Damn Am Minneapolis 2009

Posted on Saturday, May 30, 2009 by Rob

Words by Jorge Angel
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Lee Loughridge reminds me of young Dylan Rieder. That's a frontside disaster hoisted in the air like a piano in cartoons
Dalton Dern won the Bowl Jam by kickfripping into meron grabs
Timmy Knuth just let go of this crail grab along with the pant cuffs, tractor trailer hair, shoes you can see from outer space, and bad, large print shirts. Looking way better, Timmy
Skateboarding is dangerous. You can see by all the casts in the upcoming photos. Jordan Price is throwing out the horns on his cast. He should throw out that Fox shirt, too. Oh wait, he can't, he's sponsored by them. It's okay, he's from backwoods Florida and probably has six MotoX bikes and a four wheeler to go with it. Jordan is one of my favorite little kids these days so I can give him all kinds of crap like that
Charlie Thomas is the World Industries Team Manager
There's another cast going 100mph through the bowl. David Loy ended up in 2nd in the Bowl Jam this year
Swamp Trog built the Park in six days. Then on the seventh day, he rested. In the Moat
That's Anthony Anaya. A full blown elbow macaroni cast didn't stop him from skating the Bowl or the Street Contest
You know those spike things cities put on ledges and docks to keep seagulls from landing and pooping everywhere? Some kids need those on their nose to keep them from grabbing it while they do blunt fakies. Little Alex Midler doesn't need those. No blunt nosegrabbing here
Top five in the Bowl Jam Finals. The trophies are Mike Blabac prints of some of the best skate photos from recent times
A small part of the Tampa crew. That's Christa who works in the Shop and won a trip up here to Damn Am for winning a sales contest we had. Porpe is praying to make it through the weekend without a catastrophe. Ryan Dillow is looking for a sponsor. Jereme Knibbs is trying to hide
Dylan Perry - front feeble from big pink quarter to big pink bank
Cesar Fernandez - backside flip
Steven Webb - backside flip
Mike Sinclair is hard at work blowing up Toy Machine dolls. If that thing pops, the whole room will smell like a Taco Bell bathroom. Mike gets out of breath just by getting out of a chair so he has to have Rothmeyer and Porpe help out
Miles Canavello - gap crook
Dylan Perry - gap backside nosegrind
Felipe Gustavo - nollie flip
Mike Fitzgerald - frontside nosegrind
Now we're out at the Familia party in downtown Minneapolis. When we roll up to the bar and plop down ID's, we're all from different states. Porpe from Florida, DP from New York, and DJ Wade from California
That's a non-alcoholic beverage Porpe has - take a poop. He's the designated driver tonight. Thanks!
Thanks for having us, Steve Nesser. What is Schaefer doing?
The Familia party and video premiere was the film "True Heads". It's about four Minneapolis locals who have contributed to the scene from way back in the 90's. They each got a Smurf board
Joe Fobia is one of the True Heads on the Smurf Boards
Thanks to the DC crew for making things happen with us up here in Minneapolis. Thanks for making dinner happen last night, too. That's Jefferson Pang, Brian Garofalow, and Heavy
Emeric Pratt is the kickfrip meron grab OG. He was doing them as far back as I can remember
There was a full blown dance party at this place. Just when things were getting loose, we had to get out of there and call it a night. Besides the emo neck and purple color, that Gargamel 360 flip shirt is sick
Steve Nesser is a brand new daddy
Jeff Bauman, thanks for the beer. I don't know about the shot, though
Moat beers from Trog! Good night!
The finished product from Mike Sinclair's CPR on the Toy Machine dolls
Felipe Gustavo is going faster and seems to have much higher snaps these days compared to when we first saw him during his winning Tampa Am runs a few years ago. This is a frontside flip
Sometimes I don't even know how this crazy mix of personalities makes it work. We are all so different yet at the same time, very similar. That's DJ Wade, Schaefer, Clyde Singleton, and the Damn Am judging staff. Thanks everyone for the hard work and good times
John Muldoon, Brian Perry, Mike Sinclair, Bob Reynolds, and Jason Rothmeyer write down every single trick you do when they're judging, including this 360 flip noseslide from Chris Mendes
When Porpe mentioned that his girlfriend is a red-head, Jereme Knibbs here said, "Does she have red hair everywhere?" Jereme and I are like 20 years apart but we think the same way. That's a front blunt
Word on the street is that Captain Ahab here speared a whale on Saturday night after the party. Ask him for the details. That's a backside noseblunt slide
Some skate company needs to make a cast as a fashion accessory. It's like the new chain wallet. That's David Loy on a frontside 270 switch front board
Lacey Baker was the only girl in the Contest. Things didn't work out in her runs this time so we didn't get to see her skate on Sunday. That's a 360 flip up the step-up
That's Zack Hickoff kickflipping into a backside 5-0
Jon Dickson is the latest addition to the Deathwish crew. That's a nollie front board with wheels to match the shirt
David Loy front blunts for focused friends and family
