Damn Am MN 2006

Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2006 by Ryan

Damn Am MN 2006
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

I love weaving in and out of pedestrians while cruising through the airport. This time there were seven of us doing that
This is the new Flip kid, Louie Lopez. We were calling him baby David Gonzales all weekend. He's amazing. Check this man sized melon to fakie. Rob Meronek stamp of approval on the melon grab
Shots going down at the City Billiards joint before the Black Label Premiere
All eyes glued to the screen during the Black Label Premiere
Cody McEntire caught this nollie half cab flip in the clouds
Cody McEntire - switch flip
Colin Provost frontside nosegrinds to 9th place and wins a bet he had with Dallas Rockvam about who would place better
Dallas Rockvam and Filmer Sara. Watch for her footage coming up in the next few days
Dave Smith is the Vans Team Manager. That's Jon Goemann with him - his ankle is jacked. Check out Jon on the cover of Thrasher this month
I walked away with all that loot John Muldoon is holding right there. It started out with $100 rolls until he was left with just $32. I took that, too. I left the table with nearly $900 - wow
The Hawk girls getting in the dunk tank gave everyone plenty of upskirt action
Going down! That's Rhino the Thrasher photographer. He's got a lot better shots than I do
All attention was focused on the tank
Serious underwater flashing went on every time a girl with a skirt got the dunk
Dylan Perry - backside overcrook on the bump to flat bar
Who cares about David Loy's frontside nosegrind? Look at all those lovely female skateboarding fans!
Josh Folley held on to this frontside feeble all the way through the corner
Josh Folley was pretty hyped to win the Bowl Jam
There's a deal about to go down in the sketchy skateboard industry - Justin Williams is trying to get Eddie Kochenborfer on Force Trucks. Brian Schaefer is trying to get a commission or something
This is a real skateboard contest - holding it down with 40's. Hell yeah
Graham Bickerstaff and some random chick we met at some random bar. The position he has her lips in is not random
Graham Bickerstaff, Star Wars fan, and Jake Duncombe. I spent a lot of time with these two ragers all weekend
Jake Duncombe - backside noseblunt slide on the bump to table
Jake Smith could have rode away from this kickflip on his own board or on the one coming right at him. He chose his own board
Anthony Janow - kickflip. He was doing head high method airs on that quarterpipe extension to the left
Jason Barr's lein melon on the bank to wall gets the Rob Meronek melon stamp of approval
Lacey Baker is Jeffrey Marshall's sister. It sure must suck when your sister has better flick than you and probably all your friends, too. Check this kickflip out. She has them looking good
This is a scary one. Chris Lehman ice plants to fakie while Matt Giles does the grabbing part for him
Louie Lopez - airwalk to fakie
Louie Lopez - noseblunt slide on the bump to table
You know how sometimes you can just tell someone's hammered without them even saying anything? Lots of people had that look at the after-party. Mark Muller from 3rd Lair sure had it
I was trying to get this girl to make the mean face and this was the best she could come up with
Mike Owen was coming real close to making a 540 in the deep end of the bowl, but no dice. That means Mike Owen - take a poop
After a flight is over, I always have a stiff neck from looking out the window so much. It never gets old for me. This is what flying out of Minneapolis looks like
I wonder how many boys Filmer Sara fell in love with this weekend? That's her, Emily, and Gilbert Crockett. Gilbert is a damn good skateboarder and you'll be seeing more of him soon I'm sure
Here's what it looks like when flying into Tampa. That's the Gandy Bridge and the crazy looking bay
Tony Cervantes got a new haircut, but he spelled Tone Loc wrong
Top three in Street - Cody McEntire (2nd), Manny Santiago (1st), and Davis Torgerson (3rd)
Random toys that skate companies make provided some entertainment for us. Dylan Perry is the master rocking the cradle with the Roots Skateboards yo-yo and Ryan Dodge is totally sucking with the Element hackey sack. Matt Giles hasn't quite figured out the yo-yo yet as you can see
Vince Del Valle's gap 360 flip to frontside 5-0 was perfect with no tail tap
Thatcher was the artist for this piece out in front of the 3rd Lair
Can you read what's on Brendan Yul's griptape? Brendan and his sidekick Spencer Lau are two stylish groms
Dylan Perry - long gap to frontside noseblunt slide
Jake Duncombe made this gap to backside noseblunt slide with a little sketch out at the end. Right after this, he went back and did it perfect
Lacey Baker - backside flip. Lacey, Elissa Steamer, and Lauren Perkins are the three best female skaters out there right now
Chris Troy had a ripping part in the Black Label video. He also spent a lot of time talking crap on the mic during people's runs. This is a 360 flip fatty to flatty
Why They Come
I think that there are several reasons that skaters enjoy the Damn Am at 3rd Lair. Here are a few off the top of my head:
- The weather in Minneapolis is absolutely beautiful in June. It’s warm during the day, but cool at night
- 3rd Lair Skatepark is huge. There’s a gigantic street course and bowl indoors. Outside houses another bowl and street course and a kiddie course/random obstacle area, too. Plenty of stuff to skate
- The hotels, Skatepark, and bars/restaurants are all located on the same street
- Damn Am Contests are the real deal. Yeah, of course my opinion is biased, but come and check it out for yourself next year if you don’t believe me
- This has nothing to do with the Contest, but apparently Matt Giles beat some kid up in the Super 8 parking lot and it was the “talk of the Contest” on Friday

