Triple Crown Finals

For the fifth straight year, the Vans Triple Crown of skateboarding finished with an October event in Southern California (the reason it’s held here is because you can count on decent weather, Vans is headquartered nearby, and this is the birthplace of skateboarding). Anyway, the event went off on the first weekend of October at the pier in Oceanside, California, the very same place in which seventeen-year-old Mike Vallely turned the world on to the streetplant craze way back in 1986.

During the week, the Ramp Tech crew headed by Cedar Crest mastermind Mike Mapp built a street course (they were allowed to remove the city-installed anti-skate devices), a bowl, a vert ramp, and even a small skate area for spectators to use. In the past, I’ve ridden a few of Mike’s ramps, and they are definitely legit.

Thursday and Friday were practice days, but it drizzled all day on the latter, so it was pretty much a wash (pun intended). The practice session I witnessed had Rick McCrank, Carlos de Andrade, and Chad Fernandez literally tearing the place apart. The vert guys were also battling, and I heard that Bob was going off on the huge extension in the middle of the ramp. From the look of it, nothing was going to get in the way of Bob driving away with the Ford Ranger pickup for having the most overall points in the series.

It’s hard for me to get excited about shooting contests because I’m spoiled by the fact that I get to shoot photos of the gnarliest stuff on a day-to-day basis, and most of the stuff I was seeing at the finals was pretty tame. So I left the photo job to the others and went home early on Saturday.

The finals were held all day on Sunday, and street was the first to finish up. I watched the event, and the whole time I couldn’t help but wonder how they choose the winners! As a spectator, it’s hard to figure out who’s winning because there’s no electronic scoreboard to show the audience the placings while the contest is going. How sick would it be to see Kerry Getz leading Geoff Rowley by .33 of a point going into his last run, and Geoff then putting it all on the line to come up with a better score to win the event? Meanwhile, the crowd would be going nuts cheering him on. The way it is now, no one has any clue who’s winning or by how much until the event has been over for two hours, which seems pretty damn anticlimatic.

Another of my pet peeves about contests is the judging. What is the criteria used to become a judge? Are they tested? Do they go to classes and watch skate videos all day? Do they know that a ten-stair five-O is harder than a switch flip on the wedge ramp? Hmm. I’m not trying to get down on the judges¿I know them all, and they definitely know skating¿but it seems like the system for judging a street event is out of whack. At this time I’d like to suggest a change of format: Tricks should be given points by their degree of difficulty.

At the beginning of the year, the main contest organization (World Cup Skateboarding) could determine the points given for certain tricks. Also, if a skater does the same trick more than once, he shouldn’t get any points for those subsequent tricks. No ollieing over everything or doing five 360 flips to fakie in the same run. Once the points for tricks were tallied, the judges could add or subtract points for style, originality, speed, etc.

I’d like to see Rick McCrank do three fifteen-point tricks and two 25-point tricks (95 points) against Pat Channita’s three five-point, two ten-point, two fifteen-point, and one 25-point (90 points). The rest would be judged on other criteria such as style, etc.

I know saying this might cause some grumblings, but it’s merely a suggestion. As I see it, the current judging system isn’t working. Keep in mind, these suggestions are only for street, because it seems the old system works well for vert.

This year, the street contest ended and the winner wasn’t announced until after the vert contest. Kerry Getz walked aaway fifteen grand richer. Right after the street finals, a best-trick contest was held in the handrail/stairs area, and the finalists were Chad Fernandez, Tony Trujillo, Caine Gayle, Tyrone Olson, and Canadian newcomer Alex Gavin. Chad pulled off a switch boardslide, Caine did a backside lipslide, Tony broke his board on a kickflip over the rail and then tried it again on the same board, Tyrone broke his board on a nosegrind, and Alex won it by throwing down a tailslide and a backside bluntslide.

The vert finals were next, and the kids went off. Crum’s ollies were head-high, Brian Howard punished the lip, Andy Macdonald flipped and flew all over, Bob twisted and contorted, and Rune just flat out killed it¿style, tricks, speed, and hot damn, he won. Skills, skills, skills.

Although this was a culmination of three events for 2000, I didn’t get the feeling I was watching the final with an overall winner. It didn’t have that Game Seven of the World Series or final match at Wimbledon-like atmosphere. I asked a few kids if they knew who was leading the series in points, and none of them had a clue. Oh well, so much for diehard fans. Maybe they were more interested in getting free stuff and skaters’ autographs. I loved the fact that this was an all-skateboarding event. Thank god skateboarding didn’t have to share time with in-line skating, BMX, surfing, freestyle motocross, or any other alternative sport.

Thanks to: Steve Van Doren and Vans, World Cup Skateboarding, Ramp Tech, Shrewgy, Brian Schaefer, Dave Duncan, and everyone else who worked their asses off to make this contest happen.

Oh yeah, Chris Gentry punched one of the judges after his run in the bowl contest because he didn’t think he was scored accordingly. Hmm.

Results:Men’s Street1. Kerry Getz U.S.A. $15,0002. Rick McCrank Canada $8,0003. Geoff Rowley England $5,0004. Caine Gayle U.S.A. $3,0005. Kyle Berard U.S.A. $2,000

Men’s Vert1. Rune Glifberg Denmark $15,0002. Andy Macdonald U.S.A. $8,0003. Bob Burnquist Brazil $5,0004. Pierre Luc Gagnon Canada $3,0005. Brian Howard U.S.A. $2,000

Men’s Bowl1. Omar Hassan U.S.A. $5,0002. Brian Patch U.S.A. $3,0003. Brian Howard U.S.A. $2,0004. Sandro Dias Brazil $1,0005. Renton Millar Australia $800

Master’s Bowl1. Lance Mountain U.S.A. $2,0002. Steve Caballero U.S.A. $1,0003. Sasha Steinhorst U.S.A. $6004. Clint Deaton U.S.A. $5005. Jeff Grosso U.S.A. $400

Women’s Street1. Amy Caron U.S.A. $2,0002. Cnaan Omer U.S.A. $1,0003. Jamie Reyes U.S.A. $6004. Heidi Fitzgerald U.S.A. $5005. Faye Jaime U.S.A. $4006. Jessie Van Roechoudt Canada $250

Women’s Bowl1. Cara-Beth Burnside U.S.A. $8002. Jodi MacDonald U.S.A. $5003. Jennifer O’Brien U.S.A. $3004. Heidi Fitzgerald U.S.A. $2005. Kyla Duffy U.S.A. $100

For the rest of the results, plus video clips and photos, as well as a schedule of upcoming events, go to: