Last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada at the final stop of this year's Street League tour, the safe money might have been on Paul Rodriguez, Chris Cole or even Nyjah Huston for the win. But if you made that bet, it'd be money down the tube because rookie pro Shane O'Neill capped an outstanding contest season with a huge win. O'Neill took home $150,000 for his win in Vegas. Add that to his five Best Trick in a section bonuses over the course of the season (worth $5,000 each) and his second place finish in Glendale, Arizona (worth $80,000) and O'Neill is going home with $255,000 in winnings. We caught up with Shane to talk about the win, how he thinks Street League will evolve and what comes next for him.
How was winning "the most prestigious" contest in your rookie year as a pro?
I couldn't be any happier. I can't really believe that I beat all those guys but at the same time it was so close. It was just fun.
Anything changed in your day-to-day since the last time we talked?
Yeah man, everything has been about the same. Just skate and film. We got those contests going on now, too. I did just start filming for the new TransWorld video though. So that should be rad.
How would you describe skating in the Street League compared to other contests?
I don't really do any other contests. But when I do, if you are doing a "run" or a "jam" it can be super tiring. Street League is a lot more relaxing. I like it a lot more, the way you do seven tricks in a row.
What are you gonna do with all that money, man?
Yeah, I came out with quite a bit after all three contests. I think I'm just going to be smart about it and save up.
A lot of your good friends are signed with the league but it's on such a high competitive level, does it ever get a little weird skating against them?
Nah, I never feel like I am skating against them. Especially like, Paul [Rodriguez] and Torrey [Pudwill] and [Sean] Malto or anyone like that. I would love to see them win just as much as I want to win. It's just cool that everyone is in there like that.
You think you'll start getting followed by the paparazzi like Ryan Sheckler now after this big win? You've got that "it" factor!
[Laughs] No, that's not going to happen.
When you went into this, who did you think was going to take the whole thing?
This time I was thinking, Paul Rodriguez would. In the first two contests he would always get into the finals and then mess it up a little at the end. But I thought Paul had a good chance of taking this one. The way the format is, it brings out the best in everyone's skateboarding. So it's not like one person is going to win every contest. It definitely makes it a little more fair I feel like.
When these contests were first announced did you feel like you had a chance to win, with such an elite roster of dudes?
Well, I skated the practice contest and I came in second in that. So that gave me a little bit of a boost, just knowing the format and how to skate them.
What are your predictions for next year's Street League?
I definitely think that these are by far the funnest contests to skate. They really bring out the best in every rider. So I think they're probably going to be around for a while. It's really cool how we are signed with the league so we don't have to skate the other contests. As far as the people skating in them, it is never the same. There are 24 riders and any one of them could win at any time. I like it a lot.
What's next for Shane O'Neil?
Next week I am flying out to Spain to film for the TransWorld video That's about it, mate.
Watch the entire broadcast of the final Street League stop of 2010 right here »