Automatic Magazine’s 2nd Annual Battle Of The Shops

Battle Of The SHops

Automatic Magazine’s 2nd Annual Battle Of The Shops


“Isn’t skateboarding the fucking greatest thing ever!” Brian Schaefer yelled from the deck of our handrail obstacle through the PA system. Moments later Marquise Preston charged past him and threw a kickflip crooks down the rail. Yes, Brian. Skateboarding is the greatest fucking thing ever!

Marquise had given the rail a thorough basting with his buttery style. He methodically broke it down, frontside nose grind, frontside nose blunt, kickflip board, kickflip board to fakie, crooks, kickflip nose slide, salad grind, kickflip frontboard, and finally a blunt to fakie. Do you realize how hard it is to break off that many tricks in 30 minutes with twenty other hungry skaters trying to get theirs? Marquise had won the rail by unanimous decision. The kid without a doubt will one day be joining the ranks of great professional skateboarders. Am I jocking him too much? Alrighty let’s move on. I’ll get into more details of the Rail in a few.

This action on the handrail represented the end of a long hard road for all of us. It was the climax of months of planning and hard work. Just a day earlier as we were stressing over sponsors banners being hung properly I watched the nauseated look on the faces of the Four Down Crew (they built the obstacles for the event) as our two interns, Richard and Christian, glistening in the hot sun, with their perfect hair and skin tight jeans lathered each other’s backs up with sun block. “They are going to think we are total fruit cakes.” I thought. That was the least of our worries though. There were way bigger things to be concerned about, like the Fire Marshall, shutting us down, or, the Hell’s Angels showing up and stabbing everyone who wanted to skate the technical obstacle (My uncle thought it would be a good idea and invited them for added security). Remember the Stones concert at Altamont? Luckily they didn’t show.

In case you are unfamiliar with the format of The Battle of the Shops I’ll break it down real quick for you. The contest was divided into four categories of skateboarding: Rail, Tranny, Tech, and Gap. Shops entered teams of their top four skaters to represent them on each obstacle. So, for example, shop A was asked to put their best rail skater on the rail, their best tech skater on the tech obstacle, so on and so forth. Each skater from each team got a half hour to session each obstacle. The shops were also asked to pick one pinch hitter. The pinch hitter’s role was to jump in if any one was blowing it or got broken off. This year way too many teams used whomever they felt like at the last minute. This was not really fair to those shops that stuck with the team they registered. This year, we were just kinda like, “whatever” but beware, next year we are going penalize shops if they use anyone other than their pinch hitter to fill in for their registered skater. If a shop’s designated rail guy peace’s out and goes to Brazil the day before the contest, too bad. It will be their pinch hitter that will be skateing the rail for them, or they will have some points added to keep it fair.

The Skate Park of Tampa crew came out to help us run the event. Schaefer and Clements handled the MC detail while Meronek kept a running tally of the scores on his fully-integrated-mobile-network-interfaced-contest-tabulator-system. These guys have their shit wired when it comes to running contests. They kept the contest running smoothly and the crowd in check with their verbal lashings. Their involvement brought “The Battle” to a whole new level.

Last year I wrote about the horrendous case of ball rash I contracted during the event. This year my main aliment was the wicked head rush followed by a momentary black out! Maybe it was the heat, not eating all day, or the fact that I drank like ten of those Monster Energy drinks that those sweet Monster girls were handing out.

The first obstacle to get annihilated was the double set gap. The level of skateboarding being thrown down that 9ft gap was insane. Fuck, this is supposed to be a shop AM contest. Without a doubt, a lot of pros would have a hard time staying in the game. In a repeat of last year, Street Machine’s Jimmy Carlin took it with a bag full of bangers that included a frontside 1/2 cab flip, frontside 1/2 cab heelflip, double kickflip, and a hard flip. For first place on the gap Jimmy took home $1,000.00.

