Archive for the ‘Extreme Sports’ Category

Well, he is the reigning Street champ so why not start with him. Chris Cole had one of the best year’s in the history of professional skateboarding in 2009. He Tom Penny-ed Wallenburg (a chain-to-bank in SD reference, for real skateboarders only), he won the second Battle at the Berrics, he had a killer section in the Zero video Strange World, he won the Dew Tour Championship, he was the Thrasher Skater of the Year for the second time (he and Danny Way are the only skateboarders to ever win it twice), and finally he took home $100,000 with his win in Street at the Maloof Money Cup.

That was 2009, and now we’re in the double digits of the 2000s, and coincidentally we’ll get a double serving of Maloof Money Cups. When I was telling a friend of mine that there was going to be two Maloofs this year, both with the $100,000 first prize, he said, ” So pretty much Chris Cole is going to win $200,000 this year.” As crazy as that sounds it is a possibility with this guy.

If I decided I was going to pull a Dr. Victor Frankenstein and build a perfect skateboarder, Chris Cole may just be the mold I would use. He can do it all. He has just about the complete technical skateboarding package, even the older tricks that have been forgotten. Plus he has a really high ollie, which enables him to take those technical tricks to heights almost unimaginable. That’s another part of his skateboarding that makes him so good; he goes huge. The Wallenburg gap in San Francisco is giant, it’s about as long as it is high, and Cole just rifled through his bag of tricks at the last Thrasher Battle at the Berg contest, one after another, which brings me to my next point; he’s consistent. He’s like a machine, I’m surprised he doesn’t’ have the nickname, Cole-bot or Cole-borg, he just lands everything, which is what you want in contest skateboarder.

Chris Cole is not your typical contest guy either. He is a really good street skateboarder, and consistently puts together great video parts, and that is a definite advantage when it comes to the Maloof contests. They’re not your typical comp. The course is always made up of replicas of real skate spots, and they’re always in a jam format (no timed runs), which plays to the strengths of the non-contest guys. At the first two Maloofs Cole was a serious presence finishing third in 2008, and 1st in 2009. So that’s that, my first Maloof Contender Spotlight. The Maloof brothers are Vegas guys, so why not make a gambling reference. If this was Vegas, Cole would be the odds favorite. Stay tuned for Maloof Contender Spotlight #2, Paul Rodriguez.

Two years ago was the first Maloof Money Cup, now we have two, and a favorite to win either of them is Paul Rodriguez. At that first Maloof back in 2008, in the midst of the Orange County Fair, he walked away with the biggest first place prize in the history of skateboarding (up until that point); $100,000.

Since then he has won an X Games Street gold and the Tampa Pro, the later being one of the most respected contests in the world amongst core skateboarders. If you’ve watched any TV lately Rodriguez is in that commercial where they explain where the air in Nike shoes comes from. He’s the guy who hard flips the stair set into the tennis court and says what’s up to that lovely tennis siren, Maria Sharapova.

Besides a few appearances in the mainstream, he is a pretty low key guy who likes to keep his focus on skateboarding. And when you’re as good as he is, why not? I was recently at a major commercial shoot that starred Rodriguez. He was warming up on a hubba, and was just torching the thing with trick after trick, when one of the employees of the company shooting the commercial turned to me and said, “The kid is a technician.”

Dictionary.com defines a technician as, a person who is trained or skilled in the technicalities of a subject, and in the subject of skateboarding Paul is about as technical as they come, especially when it comes to switch. At the Tampa Pro half of his winning run was switch or nollie, and at last year’s X Games a switch flip and a switch heel down a 12 set are what clinched it for him.

Here’s a little bonus definition of “technician” from Dictionary.com for the all the “skateboarding is an art” people, including myself: a person who is skilled in the technique of an art, as music or painting. So, pretty much Rodriguez is one of the masters of the art form of technical skateboarding, and his main medium is switch.

That’s not to say he’s just a tech guy. P-Rod has it all: great style, the ability to sack up and consistency. It’s the combination of all of these things that make him such a competitive force. He can take those extremely complicated tricks he has locked into his muscle memory, do them down and up some pretty big obstacles, and consistently land with style.

The New York City Maloof Money Cup is first, and is made up of replicas of legendary NYC skate spots. The course is going to have a total city feel, kind of like you’re on a movie set for a film with scenes at 11 different skate spots. When it comes to skating a city well, which is the ability to find a line and just come up as many combinations and variations of what you can do in and out of tricks on what you encounter on your path, Paul is one of the best. He did grow up in Los Angeles, if you can call LA a city. Nothing on the course seems like it’s going to be overly huge which should play right into his hands, because there are going to be guys like Cole,and Sheckler looming, who specialize on the big stuff.

From the looks of the course it seems like P-Rod’s skating may just be a perfect fit. If everything comes together and he kills it like his dad, comedian Paul Rodriguez Sr., did the last time a saw him at the Laugh Factory in LA (that joke about how Fairfax Blvd. gets skinnier as you enter Little Ethiopia; classic) he could have $200,000 reasons to really like Joe, Gavin and George Maloof.