Right on the heels of last night’s heated quarter final, Saturday’s professional competitions kicked off with the Men’s Park Semi Final at Dew Tour Long Beach 2019. Considering the amount of valuable Olympic qualifying points on the line, each skater fought hard to stay alive but some inevitably did not make the cut. Still, the day was one to remember.
Of the 24 athletes, representing 9 countries, only eight would advance to the final. The heats were divided into four groups of six, with each skater given three 45-second runs and only the best score counting.
As the event got underway the crowds filled in once again with more legends of skate, including legends of pools and park skating, Bob Burnquist, Lance Monutain and Lester Kasai that were actually spotted in with the competing athletes. In the VIP tower other professionals and familiar faces were seen, from wild Andy Roy (mouth full of teeth) screaming toward the skaters, to Boo Johnson rolling around with a squad. Chances are they all wished Tristan Rennie happy birthday, too.
American Rennie was riding in the Semi Final on his 21st birthday, and twice in the event the announcers stopped to ask the crowd to join in on wishing him a happy one. Though Rennie road the bowl well and earned a fairly high score, in the end it was a bit of an upset when he was ultimately bumped out of an advancing position.
Rennie wasn’t the only upset, though. Maybe the biggest upset was Rune Glifberg skating for Denmark. Rune is recognized as a legend, but the competition was complete with a slew of new, young talent. The youngest ripper was 12-year-old Gavin Bottger, which is incredibly difficult to score against Rune at 44 years old. Bottger, of the U.S., did not finish in the top eight along with another American favorite, Alex Sorgente.
Those that did advance ended in order resembling an Olympic finish, three countries were represented in the top three. Then, those same countries made up the next three again.
Cory Juneau, from the United States, top finisher from the Quarter Final, finished third. Ivan Federico, of Italy, ended the Semi Final in second, while Pedro Barros, from Brazil, took the top spot on the leaderboard.
Juneau’s run resembled that of his run from Quarter Final with a beautiful frontside board slide to open and his usual backside air to noseblunt. But what was new to his Semi Final run was his signature frontside flip that had the crowd making the most noise of the contest.
“I like when my colors are flashing,” said Federico, after he flashed the crowds with multiple combinations of big tricks. On the Mountain Dew can extension he landed a kickflip melon to backside disaster, but the crowd favorite was probably the kickflip body jar. It was also Federico’s favorite.
“I’m hyped to do the kickflip body jar!” said Federico after his final run. “I’m also stoked to land on the kickflip melon 360. It was close, so maybe I will try again tomorrow in the final.”
Barros was the last person of heat four to drop-in, and it was that first run that earned the highest score of the event. Barros bulldozed through the bowl in his typical fashion, huge airs, harsh lip bashes and utilizing every transfer line available. Early on in his run came a huge backside 540 in the deep end, but what surprised everyone was his switch backside air transferring into the deep end to cap off his run with a Caballerial.
“Skateboarding is a lifestyle and it is becoming a sport now more than ever. As a Brazilian skater coming out of third-world country, [the Olympics] is a way to make skateboarding stronger in my country. Get more parks. Get more attention to it,” said Barros when asked how interrupted the Olympic movement in skateboarding. “I’m backing it up by showing the real skateboarder lifestyle, and I’m going to do that [at the Olympics], too.”
See who will take home the title in Men’s Park Final Sunday at 4:30pm PT on DewTour.com/LIVE.
Men’s Park Semi Final Results
1.) Pedro Barros, BRA 80.00
2.) Ivan Federico, ITA 77.00
3.) Cory Juneau, USA 76.00
4.) Luiz Francisco, BRA 74.00
5.) Heimana Reynolds, USA 73
6.) Alessandro Mazzara, ITA 71.00
7.) Keegan Palmer, USA 70.00
8.) Jamie Mateu, ESP 69.50