P-Rod Triumphs At
Arizona Street League
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Veteran Paul Rodriguez Defeats The Field And Heavy Favorite Nyjah Houston At The Third Stop Of Rob Dyrdek’s Street League
Nyjah Huston gets in some practice at Jobing.com arena last year. Image by Dusty Draper.
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
July 17, 2012 — The third stop of Rob Dyrdek’s Street League skateboarding tour was hard fought on an indoor “skating plaza” inside the confines of Jobing.com arena. Paul Rodriguez, 27, took home the top prize in a shocker of a finish that pushed 17-year old phenom Nyjah Huston out of first place for the first time this tour and out of the top three for the first time ever.
The skate plaza is an interesting concept with architecture looking more like a civilian plaza than a skate park, which according to Dyrdek was the reason they did it.
“It’s more real that way, it’s like skating the real deal,” said Dyrdek.
For the Glendale stop, the plaza featured rock gardens instead of Greenery — as did the layout of the Kansas City stop — in order to stay true to form with the Arizona terrain. The Plaza also came complete with a seven-stair set, handrails, and benches that were made to withstand the rigors of skating while appearing as an average run of the mill public space like downtown Phoenix’s Cesar Chavez Plaza.
Dyrdek is doing his best to make the skate plaza replace the skate park as the norm for outdoor street skaters. The preliminary qualifiers for this year’s Phoenix Street League stop took place just two days after The Rob Dyrdek foundation donated $50,000 to the city of Phoenix to open a skate plaza at Dust Devil Park on 107th Avenue. When in town for last year’s stop on the tour, Dyrdek donated the same amount for a skatepark at Cesar Chavez Park in Laveen.
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Though many of the Street League pros are in their early to mid 20’s, Street League is still an inter-generational gathering of “the best skaters in the world,” according to Dyrdek.
Chris Cole, 30, took second in Phoenix.
“Man, I’m 8 years older then Chris, I’d kill to be 30,”said Drydek.
While 22-year-old Ryan Sheckler came home with third. 37-year old Eric Koston didn’t compete due to injury though is still a part of the street league tour, and 18 year old Chaz Ortiz is carving out a niche as a spectacular force in the street skating world.
“I was never an elite skater,” said Dyrdek, “I was always better at the funny and creative, and business stuff.”
Dyrdek has proven his merit as an ambassador of skateboarding with his transcendent brand DC shoes being worn for fashion and function alike, as well as being described as a “role model” by Phoenix city councilman Dan Valenzuela.
The Street League finals are coming up on Aug. 26 from the Prudential Center in Newark N.J., and will be aired live on ESPN 2. Stats and standings for the Street League can be viewed at Streetleague.com.
Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer from Teaneck, N.J. and is currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend, OccupyUprising.org and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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