Volume 21 Number 8
file: Slam City Jam 2003
Slam City Jam 2003
I wonder if anyone was just a little nervous about traveling to Vancouver, Canada this year for the tenth-annual Slam City Jam contest. With the SARS virus running rampant, would any of the skaters decide to sit this one out? I know that after I bought my ticket the reality started to sink in–like, what if somehow I contracted it? But then I realized I could stay home and maybe get cancer or some other disease that so many undeserving people get. I've learned to live life a little more simply, and I try never to say no to a trip no matter what the conditions are, especially when it involves skateboarding. So, SARS or no SARS, off to Canada I went for one of the best contests of the year.
Seeing the list of skaters who entered this year's Slam left no doubt that some damn good skating would be going down. Rick McCrank, Carlos de Andrade, Caswell Berry, Greg Lutzka, Rodney Jones, and young Ryan Sheckler were a just a few names that stood out from the already impressive list of people entered.
Practice had already started, so I made my way down to check it out. Practice sessions are great! It's fun to see the different styles people have and watch the creative lines they can come up with, and this year's course left plenty of them to be found. There were no crazy jumps or rails that could kill anyone. Instead the course featured a much mellower setup that allowed everyone to showcase certain skills–Chris Senn, Chad Bartie, John Rattray, and of course Rick McCrank seemed to have no problem adapting. They all found ways to utilize the entire course and keep their speed without pushing. My attention was also drawn to Ryan Sheckler, who seemed to have everything wired from his first drop-in. His seriously smooth style and the consistency of the tricks he landed was just mind-boggling. No one was surprised to see him ease his way in to the finals along with Rick McCrank.
The anticipation for the finals built up. Would hometown favorite Rick McCrank take it this year, or would someone else (Sheckler) step up and win the 15,000-dollar first-place prize? We would all have the answer to that question after Ryan finished his first run. It was flawless. It started with a huge kickflip frontside grab, then right into a perfect backside Smith across the rail. He frontside flipped over the hip, kept enough speed to Caballerial up the quarterpipe, and ended it with a proper frontside feeble grind. Everyone knew that was the run to beat.
At just a mere fourteen years of age, Ryan became the youngest professional ever to win a World Cup Skateboarding event, along with a sizable first-place check. Not bad at all for just turning pro. Congratulations, Ryan! Welcome to the world of paying taxes and saving receipts.–Ohio Dave