Up in the Air

By Paul Zitzer

Marcelo Bastos, 540 

Coming into season six of the Dew Tour, the air over the vert ramp in the Boston Garden was all abuzz with questions about how stop one might play out. Would three-time Dew Cup winner Bucky Lasek bring the same magic that we saw at the finals last year in Orlando? Or would his recent neglect of the vert ramp in lieu of a more bowl-centric lifestyle finally catch up with him? And what of 2007 Dew Cup champ Shaun White? Could he possibly dust off his old line in time to bring home a victory in Beantown? Or could Alex Perelson come into his own this year and make everyone else irrelevant? And finally, when in the world might any of these other young up-and-comers (all of whom seem to be from Brazil and the UK for some reason) ever actually come up?

The answer to the Shaun White question was put on hold due to his pulling out of the comp with an ankle injury. But what we learned instead during his hosting stint for the televised broadcast of the finals is that, to borrow a phrase from the locals, he’s wicked good on the mic and can talk the vert game almost as well as he skates it.

Shaun fanfare in full effect

When the scores came in for the semifinal round on Saturday morning, Bob Burnquist’s finish was by far the most surprising. After making every single one of the Dew Tour’s 24 previous finals, Bob’s hope of extending that streak to 25 came to a screeching (albeit switch) halt as he knee slid out of all three runs. In his defense however, after opening his shin up at the Birdman Compound only days earlier, he was forced to skate on a leg held together by a set of stitches reminiscent of a railroad track.

But in the case of Mr. Perelson, what can be said about the rare breed of skater that could win, commandingly, but instead of looking focused and/or pumped appeared as if he might fall asleep on the way down the roll in. In the end his runs appeared to be a thinly veiled charade aimed at purposely removing himself from the hoopla. “I didn’t feel like skating,” he said afterward with a shrug. But really, aren’t kids like Alex why skateboarding still totally rules? Regardless, it would have been nice to see him go for it just to witness the sheer rippingness of his ripping.

Pedro Barros, kickflip indy

Moving on to those that actually made the finals, there were some surprises among them as well. It could be argued that Bucky’s round wall exploits did indeed come home to roost in Boston. After jumping ship on wall one of run one he never seemed to fully recover. While it’s true he was trying a five-foot-high switch backside nosegrab three, it’s also true that we’ve seen him do that trick a million times in the past. Regardless, his seventh-place finish might be just the kick he needs to help refocus on performing hard tricks in a back-to-back fashion on notably flat walls for the rest of the Tour, and there’s little doubt he’ll do just that.

The UK’s Sam Beckett, backside lipslide 

And then there were the three Brazilian youngsters in the finals: Ronaldo Gomes, Marcelo Bastos and Pedro Barros. Each killed it, especially everyone’s new favorite 15-year-old Mr. Barros, who came in fourth. He’s already shown the world he can beat anyone and everyone on cement, and in Boston he proved he could beat most of them on Skatelite as well. With huge 540s of every variety and two different 700s, smart money says he’ll eventually make it onto the Dew podium, and there’s a good chance it’ll be this year.

Ronaldo Gomes, 540

But one thing is crystal clear after reviewing the top three spots, the kids are getting good but the veterans are still better. With the technocrat Andymac in third, the Megablaster Sandro Dias in second, and the Master of the Vert Universe PLG in the winner’s circle, there really was no contest. The bottom line is that if these guys keep doing what they managed to do Saturday in the Garden, the up and comers have a lot more up and coming to do before they’ll have a fighting chance against vert’s heaviest heavyweights.

The End…for now.

Andy Mac, frontside air