#TampaPro2023: Carpe Fucking Diem…30 years of Skatepark of Tampa

It’s my favorite time of year. It’s Tampa Pro season y’all. Urethane wheels on concrete. Free beer. Open bar. Pro skaters so close you can ask them for a selfie. The buzzing of a tattoo needle mixed with old school hip-hop.

I am no stranger to Tampa Pro. I have been attending since 2006 but am well aware Skatepark of Tampa has been helping the local Tampa community have a safe space to be completely themselves since 1993.

Back in 2006, I went to Skatepark of Tampa for the first time that March. At that time, Tampa Pro was still a homegrown event. So all they had out back was a hot dog cart and a cooler with drinks. No open bar sponspored by Monster Energy. No vendor tents. It was very local and for the locals still but you could sense that something was building the platform when Rob Dydrek decided to shoot his indie film about skateboarding for skateboarders, “Street Dreams” right there later in 2006.

Back in 2006, I was just starting to get into skateboarding. I didn’t realize the gravity of what Tampa Pro meant to the skateboarding world and barely knew any pros when I was there as I was a newbie enthusiast at that time but I definitely knew Ryan Sheckler was going to blow up and become a household name in skateboarding as well as pop culture. Look at that cute young face. It was made for reality tv.

But the surreal moments I had at Tampa Pro in 2006, led me to come back for another year in 2007 where I met Jereme Rogers. I mean, he left skateboarding to forge a rap career but in this day and time, Jereme Rogers was one of the top in the sport.

From here, I took about 3 years off Tampa Pro because I was kind of focused on other things, and also wanted to make sure I really liked skateboarding for skateboarding, and not just because I had a long-term crush on one of the professionals.

Turns out, my love was with skateboarding and not with that young man who ended up marrying someone else so I returned to Tampa Pro in 2010.

Look at young T-Puds.

Look at Nyjah back when he had dreads…

2010 was when Chaz Ortiz was on top of his game…don’t know why I never see him at the Pro anymore but he needs to come out.

2010 Chris Cole who came back out and skated the contest this year. Can you believe it?

The last Tampa Pro I seen Mr. Sheckler at was 2019 but he’s building his own board company now. Told you he would be a household name and a pop culture icon.

As you can see from the previous collage…each year that I’ve ever come out to Tampa Pro has been a good vibe and a good time and this year was no exception.

The first pro I spotted this year was Chris Cole which had me hyped since I haven’t seen him at the Pro in a few years although I believe in 2021 or 2022, he was a judge of the contest instead of a competitor.

When you walked into the event this year, they gave out a gift bag for the 30 year celebration. It was a nice assortment of stuff.

From here, my guest and I decided to grab a drink and just explore the courtyard.

Here’s some cool shots from Friday’s practice.

One thing you will always see is the skaters all joking and bonding with one another. I’ve rarely ever seen one pro show animosity to one another, only love and comraderie.

All in all, visiting Skatepark of Tampa is always a good time, good vibes, and an all around good experience. You learn so much about your local community, and you witness a community that loves and supports all people. And that’s definitely one I can get behind.


Tampa Pro 2023 was and always is a fucking good vibe. happy 30 years @spottampa #30yearsofspot #fyp #skateboarding #thankyouskateboarding #tampapro

♬ This Is a Work of Art (Sketchy) – Dubskie
Some practice footage from Friday. Yup, skateboarding is a work of art.

Congratulations Skatepark of Tampa on 30 years! That’s amazing. You and I are almost the same age.

Must have been a divine connection for sure. Thanks for always hooking me up with surreal moments, unforgettable interactions with pros and amateurs alike, and for always allowing me to be completely myself in a world that outside those warehouse walls is harsh, hard, and increasingly very very pressing. Love you guys. Thanks for allowing me to carpe fucking diem!

#TampaPro2022: It’s All Love At Tampa Pro

Tampa Pro is my favorite event of the year. And there are many reasons for that. You can get a tattoo or a massage right at the contest. You can get free drinks each day of the contest. And you can literally walk right up to hometown heroes like Jake Illardi or Olympic athletes like Felipe Gustavo and wish them luck. Yet, my favorite thing about Tampa Pro and as an extension visiting Skatepark of Tampa is the hospitality and love you feel when you walk into the shop, the park, or talk to anyone who works there or is a fan/spectator themselves.

Heading to the shop on Friday to buy a Tampa Pro tshirt to commemorate the event, we talked to one of the guys in the shop helping ring us up for the shirts.

“It’s true. We love everyone at Tampa Pro.”

Everything about the contest screams that message including this year the course design by french artist Lucas Beaufort.

It is true. I’ve been visiting the contest since 2006 and back then the contest was run by the SPOT, they had one hot dog cart and a beer cooler.

March 12, 2006: My first Tampa Pro contest with the legendary Shecks!

And I remember how cool I thought it all was.

Then, later that year, I returned to SPOT to be an extra in the indie film Street Dreams. It was ghetto for a movie set but this was my chance to be caught on camera next to the sport’s heavy hitters. We were filming a scene until all of a sudden Rob Dyrdek was in front of me and said that I had to move to the back of the scene. He put his hands on my shoulders as everyone in that hot metal warehouse was looking at me.

It was a surreal moment of divine timing and alignment. And those are commonplace for SPOT and at Tampa Pro but what stands out is that I always feel welcomed, accepted, and a part of something bigger than myself.

One thing is for sure at Tampa Pro, you will come for the hype and good vibes but you will leave with love in your heart, every single time.