Friday – Practice & the Bowl Jam
This particular Damn Am is only a three-day Contest, as opposed to the one at Volcom in Costa Mesa that’s a four-day event. So Practice falls on Friday, Qualifiers are on Saturday, and the (fun stuff) Semis, Finals, and Best Trick on Sunday. In addition to Practice on Friday, there is also a Bowl Jam in the inside Bowl in the evening.

The Bowl Jam attracts top ams and a pro or two, in addition to many ripping, Mid-West locals that come out to represent. Honestly, as I watched the collection of various ages and styles I thought many times over, “Where the hell did this guy come from?” But diversity is what makes it exciting, right?

On one hand we got Max Barrera from Mexico City, Mexico doing backside noseblunt nollie heels in...no joke! And then there’s Conan Modrzynski, the 40-year-old, hessian, bowl-riding version of Jamie Thomas (his haircut is similar at least) carving the place up. Mix in a couple of little girls, a few more little kids, and some legit ams, and you got one hell-of-a Bowl Jam.

There were definitely more skaters than anticipated, so we’ll start prior to 8pm next year. The 40 skaters were broken into two heats and given two runs. Then the top 10 overall were selected for a 15-minute Jam. Here’s how it broke down:

10th – Luke Hunt – I saw his Green Card and he’s legit as his switch back tails

9th – Glen Charnoski – Brother of vert legend, Rick Charnoski, Glen ruled it with full pads, eggplants, and sweepers

8th – Vince Del Valle – Qualified 2nd, but couldn’t put it together for the Jam. Skated fast as hell though

7th – Matt Ellief – Otherwise known as Popcorn, he’s young and can do Sal flip lein-to-tails

6th – Trevor Osterholt – This guy is nuts. He’s got a gigantic bag of tricks including alley-oop fs nose grinds fs grab in (for real)

5th – Mike Owen – Still no dice on the 540, but Mike came through with the fastest carves and 50/50’s I’ve ever seen anyone do anywhere. He had head-high airs, too

4th – Josh Borden – A couple of weeks ago he kickflipped into the Combi Pool at the the Pro-Tec Pool Party and this Jam he did more tricks than I can even name

3rd – Chris Lehman – Jake Duncombe “protested” Chris’ 3rd place finish by lighting a joint and smoking it right next to the Bowl. That didn’t help him get any closer to 1st, but at least Chris’ bs boneless reverts in the deep end got him into 3rd place

2nd – Aaron Astorga – Hurley TM came correct and showed the kids what’s up. His bs ollies are huge and floaty and his fs lips and smiths are classically long

1st – Josh Folley – All of the skaters in the Jam had it, but no one had it like Folley. He skates fast and in control with big ollies and long grinds. He did a 5-0 to fakie from shallow to deep that had to be pushing 25’ in distance, along with a back lip around the shallow corner right before time was up

Saturday – Qualifiers & Black Label Video Premiere
The Qualifiers...how can I say it? The Qualifiers were long. Yeah, that’s how I can say it. I’ll tell you what though – the skating was definitely top notch. Every one of the five Heats had runs that would have definitely been a qualifying run a couple of years ago. It’s not quite like that anymore. Since the top 30 skaters out of 114 that actually made the cut are highlighted in the Semis and Finals, I’m going to pick the top five guys that I wish would have made the cut and write something about them:

31st – Ryan Dodge – How ‘bout that? Dodgeball ended up in 31st. Sure, we could have rigged it and maybe bumped Timmy Knuth and put Dodge in there, but we didn’t. You’re welcome, Timmy

35th – Brad Cromer – I would put Brad in there just because of how hard he rips. He wasn’t 100% on it due to recently coming off a serious ankle surgery, but he still killed the course

37th – Nick Yamasato – Although Nick has skated Damn Am Contests in the past, I just personally met him. Maybe it’s because he’s from Hawaii and I’m all about going to Hawaii at the moment, but Nick rips along with the other Hawaiians I know. Aloha

86th – Lacey Baker – I know, it’s not like me to pick a girl skater as one of my favorites (with the exception of Elissa who I adore), but Lacey is rad. She’s got serious flick and can hold her own

90th – Aaron Perko – Aaron’s a man-am and has been in the game for a long time. He’s definitely got skills and if he would’ve landed his line I think he could easily have been a top-five finisher without at doubt

For the ‘real’ Qualifying Results, click here. Congrats to Manny Santiago who skates with a smile and definitely deserved the 1st place spot.

