Volcom Damn Am 2007

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2007 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
Felipe Gustavo – nollie flip crooked grind on the hubba
Damn, I didn’t know Kechaud Johnson had the back 3 like that
Louis Perez – gap back lip
Luan De Oliveira – switch frontside 270 popped like a cherry. I hear he’s got manny tricks and tranny on lock, too
Luan De Oliveira – switch frontside 270 this time with a heelflip thrown in
Ryan DeCenzo – frontside flip
Scott DeCenzo – nollie frontside noseslide
Axel Cruysberghs – 360 flip over the hip
Cesar Fernandez – kickflip back lip
Chazz Ortiz – kickflip back lip
Ryan Clements as Lt. Dangle – tail block
Porpe as Lt. Dangle – wall ride
Ryan DeCenzo – frontside 360
Donovan Piscopo – crail grab frontside bluntslide
Eduardo Craig – backside 180
Evan Smith – frontside nosegrind pop out
Leticia Bufoni – frontside boardslide
Josh Swyers – frontside 270 nosegrab
Greg Myers – nollie cab to DFL on Friday
Jesse Santoyo – frontside grab the right way
Jesse Santoyo – gap crooked grind
Joey Poiriez – where you been?
Lacey Baker – 360 flip
Louie Lopez – salad grind
David Loy – bluntslide
Marius Syvanen – back lip up from the quarter
Marques DeVaughn – nollie frontside crooked grind
Micky Papa – nollie crooked grind
Peter Raffin – backside tailslide
Ricky Webb – frontside bluntslide
Black Squirrels – sal flip
Shane Sheckler – 360 flip to fakie
Thanks for wearing the wacky gear with us, Shane Sheckler. This is a feeble grind
Ryan Sheckler skated with his brother for a bit. This is a backside overcrook. After this, he did kickflip frontside bluntslide to fakie after just a few tries. The shirt stayed on
Terrell Robinson – gap lip
Ryan Sheckler’s sidekick Tony Panici actually rips. He had one perfect run but picked some easier tricks that kept him out of the cut. This is a gap smith, shirt on
This was the scene at the Volcom warehouse down the street for the party on Friday night
Walker Ryan – nollie flip. This guy had a great part in the 510 Skateshop video
Three Nights of Parties & Two Days of Qualifiers
As many of my friends have told me, yes, we’ve got it pretty much made. The skateboarding and fun times never end for us. Promptly after landing in Costa Mesa we were at the Schmitt Estate skating his private bowl and swimming is his “miniature Vegas resort” pool, which best describes his backyard water-park.

Paul cooked dinner, we watched one too many episodes of “Life of Ryan,” and then hit the sack at the ever-welcoming Travelodge. Morning comes quick and on Friday, the first day of Qualifiers, the competitors were geared up to get down. The top 15 made it to the Semi-Finals on Sunday and the first place qualifier, Luan De Oliveira, earned his top spot with the Golden Ticket. Chazz Ortiz followed closely behind in 2nd, but Luan’s just got it…the kid is a total pleasure to watch.

As if the free food and drink all day wasn’t enough, Volcom decided to one-up themselves and throw a party on Friday night. We were treated to free beer and a viewing of Thrasher’s newest flick “Beer Slave” at the Volcom TF around the corner.

On Saturday we viewed yet another 100 skaters take their two, one-minute runs. The morning started off a bit interesting with the filming of an episode of “Life of Ryan,” which included the presence of the entire Sheckler family and an MTV camera crew. Shane Sheckler skated in the first Heat AND made the cut to Sunday’s Semi-Finals.

The rain was threatening the entire day, causing a bit of delay during the final two Heats, but we powered through it and all contestants got to show their stuff as the party in the parking lot raged on. There were a few stand-outs, including this one guy named “Ajax” that took a run when we called someone else’s name. Taking top honors with the Golden Ticket was ill little ripper Donovan Piscopo.

As the sun set we chilled and geared up for the party action of the evening. After some fine SoCal Mexican cuisine and a quick visit to Chet Thomas’ house, we ended up at the Evocal and Avalon, a boutique and bar respectively that were right next door to each other. There were so many people from Tampa there that I thought we were in Ybor! Thanks to Listen for putting that function together. Now for some skateboarding…

Semi-Finals, Finals, & “Darkstar” Best Trick
Semis & Finals
I don’t think that we could have asked for a more beautiful SoCal day, except that maybe a little breeze here or there would have been nice. Halloween costumes were in full effect and we got started with the two, one-minute runs for the Semi-Finals promptly at high noon.

