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Image from the Vans Park Series World Championships in Shanghai

Tom Schaar the 2017 Vans Park Series Champ

Sep 252017

What a way to end a dominating season! Monster Energy congratulates team rider Tom Schaar on a strong third-place finish at the 2017 Vans Park Series (VPS) Men’s World Championships in Shanghai today. Taking the podium with a solid performance on the custom-built concrete park in the Bund waterfront area of central Shanghai, the 17-year-old from Malibu, California, also ended the season as the highest-scoring rider on the 2017 Vans Park Series Pro Tour Challenger standings at 30,000 points. Closely missing the podium in today’s VPS Women’s World Championships, his Monster Energy teammate Lizzie Armanto from Santa Monica earned a fourth place finish.

Now in its second year, the Vans Park Series brought together riders from all over the globe to crown the official World Champions of park riding in the Men’s and Women’s divisions. All year, the world’s best pool skateboarders battled for tour points and prize money at competitions in Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, and the United States. The season’s highest-ranked skateboarders advanced to the Vans Park Series (VPS) World Championships, which took place on a custom-built skatepark on the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai.


The competition was intense this weekend as the VPS World Championships course challenged riders with a combination of big transitions, banks, hips, and extensions, plus street-style elements such as a centerpiece kicker and round flat bar. In front of the stunning backdrop of the Shanghai skyline, yesterday’s Semi Final saw the 25 qualified riders battle for one of only eight spots in the Final session, cranking up the level of difficulty to World Championship levels along the way. Schaar emerged from the Semi Final in third place, putting together a high-scoring 40-second run featuring full-speed frontside Smith grind over the love seat, over head-high backside 540, and floating alley-oop backside ollie into the bank. 


As the action moved into today’s Final session, Schaar found himself not only facing interruptions from rain showers, but also intense heat from Brazil’s Pedro Barros, Sweden’s Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg, and reigning 2016 VPS World Champion Alex Sorgente. Rising to the occasion, Schaar decked out his highest-scoring run with technical highlights including a huge kickflip Indy transfer into the bank, frontside Smith grind to 5-0 over the love seat, backside 540 in the deep end, alley-oop backside ollie transfer into the bank, frontside ollie blunt on the extension, frontside feeble grind through the bowl corner, big spin backside disaster on the tomb stone, and frontside nosegrind pop-out in the deep end. Schaar’s 90.82-point finish earned him third place and $10,000 while rookie pro Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg claimed a surprise victory.


Finishing on top of the 2017 Vans Park Series Pro Tour Challenger standings at 30,000 points – a solid 6,700-point lead on the next competitor – marks a major achievement for Schaar, especially considering he entered the Vans Park Series as an unseeded rider. As opposed to VPS Select Pros, Pro Tour Challenger were not automatically qualified for the World Championships, but had to qualify on the strength of their season rankings. Proving himself as a force to be reckoned with on the park riding scene, Schaar claimed a podium spot at the major VPS season events: After winning the 2017 VPS Pro Tour season opener in Manly Beach, Australia, he took second place in the VPS Pro Tour competition at Kroksbäck Skatepark in Malmö, Sweden, in May. In July, Tom claimed third place at the VPS Pro Tour event at Hastings Park in Vancouver, Canada, and finished first in season rankings with a win in Huntington Beach.

In the women’s division, Schaar’s Monster Energy teammate, 24-year-old Armanto, closely missed the podium today. After emerging from yesterday’s Semi Final in second place, Armanto came into the Finals with a perfect first Final run, including ollie transfer from the deck into the bank, method air in the deep end, frontside 5-0 grind transfer off the flatbar into the bowl, invert on the extension, and frontside crailslide in the deep end for 82.82 points. This remained her highest score of the Finals, as Armanto suffered a heavy slam on her third and final run, missing the podium by fractions of a point behind Kisa Nakamura’s 83.52-point finish while Nora Vasconcellos from Pembroke, Massachusetts claimed the title. Today’s event wraps a strong season for Armanto, who turned pro on Tony Hawk’s skateboard label, Birdhouse Skateboards, in March.


Speaking of a strong season, 2017 has also been a big year for Schaar outside the Vans Park Series. Earlier this year, Schaar took first place in the 13th annual Vans Pool Party contest in Orange, California, winning the highly coveted event for the second time in his young career. Proving his skills as an all-round skateboarder, Schaar made history in July as the first skateboarder to win X Games medals in both the Big Air and Skate Park events at X Games Minneapolis with two silver medals. Schaar already started competing at X Games in 2012 at the age of 12 and made history as the first skateboarder to land a 1080 aerial that same year. He has since evolved from a child prodigy into a top-ranked competitor, not only on the Big Air circuit, but also in park riding, where he added yet another podium finish today in Shanghai. 


If you missed today’s live Web Cast from Shanghai, you can re-watch the action from the 2017 Vans Park Series World Championships on the Vans Park Series website at