Uncharacteristic Portland weather nearing the triple digits left Saturday's outdoor skate park course baking in the afternoon sun. But it didn't affect Paul Rodriguez's switch wizardry, and his skills were just what was needed to take the Wendy's Invitational win.
P-Rod landed a switch tre flip down the stairs and a switch kickflip frontside boardslide. After finishing seventh and missing out on the podium at the season-opener in Boston, he's back in Dew Cup contention following this event.
"Switch gives you extra points because anyone that skates understands that switch feels completely backwards," Rodriguez said. "It feels so weird. So when someone does a trick switch, it tends to have a little bit more respect, I guess. I have a knack for it, and I just want to use it to my advantage."
Another sick trick that brought him the win was his nollie front foot flip over the hip. A lot of skaters were attempting big tricks on the rails, but fell on the flat. Ryan Sheckler kept trying a backside 360 kickflip over the bike rack, but wasn’t able to land it even after he kept trying once the time ran out. He finished in fourth, and while watching the awards ceremony from the sidelines, he shook it off.
"It's a hard trick, I don't know, I'm not tripping," Sheckler said. "I was having fun. I was skating my own contest, having fun."
He did land a backside 360 over the bike rack, a backside smith grind up the rainbow rail, a frontside bluntslide and a kickflip backside lipslide.
“I feel like he was trying really hard tricks,” Chaz Ortiz said about Sheckler. “I don't know why, but he usually pulls them off really easily, but he just wasn't riding away. He'll come back strong. He's Sheckler and he has so much motivation and determination, he'll get them.”
In the end, it was the guys that consistently stuck their landings and threw down the difficult tricks who topped the podium.
Lutzka was killing it with a big spin 270 to switch frontside boardslide on the rail, and even broke his board right before advancing to the Superfinals. Only the top six advance and the Superfinal counts for 50 percent of the riders score.
Greg Lutzka about to set up a new board
Lutzka had a solid showing in the first half and was third, but he bumped it up to a second-place finish in the end. He even threw in a new trick during finals with his frontside bigspin noseslide on the rail.
Ortiz finished third after solid rail tricks, including his nollie bigspin on the rainbow rail.
“I really got to work on that switch stuff though,” Chaz said. “Paul's amazing.”
"Chaz killed it, Paul killed it," Lutzka said. "I would hate to be a judge, man. Everyone skated so good. It was really a breaker between all three of us, I think, at the end."
Fabrizio Santos Tyler Hendley
Lutzka is now leading the overall standings after a win at the season-opener in Boston and a second-place in Portland, but P Rod hasn’t given up either.
“I definitely redeemed myself,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously I wasn't happy with my performance in Boston, but my mindset was never, 'Oh well, I'm not going to try and go for the Cup.' That was only the first event, and I know I have a lot of work cut out for myself if I want to get a Dew Cup, but I'm still determined to try my best.”
Check out the Alli photo gallery of the event here.
Click the video below for highlights of the Park Finals