Once again, over two hundred of the world’s most talented amateur skaters descended upon the desert to compete in the glorious spring sun. In a little less than two decades, we’ve seen our modest contest turn into the proving ground for global talent. It’s always an amazing weekend, not only for skating but also for celebrating art, music, and the growing skate scene in general. With the continual growth of the contest reaching across international lines, we also saw some truly gifted women rip up the course including Vans riders Fabiana Delfino, Breana Geering, and Una Farrar (aka Lil’ Tubsy). It was definitely an exciting weekend and we can’t wait to see what next year brings.
After the first day of practice, skaters from the contest and the local scene piled into Legend City Studios to see the art of mastermind, Ben Horton. His illustrations have always been on the cutting edge of skate graphics and art and it was a rare opportunity for the southwest scene to see so many of his prints in person. Horton’s take on the see no evil monkey holding an iPhone while covering its eyes with the other hand was one of the funniest and most haunting prints on display. Legendary desert dweller, Wez Lundry spun records for all in attendance and kept the vibes going well into the night. There were free Cowtown branded libations (courtesy of The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe) for everyone old enough to partake and, honestly, we’re thankful not a single drop of that sweet Jackalope Pils spilled onto any of the art or the Lookback Library display.
Click here for all pictures from PHXAM Friday!
The next morning, it was go time for everyone who partied responsibly and got enough rest to rip the rainbow rail. Now that I think of it, it kind of makes sense why the under-21 crowd kills it so hard every year. Miniature maniac and local rider, Lazer Crawford, went on a serious tear that started Saturday and continued all the way into the finals—hardflip backlips down the handrail on lock!
After every skater had a chance to jam a heat in the cool 75-degree weather, Tanner Van Vark of Real and Vans, wallie to fakie 5-0’d his way to the finals with the coveted Golden Ticket.
Somehow after a night out and a second day of total carnage at the park, the riders and entourages still had energy to assemble at The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix. What happened this year at the PHXAM after party was an unprecedented display of stoke. Not only did everyone get to see even more incredible skating during the premiere of the Asshole video, the crowd also got to rock the eff out with Loserfur and Drunk Dom and the Roaches. Following the bands, a truly amazing moment occurred when our boy and Cowtown rider, Dashawn Jordan surprised the crowd by getting on stage and performing his own brand of hip-hop that blew every single mind in the place—many of the attendees still haven’t quite recovered from the shock. Then, possibly the only act on the planet that could follow a moment that raw and pure, Method Man and Redman took the crowd back to the mid-90s, which only seems fitting at a skate event, considering the current trends skating. It was a perfect night for everyone who could remember—free blackouts were given to the skaters that gamed the drink ticket situation.
Still running on the prior night’s hype and the undeniable energy of The Muska, the semi-finalists went to town on the course. Good thing all the obstacles were sturdy enough to handle the killing spree thanks to the fine craftsmanship of Josh Hawkins and the crew. The course this year also included a painted pair of glasses on the quarterpipe extension to honor our lost comrade, Jake Phelps. It was only fitting that the gnarliest quarterpipe in the park memorialized The Phelper. Thanks to Lalo Cota and friends for all the amazing art.
The main event ended after a heated finals round which included NBDs in abundance. Speaking of NBDs, the first place winner, Giovanni Vianna threw down a half cab nosegrind (the hard way) and a frontside halfcab 5-0 (also the hard) on the banked Hubba. It seemed like the Brazil native’s strategy was to just land a lot of really hard tricks in a short amount of time—a straight-forward approach that paid off, literally.
As is tradition, following the contest was the annual huckfest, otherwise known as the Best Trick contest. Somehow amidst the chaos of 60 or so jumpers flying across the Red Bull grass gap/bump to bar, Braden Hoban landed a perfect kickflip front blunt bigspin out for the win. Every year we think it can’t get any crazier, and yet it always gets crazier. PHXAM 2019 really was one for the books, well actually, nobody records things in books anymore, so maybe it was one for the phones. Either way, our expectations for ripping and fun were once again exceeded and we have to thank everyone who skated and watched for their participation in the experience that is PHXAM.
Click here for all the photos from PHXAM Semi, Finals & Best Trick!
A huge thank you goes out to our partners that helped to make this year’s PHXAM happen: Vans, Real Skateboards, Red Bull, Bones Bearings, Bones Wheels, Mob Grip, Pro-Tec, Thrasher Magazine, City of Phoenix Parks and Rec. and Happy Hour Shades. The success of this event every year could not be possible without the skateboarders that travel here from around the world, the support from the entire skateboarding industry, the countless hours of hard work from our entire PHXAM staff, the ripping tunes from DJ Kate Scratch Fever, and the diligent eyes of our judges Matt Milligan, Dave Duran, Ronnie Bertino, Danny G and Joey Suriel. Another shout out to Mike Sweet Pickle, Robert Crist and World Wide RV, for providing our Media team with a home base to capture the magic of the weekend and our announcers Mike Pringle, Andrew Cannon, Chris Pastras and Chad Muska for keeping everyone hyped.
Hope to see you all next March for PHXAM 2020!