Maloof Money Cup NYC 2011 kicks off Saturday, June 4 with qualifying runs beginning at noon. Today, nearly all the pros scheduled to compete were here in Queens getting a feel for the course and figuring out their go-to moves. With $160,000 for first place up for grabs, the level of skating going down at the Maloof-funded skatepark in Flushing Meadows' Corona Park was at an all-time high.
This is the second year the Maloof brothers have thrown a contest here in New York and it's their fifth Maloof Money Cup event overall. Notably absent this year are all the skaters who compete in Rob Dyrdek's Street League events. Athletes contracted to compete in Street League cannot compete in the Maloof events. (One exception to this: Chris Cole will compete in Maloof Money Cup Orange County this fall. That story here.) However, with so many talented pro skateboarders in the world, the course here in New York will still be packed with many of skating's best all weekend long. Zoo York and Converse pro Eli Reed put it elegantly when he told me, "All the skaters that I see in front of me right now are some of the most amazing in the world. Street League people or no Street League people, that doesn't mean a thing. The people I'm looking at right now holy s**t, amazing."
And just who is here this weekend you ask? Without listing the entire contest roster here are a few names to note: Geoff Rowley, Dennis Busenitz, Brian Herman, Vincent Alvarez, Ryan Decenzo, Omar Salazar, Darrell Stanton, Jack Curtin, and Brian Anderson.
One thing that stood out today was the handful of brand new pros who'll be making their pro contest debut at this event. Some don't even have pro boards in skate shops yet, but rest assured those decks will be available soon with the names of Money Cup rookie pro competitors Cory Kennedy, Collin Provost, Theotis Beasley and Nick Merlino on them.
I spoke with NYC local, Fiveboro pro and Money Cup judge Dan Pensyl about the invasion of out of town skaters for this event. "It's always good to see some fresh faces and honestly," he said. "With everyone skating in the streets all the time, you don't usually get to see this kind of skating all at once. It's really rad, man."
Everyone seemed to be in agreement that the contest win could go in any number of directions. With several of the consistent, contest killers obligated to Street League, the big bucks at the Money Cups are up for grabs.
"Any one of these guys could kill it on any given day," Element pro Darrell Stanton remarked. "And anyone could blow it, too."
Stanton, who is making his first appearance at the Money Cup NYC event doesn't over plan runs or contest strategy beforehand. His plan? "Just stay on the board, man."
Pressed to pick a favorite to watch and maybe to win, Stanton, Reed and Pensyl all brought up the same name: Dennis Busenitz. Busenitz, the recent winner of the 2011 Tampa Pro contest is incredibly fast, very consistent, powerful and downright inspiring to watch. Busentiz's recently released video part in Real skateboards' "Since Day One" video is already talked about as a front-runner for video part of the year. Will Busenitz hang on for the win on Sunday June 5, 2011 or will someone else rise to the occasion? We'll have to wait and see. Keep checking back as we bring you extensive coverage of the Money Cup event all weekend long.