- Nyjah Huston edges out a charging Luan Oliveira for his second consecutive Street League win—Nyjah is unbeaten in 2014
- Custom concrete skatepark inside UIC Pavilion hosts largest skateboard contest in Chicago history
- Huston takes home $100,000 prize and a Golden Ticket to the $200,000 SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship in August
History was made on Sunday as the 2014 SLS Nike SB World Tour visited Chicago for the very first time. Street League Skateboarding delivered on the fans requests as 25 of the world’s best pro skaters descended on the Midwest’s street skateboarding capitol to put on a jaw-dropping show. It all went down inside the UIC Pavilion, which was transformed, into a one-of-a-kind, custom skate plaza complete with huge sculpture-like concrete transitions and high-risk big gaps to ledges that forced even the most seasoned SLS pros out of their comfort zone.
The 2014 Street League Skateboarding series kicked off in May with the SLS Monster Energy Pro Open, a new qualification event at Nike SB’s private, state-of-the-art Sixth & Mill Skatepark in Downtown Los Angeles. Through that event, Matt Berger, Davis Torgerson, and Trevor Colden moved up to the elite ranks of the 2014 SLS Nike SB World Tour, with Felipe Gustavo and Alec Majerus being added to the SLS pro alternate list. With SLS pros Sean Malto and Dylan Rieder not competing in Chicago, Gustavo and Majerus both made their debuts along side the veteran SLS Pros at the first arena stop of the 2014 season.
The contest began with the qualification Prelims, cutting the field to just eight skaters for the Final. Among 25 of the world’s best, highlights included:
· The rookies making their presence felt. Matt Berger made his first official Final with creative moves like a Frontside Hurricane on the gap to hubba, as well as an Ollie to Wallride 180 out. For his part, Felipe Gustavo set-off the high-scoring 9 Club tricks early, with a flawless 360 Flip to Crooked Grind on the ledge.
· Pressure was at an all-time high for Chicago native Chaz Ortiz, an internationally known skater who still maintains his roots in the Midwestern metropolis where he has a private skatepark and training facility. Despite his smooth lines and a monster Fakie Flip down the big two steps, his scores weren’t enough to carry him to the Final. Defending 2013 Street League Super Crown World Champion Chris Cole also suffered an off day, and was eliminated in the Prelims.
· Brazilian Luan Oliveira shocked the crowd when he decided that instead of skating the flat ledge, he would up the ante by going right over the entire obstacle. He Kickflipped and Backside Kickflipped the ledge at high speed; the latter earned him a score of 9.5.
As the Final went live on FOX Sports 1, the eight skaters remaining included Luan Oliveira, Paul Rodriguez, Tommy Sandoval, Nyjah Huston, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Matt Berger, and French fan favorite Bastien Salabanzi. Highlights of the Final included:
· In the first of the three sections, the Flow Section, Nyjah Huston showed why he’s Street League’s top dog, putting on a consistency clinic and delivering fluid lines punctuated by tech moves like a Backside 180 Nosegrind to Revert on the ledge along the stairs. Luan Oliveira also showed he was ready for his first SLS win, speeding around the course with powerful pop. Paul Rodriguez went to his strong suit, showing off an array of technical tricks, including a huge Switch 360 Flip to finish his run.
· As the skaters began going big in the Impact Section, Shane O’Neill set the crowd on fire with an unbelievable Switch 360 Double Flip down the big two steps, scoring a near-perfect 9.8 and surging to the top of the leaderboard. Nyjah coolly responded with a Caballerial Kickflip in the same place to keep himself in the race. Meanwhile, Bastien Salabanzi launched a wicked Half-Cab Double-Flip off the big two that earned him a 9.3, and eliminated SLS rookie Matt Berger from the contest.
· In the final and decisive Control Section, the win was on the line and the skaters began turning up the heat. First to attack, Shane O’Neill dropped a dizzying Nollie Bigger Spin down the big two for a 9.1 and control of the leaderboard. Then, the crowd exploded as Luan Oliveira upped the ante on the skateboarding world with a high-speed Switch Backside Flip over the ledge he’d kickflipped earlier, for a well-deserved 9.5 once again. But in the end neither Luan nor Shane could put it all together as consistently as Nyjah. The skateboarding prodigy put up big scores all day, sealing his win with tricks like his massive Nollie Backside Heelflip across the wedge gap in the Control Section.
Congratulations to SLS Nike SB World Tour: Chicago champion Nyjah Huston. In addition to the trophy and $100,000 first place check, Nyjah holds a ‘golden ticket’ to the $200,000 Super Crown World Championships in August. With one more event before the SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship, is 2014 the year that Nyjah sweeps the season?
2014 SLS UPCOMING EVENT DATES AND VENUES:
· July 27: SLS Nike SB World Tour: Stop 2 | Galen Center at USC | Los Angeles
· August 24: SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship | Prudential Center | Newark
The SLS Nike SB World Tour airs on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO, in addition to the official live webcast on www.streetleague.com.
2014 FOX SPORTS 1 TELECASTS:
· SLS Los Angeles: LIVE: Sunday, July 27 (8:00 PM ET – 9:30 PM ET)
· SLS Super Crown World Championship: LIVE: Sunday, Aug. 24 (9:00 PM ET – 10:30 PM ET)
About Street League Skateboarding
Street League Skateboarding (SLS) is the first-ever professional league for street skateboarding. The SLS season features 25 of the world’s most exciting skateboarders competing in an easy-to-follow, ISX™ instant scoring format on one-of-a-kind concrete skate plazas, all for the largest prize purse in skateboarding history. Each arena stop of the 2014 SLS season will air live on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sport Go with a live international webcast on Streetleague.com.
For more information, visit www.streetleague.com and follow @streetleague
About Nike SB
Nike SB is dedicated to serving skateboarders, delivering product innovation and creating new consumer experiences. Since 2001, Nike SB has supported a diverse team of inspirational pros and upcoming amateurs who continue to meet the demands of a constantly evolving sport. With influence in all corners of the world, Nike SB is uniquely suited to bring skateboarding to new audiences and grows the sport globally. Based at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, Nike SB is obsessed with finding new ways to support the skateboarder by championing innovation and individuality.
For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com and follow @NikeSB.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FOX Sports 1; FOX Sports 2; FOX’s 22 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com on MSN, FOX Sports GO, Whatifsports.com and Yardbarker.com. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network, BTN 2Go and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.