TAMPA, Fla. -- Although the pros contest isn't until Saturday, Tampa Pro 2012 kicked off with two separate and exciting contests Friday.
First was the always-fun industry and VIP contest that features those who work in or are a part of the skateboard industry in some way shape or form. The second and last contest of the day was the amateur vert contest.
With team managers, marketing guys, and even some former pros the industry contest set the tone for the weekend. The top three were all older than 30 and all of them skated as though they were a decade younger.
Top honor went to John Montesi, a former New Deal skateboards pro. Montesi, who now owns Westside Skate Shop, destroyed the contest and wall rode his way to victory.
Bob Reynolds, Nike Skateboarding's mid-Atlantic representative, was holding it down for the husky boys. Reynolds was the most technical of the top three, stomping a switch backside disaster on the quarter pipe, a nollie heel flip off the bump and a backside tailslide on the bump to ledge that secured him the No. 2 spot.
Scott Koerner, Dakine team manager, was handling the transitions and even threw in a few boardslides on the rails to take third place.
The amateur vert contest followed and finished in record time. The format was supposed to be three 45-second runs but because of the heat, the seven skaters asked if they could switch it to three 40-second runs, to which the wonderful people at Skatepark of Tampa obliged.
The top two was a classic battle of technical vs gnar, one that has been repeated throughout the history of vert skating. It started with Tony Hawk and Christian Hosoi, moved on to Shaun White and Pierre-Luc Gagnon, and has now worked its way down to the amateur ranks. Alex Sorgente, who had the most varied tricks and really mixed up his lines was up against Clay Kreiner who was powerful and stylish. After three runs each, the battle of tech and gnar was settled and it went to a gnarly kid on the come-up, Kreiner.
The pros continued practicing and qualifying starts at noon Saturday (click here for the heats).