Los Angeles, the birthplace of modern skateboarding hosted the 2nd stop of 2018 SLS World Tour, on July 7th at the Galen Center. After an insane Pro Open in London that saw 19-year-old Japanese phenome, Yuto Horigome take home his first ever SLS win, and the return of Nyjah Huston from a knee injury, the excitement and stakes were at an all-time high.
Miles Silvas, Tom Asta, 2018 SLS Pick Jamie Foy, and SLS new comers Vincent Milou and Trent McClung set things off with heat 1. It was no surprise that Jamie Foy came out swinging with a variety pack of tricks on the big rail including a huge kickflip fs 5050. It was Miles Silvas though, whose smooth style combined with difficult switch tricks, who would end up on top in heat 1 with a score of 32.1. Locking down two solid runs and a flawless Switch BS Tailslide down the big rail, it was no surprise to see him at the top.
Heat 2 got turned up a notch with the debut of 2018 SLS Pick Milton Martinez. Milton came out hauling, with an insane gap to Noseblunt, which scored him a solid 8.0. He also somehow took a Kickflip F/S Nosegrind across the entire quarter pipe, shocking everyone in the arena. Yuto Horigome really came in and shut it down. Hot off his first ever SLS victory, Yuto hardly missed a trick, putting down an amazing 8.8 1st run, and then stomping a Nollie 270 back lip in the best trick section, comfortably putting him in the lead with a 33.5.
The bar continued to get raised in heat 3 featuring a full line-up of SLS veterans. Shane O’Neill and Felipe Gustavo delivered a barrage of technical tricks. Felipe impressed judges with a perfect SW Flip B/S Nosegrind down the hubba. Heat 3 was truly the Manny Santiago show though. He came out absolutely swinging in best trick section, with an all out attack on the big rail, scoring an 8.9 for Varial Heel F/S board, an 8.7 for a F/S Shuv-it B/S 5-0, and finally topping it off with his first ever 9 club, a Varial Heel B/S 5050. Manny’s energy was truly infectious boosting him to the top of the leaderboard with 34.6, and supercharging the arena.
Zion Wright proved why he was chosen to be a 2018 SLS Pick in Heat 4. He came out absolutely swinging in just his 2nd ever SLS contest, blending high flying transition tricks like B/S 360 Disaster revert and a gap to F/S Noseblunt all in the same run. He also didn’t let up going in to best trick stomping a cab B/S lip for an 8.7 and a 270 B/S lip for an additional 8.5 to sit him in 3rd place. SLS vet Sean Malto and Dave Bachinksy wowed the crowd respectively with a signature gap to F/S crook up and over the rail in the big section, and Dave Bachinksy with a perfect F/S 5-0 to Crook Fakie Flip out.
Heat 5 was an all-out battle royal, with SLS heavy hitters Kelvin Hoefler and Chris Joslin going trick for trick. Joslin set it off scoring a 9.0 on his 2nd run with a massive gap to b/s lip, and a super tweaked fakie flip down the big set. Kelvin was quick to match, immediately following Chris with an 8.8 run of his own. The battle continued into the best trick section where Kelvin landed every single attempt including a perfect Cab B/S tail landing him the 3rd Nine club of the contest. Joslin immediately matched with his own 9 club, an insane full-cab flip, earning him a 9.5, the highest score of the contest and landing him the top qualifying spot. 2018 SLS Pick Mark Suciu, skating in his 2nd SLS wowed the crowd with a signature “Suciu Grind” and Louie Lopez put down an incredible 8.9 10 trick plus line.
The sixth and final heat of the prelims was stacked with defending 2017 SLS World Champion Nyjah Huston, 2016 Skate of the Year Kyle Walker, Tommy Fynn, and Dashawn Jordan. Nyjah sparked it off on his first run with an 8.8 stomping a gap to F/S Nosegrind in the big section. He *continued crushing it in the best trick* section stomping three more *tricks* in the high 8’s to lock him into the 2nd qualifying position overall. On his last *attempt, Tommy Fynn put down a fakie 360 flip* down the big set scoring an 8.9 *which secured* him the 8th and final spot in the Finals.
After an epic Prelim, the Final was set with Chris Joslin, Nyjah Huston, Manny Santiago, Kelvin Hoefler, Yuto Horigome, Zion Wright, Felipe Gustavo & Tommy Fynn. Unfortunately while warming up for the final, Zion Wright took quite a hard slam and was quickly rushed to the hospital. He was released later that same evening and is on his way back to a speedy recovery. We know Zion will be back skating soon and will be returning stronger than ever!
As temperatures soared into the 100s in downtown LA, the competition was even hotter inside with Yuto Horigome bringing the heat as he put down a 9 Club on his first run, and seemed to hardly be breaking a sweat as he followed it up with a 8.9 on his second run. Kelvin answered immediately with an 8.9 run of his own, stomping tricks with *so* much precision like a *Full Cab Back Tail on the bump to rail*. Nyjah always means business, and this final was no different. *On his first run he wasted no time landing a huge gap to Frontside 5-0 down the big rail, following it up with a Frontside 180 Nosegrind the hard way on the tech rail. Nyjah’s first run earned him a 9.1, and sent him to the top of the leader board. Felipe’s technical skills really shined on the LA course. He stomped tricks like a Nollie flip Backside 50-50 on the hubba, and Nollie Frontside Noseslides on the tech rail, earning himself an 8.5. Chris Joslin closed out the run section with an 8.5 of his own, absolutely hauling across the course to get an insane gap to Backside Lipslide, and capping it off with a perfect Backside Bigspin down the big set.
With Yuto in the lead after the run section, everyone knew they needed to step their game up for the best trick section. Tommy Fynn’s fakie game was on point! His first trick is probably one of the best fakie heelflips ever put down in a contest and it earned him a solid 8.5 which he later followed up with a clean fakie 360 flip (8.9). Kelvin Hoefler would secure the first 9 club of the best trick section (9.0) with an accidental but epic Half Cab Backside Suski grind to Fakie. Manny turned the tech level up another notch with a Varial Heelflip Backside 5050, scoring him his 2nd Nine club of the contest and propelling him into 2nd place. Nyjah then proceeded to stomp on an insane 360 flip 50/50 on the big rail on his second attempt for a 9.1. Up next Chris Joslin payed homage to the legendary Steve Caballero who was in attendance with an insane Cab Flip down the big set scoring him a 9.5 and absolutely setting the packed crowd off! But the Final however, belonged to Yuto. He just simply could not be stopped: Nollie 270 Switch Backside Lip (8.8), an unbelievable Nollie 270 Switch Backside Tailslide (9.5), and sealed it off with a perfect Nollie Heelflip Crooked grind for another Nine club (9.0) which got him the scores he needed to leap in front of the pack and take the win! With back-to-back wins this year Yuto has shown he has the tricks and knows how to play the game. As he gets more comfortable skating SLS stops and continues to progress his skating, this young 19-year-old from Japan is well on his way to possibly being the next World Champion!
1. Yuto Horigome 36.4
2. Chris Joslin 35.4
3. Kelvin Hoefler 35.1
4. Nyjah Huston 35.0
5. Manny Santiago 34.2
6. Tommy Fynn 30.7
7. Felipe Gustavo 24.7