Damn Am Costa Mesa 2009 Presented by Volcom, Cons, and The Skateboard Mag: Story and Video Footage

Posted on Monday, October 26, 2009 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements

Sure, it’s in the parking lot of the Volcom facility. I’ve heard about a couple of individuals that have called us out for that, as if it’s a bad thing. Sorry that it’s not in an arena. And those same individuals claim that we let anyone into our events just to make the money off of the entry fees, too. Come on. Really? If that’s what you think, then you’ve probably never been to one of our events. And if you have been and you still think that, well, then I don’t really know what to tell you because you’ll probably never get it at this point.

My trip out to Costa Mesa this time was slightly different than those in the past. I was the legal guardian of a kid named Mark. He won the grand prize of our raffle at the Free Day last summer at SPoT, which benefited the Children’s Cancer Center. So I was with Mark 24/7, which some may view as a damper, but it was actually really rad and we had a fun time together…or at least I did.

We’d wake up early and head over to the Contest site each day. Getting there first thing is always the best. It’s nice and quiet, only a couple of kids are skating, and the mist from the Pacific Ocean has not yet burned off. It’s borderline cold and a sweatshirt is needed, but by the time the sun burns through the mist, it gets pretty damn hot out. On Friday, about midday, Mark and I got the opportunity to go “shopping” in the Volcom Store. To even get into the thing you have to be on some special list. We got to pick (for free) any 12 items we wanted, so thanks for taking such good care of us, Volcom. Each night we tried to do something fun and cool, too. Thursday night we ate dinner on the Huntington Pier, Friday night we went to the Jeremy Wray Art Show, and Saturday night we attended the IASC Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductions. It was a jam-packed few days for sure.

Ollie Pop High Ollie Contest
On Saturday, immediately following the Qualifiers, we hosted yet another High Ollie Contest. These things are so damn fun and thanks to our friends at Ollie Pop for kicking down a G for the prize money.
  • 1st – $500 – 42” – Luis Tolentino – the dude is a full-on athlete. Famous Stars and Straps in the house
  • 2nd – $300 – 42” (after time) – Kechaud Johnson – made it after his allotted tries, which is why even though he cleared the 42” height, he ended up in 2nd
  • 3rd – $200 – 41” – Norman Woods – from Chicago to Costa Mesa, it’s rad to have Norman part of the Damn Am Family
The Contest
There were approximately 170 skaters in the Contest and the Qualifiers took place on Friday and Saturday. We took a total of 32 skaters from Friday’s and Saturday’s Qualifiers and put them into the Semi-Finals. The 1st place skaters from each of those days got a spot directly in the Finals. Of course it was Flip’s finest, Louie Lopez and Luan Oliveira, taking those top honors. The rest had to a battle it out in the Semis for the 10 spots in the Finals with three, one-minute runs. Here’s how it worked out and thanks to Electric, Skull Candy, Bones, and Vestal for the additional prizes for both Street and Best Trick:
  • 1st – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher & Dean Guitar – Luan Oliveira – okay Luan, it’s time to go pro
  • 2nd – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher – Clint Walker – my personal favorite over the weekend
  • 3rd – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher & Dean Guitar – Tommy Werner – he got really good over the past year
  • 4th – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher – Felipe Gustavo – switch flip bs tailslide shuv it out…unreal
  • 5th – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher – Brodie Penrod – couldn’t even tell that his switch feebles were switch…great style
  • 6th – Timmy Knuth – my boy may have bumped up a place or two if he landed his “harder trick” run
  • 7th – Louie Lopez – I know, it’s time for me to finally watch Extremely Sorry
  • 8th – Chase Webb – the new Sheckler. I’m not saying that to rip on him at all, but he reminds us of Shecks when he was that age
  • 9th – Filipe Ortiz – I’m such a fan of this guy. He goes big on everything
  • 10th – CJ Dixon – straight out of Florida and speeding all over the course
  • 11th – Derek Elmendorf – the skateboarder formerly known as Deathwish is gnarly
  • 12th – Rob Maatman – got hurt right before the Finals and couldn’t make it happen
DNA Orange Juice Best Trick
Andrew Cannon said, “Nice job on changing up the course this year.” Okay man, you got us on that one. There weren’t too many changes; therefore there wasn’t exactly a new obstacle to host the Best Trick on. The pyramid and long rail worked just fine though:
  • 1st – $500 Zumiez Travel Voucher – Clint Walker – gap to front board shuv it on the pyramid rail and 5-0 across and down to kickflip out on the pyramid rail
  • 2nd – Aaron Collier – backside bigspin to backside lipslide on the pyramid rail. What? I’ve never even seen anyone do that
  • 3rd – Dylan Witkin – 12 foot pyramid gap to frontside noseblunt slide on the pyramid rail
  • 4th – Chris Mendes – kickflip backside tailslide bigspin out on the pyramid rail
  • 5th – Kechaud Johnson – 12 foot gap to frontside smith grind on the pyramid rail
Zumiez Destroyer Award
At every Damn Am and Tampa Am, too, we give out the Zumiez Destroyer Award. It goes out to the skater that really stands out and made a difference in the event. This skater doesn’t have to win or even make the cut for that matter…he just has to shred and make a difference. This time it went to someone that not only made a difference, but he got 2nd in Street and 1st in Best Trick. Nice job Clint Walker!

