Year in review: Skateboarding


A League Of Their Own
2010 saw the realization of Rob Dyrdek's long-rumored Street League contest series. He came out swinging in March, announcing a three-stop tour and the signing of exclusive contracts by 24 of the world's most respected street skaters. In the months that followed, Dyrdek released a series of videos in which skaters like Eric Koston, Greg Lutzka and Sean Malto signed their contracts and espoused the game-changing nature of the new league. Dyrdek then doubled down, signing a deal with ESPN to air each of the events, ensuring a national audience for a format designed to make true street skating competitive and translate that skating to a mainstream viewer. While the three events showed promise in terms of both live and television audiences, it was the largest-ever prize purse and organizing hand of the highly respected Dyrdek that ensured enthusiasm from the skaters themselves. Shane O'Neill, Nyjah Huston and Sean Malto won the three stops of the inaugural tour, and plans for an expanded schedule into new cities are already in the works for 2011.

Leo Rising
In 2009, Leo Romero sparked the grinding up handrails revolution that, to this day, only he and a handful of others have been able to follow through on. Inspired by BMX videos, Romero grinded up a popular 8-stair handrail that many skaters had spent portions of their careers doing tricks down. The photographic evidence of this feat made its way to the cover of Skateboarder magazine's May '09 issue. With Romero's gnarly skills already apparent, that cover sparked immediate gossip about the possibility of Romero as a potential recipient of Thrasher magazine's coveted Skater of The Year award. Though he lost the '09 race for SoTY to a deserving Chris Cole, Romero took on 2010 as if he had a vendetta to settle. In the end, Romero released not one but four gnarly video parts in 2010: a part for X Games Real Street contest, a part for clothing company RVCA's promo video, a standout part in the already stellar Emerica footwear "Stay Gold" video and a buzzer-beater part in November for Toy Machine skateboards' "Brain Wash" video. Those video parts, on top of ample coverage of his ridiculous reign in print and on the web, more than solidified Romero's status as the standout, stand-alone gnarliest skater in 2010. This time Thrasher magazine couldn't deny it either and before the holidays took hold he was crowned the 2010 Skater of the Year.

A New Spin On The 9
During last summer's Labor Day weekend, while many were relaxing for the holiday, Bob Burnquist went to work. On Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, Burnquist became the fifth person in the world to land a 900 on a skateboard. Up to that point, only Tony Hawk, Sandro Dias, Georgio Zatoni and Alex Perelson had successfully done it, and in typical Burnquist fashion he did it differently than those who came before him.

Burnquist stuck the 2½ rotational spin on the MegaRamp, becoming the first skater ever to do the trick in that supersized context (all previous 900s had been done on standard vert ramps) and he did it rolling backwards. The fakie-to-fakie, caballerial-style 900 just made sense to Burnquist.

"The fakie-to-fakie was the one I could control the spin the best. I knew that if I over-rotated, I'd over-rotate to my knees and not slam to my back," Burnquist said.

Will Burnquist take the 900 to next summer's Big Air contest at X Games 17? Will he try to be the first skater to land the elusive 1080? Check next year's list.

Best Picture
On Aug. 17, 2010, the world got its first glimpse of Emerica footwear's long-anticipated "Stay Gold" video. In the works for more than three years, the film, starring Andrew Reynolds, Leo Romero, Brandon Westgate, Jerry Hsu and more, stands out as the single most impressive team video of the year. Then-amateur riders Justin Figueroa and Jamie Tancowny were turned pro by their respective board sponsors within days of the video's release and based largely on the strength of their video parts for "Stay Gold." Brandon Westgate, whose pro career began less than a year earlier with his part in Zoo York's "State Of Mind," solidified his current dominant reputation. Jerry Hsu battled back from injuries and came through with an all-switchstance part. Leo Romero paved the way toward his inevitable Skater of the Year status. And finally, at 32 years old, in his 12th major video part in a career spanning 18 years, Andrew Reynolds proved to everyone who may have doubted his status that he remains "The Boss."