Dedication and determination would be two words to describe vertskaters today. Many see them as a dying breed–not for a lack of peoplekilling it and pushing vert skating to new levels, but because access tovert ramps is not nearly as common as good street terrain is. How oftencan you hop out of bed and drop into a vert ramp? As a street skater,though, you can wake up and pop ollies all the way down to 7-11. Theinflux of skateparks has helped to keep it alive, but thetruth of the matter is that not every city has a park, nor does everypark feature a halfpipe. So on top being dedicated and determined, vertskaters have to be motivated as well.

Sunday at the Vans Skatepark in Ontario, California over a thousandpeople witnessed the dedication, determination, and motivation it tookto be a part of this contest. First, competitors had to qualify at localcontests around the world. Then, each qualifying skater competed in asemi-final round held at select stops of the Vans Warped Tour ’99. Thefirst-place winner from each semi-final contest received anall-expense-paid trip to California to compete Sunday in the 2000 VansAmateur Vert World Championships of Skateboarding.

As Shadznad and I entered the park the contest was in full swing. Itwasn’t that hard to notice who was standing out and who wasn’t. MikeSperanza was ahead of his game with tweaked out airs, and smoothtailslides. Chuck Powell had the ramp dialed during practice, but failedto keep up during the finals and had a few costly falls. Little ripper,Shaun White tore up the ramp with stalefish grabs and stylishinverts. Danish import Thomas Madsen had the support of Rune Glifbergbehind him and managed to punish the coping with his wizardry and headhigh airs to boot. But Sunday’s contest ultimately belonged to FloridianDaniel Ehara, who owned the ramp during the final rounds with hisoriginal combination of tech and style. The judges seemed to agree withDaniel’s skills and crowned him this year’s Vans Amateur Vert WorldChampion, a title that earned him a one-year professional contract fromVans.

Vans Amateur Championships
January 23, 2000
Final Results

1. Daniel Ehara
2. Thomas Madsen
3. Peter King
4. Shaun White
5. Peder Mewis
6. Mike Speranza
7. Brian Drake
8. Shane Serena
9. Chuck Powell
10. Craig Whitehead