Team USA rising skateboarding stars Tristan Rennie and Brighton Zeuner picked up third-place finishes at the Vans Park Series circuit stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, each conquering the purpose-built skatepark with impressive, fluid runs.
The host Brazilians proved impossible to get by, with Pedro Barros putting on an episode of what skateboarding pundits have dubbed “The Pedro Show” — a quick, smooth assault on the park’s ramps and obstacles. The 24-year-old proved unbeatable from the get-go, stacking up tricks and racking up difficulty points on his way to a competition-best 88.63 points. His compatriot Luis Francisco did almost as well, scoring 86.50 to move up a place after his third-place finish at last month’s stop in Shanghai.
Rennie, a week removed from his 21st birthday, routed the rest of the field with a flawless-looking run that drew whistles from the Sao Paulo crowd and an 84.63 score from the judges. Hawaiian sensation Heimana Reynolds showed huge air for fifth, and was followed in the standings by Americans Alex Sorgente, Roman Pabich and Chris Russell.
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In the women’s competition, Brazil’s Yndiara Asp, a native of Florianopolis just south of Sao Paulo, thrilled the supportive host crowd with the winning run, laying down 88.90 points to top Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi, who tallied 86.33 points and impressed with the tough difficulty of her skateboarding.
Zeuner, the top semifinalist, picked up third-place honors for her best run, which scored 80.97 points, just ahead of teammate Jordyn Barratt. The 14-year-old from Encinitas, California, who in 2017 became the youngest ever X Games gold medalist at 13 years and one day when she claimed victory in the women’s park event, has continued to evolve. In Sao Paulo, she was praised by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk for the difficulty and tenacity of her work on courses all over the world.
“She’s always solid, and does a few more tricks than everyone else,” Hawk noted. “Just the direction she goes is harder than everyone else.”
The Vans Park Series will move on to Montreal and then to Paris before concluding its 2019 run.
Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.