The Final Recap: Nike Skateboarding’s Damn Am

 

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After easy vibes and a few hours filled with registration and meet-and-greets, the skate practice sessions were put to use into real runs on Saturday.

 

It started off with preliminary qualifying sectioned up into “Jams” with each run consisting of three to four riders skating the course for three minutes. Usually, skaters save their bag of tricks for a possible shot to unleash them in the finals, but Saturday was the exception with hammers (big tricks) being thrown down the “Impact” (stairs and larger handrails) section of the course. Nassim Guammaz threw down a frontside 360 down the six, while Stereo Skateboards Am, Tony Karr, did things the more unconventional route by board sliding up the ledge

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Spectators packed into the warehouse nestled in downtown Los Angeles on Sixth and Mill (how’s that for a name?) near the Skid Row block. Food was flowing courtesy of the Pizzanista crew (thank you, Salaman); Vitamin Water providing the quenching and Wahoo’s  supplying the burrito needs.

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But when people are throwing down their gnarliest tricks while sharing the course with other riders; best believe carnage was seen while skaters went for broke.

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I had the chance to befriend Carlos Carrezano,  genuine wood-pusher coming out of the capital city of Santo Domingo, D.R. ,  that competed over the weekend. Seeing how far skateboarding’s outreach is still amazes me, and to see what it’s done for Carlos shows what you can achieve when you give back to the skating community. He was relishing in the Los Angeles atmosphere and emphasizing the more family-like feel in regards to New York where he’s been staying. Didn’t take long for him to pick sides *wink*

 

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Carlos was brought out here with the help of the Harold Hunter Foundation that was established in memory of the former skater and actor (If you haven’t seen KIDS, well, GO!) with other backers such as Airwalk, Up There skateboards out of D.R. and Rockstar bearings. I didn’t have the chance to tell him the U.S. still runs the baseball game; but I’m sure he couldn’t care less. Platanos are damn delicious though!

 

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Judges cut down the field of 150 down to 28 riders for Sunday’s semi and final runs. Notable riders, Trevor Colden, Nassim Guammaz, Dashaun Jordan made the cut with the other riders.

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You can sense the vibe on Sunday to be a bit more focused with family members, skate brand reps and some fans comprising of most of the crowd in the brick layered warehouse instead of the 300 that were flocking through on Saturday. Regardless, skating has always been based on one thing, and that’ s always enjoying the good vibes that emanate from the good people who keep this culture going.

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The runs were split into two heats with a set of 14 riders each receiving a minute for judges to decide who grabs a spot in the final 12.  Carrying on from Saturday’s show, everyone came correct throwing down all their bag of tricks. My knees were hurting just thinking about the impact their bodies were taking–especially when Flip Skateboards rider, Matt Berger, laid down a 270 boardslide in his run.

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Considering the realization of how quickly skateboarding has progressed to the point of 12-year-olds embodying the style and trick selection of someone 10-years their senior, it touches back to the old adage, “Start em’ while they’re young.” Soon, you’ll see babies tearing up the local big set at the courthouse.

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As expected, Colden, Guammaz, Berger and Jordan skated into the finals with eight other riders. Dashawn made his name unexpectedly winning PHX AM in Arizona. Kid posses a powerful style that flows seamlessly through the course. He’s been handling his rise quite well–especially at 16–when I had the chance to catch up with him.

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Finalists had three one minute runs that would be averaged into their final tally. The top three of Nassim Guammaz, Trevor Colden and Bakersfield product and Girl Skateboards flow rider, Dylan Williams didn’t see much of a threat as they each produced near-flawless runs with each of their three tries to the podium.

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The folks at Nike SB laced the final 12 riders with their winnings; Nassim Guammaz rightfully earned the Damn Am Shredder tool trophy–his frontside 180 switch back 50/50 on the hubba was ridiculous.

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Top Three Finishers: 1st-Dylan Williams; 2nd-Nassim Guammaz; 3rd-Trevor Colden. These three along with Matt Berger (Winner of the best trick contest) will be headed to Tampa Am for a chance to reign supreme.

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Huge thanks to Travis and Jason from Nike to be involved with this past weekend’s festivities.