The 2012 Pro-Tec Pool Party, presented by Vans, has come to an end and the results are in: Pedro Barros wins the pro division while Steve Caballero takes home the money in the Masters division.
In its eighth year at the Vans Skatepark in Orange, Calif., the Pro-Tec Pool Party has become the greatest gathering of skateboard legends and modern rippers in one locale. With Jay Adams, Dave Hackett, Tony Alva and Glen E. Friedman in attendance, and Eddie "El Gato" Elguera flying through the bowl, you know you're in the presence of the greats.
The Masters division is usually the shining star of the event, but this year Pedro Barros, Rune Glifberg, Bucky Lasek and slew of young upstarts like Nolan Munroe, Tom Schaar, Steve Pineiro and Mike Owen took it to another level. Everyone was blasting airs higher than the next -- the energy was contagious and Barros was on fire.
Here are a few of the skaters who stood out:
Alex Perelson, The Loch Ness Monster: Perelson is one of those skaters who falls into the "can never get enough because you rarely see him" category. Every trick he does is bigger and faster and meaner and more stylish then anything you've ever seen. In the Combi bowl he was charging so hard he could barely hold on. The fact that he didn't make the cut and I'm still talking about him explains that he's a rare breed and definitely my favorite skater to watch.
Chris Miller, Six-time Masters Champ and Style Commander: Lance Mountain told me that Miller skates better now than he did in the '80s. He meant that as a compliment, because in the '80s Miller was one of the top vert skaters of the day. To be skating at such a high level 25-plus years later is nearly unheard of. He looks flawless on a board; with one part surf-flow and one part gnarbuckle, Miller is the gold standard of vertical style. Cab fakie 5-0 grinds, long blunt slides in the round bowl, signature fastplants and airs in all the hard spots are the reason that he has won this event six times in the past.
Tony Hawk, The Reason: Hawk is the reason that you're reading and seeing skating on ESPN. He's one of the reasons why there's an X Games. He's the reason why skating has gone mainstream -- for better or worse. He's the reason why we play skate video games. He's the reason for 720s, 900s and almost everything in between. Hawk is the worldwide ambassador of skateboarding and he's probably the reason why your parents even know what a skateboard is. And to top it all off Hawk is still one of the best skateboarders in the world -- period.
Steve Caballero, Broken Collarbone Comeback: Six weeks ago Caballero broke his collarbone in a motorcycle meltdown and wasn't expected to skate for months, let alone at this contest. But the doctors cleared him, rehab was started and he came into the Pool Party hot. This year Caballero is celebrating 20 years of his signature shoe, the Half Cab, and the release of the Bones Brigade documentary. The movie tells the story of Powell Peralta skateboards' fabled Bones Brigade team of the '80s, staring Caballero (first place in this year's Masters division), Tony Hawk (second), Lance Mountain (third), Mike McGill (fourth), Tommy Guerrero and Rodney Mullen. The top four spots at this year's Pro-Tec podium looked like a Bones Brigade reunion.
Austin Poynter, Unknown Powerhouse: "Wow" is all I can say about Austin Poynter. Sixteen years old, long and lanky, Poynter had the speed lines from bowl to bowl and hucked overhead backside airs with way too much ease. Poynter won the Combi Bowl Am contest a few months ago and was invited to skate with the pros at the Pro-Tec Pool Party. This Oceanside, Calif., native grew up skating vert at the Encinitas YMCA and has the potential to be the next big thing.
Greyson Fletcher, It's In His Blood: Greyson Fletcher, nephew of Nathan Fletcher (2012's XXL winner of Ride of the Year), son of Christian Fletcher (pioneered airs on waves) and grandson of Herbie Fletcher (iconic surfer and owner of Astrodeck). Being from a family of legendary surfers, Greyson is keeping the Fletcher name alive through skateboarding. Raw, fast and on the edge of disaster, Fletcher is the embodiment of the no-holds-barred, all-around skate rat. Fletcher kept the crowd on edge by skating the Combi with reckless abandon and super-long grinds, reminding everyone that skateboarding comes from the heart.
Pedro Barros, The Brazilian Bombardier: Defending 2011 Pro-Tec and 2011 X Games Park champ, Barros came on the scene a few years ago and has blazed a path of destruction in the world of skateboarding ever since. In his hometown of Florianopolis, Brazil, he trains in his own backyard bowl and vert ramp. At 17, Barros is years ahead of his time and is just now coming into his own. When the dust settled on Saturday and the scores were tallied, Barros was the one who edged out Rune Glifberg and Bucky Lasek to take top honors and walk away with the $28,000 check.