It came as no surprise when it was announced, today, that Bastien Salabanzi grabbed the final roster slot in 2012's Street League. Just two weeks ago, the voting for the European EU Selection spot began through the DC Embassy video contest. Fifteen European pros were given 12-hours to film their best part for kids to vote on and this reporter assured both you, the reader, and Rob Dyrdek himself, (owner/creator of Street League), that Salabanzi winning was a foregone conclusion. And as is always the case, I was correct. His tricks were simply harder and more impressive than anyone else and realistically, he was the only European that could stand a chance against the high caliber pros such as Nyjah Houston, Sean Malto and Chris Cole.
Naturally many Internet fans of Albert Nyberg, The Berrics darling, were up in arms by the decision giving the spot to Bastien instead of Nyberg, who won the majority of the fans vote by a few hundred counts. But what they fail to realize is their vote only counted for a third of the total score. The other two thirds come from the Street League judges, Rob Dyrdek and the other participating Street League pros. I'll admit that I was pleasantly surprised by Albert Nyberg's skating; he has an unusual and unique bag of tricks and style of skating. But the point of adding more pros to Street League is to make it more competitive and exciting and I'd say of all the new additions to the roster Bastien brings the most to those categories.
As we saw in Bastien's heralded return to the United States at the Maloof Money Cup in Queens a few years ago the crowd goes crazy for him because he doesn't play it safe. Whatever he attempts is going to be amazing because his "stock tricks" are gnarlier than some guy's best tricks. That's what the competition needs after last year's winners taking home big money by sheer volume of safe tricks rather than risky, difficult lines and combos. I made a bet with Dyrdek that Bastien would win a Street League contest and I stand behind that. When he skated Maloof in Queens, N.Y. he was spending too much time trying the hardest tricks he knew. In the Maloof Washington D.C. contest he figured out the formula and went with the tricks he had dialed. I believe he should have won the Washington D.C. Maloof Money Cup, but the judges saw it differently. If he's as smart a competitor as we saw in D.C, landing his tricks first or second try as he's known to do, than the other Street League pros have a lot to be worried about when it comes to Bastien Salabanzi.