Paul Zitzer Retrospective: And They’re Off…

As a little jammer did you ever try to win enough tickets at Chuck E. Cheese to get something awesome, like an am/fm clock radio, only to discover that you’d have to spend way more money playing the games than the item in question was actually worth? What you probably ended up with instead was something like a pencil eraser in the shape of a tiny troll. The only point here is that the rewards system at the Dew Tour is the polar opposite of what you experienced at old Chuck’s place. Here, if you chalk up more points than your comrade skaters over the course of the four events, you get a check for $75,000. That’s a lot of clock radios.

Ryan Decenzo, kickflip over table

So in Boston, stop one of 2010, the excitement came not just from seeing who did what and who ended up beating whom, but who qualified to come to the rest of the stops and who positioned themselves best to win some real loot in Vegas. What follows is, based on my very humble opinion, a breakdown of what is going to go down on the rest of the tour. But let me also state for the record that I could be wrong.

By far the biggest surprise was Bastien Salabanzi. And the surprise was not that he finished fourth, but that he was in the contest at all. The dude does a disappearing act and is gone for years and then out of the blue shows up in Boston? Crazy. Regardless, he really could win the whole shebang. He definitely has the tricks and there are very few people in the world as consistent. If it comes together for him at the rest of the stops like it did in the prelims and semis, then watch out.

Jereme Rogers, frontside noseblunt

The second biggest surprise would have to be the reemergence of Jereme Rogers. The nerve! He takes a year off and then right out of the box he’s back in the finals? It’s easy to forget that he won three stops in the past (although it was back in 2005 and 2006), and while it’s not guaranteed to happen again he’s not the type of person you can count out, no matter how much some people might want to. Some more likely candidates to finish big would be 12th place finisher Ryan Decenzo or even Dave Bachinsky, who despite failing to reach the finals in Boston will probably stage a comeback over the next three stops.

Danilo do Rosario, backside tailslide

It seems like Chaz Ortiz is already suffering from a bit of the old been-there-done-that syndrome where the judges are concerned. It’s not like he’s skating any worse than he did in 2008, which he won, but in Boston he didn’t seem to be skating better either. Of course he’s still one of the best in the world at putting a run together and flipping his board around like a freak of nature, but these judges can be some real sticklers about seeing new tricks.

Paul Rodriguez, feeble grind

P-Rod is a threat to win any contest, but for some reason he seems to be either battling for the win, or somewhere relatively far down in the pack. There’s not all that much in between for P-Rod. But previous Dew Cup winners have tended to do so with consistently high finishes. That being said, the points at the finals in Vegas this year are worth one and a half times the points at the other stops. So a win will get you 150 compared with just 100 elsewhere. So, a few strong showings and then a big finish might be all any of these guys need to get the job done, and who’s better than P-Rod at winning the really big ones?

Rodolfo Ramos, front crooked grind

Finally there’s Sheckler. While it’s true he came up a little short in Boston, (finishing second), the truth of the matter is that Lutzka skated PERFECTLY for the win. Lutzka himself said he was having one of those days where everything just seemed to work. But as skaters we already know that doesn’t happen every day. Lutzka is generally a little more on-again-off-again than Sheckler, so the way I see it, even after focusing his foot off last year and missing seven months of skate time, Sheckler is back in peak form and without question is the guy to beat this year, and should be able to pretty much cruise his way to another title. But like I said, I could be wrong.