By Paul Zitzer
On a weekend where 120 skaters came from all over the United States and the World (Japan, Peru and Brazil to name a few) to join in the good times, Damn Am NYC came down to the very last trick of the Final, like a scaled down version of the Super Crown. And while there was no real money on the line, the stakes were as high as any contest ever. I’ll explain.
Going into NYC, which was the last of seven Damn Ams of 2017, there were four skaters who’d won at least one stop and were in contention for Damn Am of the Year. Maurio McCoy was in the lead, and the only way for anyone to take him down was to match his two wins, and do it with a higher score than the 93.33 he’d posted on his winning
Woodward West run.
Not surprisingly to those who’d seen the previous Damn Am winners skate, all four of them made it to the top 12, so basically, it would be a fight to the finish for all of them,plus there were eight other ridiculously talented rippers in the mix who were all lookingfor their first wins of the year. So even before it started NYC had become the most exciting Final in Damn Am history. And it got better.
But before we get to that, I’ll tell you now that you should do whatever you can to get yourself to LES next year when we return. It is hands down the stop with the most hype, the biggest turnout and the best vibe. New York in late summer, there really is nowhere better. And adding to the level we hit on the stoke-o- meter, this was the first-ever Damn Am that was live on ETN. Now aspiring future pros around the world are finally able to
tune in and get an idea of what they’ll be up against in the coming years.
But back to the contest. There were more than a few standout moments leading up to that last trick I was talking about. Keith Hardy, LES local and fashion model in the making, showed up in overalls, no shirt (along with a girl in overalls) and proceeded to mutilate the course. Keith is less about tricks than he is about style and flow, but he’s got the tricks too. Lucas Rabelo is another in a long line of amazing Brazilian skater with tech
tricks for days. He did nollie backside 180 nosegrinds on the new bump to bar like he was taking a well-trained dog on a short walk. Now get this: six of the 12 finalists were from Florida. Before you start thinking the judges were biased, the only Florida judge was Pat Stiener and he’s lived in New York for the past 5 years. Billy Marks and Jack Sabback [the two other judges] don’t give a Damn Am about Florida. With skaters ranging from Marcos Montoya, Zion Wright, Jereme Knibbs, Jake Ilardi, and Christian Henry-Brissett, you know it doesn’t take tainted scoring for them to get them into the Final.
But I get it; you want to hear about that last trick. So here goes. Damn Am Amsterdam winner Ivan Monteiro from Brazil had already done an absolutely stellar run that included a tre flip lip down the handrail, a backside nollie 270 heelflip over the hip, and bump to bar 270 lipslide 270 out, and a tre flip noseslide on the bump to ledge. The smart money had him as the guaranteed winner. But Daisuke Ikeda from Japan, winner of Damn Ams Costa Mesa and Australia, was 89% of his way through what was a perfect run. He front blunted the flat bar, tre flipped the pyramid, backside 270 kickflipped the hip, and then, with time running out he headed for the 5 stair to finish with a bang by way of a 360 double flip with extra pop. And he landed it!
And got pitched off the front of his board.
And that was that. When the results were announced, Daisuke placed 2 nd , and Ivan Monteiro got a 95 even, the highest score of the 2017 Damn Am series, and so Ivan who is probably the winningest amateur skater of 2017, walked off with his second win and Damn Am of the Year status to boot. Along trophy his double stack of trophies Ivan gets a Straight Shot to the Final at Tampa Am along with an invitation from SLS to skate the 2018 Pro Open. All I can say is this: Look out Pros!
After the Finals our attention shifted to the Independent Best Trick down the LES double set. It’s a 6 flat 4 that is longer than it looks on any video, and it’s the host set of what is now an annual tradition. With $2500 up for grabs the bodies started flying, but so too did the tricks. Back three nose grab (Brandon Johnson), switch fs 360 (Tim Casey), varial heel (Markus Jalaber), nollie backside biggie (Marcus Sarsycki), but the winning trick? The same one that “lost” the contest: A three sixty double flip by Daisuke Ikeda. Schaeferhigh fived him with $1000 for his efforts and all was good in the world. Mark it on your calendar and see you there next year.