By: Nick Lipton – Dew Tour drenching tropical rains forced today's Skate Park prelim back three hours. But this is Orlando, home of family adventure and fun, and the crowds came back for the prelim in spite of the slight rescheduling. Under the lights and through some heavy humidity, the skaters sweated out the 2009 Dew Tour’s last prelim, with Greg Lutzka coming out on top.
The prelim was split into six grossly humid heats, and each skater drenched a shirt or two while putting their best down for the judges. The three to get things started were Kurtis Colamonico, who had a bruised heel, Christian Sereika, and the Gatorade Free Flow Tour winner Jack Olson. Little Jack is only 15, but skated like a grown man, flipping onto and out of rails. Kickflip frontboard, shuv boardslides, five-0 180 out–the little man from Minnesota put on a nice show. Christian had a move or two for the crowd as well, putting a whole lot of tweak into some lofty grabs over the hefty gap. Kurtis Colamonico, bruised heel and all, probably landed every blunt possibility there is during his time on course, but sadly none of these guys made the finals.
Heat Two had Milton Martinez and Jordan Hoffart, who both decided to let it all hang out and go for broke. That style worked, as both made the finals. Milton freaking destroyed the stair set, landing both a back 180 and kickflip down the stairs, before landing bolts on a video-game-like backside big spin. Milton also flipped into and out of some rails and ended on a huge kickflip over the gap and into the ramp usually reserved for take-offs. It was impressive. The buffest dude on tour, Jordan Hoffart, came out to skate as well. He flipped and slid everything, showed his leg strength with a frontside flip over the fire hydrant, and somehow landed a 50-50 ollie-out over the death gap. Fabrizio Santos was also in this round, and back 360'd up the death gap. Chad Bartie had a rad gap to backtail into a bank too.
The third heat had a great introduction: Lutzka and Danny Fuenzalida threw back to back bangers up the death gap and into the bank. Lutzka's trick was a huge front 360 and Danny's was a perfect back 180. Lutzka continued to put on a show with his classically cool style and neat little hat. Lutzka had the kickflip frontboards, the lofty gap tricks, and the best frontside flip of the day. Also in the third heat was Wagner Ramos–the guy cut his dreads off and picked up a mean back blunt. Danny Fuenzalida landed a big nollie flip down the set, and Dew Tour newcomer Jani Laitiala got really sweaty.
Poor Carlos De Andrade, he was unfortunately the man on the wrong side of the right line and won't be seeing the finals. Carlos did manage to 360 flip the hydrant and back 180 the stair set though. But there was plenty of good news from Heat Four too: Timmy Knuth, the Floridian local, and Chris Mendes both placed high enough to make the Finals. 18 year-old Timmy has been killing it this summer, and for the record, he has one of the best 360 flips in skateboarding. Timmy got his 5th place spot with kickflip this and that's into the handrail, and an honestly massive 360 flip up and over the death gap into the bank. Timmy was looking like a beast until he showed me that his fingers had pruned due to excessive sweating, after that he just looked gross.
I wonder if people scream and cheer for P-Rod everywhere he goes, or just at Dew Tour? Either way he won Heat Five and secured a spot in the Finals. Huge kickflips, scary switch skills, and an unmatched style got Paul his finals spot. He didn't seem pleased with his skating, but the switch backlip, switch feeble, switch kickflip, and 180 five-0 he put down made it hard to feel bad for him. Austen Seaholm also came out of the heat to place in the finals, and while I'd love to tell you what he did, it's kind of impossible, he's just too technical. At one point Austen shot over the death gap and salflip something'd, he did a backfoot kickflip at one point, spun some 270's out of the rails, fingerflip manualed the box after gapping onto it, and generally just destroyed stuff. Tyler Hendley and Tulio Oliveira also skated alongside Paul and Austen, and both had a good banger or two. Tyler had an amazing gap to 50-50 on something not built to be skated, and Tulio kickflipped into a bunch of grinds.
After a bunch of t-shirts were soaked through, and the crowd had begun to sweat from simply sitting outside in Orlando, Heat Six began. Rodolfo Ramos, Danilo Do Rosario, and Dave Bachinsky ended the night. Both Rodolfo and Danilo snagged spots in the Final, but Bachinsky missed out, which is too bad, because he is always a fun one to watch. Dave is a lip trick technician, he frontisde flip rock n' rolled the quarter and put a blunt frontside flip out down on a street barrier–not easy stuff. Also not doing easy stuff was Rodolfo, because the Brazilian hasn't learned the word mellow yet. Rodolfo skates fast, and is relentless about getting his tricks. The 180 nose slam on the handrail, fly out on the barrier, and huge hardflip were evidence of Rodolfo's intensity. Danilo Do Rosario, another Brazilian, finished in third, and made all the older Brazilians very proud. Danillo skated the best he has all summer: backtails, kickflip 50-50's, nollie tricks, and some mean stuff up the death gap and into the bank sealed his first trip to the Finals this year.
On Saturday, the top nine skaters will join Chris Cole, Chaz Ortiz, and Ryan Decenzo to battle it out for the Dew Tour Cup. A lot of people are thinking that Chris Cole has it in the bag, and I’m inclined to believe the hype, considering that when asked about Chris Cole P-Rod only responded with one word, "Champ."