Tampa Pro Thursday March 16th

March means it’s time for the annual Skatepark of Tampa Professional Street and Vertical Contest. Thursday was practice day for all the pros. Friday sees half the preliminaries for the street contest and the full prelims for the vert contest. This year’s vert contest has been taken outdoors on the mighty Red Bull vert ramp. Also outside this year is Tampa’s rendition of the loop. The first three guys that make the loop successfully get $1000 each. Practice for that task is Saturday with the finals on Sunday. Other action on Saturday includes the other half of the street preliminaries and the vert finals. Sunday sees the Street semi-finals, then the finals, then the ever so anticipated “Best Trick Contest”.

Thursday saw many heavyweights already in town and slugging it out on the street course. Tony Trujillo’s first run of the day could have had him making the cut. Koston, Berra, McCrank, Suski, Getz, Appleyard, Templeton, Svitak and Paez are all looking like strong contenders. Chris Senn is a pleasure to watch as he goes the fastest and finds the most unheard of lines in the park. Ed Templeton quickly stepped it up a notch by feeble grinding to fakie across and down the LONG main rail. McCrank casually ollied up to backside 50-50 over the doorway on the slam wall. Mind you it was first try. And in my last couple of years coming to the contest, I’ve never seen anyone do that. Dan Drehobl, very intense to watch. He completely goes for it and more often than not, makes the most difficult tricks. I witnessed a lazy melon to rock fakie on the slam wall. First try.

Lots of riders are fortunate enough to make the practice session on Thursday. So I’m confident that tomorrow will see more riders rolling in and barging the morning practice sessions before prelims begin. Names to watch for that I didn’t see on Thursday include Arto Saari, Geoff Rowley, Brian Anderson, Daewon Song, and Matt Beach. Based on what I witnessed today and if I had a gun to my head and had to pick my top three potential winners, I would bet on Rick McCrank, Kerry Getz, and my long shot would be Mark Appleyard. Look for more tomorrow.