by David Hanson
What a day it has been… I arrived at the Toe Jam today, and despite missing the first couple of heats today in the Projects rail park competition, the rest of the day did not disappoint. The rail riding is always some of my favorite to watch, and it gives the ability for more trick variations than the boat riding. By the quarter finals, things were getting pretty heated, and the stand out riders of the day became apparent. Clint Tompkins was dialing in each rail more and more each round, until by the semis he was frontboarding and backlipping the entire a-frame. He was also dialed on his backlip 270 shoves off the incline rail, and was just inches from his kickflip off the launch box. Matt Hooker put up a good fight, ollieing onto some unthinkably high rails and sticking some tech tricks, but it wasn’t quite enough. Nick Taylor was comfortable as ever out there, dialing in his frontbigs, not only on flat water, but off the rails as well. He pretty much had a solid kickflip in each round and even a varial flip sighting, along with lipsliding anything he chose (frontside and back). Reed Hansen was shredding indeed, always coming through with some solid footwork on his flip tricks and a back board front shove out ollieing down the incline rail. Andrew Pastura was one of the standouts all day, linking together switch and regular tricks all the way down the course and flowing beautifully. Switch 3’s, kickflips, switch and regular frontbigs, toeside backbigs, and plenty of solid boardslide frontbigs and backlips, and even a few switch front boards. The road to the final four was as epic as ever at this year’s Toe Jam!
When the dust had settled, the final four competitors for the day were Reed Hansen, Nick Taylor, Clint Tompkins, and Andrew Pastura. Reed and Nick were up first, and this is always a match up worth paying attention to. We saw these two duke it out in the boat finals the previous day, so who knew what mental games were being played by these two… it’s all competitive strategy, people. I’m just kidding though, these two guys are great sports and amazing wakeskaters, but only one can win, and Nick Taylor came out on top, earning his spot in the final round. Clint put on quite a performance, making it clear he is one of the most proficient big rail riders out there. His frontboards up, across, and down the entire A-frame were sick as anything, and starting out your run each time with a backlip shove out on the incline rail is definitely saying something. It’s sweet seeing riders stepping up their switch riding game, and Clint is on top of this with non-stop solid switch frontboards to regular on the flatrail. Andrew gave it his all and killed it as always, but had a few uncharacteristic falls and the golden ticket spot went to Clint.
The final round: Clint Tompkins versus Nick Taylor. Will the past champion Clint take back his crown? How hungry is Nick for his first Toe Jam win? Apparently hungry enough, because after all was said and done, Nick Taylor was crowned YOUR Toe Jam Stop 1 champion! Nick and Andrew would go on to be the recipients of the two available Toe Jam Finale qualification spots (for the final stop in September…Reed and Clint were already qualified as past champions). A big congratulations go out to Nick for his win and also props go out to ALL the riders that stepped up their game at this year’s Toe Jam, there were so many of them! Also thanks to anyone that came out and supported wakeskating… see ya’ in Texas!