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|Damn Am winners, right to left: Dan Corrigan, Auby Taylor, Yonnie Cruz|
One hundred and fourteen skaters showed up at Hazard County Skatepark, just outside of Atlanta, Ga. this weekend to compete in the first Damn Am of the year. Four skaters competed in four minute heats, with a total of 30 heats going down on the first day. The course was laid out perfect so nobody seemed to struggle trying to find out how to adapt, and in the end Auby Taylor qualified first, which means he got to advance straight to the finals. Other stand outs in the qualifiers were John Hill, Curren Caples, Alec Majerus, Connor Champion, Dalton Dern, Ryan Cooper, Dan Corrigan and Yonnie Cruz, who all advanced to the semi-finals.
On Saturday night Red Bull held their second annual "Mind The Gap" contest at a street gap in downtown Atlanta -- an hour-long jam with $750 on the line for first. Liam McCabe was the first one to land a trick and ended up coming in third with a varial heel and a double flip. Robbie Kirkland tossed out a perfect ghetto bird to land himself in second, and last year's winner CJ Tambornino took first for the second year in a row with a perfectly executed switch inward heel, traveling mach 10 uphill.
|Damn Am winner Auby Taylor, fakie back tail.|
In Sunday's finals Connor Champion looked great, pulling switch backlips and fakie hurricanes on the rail. Jereme Knibbs and Dalton Dern flew around the course -- both killed it the entire weekend. Justin Vinson from Dallas, Texas got injured just minutes into the finals. Alec Majerus, fresh off ankle surgery, took the slam of the weekend but walked away with eigth place. Another Flip rider Curren Caples, who is no stranger to the finals, aired around the course in style and he even threw in a few new moves like kickflip crooks down the rail. Ryan Cooper kickflip front feebled his way into sixth place. John Hill nailed it all weekend long and came in fifth.
Luke Hampton just missed the top three but showed why he almost won Tampa Am last year. He's a beast on the board, but he also shoved a kid out of his way at one point, which rubbed a few people the wrong way. Third place finisher Yonnie Cruz was on fire -- he skated every bit of the course and did it with style. Dan Corrigan, who came in second, is a machine -- he skated 15 hours a day for four straight days. Corrigan ruled the bowl jam on Friday, he killed it in semis, and he also skated the Mind the Gap contest differently than any other person. Besides second place, he also walked away with the well deserved Zumiez Destroyer award.
In the end, the win went to first-place qualifier Auby Taylor who got a perfect score of 99. (The iPads used to score only go to 99, not 100). He nailed it so hard -- he only fell twice in 5 minutes. It was completely insane! I got a chance to hang with Taylor this weekend and listen to him babble on about any and everything. He seems to never lose any energy or lack of things to talk about, and his skating speaks just as loud. He's definitely got a solid career ahead of him.
Congratulations to all of the people who killed it this weekend. Look for the highlights on The Ride Channel under SPoTLife. Until next year!