By Matt Coplon – After getting inundated with a typical Florida thunderstorm, dirt dried up enough for qualifiers to begin at 8:45pm under the assistance of some giant floodlights. Humidity was thick, but that didn't stop a large crowd from attending the festivities. Things got going quick, even quicker for a select few.
Coming out at the top of the prelim field were Anthony Napolitan in first, Colton Satterfield in second, and TJ Ellis in third. This had to be a hard decision to be thrown on the judges as each rider pulled two smooth, flawless runs at height.
And height is one thing TJ Ellis has in the bag. Taking third, TJ combined a no-handed flip, front flip, no-handed 360, and 3-whip to end his first run. To top things off, his second run combined a no-handed 360 straight into an opposite no-handed 360. The later variation was literally inches from not being pulled. But this is what makes TJ phenomenal--his precision is never in the hands of lady luck. He's dialed, plain and simple.
TJ Ellis Oppostie 360 no hander
Colton Satterfield, hailing from Salt Lake City, seems to have dirt skills passed down through his blood via Mike Aitken. 1st run was a perfect combination beginning with a double whip over the hip, followed by a tuck no-hander, 360 tuck no-hander, and ending with a 360 double whip–pulled around so fast that it resembled an airplane prop in motion. Colton's second run was a variation of his first, but pulled even smoother-if that’s even possible.
Colton Satterfield 360 no hander
As mentioned, Anthony Napolitan took a well-deserved first. Anthony has an amazing pump resulting in some serious blasting off the lips. Could it be from his early years of riding Section 8 skatepark in his hometown, which is big, technical, and scary? First run combined a double whip, front flip, 360 x-up to turndown, and ended with a 360 double whip. His first run was definitely the stronger of the two– his second run was a variation of the first with slightly less punch.
Anthony Napolitan 360 double whip
Honorable mentions were Zack Early boosting to the moon, Rob Darden with back to back 720's in a single run, and Josh Stead going both ways, one as smooth as the other. And not be forgotten is Chris Doyle, who came in fifth by simply doing what he does: riding smooth as glass, and always throwing in the best invert 360's that no one seems to touch.
The top nine from tonight will meet Ryan Nyquist, Brandon Dosch, and Dennis Enarson in Saturday’s Finals at 7:30 pm , where the winner of the 2009 Dew Cup will be crowned. It can only get crazier from here...stay tuned.