The course is newly redesigned thanks to Nike, the weather is perfect, and over 200 hungry ams are here to charge. In between every 50 second run, a flood of skaters barged the course just to get one trick in to stay warm and shake the butterflies. Alex Olsen was skating faster and more confident than most with huge ollies onto the vert wall frontside and backside, and anything from feebles to back Smiths down the hubbas. How he qualified in 28th place is beyond me. Other front runners included Sean Malto who is just too damn smooth and consistent—front crooks and front feebles down the big rail, and hardflips down the double set. Marius Syvanen gets better with every contest appearance—fakie ollies off the quarter pipe up onto the vert wall, a nollie alley-oop up onto the vert wall, and an extremely speedy and stylish frontside bluntslide transfer on the flat bar into the bank.
Marquis Preston was wowing the fans in between other skaters’ runs with flawless bigspin boardslides down the big rail to straight and fakie, and frontside bigspins down the double set. Chris Mendes had the longest frontside feebles of the day across the flat bar and even mixed it up with a nollie inward heelflip to backside revert up the Euro gap. Grant Taylor is still great beyond his years with huge frontside tuck-knee airs on the big quarterpipes. Chris Troy has his bigspin front boards wired if you didn’t know and now does them 270 on command, too.
Well, the top ten qualifiers looked like this: 1 Sean Malto 2 T.J. Sparks 3 Chris Mendes 4 Donovan Piscopo 5 Ben Gore 6 Grant Taylor 7 Chris Troy 8 Daniel Espinoza 9 Travis Glover 10 Ed Driscoll