The entire Sheckler family was once again in attendance to support Shane, who happened to be wearing the female version of our ridiculous Reno 911 costumes. Even though he has a good sense of humor, Shane didn’t make the cut. But he wasn’t the only ripper that didn’t make it.

The competition level is higher than we’ve ever seen it. Every single kid in the Finals was killing it. The next generation is fierce. There was no slipping. Even runs that were completed with no bails didn’t guarantee a top spot.
  • 13th – Luis Perez – MIA’s rail-jumper couldn’t pull it together for the Finals, but we all know he has the skills to do better next time
  • 12th – Kyle Walker – little Zero and Volcom flow kid from OK brought some good style to the table
  • 11th – Timmy Knuth – although he qualified 1st from the Semis, Timmy couldn’t pull it together either. However, had he landed his run he would have made the top three
  • 10th – Felipe Gustavo – the Tampa Am 2007 winner is back and flipping into everything as usual. Plan B has picked him up because he’s one of the most tech kids out there
  • 9th – Evan Smith – he’s probably over 6’ tall and still only 16-years-old, but let me tell you…Evan is going to be a force to be reckoned with. He’s got the style and the trick selection to make it happen
  • 8th – Axel Cruysberghs – our little buddy from Belgium took a long-ass flight from Europe to rip it up for Flip and Volcom in SoCal
  • 7th – Kechaud Johnson – the black version of DMFP skates fast and goes big. His bs 360 ollies over the pyramid were the best
  • 6th – Donovan Piscopo – illest little dude with the coolest pops anyone could ask for. Donovan has the style and his frontside bluntslide crail grabs are the killer
  • 5th – Luan De Oliveira – where in the world does Flip find these kids? I might have already said this in the GvR article, but mark my words: Luan is the future of skateboarding. Think young Guy or Koston
  • 4th – Louie Lopez – barely squeezed into the cut because he tied for 10th in the Semis with Felipe, but the youngest Flip kid (12-years-old) stepped it up for the Finals
  • 3rd – Ryan Decenzo – Schaefer almost messed him up when he tried singing the Canadian National Anthem, but Ryan cleared his head and made it happen
  • 2nd – Chazz Ortiz – oh man…what can I say about this kid that his skating doesn’t already do the talking for? Here’s an attempt: He skates like he knows exactly what he’s doing. Pros look out
  • 1st – Scott DeCenzo – brother of Ryan D. showed us why he rides for Plan B with switch feebles to 180 out, switch backlips, and proper fs bluntslides
“Darkstar” Best Trick
In what would be a proper repeat of the AmsterDamn Am, we were fortunate enough to have Nihilist rock the house during the Jam. It only took them a few minutes to get set up, and then it was on. The skating was top-notch, but you truly had to be aggressive if you wanted a run…only the strong survived during Best Trick. It ended up being nearly 40-minutes since we kept yelling, “One more song!” Here’s how it ended up: It wasn’t over yet with Nihilist though. They played another set while the judges calculated the scores. We made all of the announcements and then it was time for the Product Toss, which got crazy when Nihilist rocked “Ace of Spades!”

That’s about when Barak, Jonathon, and I snuck out of there and headed to the airport to catch the red-eye home. Now about 14 hours later I’m sitting in my kitchen writing this story. It’s been four trips in four weeks to CA for me. I’m glad that it’s over, but I’m even happier that everything worked out the way it did. I’ll never look back and say, “I traveled to California too much.”

There are so many ‘thanks’ to give out that I’m sure that I’m going to forget a few, but let’s start out with Volcom for everything they do. Those guys are a true pleasure to work with. Listen Skateboards…great job with the After-Party. Thanks to Darkstar for the Best Trick sponsorship and the rest of the sponsors for their contributions (Bones, Jalapi, Black Label, Thrasher, and those I’m forgetting). For those that have a sense of humor and don’t take skateboarding too seriously…THANK YOU for not getting mad about some of the wisecracks that you heard over the mic. We’re only trying to have a good time and take you along for the ride. We appreciate everyone that wore a costume, but we need to pick something a little more comfy next year for our kits! Thanks to the “Pardy Tent” crew, too.

Thanks to those that watched the webcast and to 411VM for a job well done. And if you happened to miss it, you can check out a re-broadcasting at http://damnam.411vm.com/ all week.