The 2017 Tampa Pro is officially a wrap and was definitely one for the history books. The level of skating that went down during the Semi Final and Final rounds was straight up bananas. The results of this contest have a major impact on the 2017 SLS Season. If you missed the live steam on ETN, then you did not get to witness history in the making. We’ll do our best to recap the important highlights below.
30 skaters entered the Skatepark of Tampa earlier today to compete for 10 slots in the Final where they would skate against Tommy Fynn and Tiago Lemos who took home 1st and 2nd in the Qualifiers, respectively—earning them a straight shot to the Final. Heat 1 consisted of Hjalte Halberg Blake Johnson, Chris Cole, Timmy Knuth, Sean Malto, Carlos Iqui, Alec Majerus, Matt Berger, Ryan Decenzo, TJ Rogers, Kelvin Hoefler, Cody McEntire, Ryan Sheckler, Carlos Ribeiro, Dennis Busenitz, Eric Koston, Torey Pudwill, and Shane O’Neill.
Chris Cole came out swinging during Heat 1. He’s been skating Tampa Pro since 2002. His experience showed as he calmly and consistently rifled off tricks like backside flips over the wedge to wedge gap, nollie bigger spin heelflips over the hip, and backside 360 nose grabs over the tranny hip on command. Cole took an early lead until Kelvin Hoefler one-upped him with a flawless line that included a front blunt transfer across the flat rail, a halfcab 50-50 revert on the hubba, and a switch tailslide 270 out on the bank to ledge on top of the wedge to wedge gap.
Chris Cole – Backside 360 Nose grab
Torey Pudwill showed that he is fully back after being out with an injury last year by putting together a line with a back smith up the hubba, a 360 ollie kickflip over the hip, and a backside 180 switch crooks down the rail. And Last year’s Tampa Pro winner and SLS Super Crown World Champion, Shane O’Neill, also made his presence felt in this heat with tricks like bigspin back tail and switch flip back lip down the rail. When it was all said done the breakdown rolling into Heat two was 1: Shane O’Neill, 2: Kelvin Hoefler, 3: Torey Pudwill, 4: Chris Cole, 5: Carlos Ribeiro, 6: Sean Malto, 7: Cody McEntire, 8: Ryan Sheckler, 9: Ryan Decenzo, 10: Blake Johnson.
Torey Pudwill – Backside 180 Switch Crooks
The pressure was definitely turned up by the skaters in Heat 1. But Heat 2 contained some major heavy hitters including Nyjah Huston, Ishod Wair, Luan Oliveira, and Chris Joslin. Milton Martinez took it up a notch in both of his runs of the second heat—he threw down lines that included a mind-blowing nollie big heel and kickflip frontside nosegrind on the quarterpipe. Nyjah came through with his usually flawless runs that included giant fakie flips and effortless 360 flips over the hip. Dave Bachinsky showed his skills with some amazing tricks as well, including a cab heelflip over the bank hip and a nice frontside hardflip over the tranny hip.
Dave Bachinsky – Hardflip
Also in Heat 2, Felipe Gustavo came through with one of the more tech showings of the contest with a switch back lip on the rail, nollie flip frontside noseslide, and fakie back lip in a flawless line. Luan Oliveira is the only skater to win Tampa Am and Tampa Pro twice in his career. He skated the course like a true champion today putting together lines that included a kickflip over the hubba and 360 flip noseslide on the box on top of the wedge to wedge gap. And Louie Lopez—who was on fire all weekend—threw down a flawless line that included backside ollie to tail on the ledge above the quarterpipe, back smith 180 out on the wedge to wedge ledge, and frontside kickflip disaster on the quarterpipe hip.
Luan Oliveira – Kickflip
When it was all said and done, Luan Oliveira, Shane O’Neill, Louie Lopez, Kelvin Hoefler, Milton Martinez, Nyjah Huston, David Bachinsky, Torey Pudwill, Chris Cole, and Felipe Gusatvo all advanced to the Final to face Tommy Fynn and Tiago Lemos. The stage was set for what would prove to be an intense competition with a surprising outcome.
The skaters that made it to the Final were getting buck from the start. As the saying goes, “if ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Skaters continued to stick the basic formula that got them to the Final, but were also upping the ante with the hopes of taking home a win at the 23rd annual Tampa Pro. Dave Bachinksy came through with more crazy tricks including a frontside tailslide bigspin heelf out on the ledge and a fakie inward heelflip to tail stall revert on the quarterpipe. Luan one-upped himself from the previous round by backside flipping the hubba in a line during his run. Kelvin Hoefler put down a kickflip front blunt transfer on the flat rail moments after his time was up after a seriously impressive run. Felipe Gustavo managed to put down a perfect switch flip back tail on the rail in one of the more tech moments of the Final. And Tiago Lemos unleashed a mind-blowing nollie crooks across and down the kinked flat rail, but didn’t manage to stay on for much of the rest of his runs. In the end, Louie Lopez’s perfect line that included a picture perfect lipslide up the hubba and Barley grind down the rail earned him a score of 93 and a victory at this year’s Tampa Pro.
Louie Lopez – Barley Grind
If Tampa Pro sets the stage for the SLS season, then this is going to be quite an interesting year. Louie Lopez is a 2017 SLS Pick. By winning Tampa Pro, he has already secured a spot in this year’s Super Crown and is now an official SLS Pro. Dave Bachinsky has also secured a spot in SLS by being the highest placing non-SLS Pro in this year’s Tampa Pro. And Milton Martinez will be back in the Semi Final of the Pro Open as the second highest placing non-SLS Pro to see if he can earn a spot in SLS.
The fact that Louie took home a win at Tampa Pro the same year that he was selected as an SLS Pick gives him a ton of momentum going into this year’s season. He’s already proven that he’s capable of beating guys like Luan Oliveira, Nyjah Huston, and Shane O’Neill. And he has no pressure to make it into this year’s Super Crown or seal his official spot in SLS because he’s already accomplished both of those things in Tampa. That in and of itself is huge. Have a look at the full results from the Final below.
Louie, Luan, and Kelvin Celebrating
1. Louie Lopez
2. Luan Oliveira
3. Keven Hoefler
4. Shane O’Neill
5. Nyjah Huston
6. Dave Bachinsky
7. Tommy Fynn
8. Felipe Gustavo
9. Chris Cole
10. Torey Pudwill
11. Milton Martinez
12. Tiago Lemos