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Skateboarding Steps It Up in Portland

Skateboarding Steps It Up in Portland

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The 2007 Vans Invitational Skate Park Finals - one of the closest contests in the history of skate competition - will go down in the books as the night that Greg Lutzka disrupted Ryan Sheckler's plans for total domination on the '07 AST Dew Tour.

The Vans Invitational Skate Vert Finals went down with a full house of talent on the roster. The Finals also gave Shaun White the opportunity to make it three-for-three and he definitely rose to the occasion in his familiar manner.

Both skaters are looking like shoo-ins in the overall standings race for the Dew Cup in their respective events. White has a perfect 300, a solid 99 points over the next-closest competitor, Bob Burnquist. Sheckler sits at 275, which puts him 57 points ahead of Lutzka but it's also to be noted that their level of riding has forced everybody else in the game to step it up. As a result, skate fans following the Dew Tour are now seeing some of the best skateboarding of all time, from both veteran pros and relative newcomers. Lutzka's not the only one giving Sheckler a run for his money in the skatepark: Brazilian skaters Carlos De Andrade, Rodolfo Ramos, and Fabrizio Santos are in hot pursuit, and so is super-technical skater Austen Seaholm, proving that there is room in these contests for a huge diversity of skaters and skate styles.

White's three wins haven't come easy either; Bob Burnquist and two-time Dew Tour champ Bucky Lasek are the biggest names in vert skateboarding since White's mentor and Birdhouse boss Tony Hawk retired from competition and both have been breaking out big moves to challenge White's ascension. Vans Invitational 2nd place finisher Pierre-Luc Gagnon is hungry for a win, as is Andy Macdonald, Rune Glifberg, and rookie skater Alex Perelson. Danny Mayer is now throwing kickflip McTwists in his competition runs, and we haven't seen the last of Mathias Ringstrom, Sandro Dias, or Rob Lorifice, either. With guys like this in the game, any talk of White sweeping the entire 2007 tour is absolutely premature.

As the action heads into Salt Lake City for the Toyota Challenge, look for the top riders in both the Skate Park and Skate Vert contests to be lining up; Ryan Sheckler and Shaun White are the targets to take down and their fellow competitors are taking aim.

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