The sun has set on the second and last day of qualifiers at the 2011 Tampa Am 2011. After switching hands a few times the golden ticket finally ended up with Evan Smith. The action heated up today and there were some serious rippers wowing the crowd. Out of 121 people, only the top 16 are moving on to meet the top 16 from Friday, and the 10 prequalifed skaters from the Damn Am series in tomorrow's semifinals.
Solomon Mosley was the first skater to look like he was going to claim the top spot early on. Looking like a younger Kenny Hughes in stature, Mosley linked together a fast line full of power and snap. Mosley has been coming to Tampa Am for more than a few years now, but he always manages to make magic happen. The frontside flip he did over the hip was as high as it could be and he stomped it with authority.
But with everyone wanting a chance to take the top honors and skip tomorrow's semifinals, the crown wasn't his for long. Soon after, Taylor Smith, who just had an incredible part in the new Foundation video, came out swinging. He mixed big airs on transition and technical ledge tricks, like a kickflip frontside tailslide on the bump to ledge to help move him up and push Mosley down. Smith skated so hard that the moment he was done he regurgitated and he couldn't even take his second run. But with a first run like that, a second run was unnecessary.
Stevie Perez, who is one of the new ams on Chocolate and is filming for their new video, was the second most fun skateboarder of the day to watch. It's always great to see ripping skateboarders doing it with a smile, and Perez had that on lock. One of the few guys who used the ledge as a manual pad, he did a line that included a backside 180 fakie manual and followed it up with a nollie kickflip backside lipslide down the little handrail, which was met with roaring applause from the crowd. Lucky for everyone, Stevie Perez will be skating again tomorrow.
But the most fun skater to watch of the day award goes to none other than our first place qualifier, Evan Smith. "Full speed ahead! Tampa Ham is reckless!" he said, when I asked him his favorite thing about Tampa Am. And that is exactly how he skated. Smith hit every obstacle in his path and did what everyone should do, but very few skaters actually do: he did a completely different second run. The sickest trick of the day was his backside 180 nosegrind 180 in on the bump to ledge/quarter pipe. Tomorrow is looking to be a great day of skateboarding here in Tampa, Florida.