By Paul Zitzer – Okay, I'm fired. I just missed the Skate Park Semi Finals. But in my defense, back in 1974 Rolling Stone Magazine sent Dr. Hunter Thompson to all the way to Kinshasa, Zaire to cover the Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and then Heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman (who incidentally later went on to make more millions with a machine that heats up sandwiches). On the day of the match Thompson decided to go swimming in the hotel pool instead of heading over to the ring for what he thought would be a lousy fight that would inevitably end in defeat for Ali. In reality the match was one of the best of all time. Ali won and was re-crowned the Heavyweight champ. Thompson was pretty devastated coming home without the story. I feel his pain. Unfortunately my hotel doesn't have a pool, so what's my excuse?

But I will still try to put the semi final results into some perspective. Here goes: the Semis consisted of the top 15 skaters from yesterdays qualifying round, and 12 guys that were pre-qualified based on last years Dew Tour rankings. (At this point, the only people who have yet to participate in any form of judged skateboarding this weekend are the top three finishers on last year’s tour, Ortiz, P-Rod, and Sheckler who were awarded passes straight to the finals). Today's Semis took the same form as yesterday's festivities, meaning each heat got two jams: one jam on one side of the course, followed by another jam on the other side of the course. Ohhhh of course.

The goal of today's semis was to whittle the 27 down to 9, who would meet up with the aforementioned Three Amigos for a 12-man final battle royal. When the dust settled (there's actually a pretty high tech filtration system in the Garden which sucks the dust out of the air long before it has a chance to settle, but you know what I mean). The semi final's survivors that we'll be seeing on television skating in the final round is a healthy mix of raw street skaters (Busenitz, Decenzo, Cole, Bachinsky, Ramondetta) and Dew Tour course veterans (De Andrade, Ramos, Lutzka, Mendes). So, all I can say from here is, hang on to your sofas kids. And tune in today at 4 pm EST for what's shaping up to be one of the best Dew finals yet, and the subsequent crowning of the 2009 ISF Skateboard World Champ. Ali Bumaye! Ali Bumaye!

The full 12 are:
Chaz Ortiz
Ryan Sheckler
Dennis Busenitz
Ryan Decenzo
Chris Cole
Dave Bachinsky
Carlos De Andrade
Peter Ramondetta
Rodolfo Ramos
Greg Lutzka
Chris Mendes