An exciting weekend filled with competition, activations and fun.
Action sports in Southern California are a hot commodity these days. Everywhere you turn, high profile brands have headquarters along the Pacific Coast from Los Angeles to Orange County and San Diego. This past weekend, the Dew Tour returned to Long Beach for its annual summer skateboard contest.
With more than 32,000 fans in attendance, the free experience was open to the public and the crowds were treated to great weather and competition. Spanning three days, the best skateboarders from around the world participated in the Amateur and Pro Bowl Finals, highlighted by the Pro Street Finals.
Brazil’s Kelvin Hoefler impressed the judges the most, taking the illustrious Dew Tour title. Hoefler’s bag of tricks included a kickflip nose manual up the Euro gap, a Cab back tail to fakie and a kickflip frontside lipslide down the nine-stair rail, for a total overall score of 95.4.
“I can’t put it into words, I’m so happy to win today,” said Hoefler. “The setup at Dew Tour is different from any other contest. It’s challenging and fun to try to do your best in each section.”
Orange County pro Nyjah Huston also had a solid day, finishing in second place with a 93. Japan’s Yuto Horigame walked away with third place honors with a 91.4 scoring.
San Diego’s Cory Juneau dominated the bowl with his buttery smooth style with tricks including a frontside flip, frontside disaster and front 50/50 to fakie, scoring a 92 overall for the win.
“This has been such an amazing event and I’m so happy to win it,” said Juneau. “I’m so thankful to Dew Tour for putting this on. We were all having such a good time skating today and the bowl was so fast and fun.”
Going home in second place in the Pro Bowl Contest was Honolulu’s Heimana Reynolds with an 89. Reynolds came straight from placing second in the 2017 National Scholastic Surfing Association Championships to make the qualifiers at Dew Tour. Clay Kreiner of San Diego was stoked to place third, finishing with an 87.
On media day, I was given a tour of the site and able to interact with a handful of athletes and artists. The venue, located adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center, had art installations, vendors, a free skate area for youths, team activations and a concert stage which hosted hip-hop legend Cam’ron, along with producer Metro Boomin on Saturday night.
The highlight of course, was the four custom designed skate sections overlooking the ocean, including the tech, bowl, rails and gap portions.
My first stop was the Dew Experience where I met skateboard artists Andy Jenkins and Andy Mueller. Long time veterans of the action sports world, the guys have collaborated on projects with Girl and Chocolate skateboards and Lakai Footwear for the past 18 years.
When asked about skaters and basketball players crossing over styles and influences Mueller said, “It’s all mixed up right now, skaters are wearing everything and the basketball lifestyle plays a part in that.”
Jenkins speaking on the Green Label gallery explained how it all came about. “We each came up with about 20 different designs and randomly printed them on top of each other. They’re mashed up, we call it mono printing. They’re all one-of-a-kind, unique, one-off experiments. It’s cool to see people come up and try to digest what we’ve done.”
Next, we entered a massive dark room filled with mystery and was shown ‘The Art Of Doing.’ This is the world’s first art gallery powered by emotion. In collaboration with Mountain Dew and Lightwave, the exhibit showed the athletes physiological responses to the thrill of skateboarding, including heart rate, electrodermal activity (changes in the skin conductance), and motion. A custom-built skateboard wall in the background used facial reactions of guests to generate a piece of art based on these reactions.
Professional rider Sean Malto and Lightwave CEO Rana June were on hand to demonstrate the installation and give us the lowdown.
“Skateboarding is probably the only sport that is inexplicably linked to art and many skaters feel that they are artists,” said June. “We have six skaters participating every day and we aggregate their data from competition and practice. That’s what is powering the lighting of this structure,” June continued.
“That sounds way harder than actual skating,” Malto joked. “We wore these bands and it’s crazy how much data actually collects. I’ve been skating for 17 years now and I don’t think about my heart rate and to see it be painted now, it’s pretty interesting and cool,” Malto added.
Later I met up with Dew skaters Theotis Beasley and Curren Caples to talk about life of a professional skateboarder, the competition ahead, and the business of sports.
“Most contests don’t have this setup, it’s tight! It’s like a kids playground,” Beasley exclaimed.
Theotis was unable to compete over the weekend due to a nagging foot injury and revealed what happened.
“I’ve been wearing a 9 ½ (shoe size) for so many years and come to find out those slim shoes were so painful. I’m moving up to 10 now.”
Speaking of sneakers, Nike SB sponsors Beasley and I inquired about the possibility of him getting his own pro model.
“You know what, I spoke with one of the bosses and he said ‘If another basketball player gets one, then a skater will get one.’ They’re trying to keep it even,” according to Beasley. Currently he enjoys wearing the Vapor Max Bruin model regularly.
Caples has a more laid back approach and discussed his style for the weekend’s competition.
“You never know what to expect so it’s hard going to a park thinking about tricks. I’m going to stick to what I know and what I can land,” Caples explained.
“This contest is way different then other contests, there’s four sections instead of one course. That makes it more challenging, makes you think a little bit more. It’s cool and I enjoy it,” Caples concluded.
Southern California’s Alluminati Skateboards made custom decks for the winners, to pair along with official Dew Tour trophies.
The contests were streamed live on Dewtour.com throughout the weekend. If you missed any of the action, the 2017 Dew Tour will be broadcast nationally on NBC starting June 24 from 2:30–4 p.m. ET, June 25 from 3–4 p.m. ET and July 30 from 2–3 p.m. ET.
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