Weather Wrecks Havoc at Jersey Triple Crown

The 2nd round was set to go off in the usual fine Vans Triple Crown fashion. Everyone was looking forward to the unique location just across the Hudson River from New York City. I do not think there has ever been a major skate contest with the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline as a backdrop. For non-contest activities there was street skating spots, museums, the Owls Head skate park in Brooklyn and, of course, the famous Manhattan nightlife (what most people did). The stage was set for a contest of epic proportions. When I found out that it was being held outdoors, I thought to myself “Hmm, the weather can suck that time of year. I hope this works out.

I heard that Newark was a tough town, so I was nervous about taking public transportation from the airport to the venue. After a sleepless, all-night flight from LAX, my thoughts were not clear and I wanted to save the $35 cab fare, so I took the city bus. My two suitcases with United Airlines nametags pegged me for tourist as I got on the city bus. Luckily I guessed correctly where to get off the bust to transfer to a train. Three dollars and 1.5 hours later, my camera equipment and I arrived safely in Jersey City, although it will likely never be known what sticky material ended up on my hands while riding the New Jersey public transportation. Man, the contest setting was insane. Most of Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty were all visible nearby. The vert ramp was standard fare, big and fast, the riders seemed to like it. The street course looked like a gladiator ring to me. This one had all the necessary obstacles. Rails, hips, gaps, banks.

The street skating semi-final qualifications went down on Friday under fair weather. There are so many up and coming street skaters you never know who can win. Ryan Sheckler is only thirteen but fresh from a victory at Slam City. He looked very strong and consistent today. Ryan flipped, transferred and ground his way through the course, a f-side feeble on the flat bat is one of the many things that stood out in his run. Nilton Neves was little more tech than Ryan but did not have the speed. Nilton did a sick kickflip to manual on the big pad. They actually tied but a higher 2nd score put Ryan in 1st. Wolnei was going big and fast, and was pulling stuff like an Ollie over the London Gap to frontside 180 Ollie over the ledge to flat. Bartie and TNT rounded out the top 5. As it turns out, this was the last time we saw the street skaters. Rain prevented Best Trick, Street Finals and the girl’s comp. Bummer.

With the contest on hold, I head to “The City to check out Ground Zero. Twenty acres of mass destruction is an eerie and powerful site. The area still smelled like burnt popcorn. While walking around checking the amazing sights of NYC I step in a brown, smelly trash-filled puddle. Cursing and wet, I head back.

Many participants took advantage of the chance to check out the fine bars and restaurants of Manhattan. Most participants stayed out till 3 or 4am every night. On Friday night, Jake Brown and the Aussies managed an all-nighter. They rolled in at 9a.m. Saturday morning just in time to greet the other vert skaters as they left to practice, nice. TNT got a little mob-style roughing up one night after getting rowdy. Word is that Mr. Trujillo was throwing barstools and beer bottles around. Someone pushed Tony down, and he got some nasty cuts on his face. Personally I wish more people threw barstools and bottles around.

Lots of famous people live in NYC. Vans Public Relations guy, Chris Overholser, scored the celebrity-citing award. Chris and some friends were drinking at the Soho Grand when they came across a Sopranos party, yeah the HBO Sopranos. Much of the cast was there since it was the bachelor party for Uncle Junior. At 72, it was his 5th (real) marriage, and the bride is pretty young. All men should be so lucky, oh relax, jjust kidding. I would not want a young bride when I get older. James Gandalfeni is reported to be huge man, which cannot hurt when holding out for multi-million dollar HBO contract. By the way, if you go out in NYC, take a nap first, because things do not get rocking until after midnight and go ’til 4am.

Steady rain came down Saturday and Sunday. After some controversy it was decided to delay vert until Monday. The vert guys had been in town for five days and most of them were happy to skate Monday instead of going home empty handed. Andy Mac flew the red eye Sunday night, got in Monday, and took 2nd place money back to San Diego the same day. Andy always has the bar raised; it is interesting to see who can beat him and how they do it. Well, Bucky beat Andy, and that’s cool. Bucky always seems to either win or go down in flames, no half ass shit for this Baltimore native. PLG took third, not that it matters, but he is one of the few guys not around 30 years old. Vert is a crowd favorite; unfortunately, there was no crowd since it was Monday.

Everyone cruised home very tired. Hats off to the crew and participants who took the rain in stride. Even with the weather issues, everyone had fun. If you get a chance, check out the finals in Vans Triple Crown finals Oceanside, a very cool event, and even better, it’s free.

1. Ryan Sheckler $14,000

2. Nilton Neves $7,000

3. Wolnei dos Santos $4,000

4. Chad Bartie $2,250

5. Tony Trujillo $1,500

6. Austen Seaholm $1200

7. Chris Kendall $900

8. Carlos de Andrade $700

9. Rodolfo Ramos $600

10. Daniel Vieira $500

11. Pat Channita $250

12. Chris Haslam $250

13. Omar Hassan $250

14. Kyle Berard $250

15. Chad Fernandez $250

16. Jeff Williams $250

17. Josh Evin $250

18. Dayne Brummet $250

19. Fabrizio Santos $250

20. Juergen Horrwath $250

Vert Results

1. Bucky Lasek $12,000

2. Andy Macdonald $6,000

3. Pierre-Luc Gagnon $3,500

4. Danny Mayer $2,000

5. Chris Gentry $1,500

6. Sandro Dias $1,200

7. Anthony Furlong $900

8. Buster Halterman $700

9. Paul Zitzer $600

10. Jake Brown $500

11. Renton Millar $450

12. Juergen Horrwarth $450

13. Omar Hassan $450

14. Mike Frazier $450