Vans Downtown Showdown 2005 Day One: Practice Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Vans Downtown Showdown 2005 Day One: Practice

Posted on Sunday, September 4, 2005 by Rob

Vans Downtown Showdown
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

The Concept
Ryan Sheckler was light enough and going fast enough to kickflip off the end of the Girl teeter totter thing - not so easy
Not sure if Rick McCrank made this nosegrind across and down, but he was getting pretty close
Jereme Rogers can do switch smiths frontside and backside - switch frontside smith grind on the Zero obstacle
Jereme Rogers - switch bluntslide to forward on the Zero obstacle
Jereme Rogers - switch back smith on the Zero obstacle
Jereme Rogers - switch back lip on the Zero obstacle
I don't know how Chris Haslam came out of this rock fakie with that six inch gap between the bank ramp and the Scion
Cooper Wilt - backside noseblunt on the bank to Scion thing
In case you hadn’t noticed, Vans quit doing their Triple Crown Contests this year. Since the demise of that series, they wanted to come up with something unique that would interest the entire skateboarding industry and all skaters alike. With the initial idea courtesy of Steve Luther, Vans marketing dude, it basically goes like this: Invite the best board companies to compete, team vs. team, and get them to design the actual obstacles that will be present at the Contest. To top it off, rent out a set at Universal Studios, California for the Contest and invite the entire industry to watch. In addition, there are no tickets for sale. You can only get them through your local shop if you’re on the “Cool Guy List,” and the whole deal is made-for-TV. Hot.

The Format
  • Each of the five obstacles (four were designed by the participating teams and two were designed by Vans) will be sessioned by two members of each team for a 30-minute Jam
  • There will be a 15-minute break in between each session
  • Only the next obstacle following the obstacle being sessioned will be opened for practice during each Jam - all others will be off limits
The Rules
  • Each four-skater team must consist of three pros and one am
  • Two skaters from each team are permitted to skate all six obstacles
  • Am is required to skate a minimum of three obstacles
  • Pros are required to skate a minimum of two obstacles
  • No substitutes unless the skater is injured
  • If you don't have a complete team (three pros and one am) within your board company, you can substitute another board company rider within your distribution
The Zero obstacle is an 8 stair with banks on each side
This thing is known as the Tylenol street gap
This is Girl's obstacle. They call it the Torture Totter. You ollie up on the left side there up a step up like gap, roll across, get a little past the center where the thing starts to see saw down, then hop out into the bank on the right. Nyjah Huston is barely heavy enough to weigh the other side down. This one should be pretty entertaining to watch
Ethan Fowler and Corey Duffel trying to figure out the Scion obstacle
A close up on the engineering work needed for the Girl Torture Totter
Foundation's giant six stair and mega hubbas
This is part of the Foundation obstacle. A shrak fin pole jam over a step up filled with water? Yup, a shark fin pole jam over a step up filled with water
The Obstacles
Before I describe the obstacles, you really have to understand where the Contest is taking place. It’s an actual movie set, like the same sets that you’ve seen in your favorite movies and TV shows. Right down the road from where I’m sitting is the set where they filmed Back to the Future. And across the street is where the monkey comes out of the guy’s ass in Bruce Almighty (Steve Van Doren thought that was particularly funny). So up and down these streets (sets) is where the random ramps are set up.

Tylenol Street Gap
This thing is actually pretty basic. It is what it says it is…a basic street gap with a little kicker on one end and a flat ledge on the other side. One thing that is cool about it is that you can adjust the length of the gap in case it’s too gnar.

Scion Bank-to-Bank
Okay, so there’s another corporately-sponsored obstacle that had to be thrown in there, but at least there’s the aspect of actually skating on a real car in the event, so that’s cool. After all, that’s what skateboarding’s all about right? “Cars. Skating on cars.”

Foundation Big Six
The boys at Foundation went all out on this gimmick. This obstacle consists of a giant step-up with a pole jam sticking right out the middle of it. After going up the step-up, you roll across a deck, and there’s a BIG six and a gigantic hubba on each side. On the side of the platform there’s a tall, tight quarter-pipe with a death gap.

Girl Torture Totter
Picture a gigantic, black see-saw from a dark movie like Nightmare Before Christmas and you have the Torture Totter. It’s an evil, 40’ long overgrown piece of playground equipment that the Girl crew concocted. From what I’ve heard, the actual engineering of this piece was quite a project. The building crew was still working on it during practice to assure that it’s operating properly.

Zero Bank/Stair Set
You can’t go wrong with the standard, small eight-stair, can you? The Chief and his team added some spice to it with a hubba on each side that have angles on them, just like the real version of this obstacle that’s located in Miami, Florida.


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