Outside the Energy Solutions Arena, skateboarders practiced on the cement wall. A dude with a Free Flow credential saying “athlete” said in an amazed voice, “Dang, I got showed up by a girl.”
The girl in question was Brooke Whipp, a Salt Lake local. The 16-year-old was riding off a seven foot high part of the wall. When asked how she felt about what the kid said, Whipp smiled and said, “Pretty tight, I guess.” She added, “I practice every day, for at least an hour or two. I think they should open the Dew Tour up to girls.” Still, she doesn’t mind having to skate outside the Tour. “I get to skate, so I don’t care. As long as I get to ride my board, I’m good. I went to the super girl pro-am jam at Woodward, California, there were some really good pro girl skateboarders. I took 11th place. I hope to go pro.” She already has a sponsor: Osiris shoes, who sponsors Ryan Nyquist.
Whipp jumped over and over, doing ollies, fronside 180s and kick flips. But next year, she may actually do the Dew—stay tuned for a Lat34 exclusive!
Inside, Fuel TV got schooled. To ride the elevators, which go to the staging areas and the VIP and Athlete Lounges, you have to have a credential showing you’re either an athlete or press. Fuel TV committed a big sin and got banned. Well, not the folks actually working for Fuel, but many people holding their credentials got kicked out. The problem was that the TV group handed out credentials to so many non-press folks that the Dew Tour officials got fed up. So copies of their creds were posted in every elevator, telling the operators (Yes, Energy Solutions Arena has elevator operators!) not to allow anyone with those passes to get on. Security was warned as well, so everyone holding the banned credentials couldn’t even get into the village for free.
The cool thing now is not to wear that coveted credential on a cord around your neck, but to stuff the cord in your pocket and let the cred hang out and dangle.
In the circular Energy Solutions Arena, the vert pipe is next to the park. While Free Flow Tour riders were skating in the park, the BMX vert riders were putting on quite the show next door—but no one was there to see it. Sunday’s contest should be incredible.
The skate park was busy all day, but there was a lot of horizontal going on. The Free Flow skaters fell either because they were nervous at being in such a big comp, or because they were worn out after a hard practice. Worse, after the long jam that followed their runs, some couldn’t nail even one trick.
Tyson Bowerbank was the Salt Lake favorite since he’s a local, but even he couldn’t stay upright. The crowd roared for him, but it didn’t pump him up. Still, watch for Bowerbank. He’s an incredible rider who’s on his way. Tom Olson, father of Free Flow winner Jack, said his son didn’t expect to win—and now he’s got a wild card entry into the final Dew stop in Orlando. The Minneapolis skater is still in dreamland about his victory, after skating for eight years. The whole family can’t afford to go to Florida, so Mrs. Olson will probably take the 15-year-old. But the father is still relishing his son’s win. “I cried for the first time in 20 years,” the senior Olson said, looking like he’d died and gone to heaven.
The Free Flow skate park finals ran late, into the scheduled practice time for the pros, so the Free Flow awards ceremony was rushed and cluttered by the pros, who obviously resented the overtime cutting into their practice. They didn’t wait. As the podium was carried in, the big time dudes were skating and jumping around it, while 11 and 12 year-old Free Flow skaters watched their idols with wide eyes.
When the finals for skate park finally started, it was ramped up big. The lights were turned off, roving spotlights hit the crowd, thundering rock music blared from surround sound speakers and the announcer kept revving the crowd to scream. When the lights came back on, the pros were skating, all without helmets, unlike the Free Flow riders. But again, nearly everyone had a case of the horizontals. So many skaters fell that at one point, about five were lying on the plywood, and the enthusiastic crowd actually started giggling.
The runs were also full of falls. Greg Lutzka biffed it a bunch of times. Chaz Ortiz skated last in the first round; he fell and fell again. Ortiz shows what a year of fame can do. Instead of the happy champion of last year, his face now looks serious and sad. This year, it matters. Last year, it flowed, and he came in first, laughing with joy. This year, when it’s more about sponsors than having fun, Chaz finished 10th.
- Wina Sturgeon