Ever heard of Napperville, IL? Me neither. That's where Nick is from. I always forget Nick Mathews' name when he shows up so I took a photo of this nollie crook. Now I'll remember for sure. Sorry about that, Nick
I was hoping Marius would win this year. That's a cab back lip
CJ Kelly is one of the groms that I let slide for a spot in the Contest since it's a little early for him to be in Damn Am. Turns out he's not so bad. That's a noseblunt slide on the bump to flat bar. There were a few people in the Contest that weren't quite ready. It's a tough job breakin' little tykes' street dreams
Ollie Pop did another High Ollie Contest after the Qualifiers on Saturday. That's TJ Sparks jumping more than head high on the littlest tyke in the Contest
Guiri Reyes won the Ollie Pop High Ollie with a 38 inch snap. I wonder if Sinclair remembers way back when his waist was a mere 38
Timmy Knuth - catching a 360 flip up high
During his run, Donovan Piscopo did this wallie back lip to frontside 270 out. I missed that and only caught the regular one
Billy Moyle got a spot in the Contest with video footage. He's from Montana where Sierra Fellers is from. He made it all the way to 20th in the Semi-Finals on Sunday with tricks like this cab back lip
Cody Davis is another one I thought would be in line to finally win one this year, but he missed the cut in the Semi-Finals by two spots
Someone puked after their run right where Ben Gore is rolling through to this huge lipslide into the bank to wall
Jack Olsen had a cheering section
I didn't get the lipslide with the clean ride away, only this one with the slide out before the step up. Stuff like this is what earned David Loy the Zumiez Destroyer Award for the weekend
Jack Olsen - big spin
CJ Tambornino needs to take those designer jeans to the runway after he takes this nollie inward heel 360 to the step up. Is that what you'd call that? Or is it a nollie laser flip?
I missed Dylan Perry's big gap to frontside bluntslide on the hubba but I got plenty of broke off landings. We refer to that as Tom Brokeoff
CJ Dixon skates a lot of the All Ages Contests here at SPoT and has now graduated up to skating Damn Am. He squeaked into the cut by getting 30th in the Qualifiers and then made it all the way to 18th in the Semi-Finals. It's tough to get that high in the Semi-Finals. You can have a perfect run and still be down that far. Good job, CJ. See you at the next one
TJ Sparks put down a Wallenberg length backside flip in the Independent Best Trick
I just met Adam Taylor this weekend. He says he's been reading all my silly banter on the site. I'm going to go ahead and dedicate a Public Service Announcement to Adam: Purple shirts are not acceptable. Thank you. Adam was ripping as you can see by this nollie big heel to flatty during Independent Best Trick. Adam got in with video footage and is definitely welcome back. See you at the next one without your purple shirt, Adam
Thanks to DC for making these sick trophies
Blair Alley and Mike Blabac each got a Thanks for Nothing Award. Why is it "Thanks for Nothing?" Well, way back when we first started doing these events, we were trying to come up with all these special awards. Instead of making all different kinds, we figured the sarcastic "Thanks for Nothing" pretty much covered everything
David Loy got the Zumiez Destroyer Award. That jigsaw works. If I were him I would use it to cut that cast off
Thanks to Dean Guitars for hooking up two guitars for the top two spots. Those are like thousand dollar sticks right there. Felipe Gustavo and Chris Mendes better learn to play
It's not fun unless you make the product toss nice and dangerous
This suitcase is all DJ Wade travels with. He keeps his leather jacket in there and that's about it. He didn't even take his shoes off from the time he landed in Minneapolis to the time he landed back in LA
Instead of getting hammered and destroying Major's yet again, we decided to go skate for a bit. Minneapolis local London Luke took us for a ride in his OG Caddy
This is where he took us. A private bowl where an hours long session went down between Schaefer and Porpe. I was over it before I popped out of my first carve. Check out some footage of the bowl here
London Luke poured us some white wine to make the session extra gnar
See how part of the deck isn't completed yet? Porpe went up for a 50-50 right there and fell into the hole. For a split second, we thought he died after disappearing behind the ramp while frantically grabbing for anything he could grasp and taking the flag down in the process. He was fine and we all had a good laugh
Here's the text message of the week from 10 year-old Alex Midler. Poor kid got corrupted by DJ Wade on a long flight home. Thanks to everyone that came and see you all next year
The first stop of the Damn Am Series in Minneapolis, Minnesota flew by. I got in on Wednesday mid-afternoon and before I could collect my thoughts of what happened throughout the weekend, it was Monday morning and time to go. Sorry if this is not a minute by minute recollection of what went down, but I am going to try and give you some highlights. At least you get a great visual of this past weekend's events with Rob’s picture and captions. I should really try and write these stories while I’m there.

