EVENT: Aurelien Giraud Takes the Win at the 22nd Annual Tampa Am Skateboarding Contest
The world’s best amateur skateboarders let loose at Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT) this weekend for the 22nd annual Tampa Am, now a fundamental entry-level event within the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) year-round, global program. Through three long days of intense competition in which every Am gave it their best to produce the most incredible event in its long history, 17-year-old French newcomer and Nike SB Am Aurelien Giraud emerged victorious followed by Jagger Eaton and Tanner VanVark placing second and third respectively. While last year’s winner Jagger Eaton had consistently high scoring runs throughout the competition, Aurelien Giraud stepped it up when it mattered the most with just one solid run full of every trick in the bag to get the highest score and to take first place.
With a win at the Tampa Am traditionally being a career maker, nothing was held back this year as the 250 qualifiers unleashed their biggest and best to claim first place and, for the first time ever an invitation to compete at the 2016 SLS Pro Open. Under a new long-term partnership between SLS and SPoT, the Damn Am Select Series, Tampa Am and Tampa Pro competitions are now installed as feeder events to bring new blood into SLS. Earning his place in the League at the 2015 Tampa Pro was Brazilian Kelvin Hoefler, who through a season of incredible performances went all the way to take home the big win at the 2015 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship in October. As a prime example of what can be achieved within this new amateur-to-professional framework that has been established through the incorporation of the core SPoT events, each and every skateboarder at this year’s Tampa Am event came in strong to go for broke.
Friday and Saturday saw two days of Qualifiers to trim the pack to just 30 Ams that would move ahead to Sunday’s Semi Finals where they joined the five pre-qualified winners of the 2015 Damn Am Select Series – Yoshi Tanenbaum, Josh Douglas, Wacson Mass, Dashawn Jordan and Micky Papa. When Qualifiers and Semi-Finals were finished, the Finals would come down to the top 12 of the weekend.
Webcast live on StreetLeague.com, the Finals of the 2015 Tampa Am
consisted of the ten highest-scoring Semi Finalists Tanner VanVark, Jagger
Eaton, Jack Olson, Axel Cruysberghs, Nate Greenwood, Aurelien Giraud, Christian
Dufrene, Gabriel Fortunato, Antonio Durao, and Maurio McCoy. Joining them were
Golden Ticket winners who qualified in first place on Friday and Saturday,
Brazilian Lehi Leite and Tampa local, Jeremy Knibbs. With the two
highest-scoring runs holding down throughout the whole contest, the highlights
of the three one-minute runs per skater were:
- Tanner VanVark’s smooth run that started with the combination Bluntslide transfer on the long flatbar and immediately into a Wallie Bluntslide down the hubba, a Frontside 180 Fakie 5.0 on the smaller flatbar on top of the pyramid, back to an impressive Frontside 180 Fakie Crooked Grind on the flatbar, a Backside 180 Fakie Nosegrind 180 Out on the ledge, a Fakie Ollie Switch Crooked Grind on the rail, and finishing with a Backside 180 Fakie 5.0 on the rail for a score of 79.40.
- Tampa local and Nike SB skater Jeremy Knibbs put together a strong run, starting out with a massive Frontside Ollie transfer over the transition hip, into a Frontside Tailslide on the quarterpipe, a solid Kickflip over the big pyramid, Frontside Smith Grind through the rainbow rail and into a lofty Frontside Melon air on the quarterpipe, over to a nice Backside Tailslide on the other quarterpipe, a Frontside 360 Ollie over the rail and into the bank, a Fakie Ollie Nose Manual across the large platform and into a perfect Alley-oop Full Cab on the quarterpipe, a Kickflip back over the transition hip and finishing with a Full Cab on the bank hip for 80.20.
- Axel Cruysberghs’ strong opening performance with a Frontside Smith Grind through the long flatbar to pop-out and straight into a big Backside Disaster on the quarterpipe, around into a Backside Tailslide on the rainbow rail, a stylish Backside Smith Grind Backside 180 out on the flatbar, a Frontside Feeble Grind up on the flatbar, a Backside Lipslide down the handrail, Fakie Nosegrind on the hubba, Fakie Feeble pop-out on the flatbar and finishing strong with a Nollie Crooked Grind down the hubba (83.00).
- Last year’s Tampa Am winner Jagger Eaton stitched up a long, strong and flawless first run: gap Kickflip Backside Lipslide off the platform and into the rail, Backside Bigspin Frontside Boardslide to Fakie down the handrail, back into a gap Backside Smith Grind down the rail and flicking his board up to run into a Bomb Drop into the quarterpipe transition to get speed for a Frontside Nosegrind on the other quarterpipe before stomping a perfect 360 Flip down the stairs, a Blunt Frontside Kickflip out on the quarterpipe and across for a Blunt Kickflip to Fakie on the other quarterpipe, straight into a Switch Heelflip down the stairs, a Blunt to Noseblunt Revert on the quarter, a Frontside Flip on the other quarter, and getting the fans screaming with his perfect 360 Flip to Fakie on the rolling bank and a Switch Backside 5050 down the rail (91.20).
- First-place winner Aurelien Giraud’s mind-blowing winning run, coming in strong with a Backside Overcrook Grind through the rainbow rail, around for a Frontside Flip from the platform to the flat, a Backside OverCrook Grind on the flatbar with a 180 out, a Kickflip Backside Lipslide down the rail, back for a Frontside Nosegrind on the rainbow rail and straight into a floating Frontside air on the quarterpipe followed by a smooth 360 Flip over the pyramid, a big hard flip on the bank hip, and finishing with an unbelievable 360 Double Flip down the stairs for 92.00. As if not enough for the young champ, he put in a perfect Backside Overcrook to Nollie Flip out to get the crowd on their feet and making noise.
A big congratulations to France’s Aurelien Giraud, winner of the 2015 Tampa Am, and Damn Am of the Year Yoshi Tanenbaum, who will both be appearing at the 2016 SLS Pro Open to battle for a place on the 2016 SLS roster. To see full re-airs of the contest, go to StreetLeague.com and highlights also available on SkateparkofTampa.com.