Street League skateboarding competition makes stop in valley

Skateboarder, reality TV star and entrepreneur Rob Dyrdek brings his latest venture, Street League Skateboarding, to UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday.

Las Vegas is the final stop on the competition’s three-city inaugural tour in which the world’s top skateboarders vie for the sport’s biggest prize money, $1.2 million.

Dyrdek had the idea for Street League several years ago when he was a competitive skater. Nothing like it existed at the time, he says.

"The reality of it doesn’t exist," Dyrdek says. "There isn’t a proper pro tour for (street skateboarding). Despite all these action sports tours, they don’t reflect what the sport has evolved into."

In the ’80s and ’90s, proper skate parks died out, but the sport itself flourished. Skaters simply found new places, such as school yards and business parks, to do their tricks. That’s what street skating is about today, Dyrdek explains. And it’s wildly popular, so much so that the sport doesn’t require mainstream exposure to be lucrative, he adds.

"I feel like it’s bigger than it’s ever been," Dyrdek says. "I feel like it still has a long way to go but I believe that this league is so much bigger than other action sports."

The invitation-only Street League event features a 15,000 square-foot urban park re-created in the middle of an arena. It’s divided into four skill sets using obstacles that would be found in a city plaza or business park, such as stairs, Dyrdek says.

The skaters, 24 of the world’s best, do several runs in each area. Unlike other contests where only an athlete’s top scoring run is counted, every trick counts in Street League.

The scoring process can cause the leader to quickly drop down to last place, creating a sense of excitement that engages the audience, Dyrdek says.

The event is open to the public. Doors open at noon. Tickets cost $45 and $25 and are available at streetleague.com, unlvtickets.com or by calling 739-3267. The Thomas and Mack Center is located at Tropicana Avenue and Swenson Street.

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett @reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564.

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