Damn Am Shanghai 2011

Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 by Rob

Photos and words by Rob Meronek
Video by Colin Clark

What's amateur skateboarding like on the other side of the world? We got to experience it in a classic contest setting when Nike SB invited us to be a part of their City Jam contest series that ran all through southeast Asia to qualify skaters for this Final one. It was amazing to see that although most of our culture is pretty different when it comes to everything from food to personal space to driving, one thing that was the same was our skateboard culture. Skateboarders are different there just like here. Dress different. Listen to different music. Act different. Think different. Energy drinks, tv shows, and rock stars will come and go and I’m sure China isn’t exempt from it, but the plain old good time on the wood and wheels is what’s never changing, regardless of where you grow up skateboarding. Through association with the Damn Am, the winner of this year’s City Jam Finals is getting a trip to Tampa. See you here Liu Jia Ming.

When we arrived on site, we found all types and all walks of life trying to learn skateboarding in the parking lot.
How do you say "he's single" in Chinese?
P-Rod is ready for this weekend with an assortment of kung fu shirts. When you wear these and you're in China, your lips don't ever match the words you're saying.
P-Rod's shoe is ready for this weekend, too. There was an area at the Contest where everyone could try out the shoe. You can try it out right here.
The pros and ams tore it up during practice in the days leading up to the Contests. That's local pro Cui Qin Bin on a smith grind.
Adee's got a frontside bigspin over the bank gap.
I like how they love their gadgets here. My grandparents on my mom's side were Chinese. Maybe that's where I get the love of all things tech.
During practice one day, an apparently popular basketball guy stopped by. I've never been into it, but everyone sure was hyped to see Lebron James in the building. He and P-Rod met and became friends this weekend.
I don't think Schaefer knows who he is either, but still, in this frenzy, it's cool to get a fan out photo.
Before the Chinese security realized who Omar Salazar was, he got the karate chop to the arm when he went for the handshake. I don't think anyone could convince Lebron to give it a try on the board.
Local fans.
Don't nobody barge on DJ Wade's designated area.
Unless you want some sauce, then come on up.
Outside we got dudes recruiting for some kind of ladies' event next door.
I guess they're from Ladie's Night.
In the last few seconds of his Jam, like it was a choreographed Hollywood blockbuster, Chen Qiwen made this 360 flip 50-50 across and down to take 1st in the Damn Am Qualifiers at Shanghai.
Li Zhi Xin ripped in the Pro Contest.
Xie Wen Kai is also in the Pro Contest. That's a backside tailslide.
Li Zhi Xin - wallie backside tailslide to 3rd in the Pro.
Zhang Ziyang - boardslide in the Am Contest. Skateboarding is much newer here so the level is not quite the same for ams and pros as it is in the States, but they're well on their way to closing that gap.
Wang Fei - frontside boardslide.
Liu Jia Ming is coming to Tampa after winning the Am Contest. That's a lipslide.
Sun Xiao Long - the switch heel seemed to be a popular move.
Thanks ya'll for the microphone entertainment.
Chen Qiwen qualified 1st in the Am Contest with stuff like this hardflip fakie on the quank. Quarter pipe + bank = quank.
The trick has the same effect here. The bennihana is an amazing crowd pleaser no matter who does it. Real skateboarders laugh in a different way at that stunt, but hopefully everyone who threw one in was just having a good time.
It was an all-star audience.
Chen Jun An - back lip in the Am Contest.
During the Nike demos, Omar was tail dropping everything.
Xie Wen Kai - frontside noseslide in the Pro Contest.
Zeng Zi Kang - gap 5-0 in the Am Contest.
Koston arrived late for the demos, but went right into it with this backside 360 first try.
In between Instagrams and Tweets, Shane O'Neill switch 360 flipped like a perfectionist.
Paul Zitzer provided entertainment on the mic and behind the scenes all weekend. I wonder if ollie impossibles came with that Toy Machine board?
P-Rod - varial heel.
There's a Damn Am at Woodward West in October where there's a legit Mega Ramp. Schaefer has casually spoken of possibly trying it. This is here just to remind you of the loop, Schaefer.
After the Contest, we had a large dinner party that put my picky eating habits to the test.
After dinner it was on to a classic night club style place. With half of us wearing shorts, it looked like we weren't getting in until someone came through with a large purchase of pants.
I'm not sure if it's the shorts or the funny looking pants P-Rod disapproves of. I'd say both.
Who cares what we're wearing. It's like this in the club in our own corner. Cheers.
Right outside the window is the most amazing view of Shanghai. I'm trying to use a speaker as a tri-pod but the pounding bass isn't working so well for it.
The Shanghai skyline as seen from this club. I think it's called Mint, spelled M1nt. So kewl.
With paintings like these on the walls, I'm waiting for a real life porno to break out.
Yep, there's a shark tank in there. Paul Zitzer is looking like a man of international class standing in front of that thing.
It's pitch black in M1NT. Darin and I are looking all Halloween by candlelight.
More tick or treaters.
Okay, back at the Contest the next day, the Finals are on. The crowd was so into it.
Koston was into it, too.
The street plants were at my request. Thanks, Koston!
Damn, so much better than a bennihanna.
The Tampa Kit is very popular here.
Zhang Wei - crooked grind in the Am Contest Finals.
We had new tech and old tech behind the scenes judging for this Contest. iPads plus paper for a lot of note-taking.
If you were in this crowd, xie xie.
The media frenzy.
Remember that company Hook Ups from the 90's?
Johnny Tang is looking damn good out there. That's a kickflip to 2nd in the Pro.
Li Zhi Xin - backside flip over the bank gap.
Maybe she's a skateboarder now.
Luo Jian Shen - salad grind.
Luk Chun Yin - switch flip.
Trophy boys.
Wait, did Schaefer win something?
We will see you in Tampa, Liu Jia Ming. You deserved it.
Congrats to Wang Ming Jun for winning the Pro Contest and also getting a trip to Tampa. I blew it and didn't get a single skate photo of him.
After a long flight, we're finally back in Tampa. I have a whole separate set of tourist mission and city lurk photos coming up later.

Video Links for Our Chinese Friends

Vimeo and YouTube are blocked in China, so if you're there, you can download all the videos from our trip here:

Pro Contest Footage

Damn Am Finals Footage