Third Place: Jake Illardi, 23, Osprey, FL
Congrats to the winner: Jamie Foy, 25, of Deerfield Beach, FL been coming out to Tampa Pro since 2017.

Viewing Tampa Pro Through The Eyes of a Spectator

If you are looking for greatness, where would you picture you would find it?

Most people picture greatness as Olympic athletes and during Sunday night football but I’ve been visiting a place that’s full of greatness all year long.

William Shakespeare is famously known for the quote from his play The 12th Night, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” 

Greatness is easy to see and spot at the Skatepark of Tampa specifically during the annual Tampa Pro contest.

Each year for the past 27 years, the Skatepark of Tampa has hosted the Tampa Pro skateboard contest. The prize has greatly increased since the first one, and both the sport and the venue have evolved with the constant progression of the times but you can expect to go to the local skatepark on the West Coast of Florida and be inspired, be handed a free beer, and a chance to tell your favorite skater how much that backside smith grind down the hubba they did in their last run, stoked you from head to toe.

Here is what a weekend at the Skatepark of Tampa looks like during Tampa Pro weekend. Welcome To Town parties start Thursday evening followed by trivia usually at the Bricks in Ybor City. Yes, that means you can share a pitcher of beer with Mark Appleyard or Mike Valleley, it’s a free country and you can do it.

As an avid 17 year fan of street skateboarding who doesn’t actually skate, people ask me all the time what I love about skateboarding or about the Tampa Pro.


For me, this year I was insanely moved by Felipe Nunes. Seeing out there on the course killing it made me feel that this is a place and an event where anyone can come and feel like they are a part of something greater than what they are currently facing in their day to day life. Sure, books, music, and movies are a great escape but hands down, I’d rather be at the skatepark during Tampa Pro weekend.

Two young guns smile from ear to ear because they are stoked to be here!
a super fan asking for a pro’s autograph.

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been here 10 times, Tampa Pro is an event that’s high vibrational, continuously gets better every year, and even allows women skateboarders to compete. One thing is for sure, it certainly will have you coming back again next year because everyone who’s anyone can come and just hang loose.

Thanks Paul and all who put on such a fun time down in hot and sunny Tampa, FL. I can’t wait for next year’s event in April.


Watch my entire weekend from start to finish.

#TAMPAPRO 2019: The Smart Cookie Philes takes on the PRO!@spottampa

My favorite weekend of the year is Tampa Pro weekend. For those unfamiliar to me or street skateboarding in general, Tampa Pro is one of the biggest professional skate contests out there, and takes place right here in Tampa at the Skatepark of Tampa.

I became a fan of street skateboarding 15 years ago but the contest celebrated it’s 25th year this year. So naturally all of the OGs of street skateboarding were there (P-Rod, Eric Koston, Sheckler, Greg Lutzka) alongside hella impressive up and comers like Jake Ilardi & Daisuke Ikeda.


As I arrived, I checked in and got my complimentary wristbands and hit up the shop to purchase a deck ( I will get to this more toward the end).


As I was paying for the board, the shop employee asked me if I wanted grip tape. I kindly declined as I don’t skate but was honored that he thought I was instantly that talented.

Once I got situated with the rest of my group, we watched as all the pros strolled (ran not walked really) into the park. They quickly tried to sweep in and head straight for the course (They had to get their last minute practice run in before the semi-finals began).

The first pro I spotted was Kelvin Hoefler. He tried to sneak right by but I wished him luck and he greeted me with a quick wave,  a “hello and a thank you.”

The next one spotted was the man, the myth, the legend, the great and powerful Ryan Sheckler. I watched as he came in wearing earbuds and within seconds of walking in had to pose for a plethora of pictures, sign his name on boards and hats, and literally not even get to sneak anywhere without being noticed. I spotted him and his usual group as soon as they walked in (Felipe Gustavo, Torey Pudwill, Sheckler). Naturally, as soon as Ryan saw my family and I he greeted us with pleasant smiles and kindly signed my board and took a picture ( even while another little grom attempted at trying to skip the line to which Ryan replied, “Just a minute dude,”)

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For those that don’t know, my love of skateboarding began with Sheckler. I actually was shown him skating over an electrical box in a two page magazine spread back in 2003-2004, and instantly was impressed. 15 years later, I am always honored to even get a few minutes in the same space as this legend. Without saying much more, I will always respect Sheckler for helping me ( a smart cookie writer) find a forever home within the skateboard community.

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Overall, it was a great time had by all. Free shots, Free beer, and priceless fun!

You can witness just about any pro skater in the flesh only feet from you, and you can even walk up and talk to and take a selfie with any of the guys.

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Thank you to the staff at SPOT who always treat me like a literal VIP. And thank you to every dude that stopped for five seconds to sign my board. Speaking of the board, I am happy to announce that I am currently running a giveaway where one lucky reader of this post will get to win this board

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Signed by living legends and up and comers alike: Ryan Sheckler, Trevor McClung, Greg Lutzka, Jake Illarda, Jamie Foy, Dave Bachinsky, Chris Joslin and Tampa Am Winner Daisuke Ikeda.

To enter, you must answer a trivia question in the comments below with your name and email below.

Congrats to the winner Carlos Ribeiro!pro19finals (47).jpg


A huge thank you to Paul Zitzer for hooking up my family and I ( and shoutout to the will call ticket guy Gabe for giving my mom and I huge props on our matching shirts).

Always a pleasure SPOTTAMPA, see you next year!