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Images from the 2021 Street League Series in Salt Lake City
NEWS

Rayssa Leal Takes the Win at SLS Championship Tour Salt Lake City

Aug 302021

Way to start the SLS season with a bang! Monster Energy congratulates team rider Rayssa Leal on claiming first place in Stop One of the 2021 Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Championship Tour in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday. In front of a high-energy crowd, the 13-year-old from Imperatriz, Brazil, took the win and $20,000 in prize money in the down-to-the-wire Women’s Skateboard Street final.

In the Men’s Skateboard Street final, Monster Energy rider and current SLS World Champion Nyjah Huston took second place. Battling the world’s best street skateboarders, the 26-year-old from Laguna Beach, California, finished closely behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The 2021 Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Championship Tour is the world championship of street skateboarding. Monster Energy has been a long-time partner and official sponsor of SLS since 2010. After the extraordinary circumstances of 2020 put the series on hold, this weekend’s event in Utah marked the highly anticipated return to competitions in front of live audiences.

Rounding out an action-packed weekend, the two-day skateboarding showcase also included the “Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert” competition on Hawk’s state-of-the-art vert ramp. As a presenting sponsor of SLS, Monster Energy brought several activations to fans, including a chance to meet winter sports athletes such as snowboarders Dusty Henricksen, Sage Kotsenburg, and Zak Hale as well as freeskiers Tom Wallisch, Colby Stevenson, Quinn Wolferman, Hans Smith, and Devin Logan.

Conditions for the first of three stops on the 2021 Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Championship Tour could not have been better. Amid perfect weather, the world elite of street skateboarding took on the brand-new competition course at Utah State Fairpark. Designed by official SLS park builders, California Skateparks, the concrete course will remain as a permanent fixture for local skateboarders. Here’s how the action unfolded for team Monster Energy this weekend:

Women’s Skateboard Street: Monster Energy’s Rayssa Leal Takes First Place

 

Contested on Saturday, the highly anticipated Women’s Skateboard Street final featured eight of the world’s best female street skaters, including Olympic gold medalist Momiji Nishiya. Riders hailed from Brazil, Japan, as well as the Netherlands and United States.

 

Monster Energy’s Leal from Imperatriz, Brazil, came to Salt Lake City as a podium favorite after claiming the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in July. Leal held her own in the high-pressure Prelims on Friday and qualified into Saturday’s final in second place.

 

In the final, a new SLS competition rule introduced for the 2021 season raised the intensity: After the first five attempts – one Line and four Single Tricks – the bottom four ranked skateboarders are eliminated. Then, the top four riders receive two more Last Trick attempts, with winners decided on the best three scores of the final.

 

As the final got underway with the Line Section, Leal made a less-than-ideal start by missing her very first trick, a Caballerial backside lipslide. But the seasoned contest skater immediately regained her composure and put together backside lipslide the tall rail, kickflip the bump, frontside bluntslide shove-it the flat rail, and backside Smith grind the Hubba ledge for a solid score of 4.5 points.

 

When the action moved into Single Trick attempts, Leal put her consistency and technical skate skills on full display with three perfect moves down the big rail: frontside feeble grind (5.7 points), frontside bluntslide (6.6 points), and backside Smith grind (5.9 points). Leal held first place with a score of 18.2 points when the four top-ranked finalists advanced to determine the winner with two more trick attempts.

 

But when Leal lost the handle on her fifth trick attempt, she found herself overtaken immediately by Japan’s Funa Nakayama, then bumped into third place by Roos Zwetsloot from the Netherlands. With only one more trick attempt left in the competition, Leal needed a big score to seal the win: Cheered on by the high-energy crowd in Salt Lake City, she commenced to land a perfect kickflip frontside boardslide down the big rail for 8.5 points – bringing her total score to 21.0 points for the win.

 

“Thank you so much! Let’s go Brazil!” said Leal upon winning Stop 01 of the 2021 Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Championship Tour in Salt Lake City.

 

Rayssa Leal first turned heads in 2015 at the age of 6 by heelflipping down a set of stairs while wearing a fairy costume in a video that went viral across the globe. She now competes at the highest international level: In 2019, Leal made history as the youngest competitor to ever win an SLS tour stop at age 11 and took second place at the SLS World Championship in Brazil that year. She also won the FAR’n High competition in France and took silver in Women’s Street Skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics.

