There were moments when you could hear a pin drop inside the San Diego Convention Center on Saturday, September 10. A crowd of more than 2,000 people gathered to watch over 50 professional skateboarders and one amateur battle it out during Eric Koston’s éS Game of SKATE, presented by Boost Mobile. As the final three skaters engaged in a heated battle for $15,000, not even a breath could be heard from the capacity crowd. It was as if the focus and determination of the skaters was being shared by the masses that surrounded them.
Now in its third year as the premier skate event at the Action Sports Retailer trade show, the level of skill is absolutely mind-blowing. Tension is always thick when $15,000 and personal pride are on the line. Especially considering that the final three skaters in the pro championship contest had not been previously singled out as individuals who would be bringing the purse home with them.
Prior to the Pro Finals, the same slab of convention center concrete played stage to the Amateur World Championships. That portion of the contest is always a crowd favorite due to the fact that the entrants are largely unknown by the general public, making each trick in their personal arsenal a new surprise.16-year-old am Jack Krook of Geelong, Australia advanced to the Pro Finals and remained in competition for several rounds.
Eric Koston beat out the majority of his competitors, as most expected he would, and was only side-swiped by contest new-comer, Jim Bates, in the last stage prior to the final rounds. Two other fresh faces, Jimmy Carlon and Mikemo Capaldi, advanced in attempt to steal Bates’ thunder. The three-way final was the most intense the series has seen to date. Combinations of tricks thought to be certain death where met with strong defense. The bleachers surrounding the contest area swelled and rushed the contest area, leaving only a small strip of floor for the remaining three.
While each final entrant was worthy, it was Jim Bates who proved unbeatable and ultimately took home a check from éS Footwear and Boost Mobile for a cool $15,000. éS and Boost are honored to be responsible for bringing skateboarders from all over the world to San Diego each year to compete in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We’re already looking forward to next year, when the crowds will once again swell, the intensity will rise and great skateboarding fun will be had by all.--Matt Sharkey