Right about the time that Jimmy broke off the double flip I stood up really quickly from my crouching position and spots began to appear at the edges of my vision. My knees buckled and I think that I passed out a little because I don’t remember anything else other than Settlement’s Josh “Dookie” Moore landing a backside heelflip down the gap. During the time I was unconscious, I later learned that Andy Beaumarchais broke off a number of bangers. He got a switch frontside big spin and a switch big spin heel flip.

When I came to, I found myself standing on the bank next to the smallest quarter pipe of our Tranny obstacle. Over the PA I heard Ryan Clements cry, “Watch out Migdol!” I looked up and saw some crazy older dude pushing off the deck of the quarter, grabbing early, and transferring into the cement bank right where my head was. “What the fuck?”. Later I looked at Jason Rothmeyer’s judge’s sheet and saw the only thing Jason wrote for him was “Crazy Tooth”. Ol’ Crazy Tooth was skating for 118 Boardshop. He got 18th Place for waking me out of my coma. Meanwhile our tranny obstacle was getting ripped to shreds.

Earlier that morning I tried to skate it for a bit and it was gnarly. The pictures don’t really do it justice. To the far left was an over vert section with pool coping and on the far right was a six foot quarter pipe with a three foot box set back three feet on the deck. These sandwiched another quarter pipe with pool coping and our wall ride that went to 4 feet of vert. The wall ride formed a five-foot channel between the two-quarter pipes.

Last year the Tranny was a close match between Val Surf’s Ricardo Carvalho and Active’s Jay Thorpe. This year the two went to town again but it was Active’s Jay Thorpe who walked away with the G. Jay won the judges over with smooth style and his array of tricks that included, giant ally oop melon over the 5 foot channel, a big 360 flip to fakie way up over the coping, nollie backside melon on the over vert section, and a few other big nollie tricks that I can’t remember. Carvalho got second with backside kickflip over the channel, kickflip over the channel, kickflip fakie over the channel, back smith on the over-vert section, blunt kickflip in, nose-stall-on-the-box-nollie-out-to-disaster back in. I am glad that I didn’t have to decide. The judges seemed to favor the more technical approach to the obstacle but if it were being scored on the raw amount of tricks and gnar factor, Decade’s Ramon Diaz was the man. The dude was pulling his shit even if he was landing in the flat. He had so many tricks it was insane. Huge melons to fakie, bean plants on the oververt section, blunt air walk, 50/50 to backside reverts, Back smith to revert, Blunt Sal flip in, it was ridiculous. Again, I am glad it wasn’t me who had to pick a single winner between Jay, Ramon, and Ricardo. Drew Potter, representing Pacific Drive didn’t concern himself with anything other than going right for the biggest, gnarliest shit possible. First he banged out both a blunt to fakie and pivot to fakie on the over vert. Then he got absolutely nuts with a feeble to fakie all the way up on the top of our wall ride. This was, by far, the gnarliest trick of the Tranny Obstacle. Aric Sanders brought it for Willy’s Workshop with a beautiful indy nose bone and couple perfectly tweaked out stale-fishes, he kick flipped one of them. Also, Aric was the only one in the contest to ollie across the channel in to a lip trick. It was about midway through that he cracked a high-speed lip slide after blasting across the channel.

