For the past 20 years Brian Schaefer and his crew at the Skatepark of Tampa (SPOT) have been opening their doors and arms to the skateboard industry with an annual pro contest -- Tampa Pro. The vibe of Schaefer's park is so welcoming that the SPOT, on Columbus Drive, has become a home away from home for many of the skaters over the past two decades. Thanks to that hospitality Tampa Pro has become the contest every pro wants to skate in, regardless if they like contests or not.
I'm honored to announce that SPOT's 20-year-anniversary is officially under way and the next two days will be a who's who of skateboarding culture -- past, present and future! It's like skateboarding's class reunion. You could arguably say that about all Tampa Pro's.
The one thing you have to anticipate when visiting Tampa, Fla. is a daily dose of rain. Sadly, Day 1 of the Tampa Pro contest got a downpour just as the legends vert session started. It threatened to pee-on-our-parade all day, and within two hours of the contest that threat became a promise. It didn't last long though and the SPOT staff towel dried the Red Bull vert ramp in quick fashion. The start time getting pushed gave the heavy hitters more time to warm up. In the mix of vertical destroyers were guys from every generation -- young and old: from East Coast legend Dan "Booger" Brown to young buck Grant Taylor and his dad, Thomas, to Christian Hosoi, Jeff Grosso, Mike Frazier, Max Schaaf, Bill Weiss, Paul Zitzer and the list went on.
Eventually the rain rolled in again, with only Anthony Furlong and Max Schaaf able to get a few more runs in. The prize of $10,000 went to whoever ripped practice the hardest and that was an easy call -- local boy and legendary powerhouse Mike Frazier. Frazier was on fire with a battery of lip tricks that made it look like he was skating a 4-foot mini ramp and not an 11-foot plus vert ramp. In true gentleman style Frazier split the money with the two fellows he thought were ripping the hardest -- Floridian Paul Zitzer and Real Skateboards' Max Schaaf.
Thankfully it's all clear skies for Saturday's qualifying round which currently looks like its anybody's contest for the taking.