Men’s Skateboard Street: Monster Energy’s Nyjah Huston Finishes in Second Place

 

The new street course at Utah State Fairpark provided the perfect backdrop for the Men’s Skateboard Street final on Saturday night. Lined by quarter pipes on both ends, the course offered multiple stairs, gaps, handrails, Hubba ledges, and kickers for technical tricks and creative transfers. The eight finalists hailed from just three countries: Brazil, Portugal, and the United States.

 

Representing Team USA, Monster Energy’s Nyjah Huston came to Salt Lake City as the six-time SLS World Champion and current title holder. Without missing a beat, Huston proceeded to dominate the Prelims and qualified into the final in first place with a total score of 25.0 points.

 

Continuing his dominance into the finals, Huston started off by putting together a perfect Line Section featuring Caballerial lipslide fakie the big rail, Half Cab kickflip and 360 kickflip the kicker, 360 flip frontside lipslide the bump rail, kickflip frontside boardslide the flat rail, kickflip backside disaster the quarter pipe, backside Smith grind transfer the centerpiece rail and a switch heelflip frontside boardslide the big rail for 8.9 points.

 

From there, Huston claimed the top spot on the leaderboard by unloading a series of technical tricks on the big rail, including two Nine Club scores: switch frontside heelflip lipslide (9.0 points), Half Cab backside Smith grind revert (8.3 points), and nollie frontside heelflip noseblunt slide (9.3). When the field was cut down to the four top-ranked riders, Huston commanded first place with a 27.2-point score.

 

Huston continued delivering difficult tech tricks on attempt five by sending a perfect Caballerial kickflip over the centerpiece kicker into a backside lipslide fakie on the rail. But only netting an 8.9-point score, the trick did not advance Huston’s lead. On last attempts, Huston found himself bumped to second place by Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro, who landed the Monster Energy Highest Scored Trick of the day; a 360 kickflip noseblunt slide down the rail for 9.4 points and the winning score of 27.6 points total.

 

Known as the world’s most winning street skateboarder, Huston is the defending back-to-back 2017, 2018, and 2019 SLS World Champion. The only athlete in history to win X Games gold medals on five continents, Huston is currently working on a documentary feature about his Olympics journey with acclaimed skateboard video director Ty Evans.

 

Finishing closely outside the podium, Olympic silver medalist and Monster Energy rider Kelvin Hoefler took fourth place in Saturday’s final with a strong performance. In the Line Section, the 28-year-old from São Paulo, Brazil, earned 6.5 points for combining Half Cab Crooked the rail, backside 180 fakie nosegrind the Hubba, crooked grind up the ledge, kickflip frontside lipslide the flat rail, frontside blunt the quarterpipe, backside tailslide into the bank, nollie frontside nosegrind the Hubba and backside bluntslide to fakie on the bump to rail. In Single Tricks, the street skating powerhouse finessed Half Cab overcrook revert (8.6 points) and backside sugarcane grind (8.5 points) but could not post another trick in the final to improve his 23.6-point final score.

 

Also making the cut on Saturday, 14-year-old Monster Army recruit Filipe Mota held his own as the youngest rider in the final eight. What’s more, the Brazilian upstart was the youngest men’s finalist in SLS history. Filipe is quickly becoming a fan favorite and was given a wildcard entry to skate in Salt Lake City after narrowing missing out on qualifying during the SLS Pro Tour Qualifier back in July. In the Line section, he put down a frontside feeble and bigspin frontside boardslide the big rail as well as backside tailslide and kickflip backside 50-50 the Hubba and finessed a frontside bluntslide transfer on the flat rail to finish in seventh place. Watch out for this kid!

 

Missed the live stream this weekend? No worries! Fans can go online now and watch the videos featuring all the action from the SLS Championship Tour in Salt Lake City on YouTube. The television showcase was produced by Thrill One Sports and Entertainment, the world’s largest independent action sports company.

 

What’s next on the SLS calendar? From October 29-30, the 2021 SLS Championship Tour will continue with Stop 02 at the SkateBird facility in Miami, Florida. And for the grand finale, the SLS Super Crown World Championship weekend will crown the 2021 men’s and women’s world champions at Jacksonville Landing, Florida, from November 13-14.

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