Paul Zitzer–skater, on-air announcer extraordinaire–will be reporting from the Skate Open, ISF Skateboarding World Championships in Boston all weekend.

Well kids, it's been nine long months since the 2008 Dew Tour wrapped in Orlando, and we're mere days away from kicking back into gear in Boston for the Skate Open—finally! This year, there are a few Tour changes you need to be aware of that could affect how things end up in Bean Town and beyond. First, there are four stops with skateboarding instead of five, so each one is more crucial as far as racking up points goes. Second, the points system itself has been modified. I'm not going to bore you with the algorithms used to dial it in, just know that it's a tighter scale so it's easier for non-winners, (dare I say losers?) to stay in the race. The last major change from years past is that the Skate Open is also doubling as the International Skateboarding Federation Skateboarding World Championships, which in layman's terms means that boatloads of guys, (and gals!) are going to be sailing from far flung lands into Boston Harbor to try to skate their way into the big time. Think the Battle of Bunker Hill on wheels…hopefully without all the bloodshed. We already know what the Brazilians bring to the table, now brace yourselves for the Chinese, Belarussians, and whatever it is you call someone from Dubai.

But for now, it's safe to say that the dudes to beat in '09 are the same dudes that were the dudes to beat in '08. In park that's Chaz Ortiz, P-Rod, Sheckler, and Lutzka. They're consistently on the podium kissing their medals and hugging each other for a reason, namely their ability to rip AND avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded contest run (read, falling). But word on the street, or park course I guess I should say, is that Maloof winner Chris Cole will be in Boston with his bag of tricks–which someone should warn him will have to be checked because it's way too big for a carry on. So too will Tommy Guns, Busenitz, Trepasso, Koston (!), Stanton, Ramondetta and a whole slew of new-to-the-Dew (or at least not-old-news-at-the-Dew) rippers. I heard Ivan Drago might even be coming. The New Kids on the Course will have their work cut out for them trying to get past the business of the timed runs. But for those who manage a spot in the final six-man jamboree, I wouldn't bet against any one of them in their ability to win the contest and wear the yellow jersey until Portland. My only real prediction is that the jams this year will be better than anything we've seen the last four years…unfortunately that won't make them any easier to film for live television.

Now, please direct your attention over to the vert ramp where I think we can all agree on one thing: the old guard (PLG, Bucky, Bob, Andymac) might have to stick to no-grabs because they're going to have their hands full trying to hold down the boy wonder we're used to calling Alex Perelson. His skating at Maloof was something like a one-man riot, but besides the four horsemen of the vert ramp, maybe the biggest obstacle between Alex and the podium at the Dew Tour will be the timed run format. Maloof was a free for all jam off, while Boston will have the more conventional three 45 second runs in the finals. And when you've got guys like PL and Andy who are very likely to stay on for two or even three of them, Alex might need to break that 9 back out. Can't wait to see if he does. In case you're wondering why I'm not backing Shaun White, I totally am, but it's snowing somewhere in the world and with the winter Olympics on the horizon the Tomato is passing on the pipe, at least the wooden one. At this point I'm pretty much claiming Pierre is going to win more than one stop this year, maybe all of them, and for the second year will take home the Cup 'o Dew and the mountain of cash that comes with it. But for an out, part of me is claiming someone else will.

That's all I've got for now, stay tuned for updates live from Boston, and remember, if you're going to be doing anything at all this weekend, make sure you're in front of a TV at 4 pm EST on Saturday and Sunday to watch this all go down.