Returning to Los Angeles as the only professional competition series in street skateboarding, the 2014 SLS Nike SB World Tour on Sunday delivered to a sold out arena the highest level of competitive street skating the city has ever witnessed to date. With this determining the roster for the SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship 2014, the world’s most elite skateboarders spared nothing to up their Season Standings and be one of the final eight Top Qualifiers heading to Newark this August.
The 2014 Street League Skateboarding season started strong with its first arena stop in Chicago, presenting a completely new course design that shook things up for the League competitors. Devoid of any stairs or handrails – obstacles that normally see the highest scoring tricks – the skaters were challenged to get creative and go big on the generous arrangement of banks, gaps and ledges. An injured wrist couldn’t stop young Nyjah Huston from taking the win, just a few points ahead of Nike SB pros Luan Oliveira and Shane O’Neill. With such an amazingly high standard of skating in Chicago from all League competitors, there was no safe bet for the SLS Nike SB World Tour event in Los Angeles – not even during the final minutes.
Beginning with the qualification Prelims to cut the list to just eight finalists, the competitors demonstrated why they are the world’s best street skateboarders. Highlights of the Prelims included:
- The rookies that joined the Tour this season held their ground against the SLS pros. Matt Berger hovered at the top of the leader board with moves such as his solid Bigspin Frontside Boardslide and Bennet Grind on the round rails. Skating strong but not making the Finals, Felipe Gustavo broke out a technical Kickflip Crooked Grind up the long hubba for a well-deserved 8.0.
- Despite an injury, Ishod Wair showed why he was voted Skater of the Year, breaking out the first of the high-scoring 9 Club tricks with an impressive Feeble Grind on the round flat rail above the quarter pipe, popping back into the transitions strong and confident for a 9.4.
- Defending his title, 2013 Street League Super Crown World Champion Chris Cole skated especially strong in the Flow Section, scoring an 8.1 through an impressive run punctuated by a Frontside Bluntslide down the hubba and his signature Backside 360 Ollie off the drive to the flat. Nonetheless, Cole was bumped out of the Finals by Paul Rodriguez’s last Prelim trick: an ultra-clean Backside Tailslide down the gap to hubba.
- With the fastest feet in the business and a running average of 7.7 in the Flow Section, Luan Oliveira scored an impressive 8.8 with a run highlighted by a lofty Backside Disaster on the quarterpipe before a huge Frontside Flip over the hubba down to the flat.
- Although not making the Finals, Bastien Salabanzi was working the crowd as usual, giving them his signature Backside Double Kickflip off the bank to flat even after the his time was up. Austyn Gillette was also denied a place in the Finals but made his mark with a high-speed stylish Kickflip over the sidewalk for 8.4 on the board.
Televised live on FOX Sports 1, the Finals of the 2014 SLS Los Angeles stop included Chaz Ortiz, Shane O’Neill, Tory Pudwill, Ryan Decenzo, Luan Oliveira, Nyjah Huston, Matt Berger and Paul Rodriguez. Topping the highlights of the Finals:
- The first of the three sections, the Flow Section, saw almost all of the first runs scoring above 8. Notable was Shane O’Neill’s flawless 8.7 run highlighted by an effortless 360 Shuvit up the Euro gap, Blunt to fakie on the quarterpipe to set up for a Switch Bigspin back gown the gap. Torey Pudwill came out strong with a back-to-back run of combos and long slides, maxing out the up-down rail with a smooth Crooked Grind pop-over and an effortless Backside Tailslide to fakie down the entire long hubba.
- Taking the high score of 8.8 in the Impact Section was Torey Pudwill’s textbook Backside Tailslide Backside Kickflip out through the length of the 21-foot hubba. Also claiming top points for this section were Nyjah Huston with a strong 360 Flip over the gap to 50-50 down the hubba, and Shane O’Neill making it look easy with a Nollie Flip Crooked Grind down long hubba.
As the last of the three sections, the Control Section is the decider of the contest and where the real magic happens. Luan Oliveira pulled off two 8.9 tricks, first with a huge Kickflip over the manual pad to get the crowd on their feet, then a Kickflip Manual transfer to Nose Manual on the descending sidewalk to Nollie Flip out. Chaz Ortiz kept the pressure on with tech combos such as a punchy Backside Tailslide Backside Kickflip out up the long hubba, a clean Crooked Grind Nollie Heelflip back down, and an impressive Salad Grind to Kickflip out on the round rail. Chaz’s strong Los Angeles finish was just enough to knock 2013 Champ Chris Cole out of contention, earning his own spot into the 2014 Super Crown. With an injured wrist and calf, Nyjah Huston continued to dominate, breaking his kingpin on a massive attempted Backside Bigspin Kickflip over the sidewalk, after which he landed it on a borrowed board for the high-scoring trick and 9 Club honor at 9.2. The crowd was enamored as Nyjah stage dove into the stands, celebrating with fans.
From a SLS season of epic skateboarding, the final eight have been decided for the SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship: Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O’Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair.
“The stage is now set for the Super Crown Championship right on the heels of Nyjah taking another win,” says Brian Atlas, President of Street League Skateboarding. “Now it is time to see if Nyjah can pull off a win at the event that matters the most.”
Congratulations to SLS Nike SB World Tour: Los Angeles champion Nyjah Huston. Although he continues unbeaten for the season, the final eight skateboarders at the Super Crown World will up the ante even further for the $200,000 prize purse and coveted title of SLS Champ. With the refined selection of the top SLS Pros, the 2014 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship is certain to be an epic conclusion to the most exciting Season of Street League Skateboarding in history. Will the New Jersey native and hometown hero, Ishod Wair, seek redemption against Nyjah for his marginal win at the SLS Monster Energy Pro Open? Or maybe the real question is, can Nyjah Huston be beat in 2014?
REMAINING SLS EVENT DATES AND VENUES:
August 24: SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship | Prudential Center | Newark. The SLS Nike SB World Tour airs on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO, in addition to the official live webcast on www.streetleague.com.
FOX SPORTS 1 TELECAST SCHEDULE:
SLS Super Crown World Championship: LIVE: Sunday, August 24 (9:00PM ET – 10:30PM ET). For more visit information visit www.streetleague.com.