Last Saturday, the eighth annual Pro-Tec Pool Party took place at the Vans Skatepark in Orange, California. For the tile-and-pool-coping community, it doesn't get much bigger than Pool Party, which is set in the Vans Combi Bowl, a replica of the old Upland Pipeline skatepark Combi Bowl, where many of skating's legends got their start.
But in many ways, the event stands just outside of skating’s mainstream. The event is split into two divisions -- Pro and Masters -- and almost none of the skaters in the Pro division have boards you’d find on the wall of your average skate shop. Meanwhile, the skaters in the Masters division are -- or were in 1988 -- among the most well-known and popular pros imaginable.
I grew up watching the Masters when they were in their prime. I've also watched many of the now-legendary pros (some of who are only a year or two shy of 40, which would put them in the Masters) come up over the years. And now I get to see this latest generation of kids (who are, in many cases, literally still kids) come into their own. When you think about 48-year-old Eddie Elguera, the winner of the first ever organized bowl contest, skating at the same event as Tom Schaar, the 12-year-old wunderkind, it’s really incredible that something like the Pool Party happens at all.
The Masters division competed first. Chris Miller, who has pretty much won the Masters here every year, was the odds-on favorite to do it again, but he just couldn’t hold on to his lines in the finals. Likewise, Jeff Grosso, who, during the qualifiers, had the crowd eating out of his hand, surprisingly wasn’t even in the finals.
Many were expecting a Tony Hawk-Christian Hosoi head-to-head in the finals -- replaying their decade-long battle for vertical supremacy once again -- but it was Steve Caballero, with his effortless consistency and style, who repeated his 2010 win. Tony and Christian had to settle for second and seventh place, respectively.
Household names made up only a small portion of the Pro division, but they included every past winner. The favorites were Brazilian Pedro Barros, who has won pretty much every bowl contest there is, followed closely by Rune Glifberg, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan (though a brutal slam kept Omar out of the finals).
On most days, the 20-year age difference between Lasek and Rune, who are in their late 30s, and 17-year-old Barros would not mean all that much. But no matter what Lasek and Rune did, their efforts were for second and third place because Red Bull athlete Pedro Barros simply goes bigger, faster, and gnarlier than just about everyone else – and he’s got another couple of decades of doing this.
Imagine someone thoroughly in control of his board, while still flying by the seat of his pants, and you will have a good idea of Pedro’s skating. The guy is a monster. His 540s, his massive, massive airs, and his incredibly long, fast and stylish grinds are what you dream of when you dream about skating big tranny. After Pedro’s first run, seeing him receive the first place trophy was just a formality.
1. Pedro Barros (Florianopolis, BRA)
2. Rune Glifberg (Copenhagen, DEN)
3. Bucky Lasek (Baltimore, MD)
1. Steve Caballero (San Jose, CA)
2. Tony Hawk (San Diego, CA)
3. Lance Mountain (Arcadia, CA)
- Barros: No Pressure to Win Pool Party
- The Ultimate Game of S.K.A.T.E.
- Skate Generations: The Winning Runs