Bowl Contest
By now you should know the format. Each skater gets two 45-second runs, the top 10 advances to the Finals, where they each get an intro, skate-until-you-fall run, and then they battle it out in a 15-minute jam. Out of the 20-something skaters, below are the top five.

* 5th – Jackson Pilz – this kid has got some skills. I don’t think I have ever seen him skate before, but I was pretty impressed. He had a big bag tricks, both switch and regular, but by the time the Finals started he could not put a good enough run together to get him into the top three

* 4th – Timmy Knuth – an all-terrain killer, Timmy has the potential to win any contest he skates. He was throwing the usual crail grabs and back smiths with ease

* 3rd – Curren Caples – I had to convince him and his team rider, Louie Lopez, to skate in the Bowl Contest. Ever since Curren got half his tooth knocked out in the Bowl Jam two years ago, he gets a little weary when it comes to skating in these bowl jam contests. I wouldn’t blame him though because he is one of the smallest guys in there, but that didn’t stop him from blasting tweaked out frontside airs in the deep end higher than anyone in the Contest. Oh yeah…and he doesn’t need full pads like the rest of the kids his age

* 2nd Place – David Loy – Zumiez Destroyer of the Weekend Award for lipsliding the high vert wall, Loy can destroy anything he skates. He also has one of the best attitudes out there. I see a long and successful future in skateboarding for this young man

* 1st Place – Dalton Dern – The gnarliest slam I saw all weekend came from Dalton Dern. He clipped his back truck on the coping on a backside air in the deep end and took a fall that made everyone cringe. After the slam he went into the corner, disappointed at the fact that he fell in his run. Anyone that has seen Dalton skate in contests knows he doesn’t fall much. He came out in the Jam with a vengeance, landing kickflip backside disasters, kickflip meron grabs, and a handful of other tricks. Dalton takes contests seriously

Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest
The Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest was immediately after the Qualifiers on Saturday. We gave all those entered one chance to clear 33 inches. Then we raised the bar one inch, giving each skater three tries to clear the bar at the new height. By the time it reached 37 inches there were only two people left. Since we had money to give out for top three courtesy of Ollie Pop Gum, we let the remaining skater who missed the 37 inch mark a few more chances.

TJ Sparks was the first to clear it and received 3rd place. Then it was then a battle of two countries, World Industries rider and California native George Moreno against Brazilian native, Guiri Reyes. We gave them three chances at 38 inches. Guiri went first. He was focused and going at a moderate pace and he easily cleared the bar, but as he was landing on his board Schaefer fiercely yelled, messing him up. Schaefer was routing for the American to win. It was hilarious and you just had to be there to understand how funny it was to have Schaefer purposely yell in order to mess up Guiri’s ollie. After both skaters used up their three attempts it went to sudden death, the first person to clear the bar wins. Even though Schaefer messed Guiri’s first ollie, it did not stop him from ollieing the 38 inch bar before George Moreno. Guiri took this year’s Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest.

* 3rd – $100 – TJ Sparks – 37”
* 2nd – $200 – George Moreno – 37”
* 1st – $300 – Guiri Reyes – 38”

Independent Best Trick
It was hard to decide which obstacle to have the Independent Best Trick Contest on. Last year it was on the center obstacles which consist of two bank-to-banks and a gap-to-hubba and we did not want to be repetitive, but there wasn’t another obstacle that would have made it challenging for the skaters. So we decided to do it again on the center obstacle, but this year the skaters had the option of a flat bar in the middle of the bank-to-bank and a bench with two different ledge heights. We gave the skaters a 30-minute jam on the whole center obstacle and it was on.

* 5th Place – Dujuan Bell – I have seen him try the inward heel to tailslide on the gap-to-hubba for the past three years and he finally made one

* 4th Place – Ian Sherman – varial heelflip to 5-0 on the gap-to-hubba

* 3rd Place – TJ Sparks – fatty to flatty backside flip over the large bank-to-bank

* 2nd Place – Dylan Perry – he did his usual gap to backside noseblunt, but what got him 2nd this year was a perfect gap to front blunt on the bigger side

* 1st Place – Matt Miller – nollie half-cab switch 5-0 the hard way on the high part of the bench

Semi-Finals and Finals
Unfortunately, this year there were no dunk tank antics, but it did make for a shorter day. We were in need of a short day due to the killer party DC threw honoring their staff photographer Mike Blabac. Don’t know who Mike Blabac is? Well, he is the guy that shot the recent Transworld cover of Nick Dompierre’s backside noseblunt slide on that monster ledge.

