• Vans Pro Skate Park Series and Competition Locale
In terms of skateboarding history and culture, Malmo, Sweden is an extraordinary locale to hold the momentous final event of the 2016 Vans Pro Skate Park Series. It is a place in Sweden where skateboarders can feel right at home, and this has a lot to do with the fact that the city planners and municipal authorities in Malmo, Sweden have been very liberal about developing next-level skate parks and facilities. One of the things about Malmo as a skateboarding location on the world class level, is that there is an abundance of public skate spots and DIY street skating spots which have a very intimate and unique, one-of-a-kind feel about them where some interesting skateboarding takes place on a regular basis.
One thing about the local culture in Malmo, Sweden that makes it such a fantastic locale for the final round of the Vans Pro Park Series is that even kids in high school have outlets for skateboarding, and it is part of mainstream youth athletics in Malmo. Whereas many other communities in the world tend towards shunning skateboarding and skate culture, Malmo embraces it to an extent that is hard to find in today’s world.
The custom park built for the final round of the 2016 Vans Pro Skate Park was only completed in August of 2016, so it was completed in a kind of last-minute attempt to make sure the park was absolutely perfected for the competitors performances. The Malmo custom park provides an ideal proving ground for the Vans competitors, featuring a wide range of different park obstacles that vary widely in their overall difficulty. For example, there is a basic ranging of five to nine feet tall in terms of the vert ramps, quarters, and transitions present in this custom Malmo park. This is a perfect range for the competitors, since it will allow them to decide whether they want to execute a trick on a smaller ramp, or if they want to go really big and raise the stakes they will have that option too.
Featuring a large central pyramid to bring cohesion to the overall flow of the park, this gives riders the ability to transition in different directions as they move around the park obstacles. On one side of the park there is a long five to six foot tall quarter pipe section, and on the opposite side there is a tucked-in mini pool section with a spine ramp on the inside wall of the pool section. Outside of the pool section there is a long outer hip that allows riders to redirect themselves into the park when they are circumnavigating the different park features. Overall, Malmo represents the perfect showcase for the finalist competitors to really show what they are made of to the crowds and judges.
• Competitor Performances and Scoring
Taking the winners spot in the 2016 Vans Pro Skate Park Series was Alex Sorgente, the young, phenomenal skateboarder riding out of the good old United States of America. Sorgente was definitely a major contender during the entirety of the 2016 Vans Pro Park Series, though it certainly was not a sure thing that he would win it all as we moved into the final round.
Sorgente entered the final round with a new level of determination, and he left everything out on the park surface when he was running his final round heats. His final round performance was near perfection, and nobody was really surprised when it came out that he had won the entire competition. The top three competitors on the podium after the Malmo finals were certainly a diverse group of international skateboarders, with one Italian, one Brazilian, and one American taking the top three spots.
• 1st Place – Alex Sorgente – United States:
As mentioned previously, the level of determination exhibited by Alex Sorgente in the final round of the 2016 Vans Pro Park Series was absolutely electrifying to the crowd and judges at the Malmo, Sweden final. Sorgente utilized the park features at Malmo more effectively than any other competitor, and this was obvious to everyone present. While Pedro Barros closely rivaled Sorgente’s final round performance, it was clear to the judges that he simply did not match his caliber of performance. Barros was the only competitor who even came close to giving Sorgente a run for his money, and even he was unable to unseat Sorgente for the #1 winner spot in the Vans Pro Park Series this year.
With a Top Run best heat scoring of 95.45, Alex Sorgente put up one of the best overall scores of the entire 2016 Vans Pro Park Series competition. With a score this high, people knew immediately that Sorgente had done some seriously amazing things in his Top Run performance to earn such a high number. What is seriously astounding about Sorgente earning such a high score in Malmo was that this was a brand new park that nobody could have possibly practiced on or studied beforehand since it had not yet even been built! Whether it was his huge transitions, or flawless flip tricks over the coping, it was difficult to find any real imperfections in Sorgente’s final round performance.
• 2nd Place – Pedro Barros – Brazil:
The Brazilian superstar known as Pedro Barros was definitely a favorite moving into the final round, and there were many analysts who were forecasting a 1st place win for Barros. While it did not pan out that way, nobody can say that Barros did not put up a world-class effort in his final round Malmo performance. Pedro handled one of the scariest and riskiest features in the Malmo park quite well, which was the massively tall roll-in, which was topped with a vert wall that riders could plant and stall on. While some competitors had some serious problems and even nasty wipeouts on this huge roll in and vert wall, Pedro Barros handled it with complete smoothness and ease.
His transition performance was awesome, and he frequently utilized board slide revert movements while moving across spine transfers and other tranny obstacles. Earning a final round Top Run scoring of 92.64, it is clear that Pedro Barros definitely gave Sorgente a run for his money and came close to unseating him for the victory, but Sorgente’s performance was simply too air tight and Barros ended up coming in second behind him. With the major press and attention that Barros is sure to get from his major second place finish in this huge Vans contest, it is hard to believe that he is disappointed about his final performance.
• 3rd Place – Ivan Federico – Italy:
Ivan Federico was another competitor who did well throughout the entirety of the 2016 Vans Pro Park Series, and many believed that he was another possible wild card who could have taken the number one spot in the final round. This year’s Vans Pro Park competition was truly an amazing showcase for world class skateboarding, and all of the competitors gave it their 100% effort. Ivan Federico earned a Top Run best heat score of 86.07 in the final Malmo event, so while he was quite a ways behind the top 2 competitors in terms of point scoring, he still performed admirably and will likely benefit from his third place finish in terms of upcoming new sponsorships and endorsements.
Federico might have ended up winning it all, but some people felt like he was being slightly conservative in the final round and perhaps this cost him some crucial points which could have had him finishing in second place. His relatively conservative performance in the Malmo final round could be attributed to a couple possible reasons we can speculate on. For one thing, some of the features in the custom made Malmo park were very intimidating, especially for a more street-centric rider like Federico.
For a street centered rider, massive vert obstacles can cause timid riding and it can be said that maybe this affected Federico’s confidence to go big in the Sweden final round. Also, with Federico so close to winning it all, perhaps he wanted to stay closer to his comfort zone to avoid a major wipeout or some other mistake which could have cost him a high placement in the final round judging. Whatever the reasons were, Ivan still gave an amazing performance and many fans and analysts are indeed quite excited to see what Ivan brings to the next major competitions.