The first time I came to Tampa as an 18 year old, my innocent mind was blown. I went from watching the pros in my favorite videos to being right next to them, drinking, bullshittin’ and skating. I liked the no holds barred vibe of the contest, the trashy moat race, the locals and of course, my first time to Mons Venus made me (almost) consider moving there.
So when SPoT and Cons mentioned that there may be an opportunity to do something on the Concrete Jam (right outside of the main park), my inner child lit up. Of course, Tampa Pro changed a lot over the last 10 years since I was 18 – It’s become bigger and better, but it’s also gotten a little more conventional.
Regardless, we were in, and we ended up creating an obstacle for the Concrete Jam, but to start, here’s some other highlights from the weekend milling about skateboarding’s most famous (and debaucherous) contest.
Here we are… back in Tampaland. It’s interesting to see how the course banners have changed over the years. Believe it or not, the branding these days is actually more mellow – much more cohesive and thematic compared to some of the early 00s courses where it just looked like the entire skate industry threw up on the course.
Ray Barbee took to the stage in the back area during open practice time to play a set. I’ve heard a lot about Ray’s love for music, but never really taken the time to look too deep into it myself (aside from times when he’s soundtracked his own footage). He plays completely solo with a backing drum track, and he’s got a crazy loop and effects pedal board set up where he can get a full band’s sound all from one guitar.
We ran into Lizard King outside our hotel on Saturday and hitched an Uber ride with him to SPoT. Super nice dude. When the Uber driver came to pick us up he was all, “Uhhh… Mr. Lizard?!” looking at his account info unsure of what freak show he might be picking up.
This guy pushes around a stolen shopping cart full of snakes and swindles cash out of drunkards in exchange for a quick photo op. We somehow convinced Aaron Herrington to get wrapped up in all the snakes, despite the fact that he’s terrified of them.
“Marketing Specialist”. Only in Tampa!
Lil’ Wayne has been coming to these things for a couple years now, and I have to admit I’m surprised he’s really sticking with it. He’s got a couple of tricks. Interesting to see him with that Ghetto Child T-shirt on, but knowing how close he is with Torey Pudwill, I guess it makes sense.
Some kid got his Tampa Pro poster signed by Lil’ Wayne, but still looked a bit disappointed afterwards. I don’t blame him, I feel like I could’ve done a better signature shaking my hips with a sharpie taped to my dick.
Legendary Welcome To Hell alumni pic right here celebrating Donny Barley’s Tampa Pro Lifetime award. The deck is made of glass! If you are into this legendary crew check out our Welcome To Hell week we did last year.
Sure, why not.
Evan Smith won the “Bromander-In-Chief” award for being the nicest dude of the whole weekend. Funny concept for an award, but well deserved because despite being one of the biggest names in skating right now, the guy seems to have absolute zero ego and was living carefree and camping out in the back of the park for the whole weekend. Nice guy, confirmed!
The first day of the contest was great and all, but the real shenanigans ended up going down inside the bathroom at the Bricks. We dubbed the impromptu best trick contest “Skate or Piss”, and it was a simple concept: land your trick bolts on the slippery pee ground or land in warm piss. Best tricks got a crispy (and fake) $100 bill. Thankfully nobody tried to close their tab out with one.
I gotta give it to good ol’ Ziggy aka Shane O’Neill… not only is the man totally cool with the robot jokes we’ve made over the years, but he’s actually embracing it with his own custom robot griptape graphic. Thunder went one step further and even made his own custom Zigram23 truck. 010101011011011101110110110!!!!! (that means “fuck yes” in binary)
Louie Lopez won over people’s minds with his non-stop tricks and their hearts by just being Louie: fun, humble and always cracking up or laughing at something. Some kids were saying that Luan’s run had better tricks (and technically, that might be true) but in my mind it always comes down to who skateboards through the entire course best. Busenitz’s win in 2011 is a perfect example of that. Louie looked like he was skateboarding. Some other dudes look like they are doing a gymnastics routine.
Louie with the champagne shower treatment! I don’t think he noticed, but when he threw his board, the tail of it board hit some chick square in the face before it got scooped up by the hungry crowd. She seemed okay, but I’m sure that was pretty damn painful. Congrats on the big win, Louie!!!