1st Annual Johnny Romano Skate Jam 2008 Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation Article at Skatepark of Tampa

1st Annual Johnny Romano Skate Jam 2008 Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 by Rob

Photos by Michael Derewenko
Captions by Michael Derewenko and Clem
Words by Jorge Angel

This ramp in Ft. Walton Beach was awesome. It was indoors, birch, and had a great environment for ripping. Dylan Perry gets as close as possible to the ceiling without touching on this wall jammer
Frosty got his own wall jammer on the Ft. Walton Beach Ramp
I can definitely say that Jeremy Knibbs has skated transition before this trip because this frontside ollie was blasted a few times that night
Pat Stiener wall riding the wrong side of the quarter-pipe in Tallahassee
Casual frontside boardslide down the rail in Tallahassee courtesy of Pat Steiner
This bike rack was so perfect that it looked like it was made for skating. Maybe it was...and that's why Frosty popped a 180 over it
It took him a while, but Porpe was able to get his nollie snaps over the made-to-skate bike rack
The bike rack seemed to be the obstacle of choice with Pat Stiener about to catch a kickflip over it
It was pretty much pitch black by the time we got to this trashcan spot, and we were a phone down and a backside flip up. Big Al Russell was on the prowl for his phone while DMFP caught this bs flip
Dylan MF Perry managed to frontside flip under the darkness of Downtown Houston as well
I figured a stylish photo of the Clem-350 was in order after 250,000 miles
This Milton park was great. I had a blast at 8am against my natural urge to not want to skate that early
Back tails on a bank like this just seem really sketchy to me, but Pat didn’t falter
Pat was popping some nice ollies on the behemoth wall that everyone was skating
Knibbs countered DMFP's move with a noseblunt of his own, but he went frontside
Check out the third frame of Dylan's bs noseblunt at the Milton Skatepark. Looking at just that photo you might think that it's simply a bs ollie, but nope, because DMFP got gnar bars on this one
Overview of the Bowl Jam
Andrew Langi crail snatching over the hip
Josh Mattson with a fs air transfer from bowl to bowl
I didn't see this go down, so I'm not sure what it is exactly, but by the looks of it I'm thinking Andrew Langi with an invert over the spine
Blunt 360 flip in..."so easy a Caveman can do it"
Montoya was really confusing me with his moves. I believe this ledge trick is a switch bs nosegrind
Langi takes it from the bowl to the street course with a bs lip up the bank-to-wall
Peter Ramondetta blasts a kickflip from the pyramid onto the steep wall
To no surprise, Lizard King was flying all over the place. Since an ollie over the giant pyramid wasn’t enough, he went all the way to flat
Nate Broussard was cruising around doing stylish nosegrind 180 out's on the newly added granite ledges
Derewenko forgot to write a caption for this one, but this is Billy Marks and I'm thinking a nollie inward heel...not so sure though
Lizard was kickflipping from the top of the big stairs onto the bottom one on purpose, trying to complicate things
Chris Cole with a switch inward heel for the win. UPDATE: it's a 360 double flip
Dylan Perry ollies up and kickflips the gap
There was a lot of stuff to skate at this spot in Baton Rouge. Knibbs thought these benches looked like fun and went to work
Baton Rouge was very productive for DMFP. He basically killed every spot we skated. I spotted this yellow bar under a tree with a slight bump up to it, and it entertained all of us for an hour or so. Dylan backside flips it here proper
I’m pretty sure this sketchy front board on the police barrier was within three tries. DP's got ’em on lock
Warming up for the backside flip, DMFP popped a nice ollie over the yellow bar
This year the 12th Annual Make-A-Wish Skate Jam was rightfully renamed the Johnny Romano Skate Jam after the unfortunate loss of the skateboard community’s little inspiring ripper, Johnny Romano. For the past 12 years, the skateboard industry has gotten together annually to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Foundation helps dreams come true for children who are terminally ill or sick. Last year, Kasie Forman, a 16-year-old girl fighting thyroid cancer had her dream come true by hanging out with Ryan Sheckler for the day. She had such a good time at last year’s event that she returned again this year.

I happened to catch a ride with the Adio Team from the hotel to the Skate Jam. The van was filled with heavy hitters such as Steve Nesser, Danny Montoya, and Brian Brown, just to name a few. I knew right then and there that I was going to be in for a day filled with some good skateboarding.

