#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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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!