2016 was one hell of a year! Shane O’Neill put on one of the most incredible performances that SLS has ever witnessed and took home the Super Crown World Championship. We saw new faces like Chris Joslin, Tiago Lemos, and Tommy Fynn make names for themselves in their rookie year. League staples Nyjah Huston and Paul Rodriguez continued to stay consistent and took home SLS trophies. And Lacey Baker became the second female in history to become the SLS Women’s Super Crown World Champion. As 2016 officially draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the top 10 highlights of the year.
10: Shane O’Neill Wins Tampa Pro
2016 was clearly Shane O’Neill’s year. He set the tone back in March when he took home a victory at Tampa Pro. Shane would go on to win the Pro Open in Barcelona and become 2016’s SLS Super Crown World Champion. Shane’s fancy footwork is legendary. He dropped into a minute-long run at Tampa that contained some of the most technical skating of the contest. This sealed the deal on Shane’s win and established his momentum rolling into the 2016 SLS Nike SB contest series.
9: Tommy Fynn and Tiago Lemos Make It Into the League
The Pro Open gives pros that aren’t in SLS the opportunity to make it into the League. In May, both Tommy Fynn and Tiago Lemos put on impressive performances in Barcelona. Their efforts earned them spots in the 2016 SLS Nike SB World Tour series. These guys continued to rip all year long and are a welcomed addition to the SLS roster. Tiago took home a fifth-place finish at the Munich stop. And Tommy finished third in New Jersey. These high placings in the finals this year show exactly what these rookies are capable of.
8: The SLS Picks Are Introduced at the Pro Open
Kevin Bradley, Kyle Walker, Miles Silvas, and Chris Joslin were introduced as this year’s SLS Picks at the Pro Open in Barcelona. These four are the guys that the fans wanted to see skate in SLS. They proved to be great choices. All were a pleasure to watch. And Chris Joslin sealed his spot in the League by making it to this year’s Super Crown World Championship. These wildcard spots add some mystery and excitement to SLS. You never know how the Picks are going to perform. It’s also hard to tell if one of the Picks will emerge as an SLS superstar. This was definitely the case with Joslin.
7: Paul Rodriguez Wins Munich
P-Rod had a great year in 2016. He made it to the finals of every SLS contest this year and took home a win at the Munich stop. Paul’s consistency in SLS is beyond noteworthy. He’s the consummate professional and always brings top-notch skating to the course. Paul keeps it so calm, cool, and collected while handling the most difficult tricks that it is possible to forget that he’s skating a contest. Paul’s performance in Munich punctuates an incredible year. He’s always on the shortlist of skaters to watch out for at every SLS event.
6: Tiago Lemos Wins the #DIAMONDBESTTRICK Contest in New Jersey
Tiago Lemos had a solid rookie year in 2016. He finished fifth in Munich and took home $5000 at the #DIAMONDBESTTRICK contest in New Jersey. Tiago’s switch back tailslide bigspin out on the waist-high step-up ledge is incredible. This type of raw street skating is not typical in a contest environment. Not many could step to this ledge. Tiago pulled an incredibly technical switch trick on it when the pressure was cranked up to max! This is an SLS moment that will be talked about for years to come.
5: Nyjah Huston Wins New Jersey
What can you say about Nyjah Huston? He has the most wins in SLS history and is considered the number-one threat to his competitors at every stop. Nyjah is one of the guys that you expect to win at least one contest every year. It’s surprising if he doesn’t. He pulled off a win in New Jersey this year with his signature explosive style and impeccable trick selection. Nyjah has the uncanny ability to pick apart any given SLS course and find the biggest and hardest angles to skate in order to earn the highest scores. His 360 ollie noseblunt slide down the rail in New Jersey is a perfect example of this. Nyjah’s strategy is clearly working for him.
4: Chris Joslin’s Super Crown Performance
Chris Joslin turned up the heat at the Super Crown this year. Despite this being his first year in the League, he certainly didn’t look like a rookie in Los Angeles. Joslin made SLS history by being the first skater to ever score back-to-back 9s during the Run Section. He also earned the highest score of the contest, a 9.5, for his blindside ollie to fakie over the quarter pipe gap. Chris proved that he’s got what it takes to be a serious SLS competitor in 2016. It’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t have an SLS win somewhere in his future.
3: Lacey Baker Wins the Women’s SLS Super Crown
2016 was just the second year of the SLS Women’s Division. Lacey Baker made history by being the only other female besides Leticia Bufoni to become an SLS Super Crown World Champion. Lacey put on an incredible technical display in Los Angeles this year. She brought moves like noseslide 270s and bigspins that really upped the ante of the women’s competition. This win was life changing for Lacey. She took her earnings and followed her dream of moving to New York City—where she currently resides.
2: Nyjah Huston’s Second Place Super Crown Performance
Nyjah Huston didn’t take home this year’s Super Crown World Championship. But he put on one of the most incredible displays ever to be witnessed on an SLS course. Tricks like his gap to noseblunt and kickflip gap to front board on the gap to rail are the type of skating that defines SLS. These are the best skaters on the planet. They are doing tricks in a contest environment that would take most pros weeks to film in the streets. Nyjah annihilated the course in Los Angeles and reminded us of why he’s considered the man to beat in the process.
1: Shane O’Neill Wins the 2016 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship
Shane O’Neill took home wins at Tampa Pro and the SLS Pro Open. Given that, it’s truly fitting that he’s this year’s Super Crown World Champion. Shane skated the course with style and grace in Los Angeles. He did technical tricks that could be video-part enders, a nollie 360 flip front board for example, during his contest runs. Shane’s display of technical ability during the Super Crown is truly unparalleled. This well-deserve victory punctuated a year in which Shane truly dominated SLS. After witnessing Shane’s performance in 2016, all of the SLS pros should be prepared to step their game up next year.