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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vans Amateur Combi Classic 2013 highlights and results: Cory Juneau and Tristan Rennie both #1

Vans Amateur Combi Classic 2013 results: Cory Juneau and Tristan Rennie #1 in their respective division
Vans Amateur Combi Classic 2013 Video Recap
Tristan Rennie just won a ticket to the next Generations at Florianopolis, Brazil
By looking at the 2013 edition of the Annual Vans Amateur Combi Pool Party held at the Vans Skate Park in Orange, California, I could see the winners of the previous years and how the unbridled talents went on with their (pro) skate life. Austin Poynter, the winner in 2011 and 2012 who was here today to watch the contest, has now videos all over You Tube and ads in Transworld. Alex Sorgente the winner of the 2012 is now touring with World Cup Skateboarding and competing against the best of the best in Brazil, Australia and everywhere on the planet where there’s a good bowl. And I was thinking, out of this anthill of groms, champs are being made, future stars are being made, the future of bowl skateboarding is being made and those kids are writing some of the best chapters of its history.

An anthill, it was... There were kids everywhere. Kids on the bleachers, kids eating Mr Van Doren’s hotdogs, kids taking pictures, kids on boards, kids on the pool… Kids, kids, kids!!! From the moment it started until the very last run of Tristan Rennie, it seemed to me that I saw thousands of kids. Some known, others unknown. Some small and frêle, others tall and strong. And all were enlightened by this desire to show their best lines and tricks to the world.

I have been realizing for some time now at how trends and external influences have shaped skateboarding in the past and will continue to do so in the future. If you look at the distribution of ages among bowl riders, you’ll see a shrinking population of skaters well above their 40 and a growing population of kids under 18. And in between, nothing. The in-between are those who were skating when “vert was dead”. It is the population of those who took the streets on fire because no bowls, no parks, no trannies were available and the wooden ramps were seen as a horrible thing of the past. Everything changed at the turn of the century, when municipalities started noticing kids fleeing from regular American sports and flocking into soccer and skateboarding. And the landscape changed. Skateparks were being built and kids left the streets to boast a grind or two in the newly built artificial pools. With the time, the grind or two changed to powerful lines and style and yielded to what we are seeing today.

Toby Gummeson #2 over 15
These are the premises: the younger you go, the bolder they come. I’m not saying that the under 14 are better than the over 15 (although, yes, that’s what I’m saying…), but when I watched those tiny groms of just 8 or 9 years of age floating massive airs, complex tricks and 360, 540, 720 rotations in the square pool -and landing them, huh?- I was just wondering:
1) Huh? How they did it? (really) and,
2) If the sky is not the limit anymore, then, what’s the limit?

Vans Am Combi Pool Classic. A day of massive and complex air tricks well above the concrete coping.
OK, this might be one of the explanation: the younger you are, the lighter you are, so jumping high above the coping might be easier when you are under 10… Add to that ,that those kids are more flexible than the teens and you understand why they might have an edge here…

During the Combi Contest, the parade of jaw dropping lines and tricks was non-stop and overwhelming. Imagine having a 7 hour You-Tube play list of the most energetic bowl riders ever and playing it non-stop.

Vans Am Combi Pool Classic
That’s what it was, but even better than the morbid skate porn you see on your bleak screen. It was live, it smelled old pads and sweat and tears and that particular odor of the truck grinding the concrete, a smell that shrouded me with a whoosh when the trail of wind would hit me after the passage of the skaters. A smell that can only appeal to pool riders…

The third edition of the Ams Vans Combi classic was very international, with Vi Kakinho coming all the way from Brazil (Florianopolis) for the event and

Cory Juneau: perfect on my books... 
Keegan Palmer making the long flight over from Australia (G’Day Keegan). Unfortunately, none of them made the finals. Vi was on fire but maybe the jet lag had a toll on him while Keegan finished 11th by landing various McTwist while boasting speedy lines.

