Chris Miller- Protec 2011
Chris Miller knows what he wants when it comes to bowl riding. After all, he is one of the worlds greatest exponents of vertical pool & bowl riding. He has spent many years riding backyard pools, concrete skate parks & pipes- old & new. This year, Chris started drawing up plans for a bowl to be added to the Dew Tour. He drew upon his many years of experience. Chris knows what works & what doesn’t. Chris explains- "I designed the bowl & shape first. The design basically comes from a combination of different things I have skated in the past. The combi, Pier park in Portland, Louisville, Encinitas and others, then I tried to squeeze that inspiration into the ‘footprint’ at Dew. I came up with a design that would be good for bowl riders & vert guys and not favor one style too much. The deep end is similar in size to the square Combi pool. It is 9-3/4 foot transitions with 1-1/2 foot of vertical. This is smaller than the Dew Tour vert ramp but big enough that the vert riders will feel at home on it. The shallow section is 7-1/2 deep and has multiple pockets, corners & hips that will make for some great lines. The bowl is going to be very, very fast. It’ll be interesting to see what can be done in it."
Design work for the bowl on AutoCAD
Chris explained that he wanted to bring something new to the Dew Tour. The bowl itself was built with an entirely new technique. Chris told me about it – "The construction of this bowl is groundbreaking. It was designed to be assembled in sections & then concrete put on the surface. Once we are finished riding it at one event, the sections come apart, and we truck it to another site & reassemble it. It will be going to Dew Tour Portland as well. The sections will join almost seamlessly and it will ride like a permanent bowl. With this modular design, we can add variables at different events. In the future, we can add a loveseat, tombstone or change things around to keep it interesting & fresh." Chris explained that vert contests are trick -to -trick oriented. – "That type of riding is exciting & progressive, but it’s different. With bowl riding, it’s more about lines, flow and how you adapt your tricks into the terrain. There is a whole new group of riders– a new generation–coming up. They ride differently. They grew up in the concrete skate park era. The Dew Tour bowl event will help shine a spotlight on this crew of riders and bring bowl skating to a much larger audience."
Bucky Lasek- heelflip fakie -Dew Tour Las Vegas
Bucky Lasek has been a vertical pioneer & mainstay for many years. He helped initiate the vert contest trick- to- trick insanity that has become the current norm. At one time, a rider would do a set up air into a difficult trick. Bucky & others like him, changed the game… for the better. These days, contest runs are– literally– insane trick into insane trick. It is an entirely different level of skateboarding . I asked him about the bowl & its place on the Dew Tour. – "Chris Miller designed the whole thing himself."- he replied. "I’ve been advocating for a bowl for awhile. It had to be big enough though! I figured that if the bowl was good enough, you would have the best of both bowl riding & vert riding. It would enhance both."
Being as Bucky has a massive bowl in his backyard, one can readily see that he has his heart & money in the right place. He loves bowl riding & excels at it. I asked him what he thought the vert riders would think of the new Dew Tour bowl. Bucky answered – "I think that everyone should adapt pretty well to it. The vert guys will have to ‘up’ their bowl game & the bowl guys the same. It’ll be a mixed bag. I think it will be exciting, by bringing the two different types of riding together." Bucky spoke at length regarding the vert riders currently raising the bar in skateboard contests. – "Everyone is riding at such an amazing & consistent level. It will be interesting to see where this goes." Bucky is just beginning to ride again after an unfortunate injury left him sidelined at Protec. He added- "I am healed up & strong. It will be great to get back to Maryland where I am from & ride the Dew Tour. I’ve been traveling a great deal & I am tired. It is hard on the body… but I’m excited & ready to get back into the contests."
Aaron Spohn inspecting the coping trays
Shallow end template
The guys at Spohn Ranch are responsible for the fabrication of the Dew Tour bowl. They took Chris Miller’s drawing & forged it into a tangible, rippable reality. It is magical. I spoke with Aaron Spohn & one of his designers- Vincent Onel. I asked them to explain just how they took a drawing & transformed it into a physical reality. Aaron explained the process. – "The whole thing is rather complex. The bowl was designed to be assembled in pieces, then adaptable as well. Chris spent a fair bit of time working on the design. He had it formulated. Then, the Dew Tour Event Producer–Jack Murphy–asked us if we could make it portable. We’ve been doing some new & creative things with high-performance concrete recently & he asked for our help"
Eddie Osgood welding a section of the deep end
Aaron told me that Chris Miller’s design was very involved & that he had to invent a few new things in order to build the design he wanted. Aaron went on- "We designed it into sections, because it had to be transported. We drew it in 3-D, then laser cut the parts. We welded these together then developed a special concrete mix formula for it. Originally, Chris had a pinched shallow end, but he understood the challenges it represented & helped us by making a couple of tweaks that allowed for his vision & ours to work together." Aaron & Vince drew a visual picture for me of the entire process. It was mind-blowing in its scope & vision. The bowl skeleton consists of thousands of individual parts that all had to be precisely drawn. They told me that they also made huge templates using a computer controlled router to cut out the pieces. They put the templates down in the shop & bolted it all together. The original design was built in two parts but on site in Ocean City, Maryland, it will be completed as one. Aaron added- "I have the same crew going in & assembling the structure. It’s massive & strong. The bowl assembly crew works on it during the day & the concrete crew follows their work & finishes at night. We did our homework & are proud of the level of work we’ve done. It will really be something to see the riders put it to the test."
bowled corners ready to go
Chris Mastandrea & Anthony Zavala working on rebar
loaded up for Ocean City, Maryland
With the Dew Tour adding a bowl, it changes the landscape of the sport. They have added two stops & both will be broadcast internationally to large audiences with features on NBC. It will be a whole new platform for these guys to become bigger names & show off the sport to the world. All in all, it will be an amazing event with top level riding on groundbreaking terrain. Thank you to Spohn Ranch, Chris Miller, Bucky Lasek, MRZ & Chris Ortiz. Skate- Ozzie
progress report- Ocean City