My escape this time was coming back to the Super 8 to catch up on some emails for a mid-afternoon break.

3rd Lair houses a damn big street course, so we give two, one-minute runs to each skater in all of the five heats. If you don’t stay on point it can turn out to be quite a long day, but Clyde and Schaefer were keeping it flowing because they both wanted to attend the Jimbo Phillips Art Show later in the evening.

There are always some ripping skaters in the Qualifiers that don’t make it to the Semi-Finals. It’s those few exceptional dudes that don’t make the cut, but for some reason you’re really stoked on anyway. I always like to point them out, so here’s who stuck out to me this time around:

  • Andrew Pott – this kid destroyed the big bank to flat bar (the round one) with kickflip fs boardslides to fakie, kickflip bigspin fs boardslides, and even a heelflip fs boardslide to fakie…smiling the whole time
  • Aquil Brathwaite – I actually didn’t even see him skate, but just having this dude around makes things fun. He’s got a great attitude and one loud-ass voice
  • Abdias Rivera – I said it over the mic, but I think that Abdias sandbags it on purpose. In other words, he’s not the show-off type, so he purposely doesn’t try hard because he doesn’t want to be an over-achiever. But come on Abdias, I know you’re holding back

The top two placings get what we call the Golden Ticket, which means that they don’t have to skate the Semis and get spots right in the Finals. That’s quite a bonus. Then the next 28 skaters (3rd through 30th) make it to the Semi-Finals. The 1st place qualifier was Cody Davis and 2nd went to Evan Smith. DMFP missed it by only one spot, coming in 3rd.

Click here for the full results from the Qualifiers.

Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest
I didn’t even know that we were hosting this until the morning of the event, but Ollie Pop came through last minute with the obstacle and the cash and it was on! It went down immediately after the Qualifiers and was really laid back. We started at 32” and anyone could enter. You got one shot at it. If you can’t ollie 32” the first try then there’s no way that you’re going to make it to the top three anyway.

I would say that there were about 20 guys that made the 32”, so we just kept raising it inch by inch and giving each skater one attempt. Once it got to about 38” we gave them two or three tries. And man, believe it or not, Roadkill (the dude that kills the Bowl Jam every year) ended up in the top four. That was insane. But he couldn’t crack 38”, so he got canceled.

Like I said, it was really loose. But that’s what makes it fun. We weren’t taking it too seriously and everyone seemed to like it that way. The bar kept inching up until the guys had trouble making it. At 40” we gave them four tries each, but Dom couldn’t hang. So we bumped it up to 41” and both Tim and Luis nailed it. Then it went to 42” and I swear they tried it about 30+ times each, but they were too tired and neither one could pull it. So we split the $500 for 1st and $300 for 2nd right down the middle…

I’m looking forward to doing another one of these in the near future.

Party Time
After more chicken wings at JJ’s, Schaefer managed to talk a random mom that was leaving 3rd Lair into driving us downtown. Her son was actually driving, but he was in training with only a learner’s permit…although he still gave us a damn good tour of Minne. Clyde passed out in the car and we told the kids, “You don’t get a deck, but you get your very own former pro!”

The Jimbo Phillips Art Show courtesy of DC was sick. Upon entering the immaculate, perfectly lit gallery, Pang reminded me of where I come from by saying, “It’s okay, but it ain’t no Transitions.” Thanks, Pang. The place was amazing and Jimbo Phillips had just enough work to cover the walls. Of course Jimbo was on site – and told me that his hometown, Santa Cruz, had the “highest stoney per capita” rating. Thinking that this was some sort of legitimate statistic, I further inquired only to realize that he was saying that Santa Cruz, CA simply has more stoners than anywhere else. Sweet.

The free PBR stopped flowing at 10pm and we got politely ushered out, but the party continued at CC’s, an older-type dive bar, only a block away. The DC heads were giving out more free drink tickets than we could even use, so Rob started ordering trays of shots for whoever wanted one. There was an Emric Pratt and Seth “Zed” McCallum appearance and plenty of older skateboarders like me on cruiser boards.

DMFP and I played it safe by walking outside at about midnight and catching the first cab we saw back to the Super 8.

Semi-Finals, Finals, & Blind Best Trick
This is when the skateboarding starts to get really, really good. Although there was some damn proper ripping in the Qualifiers, the Semis definitely separate the top dogs of the weekend. We broke the remaining 28 skaters into two heats and gave them two, 60-second opportunities to make something happen for themselves. Here are a couple of guys and one girl that didn’t make it to the Finals that deserve some recognition:

  • Ian Sherman – he works the counter at 3rd Lair in the morning and rips the Contest in the afternoon, not to mention one of the only tattoos he has is on his entire hand…very punk
  • Solomon Mosley – this brother got into Tampa Am a few years ago with a sponsor-me tape and has been down with us ever since. Sorry for calling you “Anthony” like 20 times
  • Lacey Baker – she’s coming up on Elissa’s heels as the best female skateboarder of all time. I’m feeling her
    This is what we wait for all weekend long at these Damn Am events…the Finals! Even though we got off to a bit of a late start, the main event crept up on us in no time and we were in the middle of watching the best skateboarders of the weekend give it their ‘all’ one final time for the honors. The top 10 from the Semis met top qualifiers Cody Davis and Evan Smith. They got three, one-minute runs and it broke down to this:

    • 12th – Manny Santiago – if there was an award for the dude with the best smile of the weekend, my man Manny would have taken it no problem at all. Although he couldn’t get his runs dialed this time around, Manny rules and it’s an honor to have him part of our family
    • 11th – C.J. Tambornino – local dude has some serious tech moves that he couldn’t quite pull together during his runs, but his switch bs tailslide and baby blue shirt were ill
    • 10th – Curren Caples – you know he’s one of my favorites, and I don’t think that Curren even has any idea of how good he actually is. Once he gets a little older and figures it out, watch out. He’s going to be unstoppable
    • 9th – Nate Compher – what describes Nate? Smooth. I’m telling you, this local Minneapolis ripper is one of the most stylish guys out there. I’m talking switch bs smiths and switch bs lips without any effort
    • 8th – David Loy – not only did David do a lien-to-tail on the vert wall, but he flew around the course with proper tranny moves and full-speed kickflip fs boardslides. After the Contest he was like, “I’ll see you in Amsterdam.” I was so bummed to tell him I wasn’t going
    • 7th – Dylan Perry – Skatepark of Tampa’s finest knows how to put together a contest run. Dylan didn’t fall on a single 360 flip in any of his runs and the gap to bs nosegrind was on point
    • 6th – Ben Gore – I’ve known this kid for a few years now and he’s truly growing into his own. He’s got kickflip bs 360 ollies on lock over the hip…damn. Check his part in the Rasa Libre promo to see the ill style…and he’s from Florida
    • 5th – Chris Mendes – he doesn’t talk too much, but that’s okay because his skateboarding does the talking. I’m a big fan of Mendes because he just does his thing…and his thing happened to be a kickflip bs noseblunt after his final run. I need to add that it was down the big rail
    • 4th – Cody Davis – it’s tough to qualify 1st and then come back and win the Contest. That’s like winning two events in two days. Cody was ripping, but not quite hard enough to make it back up into the top spot
    • 3rd – Davis Torgerson – back in January he got 2nd place in Tampa Am and put his name on the map, but Davis is just beginning. His new move is the nollie to fs hurricane. Have you ever seen that one before? I hadn’t
    • 2nd – Chaz Ortiz – I think that a lot of people thought that maybe Chaz’s second run was better than Evan’s first run, but the judges saw it differently. In fact, there was a five-point difference in the scores indicating that there was huge separation between the top two places
    • 1st – Evan Smith – he was smooth, calculated, and knew exactly what he was doing out there. The 17-year-old and third Floridian in the cut put the nail in the coffin when he did a backside lipslide across the ENTIRE flat box and popped out fs 180 to fakie

    All top 12 finalists qualify for Tampa Am, so we’ll see you there. And even better, the top two go directly to the Semi-Finals, so that means no Qualifiers for Evan Smith and Chaz Ortiz in December. What a nice bonus. And all top 12 skaters are now in the running for the SPoTlight Am Awards in January 2009 at ASR.

    Blind Best Trick
    Oh no, it’s not over yet. We ended the mayhem with yet even more mayhem…a 30-minute jam on the center obstacle, known over the weekend as the Blind Best Trick Obstacle. Here’s who got what:

    • 5th – $100 – Anthony Brunson – switch tailslide nollie heelflip out
    • 4th – $100 – Luis Perez – long gap to noseblunt slide
    • 3rd – $100 & $500 Zumiez travel voucher – Dylan Perry – gap to bs noseblunt slide
    • 2nd – $200 & $500 Zumiez travel voucher – Andrew Pott – too many tricks to even try to recall
    • 1st – $500 & $500 Zumiez travel voucher – Timmy Knuth (my boy) – kickflip krooks over the long gap
    And after it was officially over we kept it going because I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, so I gave $100 to Josiah Gatlyn for the longest 360 flip possibly of all time. He went all the way over the big bank-to-bank to flat. And then Solomon Mosley took another $50 from me when he did a nollie flip noseslide over the smaller gap.

    Thanks to the following people for making this event happen:

    • DC – what a group of really cool guys, from Heavy to Brian to Jimmy and the rest of the fellas, thanks for sponsoring Damn Am
    • And what is a top am event without some pros hanging out? Thanks to Ryan Smith, Josh Kalis, Steve Nesser, Zed, and Emric Pratt for being there
    • Jimbo Phillips did an amazing job on the artwork for the event…very stoked on that
    • Billabong – thanks for the sponsorship support and especially for trusting crazy-ass Rodney with bringing the entire team to represent!
    • Clyde Singleton – this dude has some really funny stuff to say and I’m stoked to be the subject of his “white-people jokes”
    • The boys at 3rd Lair truly know how to extend hospitality in the finest of ways, so hats off to Mark, Steve, M-Rod, Trog, and the rest of the team over there. Can we get a new sound system for next year though?
    Most importantly…THANK YOU to all of the skateboarders, parents, and everyone else out there that supports what we do. Although I’m writing this and the After-Party at Majors hasn’t happened quite yet, I’m going to tell you that it’s about to be a really fun time over there. Later…it’s about 8pm and I’ve got to get up at 4am to catch my flight.