By Nick Lipton – It's August in Portland, Oregon and that means sunny skies, skateboarding, and the Dew Tour's third stop, the Wendy's Invitational. Portland, home of the legendary Burnside skatepark, is only the second tour location for skateboarding this summer. Interestingly, injured superstar and winner of the Skate Open ISF Skateboarding World Championships Ryan Sheckler won't be competing, and his absence gives the competition a chance to make the leader board. Too bad for the competition that 15 year-old Chaz Ortiz, last year's Dew Cup winner, qualified first in today's prelims.
Seconds before the first of five skate park prelim heats began, a question boomed over the loud speakers, "How's our Portland fans out there? You all ready for some skateboarding?" The crowd response was an arena-filling roar as the first five skaters dropped into the park course.
The standout from heat one was Dave Bachinsky, although Tyler Hendley and his huge kick and 360 flips definitely stood out. Bachinsky came out on top by reaching deep into his creative pockets and using features in ways no one expected.
The following three heats chewed up and spit out 11 riders, but six made it through to the finals. Greg Lutzka and Rodolfo Ramos put on shows during the middle heats. Lutzka skated in his classically calm and smooth manor, setting down front 270's, a big backside bigspin, and a huge frontside flip off of a bank and onto a manual pad more than ten feet away. Ramos just seemed possessed, gapping to frontlip, backlip, and backside noseblunts before his competition had even warmed up.
The other four to move onto the finals from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th heats all rode solid, with combinations of slides and flips that put the bottom 14 out of commission.
The grand finale, heat five, was ridiculous. Fabrizio Santos sealed his place in the finals by riding well and staying on his feet, but his competition, Chaz Ortiz and Paul Rodriguez, stole the show. P-Rod skated like he always does, really well.
Nollie nosegrinds, perfect front blunts down the largest of handrails, and a switch backlip sealed Paul's second place finish. But even Paul couldn't steal Chaz Ortiz's thunder.
The 15 year-old brought an energy and skill that couldn't be touched. Chaz not only threw more tricks than anyone else, but he packed a trick selection that couldn't be repeated. Chaz landed a barrage of tricks including a 360-flip lipslide and a kickflip frontblunt, sealing the win for young Chaz Ortiz. Lutzka, among others, knew he deserved it: "The future. He makes it look too easy. He skated real well, so smooth, and was completely on point. He deserved the win."
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