By Paul Zitzer
Heading into Vegas there really wasn't much question about who was going to win the 2010 Dew Cup in skateboard vert. After taking the top spot in Boston and then getting second in both Portland and SLC, all Pierre Luc Gagnon had to do to claim the Cup was finish in the top four, which he did, like taking candy from a baby. So congrats to PLG who, after winning it in '08 before losing it to Bucky last year, managed to snatch it back in 2010.
Vert podium (l-r) – Pierre Luc Gagnon, 2nd; Shaun White, 1st; Andy Macdonald, 3rd
Pierre, who was looking super polished throughout with tons of back-to-back tech wizardry, looked like he was going to take it home. But in the end the judges gave Shaun's massive air attack their gold stamp, leaving Pierre in second place behind Shaun for the third consecutive event.
“This is the perfect way to end the season, especially after winning X Games, Maloof and then Dew Cup. It was just a little bit frustrating to play it safe all day and not really go for the run I was trying off the bat. But I'm a little bit older, smarter and I thought the Cup was more important that just a single contest, so I played it safe.” -PLG
But that was just one story from the weekend. Other stories include the vert ramp being built over the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel, where buxom bikini-clad waitresses served cocktails to buxom bikini-clad patrons. This arrangement, while pleasant, was difficult on the judges, whose steely determination was the only thing keeping them focused on the action at hand. The vert action, that is.
Marcelo Bastos, kickflip lien
Sandro Dias was perhaps the only skater that didn't bring an extra setup (despite numerous warnings about the likelihood of boards flying into the drink). He suffered the consequences of his ill-fated decision when his board dove off the back of the ramp and went for a swim. Fifteen minutes later he nearly rode away from a waterlogged 900. He finished sixth.
Sandro Dias, alley oop kickflip indy
Shortly before the prelims on Saturday, Rob Lorifice over-rotated a 540 and landed square on the back of his head, causing his helmet to split almost in two. But instead of being over it, he came back with a vengeance and ripped his way into the finals, where he put together a whole smorgasbord of combos to finish eighth. Nicely done.
Rob Lorifice, stalefish
It was good to see Rune Glifberg back in the finals. After spending so much time terrorizing innocent concrete bowls, it seems he's found some new inspiration on the pipe as of late, and he delivered with the first kickflip backside lipslide we've seen since... well probably since the last time he was in the finals. Although his best skating happened in the prelims, if you're a fan you'll just be glad to know it happened.
Rune Glifberg, switch kickflip
In reality, Elliot Sloan is from New Jersey, but can you blame him for claiming New York City? Either way, he grew up skating the vert ramp at Chelsea Piers (R.I.P.). It was garbage BTW. Now, after relocating to San Diego and spending four long years on the Dew Tour, Elliot made it to his first final, where he proceeded to kill it. He's always had the style, height, and tricks, just not the consistency. In Vegas he stayed on and gave us a preview of things to come. Hopefully.
Now on to the final round, or super final, or whatever you want to call it, where the top five guys from the first round of the finals go to decide a winner. Nine times out of 10, Bucky Lasek, Andy Macdonald and PLG all make it in, and if Shaun White shows up, you can be sure to find him in there as well. Vegas was no exception, with all four advancing, plus everyone's favorite bowl-shredding-mega-ramping-vert-ripping-Brazilian-that-isn't-Bob, Pedro Barros, whose (accidentally) no-footed 720 in the eight-foot range says everything you need to know about his skating. Unfortunately he had too many bails to threaten the podium dwellers, but the next time he stays on, watch out! Fifth place.
Pedro Barros, kickflip indy Elliot Sloan, lien method
Every skater in the super final did 720s, except Bucky Lasek. Some people are born to spin from fakie, others are born to race cars, look sharp, and do nollie flip tail slides. Bucky falls into the latter group. In Vegas, his weapon of choice to counter all of the dizziness was the seldom seen frontside bluntslide. Unfortunately this trick ended up taking him out, numerous times, and more or less ruined his shot at another Dew Cup. It was still rad to see him make even one though. Fourth place.
Bucky Lasek, kickflip fakie
Andy Mac unveiled a new trick, the Candy Flip, which to put in layman's terms is like, really hard. You know how you see most new moves unveiled at a best trick contest, and then years later they work their way into the person's runs? Not so with Andy. If he can do it once, he can wire it and sandwich it between two other ridiculously hard tricks. Third place.
“That's a new one for skateboarding. It's never been done before. I learned it at Woodward this summer into the foam pit and I probably made it like four times in just practice. And I came to this event and said if I get a solid run, I want to do that in my run. It took a couple tries, but I pulled it off.” – Andy Mac
For the third time in as many contests, it all came down to Canada vs. the U.S., skate vs. snow, hip-hop vs. rock and roll, or PLG vs. Shaun White. And both came through with the goods. Although Shaun seemed to be struggling in Vegas more than he did at the two previous stops, he still managed to put together some of his best combos. It should be noted however that in the finals the armadillo stayed in its shell.
“I didn't make the first stop, but that's just the thing. I probably wouldn't have made any stops if I tried to skate that stop from being injured. And you know, what a comeback. So I'm happy.” -Shaun White
When the computer finished its year-end calculations, the print out had Shaun third in points in the race for the Cup, only 57 points behind PLG. What this means is that if Shaun would have taped his ankle and skated in Boston, all he would have needed was an eighth-place finish or higher there and he would be your 2010 Dew Cup champ. But, taking a step back, my guess is that a guy with two gold medals and a Lamborghini will somehow survive the heartbreak.
Watch highlights from the finals below