From the grueling day at 3rd Lair, we grabbed some dinner at Majors (which is in walking distance) and then cabbed it to City Billiards in Downtown Minneapolis. The whole city was bangin’ down there...tons of bars and restaurants and people walking around everywhere. City Billiards didn’t get as packed as we had hoped it would, but Label’s newest flick, Back in Black, was not a disappointment at all.

For a company that seemingly constantly has a video coming out, Label came correct once again. Their diverse team came through with the classics of Mumford and fresh, rawness of new am, Anthony Schultz. Whomever it was that filmed Chet Childress deserves an award, too, because that guy is tough to follow. Chet also seriously risks his life at one point. The whole team skates unique spots and the editing is proper. Get a copy to see for yourself.

Sunday – Semi-Finals, Finals, and Best Trick
The last day of any multi-day contest is always the most exciting. It got started slightly late as we were waiting for a few of the older ams to show up, but when it was on, it was ON! I almost think that the skating in the Semis was actually better than the Finals. Basically, if you fell more than once you pretty much weren’t making it to the top 12.

When someone qualifies 1st, they usually don’t pull it together again to come through and win the Finals. But that blanket statement doesn’t apply to Manny Santiago who took out the competition with an amazing 3rd run. Here’s how it broke down:

12th – Taylor Smith – At 12 he was the youngest kid in the cut, but he’s got a man-sized bag of tricks. If Taylor would have stayed on he would have been higher up there

11th – Julian Davidson – Element TM, Ryan DeWitt, said, “I like this kid. He’s just a normal skate kid and I think that’s rad.” That pretty much sums it up

10th – Dallas Rockvam – Not one to usually take contests too seriously, Dallas put some money on the line with Collin Provost to see who could place higher. He was a nollie bigspin bs lipslide away from taking Collin’s money

9th – Collin Provost – I’ve been seeing Collin around for years and he’s just getting better and better with age. Not only is he $5 richer (yes, $5), but he’s now also the owner of one mean-ass fs bluntslide

8th – David Loy – David qualified second, but couldn’t hold onto that position in the Finals; however, he and I hit it off and he’s one hell of a cool kid. He’s going to be in Amsterdam with us, too. Bring your mom next time!

7th – Kurtis Calomonico – He was only able to skate two of his runs due to some serious leg cramps, but Kurtis is a pro at contests and knows how to throw down the lines that get him in the top 12

6th – Tulio De Oliveira – This kid has been hanging out at the Davis’ house in Minneapolis for the last six months and now he’s taking his kickflip backlips and frontboards back to Brazil for a while. Hope to see him back in the States soon

5th – Jake Duncombe – What’s amazing about Jake is that he’s totally partying one minute and then knows when to turn up the heat and rip the next minute. This kid makes contests fun and exciting as his Australian ATV skills make him truly a pleasure to watch

4th – Gilbert Crockett – Straight outta’ Virginia into the top 12, Gilbert put together a diverse, flawless line that grabbed the attention of the judges with the highlight being a kickflip bs nosegrind down the hubba

3rd – Davis Torgerson – It’s always rad when a local-boy skates well in a contest and that’s exactly what Davis did. He’s has buttery-smooth style and the absolute best nollie half-cab heel of the weekend (every try). I was stoked to see him in the top three

2nd – Cody McEntire – After you win Tampa Am you have a lot to live up to, and Cody pulled it off without a problem. It was great to see the Skatepark of Austin crew in attendance to cheer on Cody’s amazing nollie flip and spin skills

1st – Manny Santiago – Like I said, I didn’t think that he would pull it off, but 1st place couldn’t have gone to a cooler, more appreciative kid. Manny is just one of those guys that smiles all of the time and gets you stoked on skating. The fs shove-it to feeble was gnarly, but I would say that the kickflip fs 50/50 on the big handrail was the deal sealer

Click here for the full Street results.

Right after the Finals we went immediately into the Best Trick, which went down on the center bank-to-bank/hubba obstacle that was painted in a polka-dot style. One side was the “small” gap, which was about 6’, and the other side was the “big” gap, which was 10’. It’s amazing how gnar the tricks have to be to even get top five in a Damn Am Best Trick Contest at this point. If you weren’t gapping to something then you really weren’t going to be in there, unless you’re doing nollie bigspin heelflips like Cody McEntire who got 5th. Jake Duncombe took it with a small gap to bs noseblunt. Vince Del Valle got 2nd with a small gap 360 flip to 5-0. And of course I have to mention my boy Dylan Perry who got 3rd with a big gap kickflip to fs 50-50 and a big gap to fs noseblunt. Hell yeah!

Click here for the full Best Trick results.

The Best Trick was nothing less than amazing, but some of the most entertaining skating went down after it courtesy of our boy Yoshi, who always shows up at these Contests and make them exciting for us. Thanks, Yoshi!

Thanks to everyone for coming and supporting what we do. Special thanks to Mark and the entire crew at 3rd Lair for making us feel so comfortable during our stay. If you’re down, we’ll see you in Amsterdam in July. Email Rob@DamnAm.com for more info.