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The Daily Illini

Street League’s emergence dethrones Dew Tour

By Ashley Wijangco

Whenever I think of skateboarding, I don’t think of it as just a leisurely activity; it’s a sport people train for with the hope of becoming a professional. It’s also one of the only sports I’ll actually watch consistently aside from basketball.

One of the first skate competitions I watched was Dew Tour, an event composed  of various skateboarding and BMX competitions. Although I would watch both skate and BMX events, it was the skating that kept me watching — until recently that is.

This weekend, Dew Tour had its second-to-last stop of the year, but I didn’t bother to watch it even though some of my favorite skaters were competing. I didn’t even bother to check the results. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of it; I’ve found my interest in Dew Tour has significantly declined while my interest in Street League Skateboarding has grown.

In 2010, professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek changed the realm of skateboarding competitions by establishing Street League Skateboarding. Street League is the first professional street skateboarding league, meaning no one’s going to see Tony Hawk-like tricks on a half-pipe. Rather, it features a variety of flip tricks and grinds, things one could do throughout the streets and structures of a city, hence the name.

There are two standard stops on the SLS tour and one Super Crown, the championship of the league. Think of the first two stops as the regular season and the Super Crown as the postseason.

At each one, the competition consists of three parts highlighting the street skaters’ abilities: flow, impact and control. Flow allows skaters to put together a 45-second run of tricks throughout the entire course. Impact is all about achieving big tricks on the larger elements of the course and trying to get the highest score for it. Control portrays the skaters’ accuracy by performing tricks on the lower part of the course.

All of the best street skaters like Nyjah Huston, Shane O’Neill, Luan Oliveira, Chaz Ortiz, Paul Rodriguez and Ryan Sheckler can be found competing in SLS. Previously, these skaters could be found competing in Dew Tour, but that hasn’t quite been the case since Street League was developed.

Take Sheckler for example. He was a three-time Dew Cup champion for street park (now known as street skate) from 2005 to 2007 and could be found participating at every stop on Dew Tour. But that’s not the case anymore, and it’s clear that Street League is a big reason for that.

For one, skateboarding is more popular than BMX, and the fact that Street League has the better selection of skaters makes Dew Tour less attractive. This weekend, Dew Tour had its third competition of the year, a month after Street League completed its fourth season. If not for that, nine SLS pros wouldn’t have competed there.

Not only that, but Dew Tour’s setup doesn’t make things any better. Before 2012, each stop’s contests went toward the final competition, where the Dew Cup would be won. Now, there are four stops in a year, and each has its own unique contests. One of those stops doesn’t even include skateboarding and BMX; it’s strictly for winter sports like snowboarding and skiing.

Skaters also only get one chance to win with Dew Tour’s setup. With the exception of skate street style — those competing in other contests like vert or bowl — get that one contest, and that’s it. Not every stop contains every contest, and the problem with that is there isn’t an ultimate championship anymore. It’s as if the PGA Championships were decided in one tournament.

In terms of street skating, Street League will continue to have the upper hand as long as its pros are the best street skaters, but this isn’t to say Dew Tour has lost all hope. Street skating is just one aspect of Dew Tour, so as long the other varieties of skateboarding and BMX remain, all will be fine — just not great.

What Dew Tour needs to do is revert back to its old setup. It would give the athletes more practice in a competitive, league-like setting and it would provide the viewers with more events to watch. The old setup would also give lesser-known street skaters a chance to compete.

Even though Street League took the big names in street, it doesn’t prevent them from competing at Dew Tour. The street skate contest happens during Street League’s offseason, so SLS pros are free to compete there if they’d like. This would take away spots for non-SLS pros to participate, but it can be solved.

If Dew Tour had its old setup, there would be a street skate competition at every stop. Street League skaters couldn’t compete at every stop, but they could still compete at the final one. This then gives all of the other street skaters the chance to compete multiple times, and to also win an overall championship.

With my favorite skateboarders all in Street League, I’ll still choose it over Dew Tour any day, and many other people would likely do the same for that reason. But that doesn’t mean other street skaters shouldn’t have a chance to shine.

Ashley is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at wijangc2@dailyillini.com and on Twitter @wijangco12.

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