After the slaughter of our Tranny Obstacle I settled in to watch the Technical Obstacle. The sun was in full force. The heat was radiating up from Adio’s brand new blacktop into my body’s core. I bent down to pick up a water bottle that was in the way and a hot pressure started in my chest and quickly climbed up to my face. “Oh no!” I thought, “I am passing out again”. The contestants skating the tech center suddenly became a swarm of killer bees. My vision blurred, “Bzzz, Bzzz!” The bees attacked the tech center like it was a ripe watermelon. Schaefer’s voice through the PA sounded a Alvin the chipmunk, “Brezzzzzzzzzzzzinski inward heel nose many!”. In reality, this altered state only lasted for a few seconds though it seemed like hours had passed. As my vision came back into focus I saw Pacific Drive’s Danny Wallace get a backside nose grind into the bank. My senses came back and I watched a few more tricks get broken off. Val Surf’s Joey Brezinski got so many manual combinations it was retarded. Nose manual nollie heel out, manual big spin out, 180 fakie manual 360 shov-it out, and so many more it would be silly to keep listing them. As with last year, Brezinski won the Tech Center for Val Surf. Danny Wallace took second with a bunch of beauties. He focused on the curved ledge and broke off a backside tailside, nosegrind 180 out, and a lovely backside nose blunt slide. Surfride’s Kenny Hoyle killed it as well. Kenny rattled off a nollie heel frontside nose grind, nollie 180 heel flip to nose manual, switch heelflip nose manual, and some others that are now just a distant memory. Active’s Donny Mitchell held his own also, he flipped into his manuals with a 360 flip, hardflip, and a kickflip. On the kickflip he 360 flipped out.

By the time the rail got under way, I had pounded three more of those Monster Energy Drinks because I felt myself slipping and I wanted to be in tune for the grand finale. The rail was the last obstacle of the day and when it was time to go it was already getting totally destroyed. As I earlier explained the man of the hour was Marquise Preston, but several other contenders also were killing the handrail. The Monster Energy drinks I consumed began to take effect. My heart rate quickened and sweat beaded up in my eyes. The scene around the rail began to spin. Colors suddenly became more crisp and vibrant. My vision sharpened. I could see things in perfect detail. The most infinitesimal details suddenly became clearly visible. I looked at the rail and saw tiny microscopic fragments of metal grind off of Pacific Drive’s Adrian Mallroy’s front truck as he did a nose grind 180 out. What do they put into that shit? Asylum’s Michael Prince put on an amazing show with a front blunt shove-it, kickflip front board, backside tailslide-shove-it willy grind, salad grind 180, and a backside salad grind. Mr. Prince wound up getting second place on the rail for his efforts. Adrian Mallory stepped up with smith 180, hurricane, front feebs 180. Last year Steve McNeal won the rail for Sun Diego with his switch skating prowess. This year he brought it again with a switch frontboard, switch lip, switch frontside tailslide, switch backlip, and a switch smith. Steve got fourth place this year. It goes to show you how insane the level of skateboarding is becoming when a ripper breaks off all those tricks and still only lands in fourth place. Amazing! Urban’s Tim Thomas and 118’s Terell Robinson deserve props for killing it as well.

When the dust settled, this year’s Battle Of The Shops turned out to be a total success for amateur skateboarding. It would not have been possible with out Jeff Taylor and the crew at Adio. They have stepped up and gone way beyond the call of duty to make The Battle Of The Shops go off perfectly. Everyone volunteered their time to help out. The marketing staff to the warehouse dudes deserve huge props. Huge thanks are also in order for our crew as well, Kobriger and Kreigs. Our interns Christian, Richard, and Matt worked their asses off. Thanks for Ari from for coming out and lending a big hand. Thanks Climax Dan for taking care of the registration desk. Thanks are in order for Jason Spear and the Four Down Crew for building the obstacles, they handled the huge task perfectly, true pros. Thanks to the SPOT crew for running the contest flawlessly. Thanks to our judges, Jason Rothmeyer, Mike Sinclair, and Chad Knight for coming out and enduring the heat and long hours. And finally thanks to all the companies that sponsored the event, with out them we couldn’t have made it happen.

Shop Score
1. Pacific Drive    16
2. Val Surf    19
3. Surf Ride    20
4. Sun Diego    25
5. Active    28
6. Street Machine    34
7. Identity    36
8. Settlement    38
9. Pharmacy    39
10. Urban    41
11. Asylum    44
12. Schmidt’s    44
13. Decade    44
14. 118 Boardshop    46
15. Overload    51
16. Willy’s Workshop    53
17. K5    63
18. Prooflab    64
19. Avalance    65
20. Hanger 94    70

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