Bowl Jam
The bowl had a fresh layer of birch and was ready to be ripped. The place was packed and anxious to see the first Contest of the day go down. I knew from the faces that I saw in the crowd that the Bowl Jam was going to be very exciting to watch. Here is what went down:
  • 1st - $2500 – Andrew Langi – After seeing this kid skate at this year’s September ASR, I knew he had what it takes to win and win it he did. With switch front blunts and head high airs over the hip, there was no question who was the stand-out skater in Bowl Jam
  • 2nd - $1500 – Josh Mattson – I think there was only one minute of the 20-minute Jam when he was not in the bowl. Josh set the aggressive tone and made it very intimidating to drop in, which is probably why some of the younger guys really didn’t skate. With some of the loosest style I have ever seen, this dude will hang on to anything. He did every blunt and noseblunt variation and was doing large double grab airs over the hip
  • 3rd - $1000 – Tony Cervantes – flying around the bowl with good style and big melon grab airs got him a well-deserved placing
Zumiez Big 4
This year’s Best Trick Contest on the Big 4 was a jam-packed session with a very intimate feel. The audience enclosed the obstacle giving the skaters just enough room to land their tricks. Some of the top skateboarders in the industry were in the mix, throwing down what they had. This year there was only money for 1st place, but here are some highlights from the session:
  • Manny Santiago – part of the Famous Stars and Straps crew and I see him at all of our events with a big smile on his face and a great attitude. Manny gave it a valiant effort with a laser flip, switch frontside bigspin, and an ollie impossible
  • Andrew Pott – another shredder from the Famous crew, holding it down with a large bag of tricks, which included a nollie backside flip and a switch flip body varial
  • Andrew Langi – after destroying the bowl, he set the stairs on fire with effortless style and grace. I’m telling you right now this kid is on the come up. He has a proper switch heel, 360 flip, and backside bigspin
  • 1st - $2000 – Chris Cole – “Man or machine?” is what I think of when I see this guy skate in person. He unleashed on the Big 4 with a backside 360 ollie, an airwalk, a switch 360 flip, and a double 360 flip just to name a few
Tech Center
Southside got a bit of a facelift this year with a couple new obstacles added to the course. The tech center was one of them, which included two marble ledges, one slightly higher than the other, a baby manual pad with a round flat bar attached to the side of it, and a bleacher-style ledge running across the other side. Dennis Busenitz is one of my favorites to watch. He ollied over the whole 11’ manny pad and came really close to kickflipping the whole damn thing, too. Here’s who got what:
  • 1st - $2500 – Chris Cole – a quick fact about Cole is that he rides an 8.5” board. I happened to pick it up and it weighed a ton. How he manages to have so much board control on such a large board has me baffled. He did a backside nosegrind nollie big heel out. Need I say more?
  • 2nd – $1500 – Gilbert Crockett – first time seeing him skate in person and it was nothing short of amazing. He skated everything full speed, popping out of every trick with uncanny board control and style. His backside smith frontside 180 out and kickflip backside smith are a couple of tricks that stood out
  • 3rd – $1000 – Sean Malto – what a pleasure it is to watch this kid skate. He always has a smile on his face and makes skateboarding look way too easy. He did a fakie 5-0 (or maybe you can call it a switch overcrooks or switch crooks if you choose) kickflip out on the flat bar, which was insane, and a switch kickflip frontside crooks
The day was filled with laughs, smiles, and memories that will last forever. Having the opportunity to see some of the best skateboarders in the world get together for a righteous cause is heart warming and I hope that I will be able to see this event grow year after year. And please keep in mind that all of the money “won” was given back to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the name of the recipient.

I am sorry if I leave anyone out on my ‘thank you list,’ but I will give it my best shot. First and foremost, a big thanks goes out to Real, Fallen, and Elwood for making gear where the proceeds go directly to the Johnny Romano Foundation. Also, big thanks go out to the companies who brought their riders out: Adio, Circa Combat, Famous Stars and Straps, Black Label, and KR3W just to name a few. And very special thanks to South Shore Distributing and to Southside Skatepark for getting together and making this event a reality for the past 12 years.

Ride on,


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