Nollie BSLS, Caleb Orton. Photo: Chris Swainston
Finding the words “summer” and “death” in the same sentence typically occurs only at two occasions—a eulogy or a coffee shop poetry reading.
Luckily, SLUG happens to be the exception by hosting annual skate competitions every summer, calling it the Summer Of Death (SOD). “Bust Till Dusk” was one of the skate competitions associated with SOD, and was hosted on a hot-as-fuck July evening. Skaters from all around Utah gathered in the parking lot behind Burt’s Tiki Lounge to skate on ramps, quarterpipes, boxes and rails, some hand built by the Summer of Death crew and others donated by Ezra Moss of Annex Skate.
The course was set up to keep all styles of skaters in mind. Obstacles like back–to–back quarter pipes located near the center, two drop-in ramps at opposite ends, and the un-godly huge launch ramp–gap–landing ramp favored the big and bold. The course balanced the raw with some technical skating obstacles: an up-down box plopped in the middle of the course either for grinding or manuals, a knee-high ledge on the outskirts of the lot and plenty of slime-green colored rails dispersed along all sides, ranging from short n’ stubby to long and gnarly. To mix up the flow and aid skater creativity was a high rounded box that imaginatively had “wall ride up onto me” plastered on it, and the last obstacle was a small ramp with a ledge on top, crossing over to a landing ramp. The course layout seemed to please everyone. The box and launch ramp were without a doubt the way for skaters to show off heavy hitting tricks. For the box, showing board control was a must, either by doing gnarly manuals up and down or just flipping in or out of a grind, making people sound like lung cancer patients by their ensuing gasps. As for the launch ramp, basically catching any sort of air and not bailing made you a shoe-in for being eye candy to the judges.
After the course setup was made permanent, DJ Lil‘ G got the music jamming right on time, hinting to the MC Eric The Dirty Hessian and judges Jason Gianchetta, Kendall Johnson, Panda and Jared “Snuggles” Smith to start hassling the skaters to pay their cash and register. As the clock ticked six sharp, the intermediate division of skaters started their heat.
The intermediate division had a lower number than the open division, so they would be judged on one fifteen-minute jam session, instead of multiple heats. The winners would be chosen from that one heat—there would be no finals for the younglings. Due to the number of contestants, the open division would hold a final round for the top ten best skaters of all heats, before choosing the three winners. As Hessian yelled that the contest had begun, the intermediate skaters rolled slowly out onto the course, making sure it was truly only their time to shine in the blazing glory of the 90-degree sun. All the participants in the intermediate division showed that their skills were not dedicated to just one or two obstacles. Noah Sutton was catching gansta air off the launch ramp and showed off his steezy style with an additional variety of rail grinds, the sickest being a buttery back board 180 out. Brandon Tucker decided to mainly stick to technical ledge and manny tricks, like a 5–0 up and down the whole A frame box, and an additional manual up the ledge and nollie nose manny down. The small-in-stature Dagon Molton showed his big appetite for the course, with tricks like a pivot to fakie on the east quarter pipe, a flatground 360 shuv, and riding up the bump and kickflipping off. Though there were a lot of ill tricks being thrown down from minors, Jordan Frankie seemed to stand out, earning himself the title of first place after landing a bag of gnarly tricks like ront boardsliding the downrail and riding up and tailsliding down the A frame box, while showing progression throughout the competition by landing a kickflip front board on a round rail.
Immediately following the end of the intermediate division were the next three heats of the open division, where the unknown skate guppies swam in the same asphalt sea as the name-dropped street sharks. Each spot in the park got killed with a variety of epic tricks from skaters in all three open heats. The A frame box was a particular favorite for many—Brodie Penrod threw down a nose manual up, nollie kickflip to manual down. Kevin Fedderson kept it crazy with a fakie nose manual up, pop shuv and manual down. Sean Hadley repeatedly stuck a frontside 50 up then 180 to backside 50 down. Matt Fisher brought down the house of tech with 5–0 up 360 shuv out and backside lip up to fakie nose manny down.
The launch ramp gap was the other main point of interest for the crowd, skaters, judges and even the micro-organisms that occupied the ramp surface were probably cheering after each skater stuck huge air. Speaking of ridiculously huge fucking air, Levi Faust was constantly hitting up the ramps, even during heats other than his own, by kickflipping, nose grabbing, melon grabbing, and clearing the gap completely. Mike Zanelli backside flipped the gap while Taylor Mineer a.k.a. Corey Duffel Jr., stomped a boneless 360 to flat from the launch ramp. Caleb Orton owned the launch, with multiple tuck knees and airwalk grabs over. Sean Hadley took the crowd’s attention with a 360 kickflip off the launch to flat, and Isaiah “The Fish” switch ollie over the gap killed it. As the sun casted its last warm golden rays across the lot full of debauchery and delinquency, the high ollie was set in place before the winners were announced. Lizard King ended up with the biggest cahones and title of first place in the high ollie contest, with a 96-inch blast over the limbo pole.
When the dusk stopped the skate bust, skaters got their just desserts with prize packages that included epic shit like shoes, skate decks, trucks, backpacks and hats from sponsors:
Natty Light, Scion, Ace Trucks MFG, Alien Workshop, Analog, Annex, Blindside, Gravis, Habitat, Milo, Odeus, Ogio, Paradox, City Weekly, Salty Peaks, Shogo, Sunnyside and War Regime.
1st – Jordan Frankie -$50
2nd – Dagon Moulton
3rd – Noah Sutton
1st – Matt Fisher - $100
2nd – Caleb Orton - $60
3rd –Sean “Dirty” Hadley - $40
Honorary 4th –“Fish”