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UPDATED: Skate Park goes ‘wild’; finalists named

Volcom competition lets more than 200 showcase tricks on wheels

Posted: September 19, 2009 8:07 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2009 3:12 p.m.

Kevin Conway, 16, attempts to complete the "step up" portion of the Wild in the Parks competition in the 15-and-over category at Santa Clarita Skate Park on Saturday.

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Amateur skater Kevin Conway of Saugus attempted as many creative tricks he could think of in 15 minutes to set himself apart from dozens of other competitors.

“I was just focused on skating differently than other people,” said Conway, 16, after competing in the 15-and-over heat. “I tried a lot of tricks other people really don’t do, like I air-walked the six-stair.”

Santa Clarita Skate Park marked the only California stop on Volcom Stone’s fifth national Wild in the Parks contest. It was also the tour’s first-ever stop in California.

That meant it was a “big deal,” according to several of the nearly 200 amateur skaters competing on Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids of this town and surrounding areas to come  to an event of this magnitude and show off what they’ve been doing in this park for the last 200 days,” said Craig Glober, owner of the  new skate shop, Push, just blocks away from the park.

The competition gave competitors in three different heats — 14-and-under, 15-and-over and Pro-Am — a chance to showcase their street-skating skills in three separate park “zones.”

The top seven in each division, for a total of 21 finalists, will go on to compete in the Wild in the Parks Championships in Phoenix on Sept. 26 and the chance at a $20,000 cash prize.

At least three of the top seven finalists in each group were from the Santa Clarita Valley, city recreation officials said. See "Related Content" for the complete list of finalists.

The event also provided entertainment for hundreds of non-competitors and parents like Monica Carceller supporting her son Cristian.

“He’s at the skate park daily,” said Carceller, of Valencia, in reference to Cristian. “All his friends are competing so it’s a big deal for him.”

Cristian said he focused on his performance, not on the skaters flipping and flying around him.

“I try to pace myself so I can keep enough energy to do more tricks,” he said.

Wild in the Parks Director Jeff Arnold ranked the three most-impressive tricks he’d seen after two hours as the switch 360 flip, Nollie backside big-spin and a front-side flip over the flat bar — all performed in the 15 and over group. But he was “by no means” limiting the above-average tricks he’d witnessed to only three, he said.

Arnold said they chose the “jam” format because it is less intimidating and more inclusive than having skaters show their skills one at a time.

“Everyone is having fun and skating with their friends,” he said.

Arnold said Volcom chose the local skate park because it was perfect for the jam format of the competition.

The 40,000-square-foot skate park opened last spring.

“When we sat down and designed it, we definitely had it in the back of our minds for venues like this,” said Doug Botton, recreation administrator for the city of Santa Clarita. “This is the first we’ve done and I have a feeling it’s going to grow.”


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