As the world of competitive skateboarding turns all eyes on Newark, N.J., the rest of the East Coast is bracing for the eye of the storm.
This weekend's Street League championship event has been moved to Saturday over its original Sunday time slot due to impending weather from Hurricane Irene.
Thursday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency as the East Coast braced for the arrival of the storm, which is expected to hit the state Saturday at a Category 1 level.
During a press conference Thursday with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Street League mastermind Rob Dyrdek announced funding for a new concrete skate plaza at Hayes Park East in the city's East Ward. Through his Rob Dyrdek Foundation, the 37-year-old pro skateboarder and television personality will donate $50,000 worth of in-kind design work, $25,000 toward construction and obstacles valued at $35,000 from the weekend's championship at the Prudential Center.
The skate plaza construction is part of a greater $40 million city initiative to expand Newark's parklands and athletic fields.
"We tell the 11 million American kids who skateboard that every place they do it is unsafe and illegal," Dyrdek said in a PSA released by the foundation earlier this month. "I believe that we should build them places that aren't."
To that end, the 8-year-old foundation has, among other programs, financially backed the design and construction of free, public skate plazas around the country "to create safe and legal havens for skaters," according to its website. The skate plaza at Hayes Park East will be the Rob Dyrdek Foundation's 10th "Safe Spot Skate Spot."
As Newark gears up to break ground at Hayes Park East, the top 10-ranked Street League skaters of 2011 are eyeing the unprecedented $200,000 first-place check in the Street League championship event, which will be taped and televised Sunday in its original programming window on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET.
Sixteen-year-old Nyjah Huston has won all three Street League events so far this season, as well as Skateboard Street gold at X Games 17 in July. But that doesn't make him the overall champ.
"We wanted to create the Super Bowl of skateboarding by adding the winner-takes-all championship to the series," Dyrdek said in a press release. "Despite Nyjah's historical winning streak, on Aug. 28, whoever skates the best when it matters most will be named Street League champion. The stakes have never been higher."
Huston is Street League's youngest pro and has never finished worse than third place in the League. He has raked in an estimated $800,000 in total contest earnings.
Along with Huston, the contenders for the championship title are Mike Mo Capaldi, Sean Malto, Mikey Taylor, Billy Marks, Paul Rodriguez, Shane O'Neill, Chaz Ortiz, Ryan Sheckler, and Chris Cole.