Canadians strong in Slam City Jam 

Vert ramp history made by Brazilian skater

Most spectators went into the eighth Slam City Jam skateboard contest expecting to see the world's best street park and vert ramp skaters doing the things that made them famous. Nobody expected to witness history being made.

In the Vert Finals, Brazil's Bob Burnquist posted the highest score in the history of professional vert skating - 99 points out of a possible 100 for a run that had all 12,000 spectators in Vancouver's PNE Coliseum on their feet. The announcer called it the most exciting event in the sport since Tony Hawk landed the first 900 spin ever at the X-Games in 1999, and one of the top runs of all time.

The rest of the competition wasn't too shabby either, with athletes showing off just how far they've pushed the sport in recent years - kickflips seemed to be mandatory, rail slides looked easy, and competitors could spin off of anything.

More amazing than the tricks was how well the Canadians stacked up against the international field, with representation from across the U.S., Europe, Australia and South America.

The girls' street finals went to Vanessa Torres, followed by Florida's Stefanie Thomas and Jaime Reyes of New York. Vancouver's Charmaine Hunter finished ninth out of 24 competitors. Fernie's Laura Silva was 11th, Montreal's Louise Henault-Ethier was 12 th , Vancouver's Alison Matasi and Laura Piasta were 15 th and 16 th , Amelie Verre of Sherbrooke, Quebec was 22 nd , Michele Dimenna of Vancouver was 23 rd and Isabelle Ranger of Whistler was 24 th .

In the girls' vert finals, the top three spots went to Jennifer O'Brien, Candy Hiler and Jodie MacDonald of the U.S. Laura Silva of Fernie was the top Canadian, finishing in fifth overall. Whistler's Isabelle Ranger was ninth. Vancouver's Charmaine Hunter finished last out of 10 riders.

Rune Glifberg of Denmark was the runner up to Burnquist in the men's vert competition, followed by Bucky Lasek of Maryland. Pierre-Luc Gagnon of Boucherville, Quebec, was the top Canadian in fifth place. Vancouver's Colin McKay finished 10th after a couple of falls, but went big for his hometown crowd.

In the men's street competition, Vancouver's Rick McCrank looked like he had the competition wrapped up after his first run. Two boys from L.A., Eric Koston then Colt Cannon, took the lead away on their second run, and McCrank had to settle for third. Mark Appleyard of Burlington, Ontario, finished seventh to round out the Canadians.

Following the competitions, there was a best trick competition in street and vert.

The street winners competed in three categories: the booter, the Shorty's rail, and the ledge. Vancouver's Alex Chalmers won the booter jump with a backside 360 with a kickflip in the middle. Australian Chad Bartie won the rails, and Brazil's Garbrielle Fabrizio Santos won the battle of the ledge.

The vert ramp competition went to Quebec's Pierre-Luc Gagnon, who landed a huge backside 540 with a kickflip on the first run of the contest. Special recognition also went to Maryland's Matt Dove who made about 10 barrel 720 attempts before the time ran out - with the announcers egging him on, he landed it shortly afterwards.

Slam City Jam is the first event of the Vans Triple Crown tour. The second stop is in Cleveland, Ohio, in June, and the finals are taking place in Oceanside, California in October.


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