The 2017 SLS Nike SB Pro Open Semi-Final got underway with a bang at Skate Agora BDN. Tommy Fynn—who was one of the two pros to make it into SLS via the Pro Open in 2016—came in hot with solid lines and big tricks. His flawless back 180 nosegrind revert down the hubba was the icing on the cake—putting Tommy in first place at the end of round one. But there was still six more heats to go, which left Tommy at a slight disadvantage with regards to making it to the Final.
Heat 2 featured some seriously heavy hitters including Nyjah Huston and Chris Joslin. The skating in this heat set the standard for the day. Matt Berger came through with a bigspin front blunt down the rail. Joslin launched a massive backside 360 off the wedge ramp to flat. And Nyjah Huston showed that he meant business with incredible lines that included a cab front board to fakie down the rail. But it was Nyjah’s blindside fakie flip over the bench on top of the volcano that really upped the ante. It earned Nyjah a score of 8.7 and launched him into first place with an overall score of 30.4.
Shane O’Neill skated in Heat 3 and showed why he is the 2016’s SLS World Champion. In the Run section, Shane scored an 8.1 for his first and an 8.3 for his second. And during best trick he dropped a switch flip back lip on the rail that earned an 8.4 and bumped him up to first place with an overall score of 32.2. Yuto Horigome—who made it to the Semi’s through yesterday’s Qualifier—also looked impressive out there with tricks like a nollie heelflip crooked grind and a switch 180 crooked grind on the rail. Former SLS World Champion (2015) Kelvin Hoefler showed that he’s fully recovered from his injury last year by unleashing a halfcab noseslide popped into back tail down the hubba earning an 8.6. At this point, the scores were creeping up into the 30 range putting pressure on everyone skating in subsequent heats.
Dashawn Jordan is a true success story this year. He go invited to the Pro Open as a result of winning Tampa Am last year. Then, he skated amazing in the Qualifier on Saturday becoming one of the top seven Qualifiers that advanced to the Semi Final. Dashawn did not disappoint. He dropped solid lines in the Run section and bangers in the Best Trick that were scored at 7 and above on every attempt. And he shocked the judges with a bigger flip front board on the rail that earned him an 8.6 and ultimately a shot at winning his first SLS contest through skating the Final. Tiago Lemos also brought it in Heat 4 with an incredible nollie inward heelflip back lip down the rail scoring an 8.8. Tiago made it into SLS through the Pro Open last year and showed that he’s going to be a threat on the tour in 2017.
Despite the best efforts of the skaters in Heat 5 and Heat 6, none of them cracked the top 8. Luan dropped an amazing switch tre down the stairs earning a 7.9. Chris Cole’s backside flip over the volcano bench was a thing of beauty and scored him a 7.9. And Jamie Foy showed that he is a serious contender for SLS by unleashing amazing lines and tricks punctuated by his signature body varial over the volcano bench. The stage was now set for the Final with the following skaters advancing:
The Final of the 2017 SLS Nike SB Pro Open was classic SLS. All of these guys are truly on another level and it showed in their skating. In the Run section, Yuto Horigome unleashed incredible lines that included 540 ollies on the quarterpipe and nollie 270 back lip down the rail—both of which he has on command. Nyjah Huston had the eye of the tiger while handling a flawless first line that included a beautiful backside 360 kickflip earning him an 8.6. Shane O’Neill did classic Shane lines and scored 8.3 on both attempts in the Run section. And Felipe Gustavo looked great on the course after being injured last year. He had incredible Runs that included tre flip nosegrinds on the bench and nollie front nose on the rail earning 8.6 for the first run and 8.9 for the second run. His effort had Felipe sitting pretty in first place going into Best Trick.
Per usual, the 2017 SLS Pro Open Final all boiled down to Best Trick. And the skating spoke for itself. Stand-out tricks included Matt Berger’s bigspin front blunt down the rail which was scored at 8.3. Shane O’Neill’s switch bigflip front board to forward down the rail that earned a 9.2. Kelvin Hoefler’s halfcab noseslide to back tail down the hubba that was awarded an 8.8. Nyjah Huston’s blindside fakie flip over the volcano bench scored at 8.8. Tiago Lemos’ nollie inward heelflip back lip down the rail which got 9.4 and was the highest scored trick of the contest. And Yuto Horigome’s nollie 270 noseslide on the wedge to bench that earned an 8.8 and allowed him to jump into 3rd in his first-ever SLS contest. When it was all said and done, two familiar faces and one new one were standing on the podium:
Nyjah Huston – 35.0
Shane O’Neill – 34.7
Yuto Horigome 31.6
Kelvin Hoefler 30.9
Tiago Lemos – 25.5
Dashawn Jordan 18.9
Matt Berger – 17.8
Felipe Gustavo – 17.5
Typically, the Pro Open sets the stage for the rest of the SLS season. This year was no different. We saw the emergence of Yuto Horigome and Dashawn Jordan as the two new SLS Pros—these newcomers are bringing impressive tricks to the table. It will be interesting to see how they progress during the rest of the tour. Shane O’Neill and Nyjah Huston are still going to be dominant forces in SLS—the Pro Open clearly illustrated that fact. Kelvin Hoefler, Matt Berger, and Felipe Gustavo are going to be making their presence felt again in 2017 now that they are back from injuries. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out at the next stops.
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