Photos and words: George Crosland
Almost two decades after his infamous slam at Uplands Combi pool, Chris Miller gets his deserved victory against all the legends of skateboarding. Rune Glifberg, a modern day vert warrior, also mastered the tricky lines of this the beast to beat all the other modern day pros.
The Upland Combi pool was the scene of one of the last big pool contests back in the 1980′s. This past weekend Vans and Pro-Tec threw enough money at a pool contest to attract some big name pros once again. The venue was in a modern day version of the Combi Pool, built in the late 90′s and a key attraction of the Vans skatepark in Orange, CA. Practice sessions began up to a month before the contest. Skaters saw the potential for radness; the chance to see pool skaters go head to head with modern vert superstars like Bucky Lasek, PLG and Rune Glifberg, even TNT threw his name into the hat. Add to that the masters’ class (37 and over) and people were hyped. As Steve Alba said the week before the contest “It is going to be sick
The original Combi combined a round and a square pool and existed from 1977 until 1988. Back in those days pro contests took place in skateparks. Pretty much all the legends skated that Combi pool, even Tony Hawk skated in contests there. You could right a book on the history of that park; we will have to leave that story until another time.
Back to 2005, the day started off with the media industry showdown. Some of the guys who work for magazines skated and Scott Taylor, from Skateboarder, was deemed to have the best skills. Dave Swift and Buddy Carr followed close behind. All the guys in that group ripped. The girls group followed and skated really well, considering how challenging the Combi pool is to ride. Apryl Woodcock got 4th by finding really sick lines, that girl has a future in skating for sure. Mimi Knoop always skates consistent, her ollies in the round and over the roll in were sick. Oh, yea, Mimi made a frontside invert too on her way to 3rd. Lyn-Z Adams did the biggest airs by far and did some sick Andrechts but she perhaps did not use the lines as much. Carabeth Burnside always kills it. C.B.s experience shined through as she found all the hard lines and pulled some big airs and handplants to win.
Perhaps the Masters were the most anticipated group of the day. These are the true legends of skateboarding. Eric Dressen, Mike Smith, Tony Mag, Steve Alba, Kevin Staab, Chris Miller, Jeff Grosso Lance Mountain, Jesse Martinez and more. There was some heavy skating going down in the finals. Each skater got an intro run, and then it was a 25 minute jam session, basically, controlled chaos. Some skaters were surely hurt by this format. They had their lines down solid but in a jam format you have to get runs where and when you can and often others are in the bowl at the same time. Other skaters like Pat Ngoho and Salba were completely at ease in the snake session. It was insanity. Some standout moments include Salba shredding every conceivable line in that damn pool and getting 4th. Lance Mountain combined lines, airs, grinds and hanplants to get 3rd. Jeff Grosso’s crazy ass long boardslides in the round bowl and board slide transfers had to be seen to be believed. Jeff did a few huge Madonnas, skated really fast and tweaked Andrechts to snag second place. Chris Miller absolutely killed the pool, he clearly won with his corner airs and ollies, big method airs, lip work and mach speed. Chris was not even going to enter until a few days before the event. I asked Chris why he decided to enter and he said “Lance Mountain talked me into it Well everyone is glad he entered. It was a great 35 minutes, watching those guys skate.
The modern day pro session was just as heated as the masters. TNT made it into the finals after drinking beer all day and skating with no pads. That guy has a wild style but wild inn a smooth way, his frontside inverts were punk as fuck. Jake Piasecki was killing it in the prelims but fell a little too much in the finals. Jimmy the Greek is another padless pool ripper. The Greek skated the thing like a freaking mini ramp, he dominated the pool. Bucky Lasek could have won on his prelim runs but was not into the snake session and settled for 5th place. Bucky did 540s frontside and backside, ollies to fakie in the corners and even made a frontside heelflip through a corner to 540. Benji Galloway no doubt did the highest number of tricks and could have won. Christian Hosoi and John Cardiel were two of the judges so you know the results are legit, by the way. Brian Patch did huge airs and worked every inch of the pool to take 3rd. Omar Hassan was on fire. Super long and powerful runs were the norm for Hassan. Omar has so many unique corner tricks, like roll in to lipslides and big arsenal of airs, he could have easily won. Rune Glifberg was on fire though. He dropped in on every ones run. At one point Rune dropped in on Will from Southern Oregon, tried to grind under Wills Boneless one and Will landed on him (Will somehow rode out of that). Rune’s hardest tricks included a tailslide revert through a corner into a switch frontside rock and roll, kickflip to back lip and alley oop indy over the hip to 540 in the round. Rune won.
Did the contest live up the hype? Oh yeah. Many said it was the best skateboarding they had ever seen. Benji Galloway said that being a redneck from South Carolina and skating with those guys made his career. Bucky Lasek went on to say, “That was the best contest I was in and couldn’t skate in…it was the best contest I ever watched.” If Bucky claims it was the best contest he ever watched, well, it must be so.—George Crosland
1. Scott Taylor — Skateboarder
2. Dave Swift — The Skateboard Mag
3. Buddy Carr — Concrete
1. Carabeth Burnside $3,000
2. Lyn-Z Hawkins $1,500
3. Mimi Knoop $500
4. Apryl Woodcock
5. Holly Lyons
1. Chris Miller $10,000
2. Jeff Grosso $6,000
3. Lance Mountain $4,000
4. Steve Alba $1,000
5. Pat Ngoho $1,000
1. Rune Glifberg $25,000
2. Omar Hassan $15,000
3. Brian Patch $8,000
4. Benji Galloway $4,000
5. Bucky Lasek $2,000