In the 14 and under, in the absence of Hawaiian native Heimana Reynolds, it was a very big surprise seeing that both Asher Bradshaw and Evan Doherty did not make the finals. On the other hand, is it fair to let 9 year old babies compete against 14 year old teens in the same category and act like nothing is wrong? Just asking… But with the flooding of contestants under 10, maybe a new category should be added for next year. I’m sure the WCS will create a
Tristan Rennie Vans Am Pool Combi Classic
Tristan Rennie
new category soon…

Like I said, I was struck by how different the level was compared to last year. For example, CJ Collins killed the Combi this year. He went to Brazil a couple of months ago to the Posada contest and that might have been an awesome experience for him. Meanwhile, he landed big ollies, stalefish to fakie on the finger hip, Lien 360′s, Ollie North over the hip, and 360 ollies with a style, tricks, and lines all his own. He finished 6th. It was Kiko Francisco’s day in the Combi. He was at ease, flying all over and wisely using rails (I think he was the only one) to do huge rock slides in the round pool. Rails are coming back from the past, and not only under the boards of OG’s. Every time I’m going to a skatepark, I see more kids using them… Kiko Francisco was using every inch of the dam place, from the square pool to the rounded pool and finished 5th.

Someone like Morgan Wolf came to own the bowl. So much that he may have overdone it with too much self-confidence and finished only 4th. But when you watch Morgan skate, you see that the power and the potential he has will rank him among the best skaters of his next age group next year. Toby Gummeson really was on a mission with gay twist over the hip, 540 to kickflip indy combos, big Judo’s off the finger into the round, long full speed blunt slides, and huge airs. He finally made high in the podium with a close 2nd place.

Vans Amateur Combi Pool Classic 2013 
And finally, there was Cory Juneau.

Cory competed both in the under 14 and over 15 division. He is one of the kings of the massive airs I told you before. Cory was absolutely amazing last year, when only he and Austin Poynter could fly at unimaginable heights. This year, he served as a role model for the younger generation and even though his amazing airs are as powerful as ever, he is not anymore the only one, the kids, they are coming… On the other hand, Cory Juneau definitively added power and structure to his skating and was the big winner of the event.

In the over 15, the mood was different: no more massive airs but more style and lines. Special kudos to Aidan Dansey whom I have been closely following for the past 18 months or so. Aidan was very good last year and was among the best of his age group. But this year, he just blew my mind with impressively massive speed. This newfound speed is helping him master all his tricks above the checkered line and you can tell that Aidan is now using the coping to perform instead of fighting with it. Between Aidan and the coping, it’s is now a symbiotic relationship, and that’s just how it should be. And so much congrats to Tristan Rennie who took 1st in the 15 and over he was unstoppable! Tristan is like a good wine, the older the better. He was good last year already, and even though I did not really witness substantial improvements, what I noticed, though, is that he is more confident than last year, more consistent and added more tricks to his already full bag. Tristan will now fy over to Brazil to participate in the next Generations contest atFlorianopolis where he will be confronted to the Creme de La Crème skaters in Pedro Barros’ bowl.

The winners of the over 15 at Vans Ams Combi Pool Classic 2013. 
That day at the Combi was an amazing journey. I love those kind of contests because not only you managed to witness the progression of the sport, but you meet new and old friends and you really feel a sense of family when you are around the pit. Thanks to Vans and World Cup Skateboarding. Thanks to Kristie Van Doren for the invite and to Dan and Danielle Bostick and Sasha Steinhost for their unlimited support.
And thanks to all the kids (and their parents) who made my day. You are all awesome…

Vans Amateur Combi Classic results 14 and under
1 Cory Juneau
2 Toby Gummeson
3 Braden Stelma
4 Morgan Wolf
5 Kiko Francisco
6 CJ Collins
7 Trey Wood
8 Jake Wooten
9 Julian Torres
10 Asher Bradshaw

Vans Amateur Combi Classic results 15 and over
1 Tristan Rennie
2 Collin Graham
3 Cory Juneau
4 Clay Kreiner
5 Justin Rivera
6 Aidan dansey
7 Beaver flemming
8 Adrian Hernandez
9 David Palazzese
10 Archer Braun
11 Jeromy Green
12 Vi Kakinho 

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Saturday, March 02, 2013 


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