Following an intense semi-final from the day before, the Skate Vert Final proved to be a crowd favorite as the bleachers packed in and the beach filled with crazed fans of skate.
After two stacked five-man heats it all came down to the third and final heat where the top five skaters dropped their previous scores to start again from scratch. Last year's defending Dew champion, French Canadian Pierre-Luc Gagnon came out on top again with his best score, 88.50, coming in from his second run. The run was a techincal line starting off with a kickflip to fakie leading to a switch heelflip frontside 360 right into a 540 then capping his run off with a hurricane. "I was just out there having fun. I had a super solid second run, and that is what I was looking for, so when I came into my last drop I just wanted to try and go bigger and some stuff that I hadn't tried all weekend," said PLG still out of breath after running back to the top of the deck. Speaking volumes of his competitors, PLG acknowledged his competition, "They are all super strong and there is a lot of young talent coming up, so I just have to stay on my toes!"
Bucky Lasek qualified first yesterday and came into today with confidence, strength and a variety of tricks unlike his competition. Scoring an 85.75 from a packed run including a fakie to fakie 540, front feeble over the roll-in door, Bucky capped his run with a boneless to invert, the trick he just invented last week and fell on a boneless 540 attempt. "I never got around to doing the run I wanted to do because I kept falling toward the end of my run," said Bucky with regard to his final run. Speaking to his newly created trick, Bucky went on to say, "Coming from the era of skating I am from, inverts are kind of in my heritage and I always like to bring something new to the competion. Maybe I'll call it a bone-vert."
Rounding off the podium was none other than the Brazillian powerhouse Sandro Dias. With tricks like the 540 gnar jar, gigantic kickflip indys and the highest airs off every wall, there was no doubt that Dias would rank high at the day's end - especially considering he finished in second in vert semi-finals.
Taking a respectable fourth was Andy Macdonald, with consistent first and second runs but ended up coming short in his final two runs. "I was rolling the dice on that kickflip 540 in the second two runs, had I made those runs as my last two rather than my first two I may have ended up in a different place. Unfortunately the scores tend to go up as the heat does, so you try to make those last runs bigger, stronger and overall more powerful," said MacDonald. With respect to the venue on the beach, MacDonald mentions the beauty of the surroundings as well as the challenges of being outsdoors but overall enjoys everything the unique Ocean City scenary has to offer. "Yesterday I was floating on my back in th Atlantic Ocean watching [BMX] finals," mentioned MacDonald.
Check out some video highlights of the ariel action online HERE, and check out the photo gallery posted at the top.
1st Place - Pierre-Luc Gagnon
2nd Place - Bucky Lasek
3rd Place - Sandro Dias
4th Place - Andy MacDonald
5th Place - Bob Burnquist
6th Place - Mitchie Brusco
7th Place - Tom Schaar
8th Place - Ronaldo Gomes
9th Place - Josh Stafford
10th Place - Alex Perelson