As a worker at our events, all I know is that we try hard to do a good job and make sure that everyone leaves happy. We never really know if we’re accomplishing this or not, but I have a feeling that we did a pretty good job of it at Damn Am Costa Mesa this year. I’ve never had more skaters come up to me and say “thanks” than this past weekend. But the THANKS really goes out to the skaters, parents, friends, and industry support that we seem to get at each and every one of our events. Friendly faces were abundant and literally everywhere. Even the kids that we were giving a bit of a hard time to over the mic came up and said “thanks.” Your words are our rewards for doing this, so thank you everyone. Finally, thanks to all of our sponsors. We couldn’t do it without the following brands: Volcom, Cons, The Skateboard Mag, Zumiez, Red Bull, DNA Orange Juice, Ollie Pop, Indy, Mob, PA Skateboards, World Industries, Dean Guitars, Dakine, Bones, Electric, Vestal, and Skull Candy.

Finals Footage

Finals Footage from Colin Clark: Felipe Ortiz, Felipe Gustavo, Brodie Penrod, Tommy Werner (big flip front board on the rail), Derek Elmendorf, CJ Dixon, Luan Oliveira, Louie Lopez, Rob Maatman (gap back smith, hell yeah), Felipe Gustavo, and Clint Walker (giant gap to 5-0 on the hubba and body varial ollie - wow).

DNA Orange Juice Best Trick Footage

Jesse Fritsch from Shred or Die has some clips of the bangers.

Semi-Finals Footage

Semi-Finals Footage from Colin Clark: Eniz Fazliov, Chase Webb, Felipe Gustavo (switch flip back tail on the hubba!?!?), Shawn Hale, Brodie Penrod, Cody Davis, Manny Santiago, White Knight, Tyson Bowerbank, Rob Maatman, and CJ Dixon (frontside bigspin front lipslide on the bump to bar - damn).

Party Cam Footage

From Rob's chill cam: Porpe interviews Theotis Beasley about who he made out with at the Damn Am After-Party, Nick Merlino is all about the shots, and I just realized I poured a shot on Porpe after watching this. Oops, sorry Porpe!

Saturday Heats: Part Three

Randoms plus Dylan Perry, Chris Mendes, Ben Cabreana, Felipe Gustavo, the worst shirt in the Contest, Julian Christianson, Miles Canavello, Caedyn Curto, Kevin Romar, Oscar Meza, Derek Elmendorf, and Norman Woods.

Saturday Heats: Part Two

More from footage from Colin Clark: Tyson Bowerbank, Theotis Beasley, Who Dem?, White Knight, Louis Tolentino, Paul Torrento, and Derrick Wilson.

Saturday Heats: Part One

Check some early Saturday Damn Am footage from Colin Clark including Kyle Walker, Alex Longcamp, Who Jap?, Shawn Hale, Who Dat?, Jared Huss, Ryan Thompson, Bryant Chapo, Jake Hill, longboarder Jeremy Peckham, and finishing up with Luan Olivera's amazing runs looking like he's not even trying. Second heat just wrapped up and we're on to the last three.

Friday Heats: Part Three

Another minute of ripping from late Friday afternoon at Damn Am Costa Mesa.

Friday Heats: Part Two

Aaron Collier, some Who Dat's, Kevin Sykes, Nick Matthews, Manny Santiago, Jordan Reppin, CJ Dixon, and Jereme Knibbs.

Friday Heats: Part One

Colin Clark has some highlights from Friday's Street Qualifiers at Damn Am Costa Mesa. Check out Dustin Blauvelt, Tyler Elsey (unsponsored, got in with video footage), Kechaud Johnson, Caesar Rosado (recently had a Mag Minute, Thrasher Sponsor Me feature), a couple Who Dat?'s, Matt Lonergan, John Fitzgerald, Nolan Helmstetter, Louie Lopez, Donovan Piscopo, Raymond Macken, and Nick Tucker.

Dinner and Some Questions With Nick Merlino

From Rob's chill cam: I had dinner with Foundation Team Manager, Mike Sinclair, who brought along Nick Merlino which made for a fairly entertaining time. I used the chill cam to film some of Nick's banter ranging from fear of flying, to his least favorite skater in the Contest, to his smooth ways with the females.