By Paul Zitzer – Wow. I think it's safe to say that the SLC skate park finals did not go as many people expected. With Sheckler watching on crutches as Chaz Ortiz and Paul Rodriguez failed to make it into the final six-man jam sandwich, that left Lutzka as the only skater with a Dew win in his past (he actually has three of them) advancing into the super final dealio. Adding to the shake up, three skaters that did advance were everyone's favorite Dew rookies Nick Dompierre, Chris Cole, and Ryan Decenzo. Great to have you on board fellas, no pun intended "har har har."
Of course the biggest news of the night was Rodolfo 'Gugu’ Ramos, who finally got a win on his 17th trip to the Dew finals. Congrats are in order for the DoubleG, and his coach Wagner. I'm kidding about the coach part, but Wagner really was telling him what tricks to do after each try...I mean after each make. And while it might have helped a little bit, it was still Gugu himself that had to put in the work. He pretty much pushed the old hard flip and 180 switch crooks to their breaking points on all of the highest/longest gaps/rails/whatnots. Great stuff.
But now it's time to start thinking about the big picture, and the final stop of the '09 Tour next month in Orlando. Two days ago I thought Young Chazzy would be sewing up the race for the Cup in Orlando for sure, followed by either Chris Cole or Ryan Decenzo, with maybe an outside chance that P-Rod would be able to slip in there somewhere. But after the outcome in SLC, with Chaz finishing way down in 10th place, the tour is looking like a whole new ball of curb wax. Now all of a sudden Cole is 1st in the rankings with a 24 point lead over 2nd place Decenzo, and a 34 point lead over 3rd place Ortiz. And he's officially the only person who has complete control over his own destiny heading into next month's finals. Even if second-ranked Decenzo wins in Orlando, Cole only needs to get top three to hang on to the Dew Cup, plain and simple. And if Decenzo doesn't win? The lower he places the less Cole needs to do to stay on top. If on the other hand, Chaz makes a comeback and wins Orlando, Cole only has to make top six to hang on to a two-point lead and $75,000 for his troubles. Not too shabby. Lastly, there's a slim chance (and by slim I mean like Jack Skellington slim) that Rodolfo Ramos could still win the whole deal too. Here's how: First he'd have to win Orlando. Second, Chris Cole would have to get 11th or lower. Third, Ryan D would have to place 5th or lower. And Finally, Chaz would have to place 3rd or lower. Could all of this happen? Unlikely, but after SLC you gotta figure that anything's possible.
I don't get paid to make predictions...at least I don't think I do...but then I can't remember ever reading my contract...but I'm going to make one anyway. I predict that Chris Cole is going to win the Dew Cup for the following reasons.
One: He's already in the lead.
Two: He's awesome. Here's an example of just how awesome. Nick Lipton told me he was standing next to Timmy Knuth on the top of one of the banks when Chris came up and tried some flared out fandango flip type of thing. Nick said something like "What the heck was that?" To which Timmy responded: "It's whatever he wants it to be!" Well put Timmy. So yeah, Chris Cole is awesome.
Three: Chris Cole is actually so awesome that he's finished on the podium three out of three times without really doing all of his hardest stuff. Let me clarify that by saying his not-hardest stuff is ridiculously hard, and what's even radder is that he's mixing up his runs/lines/tricks/etc. in every jam, with wallies/crails/sal flips/etc. to grind/lipslide/etc. on the sides of ramps/barriers/etc. Sorry about all the ///'s and etc's.
Oh, and there's one last thing: like I already mentioned, Chris could easily take home the Cup in O-Town without even winning the event, and if that happens he'll become the first person in Dew history to win the Dew Cup without winning an individual stop. You, um, have a problem with that?
I didn't think so.