As the show got underway in LA, the top eight from the previous day’s prelims were ready to rip: Chris Cole, Bastien Salabanzi, Ryan Decenzo, Paul Rodriguez, Nyjah Huston, Torey Pudwill, Shane O’Neill, and Luan Oliveira. And as the weather heated up, so did the action on the course, beginning with the Flow Section.
Without a doubt, Bastien Salabanzi has the skills and tricks to compete at Street League. He’s a contest vet, but somehow he seems to get rattled every event. A crowd favorite wherever he goes, he showed moments of brilliance—and backside 180 double-flip over the center rail—but couldn’t put his feet on the deck when it counted most. With the lowest score, he was eliminated after the Flow Section.
The real standouts in the Flow Section were Nyjah and Luan. Just like in the last stop at Portland, Luan put together a stunner of a Flow Section run, and sat atop the leaderboard going into the Control Section.
In the Control Section, each skater’s single highest scored trick (HST) counts, and the fireworks started cracking. Luan once again set the bar, whipping out a nollie noseslide to nollie 270 heelflip varial out on the Hubba. Nyjah was still on his heels though. After nailing a Caballerial to backside noseblunt to fakie on the bump to rail, Nyjah was left to trying to one-up himself with a Cab flip into backside noseblunt, which he couldn’t put down.
Torey Pudwill couldn’t land the laser flip (frontside 360 heelflip varial) from the center ramp to flat during his attempts, but stomped one for the crowd after being eliminated.
In the decisive Impact Section, the six remaining skaters went for broke.
Perhaps the course didn’t really suit him, but Paul Rodriguez was unusually unsettled in his runs, and didn’t seem to have the winning moves to be a contender in LA. His switch backside lipslides and tailslides were on lock, as always. But he didn’t appear able to keep up with Luan and Nyjah in the Impact Section. The highlight of his day was a 9 Club in the Control Section: a nollie to front-foot flip over the center rail from the bank. Paul finished sixth.
Shane O’Neill threw a perfect switch 360 flip down the stairs for a 9 Club, but he would’ve had the first 10 Club in SLS history if he’d repeated the switch 360 double flip he landed in practice.
Shane O’Neill threw a perfect switch 360 flip down the stairs for a 9 Club, but he would’ve had the first 10 Club in SLS history if he’d repeated the switch 360 double flip he landed in practice. Instead, Shane’s Impact Section score suffered as he kept bailing while going for glory, and he faded to fifth.
Coming in fourth, Ryan Decenzo proved he has the consistency it takes to compete at Street League. He was solid throughout, but he’ll need to add some tech to his Impact Section tricks if he’s going to compete against the big dogs.
Chris Cole had a lackluster showing—at least in the Flow and Impact Sections, where he put up very middling scores (for Cole, that is) of just 7.3 and 7.8. How did Cole wind up in second place by the end? Consistency. Cole didn’t put up any 9 Clubs on the day, but scored four Impact Section tricks, averaging 7.4 per trick. Meanwhile, Luan averaged 8.7 and Nyjah averaged 8.8 in the Impact Section; but Cole landed four tricks to Luan’s three, coming out with 29.5 points to Luan’s 26.0. With consistent makes, he edged Luan out of second by just .4 points.
Luan led through both the Flow and Control sections, putting up an 8.9 and 9.3 respectively, but the Impact Section was again his undoing.
Luan Oliveira looked like the only skater capable of challenging Nyjah in the Final, and he almost did it. Luan led through both the Flow and Control sections, putting up an 8.9 and 9.3 respectively, but the Impact Section was again his undoing. In the Impact Section, he nailed a hardflip and switch frontside flip down the long stairs, and an incredible switch 360 flip where he almost fell while pushing hard. If Luan had made one more trick of 8.8 (his overall average) or better, he would’ve won the event. In fact, both Luan and Nyjah had an overall average score of 8.8 for the contest—Nyjah just had one more made trick than Luan. And that was the difference. Nyjah’s final score is exactly 8.8 better than Luan’s.
Both Luan and Nyjah had an overall average score of 8.8 for the contest—Nyjah just had one more made trick than Luan. And that was the difference. Nyjah’s final score is exactly 8.8 better than Luan’s.
Now let’s talk Nyjah Huston. After injuring his rib on his dirtbike (why did he pretend to hurt it skating again?), and making his earliest SLS contest exit ever in Portland, he was on a rampage in LA. From start to finish, he was bolts. In the Impact Section, he simply extinguished any chance for his competitors. On the gnarly, consequence-riddled 12-foot long rails off the stairs, he executed a backside bigspin to frontside boardslide, kickflip frontside boardslide, kickflip backside lipslide, and switch frontside blunt slide. After he’d extended his lead so far that no one could catch him, he did a kickflip backside tailslide to fakie, just for the crowd and another 9 Club to his credit.
With just the $200,000 Super Crown World Championship remaining on August 25, Luan will only have one last shot at an SLS victory this season.
|Skater||Score||Flow||Control||Impact||Impact AST||Overall AST|