After Saturday’s Qualifiers, Felipe Gustavo and CJ Tamborino got the Golden Tickets for getting 1st and 2nd place, respectively, advancing them straight into the Finals. The top 28 from Saturday’s Qualifiers then got two, one-minute runs, and the top 10 advanced to the Finals to meet Felipe and CJ.

12th Place – Travis Glover – oh my style, this guy rips. Making tricks like feeble grind backside 180 out look too easy

11th Place – Tommy Werner – this dude squeezed into the Finals. I think he was a wee bit nervous because right before his final run he sprayed the course with puke. I had to clean it up. No fun…

10th Place – Ian Sherman – big bag of tricks. He reminded me of a Peter Romendetta, full-sleeves and going for the gnar-gnar

9th Place – David Loy – couldn’t quite put it together, but did win Zumiez Destroyer of the Weekend Award for his monster lipslide on the vert wall

8th Place – Ben Gore – too good with so much style, it truly is a pleasure watching him skate. He has a long career ahead of him

7th Place – Jack Olsen – they call him Rusty and he is a soldier in the Trog Army. He was one of the many kids skating with a cast on, but it was not stopping him from flying around the course

6th Place – Jereme Knibbs – my little homie Knibbs killed it this weekend. My words of advice to him were drop-in, destroy, and don’t fall. He did just that

5th Place – Taylor Smith – all around good skater, he can kickflip into anything. I saw him kickflip into the following tricks, kickflip backside disaster on the bank-to-wall, kickflip backlip down the big round rail, and kickflip frontside lip across the box

4th Place – C.J. Tambornino – won the Baggiest Designer Jeans Contest. CJ has got switch tricks that you only dream about. The one that stood out in my mind was the switch bigspin flip over the hip

3rd Place – Timmy Knuth – I know for a fact that kids get bummed when they see Timmy Knuth at a contest because they know he has the potential to win every single one he enters. His consistency is not human…kickflip crooks every try on the big bump to bar was unreal

2nd Place – Felipe Gustavo – if he were to enter a Red Bull Manny Mania Contest, he would win. Kickflip nose manual nollie heelflip out every try, he truly is a technician when he is on his board. I wonder if it’s the music that he listens to in his iPod whenever he is skating that helps him skate so well

1st Place – Chris Mendes – well, I guess the music Chris Mendes had DJ Wade put on during his run helped him skate perfectly. It was really bad techno electronic crap, but if it helps him land kickflip backside noseblunts across the flatbar, more power to him. Next time bring headphones

As you all may know, the top 12 automatically qualify for the Tampa Am. So Tommy Werner, work on those nerves because if you puke on our street course Frosty just might feed you to the devil in his dungeon. Also, the top two go straight into the Semi-Finals. Will Felipe Gustavo be the first person to win Tampa Am twice? We will have to wait and see.


This is my long list of “thanks” for the people that help make this event:

* The whole crew at DC for sponsoring our event and giving me an unlimited amount of drink tickets that almost brought me down to the level of a whale hunter. DC has a really good group of guys working in their skate department, so expect some good stuff coming out from them

* Rodney and the Billabong crew for coming out and supporting our events year in and year out. Not to mention they have one of the illest skate crews out with Jeffrey Marshall, Tyler Surrey, Evan Smith, Wes Cramer, and Marius Syvanen

* Thanks to Jamey Stone and Blair Alley from Transworld for coming out and supporting

* The crew at 3rd Lair Skatepark hooked it up this year by clearing the old banners off the course and painting over the stickers. The audio was horrible for the first two heats of the Qualifiers, but they got right on it and fixed the problem…not to mention their genuine hospitality they show towards us year in and year out

* Thank to the rest of our sponsors such as Dean Guitars for providing two kick ass guitars for 1st and 2nd place. Dakine for the endless amount of backpacks for our winners, Independent and Bones for their endless support at each of our events, and thanks to Vestal for the watches

* Of course I cannot forget to thank the skaters, parents, and those who come out to show love for our event

If I don’t get fired by then I will be sure to see everyone again next year.

Ride on.


Thanks For Nothing Awards
  • 3rd Lair - Mrod, Mark, Staff for all the hard work and cleaning up the Park
  • 3rd Lair - Trog Army for all the hard work
  • Mike Sinclair - driving to and from solo, have a nice drive home
  • DC - Brian G, Jeff Pang, Sean Rogers, Mike Blabac, Heavy
  • Ryan Smith
  • Nick Dompierre
  • Transworld - Jamey Stone, Blair Alley
  • Me!
  • Rodney Johnson
  • Enich Harris
  • Graham Stapleberg
  • Romey from Ollie Pop
  • Jeff Pang - all the hard work
  • Charlie Thomas - bringing the crew to every event
  • Zumiez Destroyer Award - David Loy for killing it all weekend. Also, thanks for providing travel vouchers for the top three in Street and Best Trick