VANS Combi 2014

Tristan Rennie

Tristan Rennie- 1st Place Pro

“The original Combi pool was at Upland Pipeline skate park in the Badlands. I was raised with stories and videos from there. All I’ve ever heard are stories of how gnarly it was. The Vans Combi is as close as I’ll ever get to riding the original. It is so cool to be skating in such a place with such history.” – Tristan Rennie



VANS Combi contest played out in characteristic fashion yesterday. The great challenge. Just when you think that you’ve seen it all…  It all changes. It is pretty inspiring to witness. I guess that is how all things transform themselves. Subtle change. Evolution. A new age dawning. Leading up to the contest, I talked with people. We pondered the results. What was going to happen? Bucky Lasek was out as he’d be racing cars. That definitely left a spot open as he rarely is absent from the victory podium. Would Pedro Barros –with his young knees, powerful style and Mach 5 speed–maintain a death grip on the top spot? Would young usurpers overrun the entire bastion of greatness? The Combi pool. The lines are varied. They’ve been laid out for many years. Steve Alba drew many of them in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Pipeline Combi. Badlands. Chris Miller and many others rode the original Combi pool in Upland and they learned. They also learned well. Others followed. Tradition. I watched the practices leading up to the contest and was on the fence about the whole thing. They did initiate some changes to this years event. They had a Pro division, a Masters division and a Legends division. This was a consideration for a few years and I think that it is a good idea. We then have Hester I and Hester II Series riders, along with Gold Cup Series skaters riding with same era skaters during the Combi contest. Then the newer era skaters of the 1980’s can compete in the Masters and so on. There were rumblings about the prize purse here and there before the contest, but it all worked out in the end. Vans stepped up and a more even distribution was made.

The calm before...

The calm before…

I’ve written often and at length regarding the Combi pool in its various forms. I’ve documented its transformations. This year before the contest started, I walked around the pool and cornered people as I encountered them. I asked them to give me their thoughts on this pool, its history and what it means to them. Their words will stand as a testament to the Vans Combi pool and its place as the ultimate proving ground for bowl riders worldwide. – Ozzie


Chris Miller

Chris Miller-1st Place Legends

“I feel that every year, the Combi contest is a gathering. All of the guys and even the girl skaters…  it brings the skateboarding family together. It is a hectic event. I get nervous. I think this contest raises the energy and then everyone skates harder. Whether you like contests or not, it pushes every single skater. As a spectator, I love it. As a competitor, I find it very stressful.” – Chris Miller


Bruno Passos- 1st Place Masters

Bruno Passos- 1st Place Masters

“The Combi pool feels like the Mecca of skateboarding. It has such a vast history. I remember watching skateboard videos of the Upland Pipeline Combi pool and thinking that someday I would love to be skating like the guys in the video… in the Combi. Here I am all these years later, riding with the some of the same skaters in the Vans Combi pool. It is inspiring to be here.” – Bruno Passos


Christian Hosoi- 3rd Place Legends

Christian Hosoi- 3rd Place Legends

“The Vans Combi contest is one of my favorite events of the year. It brings excitement and anticipation to the spectators and participants. It never disappoints and always delivers a great show. The vibe and energy is second to none. Skateboarding is like a family and the Vans Combi contest is the reunion of all of us getting together to celebrate the heart and soul of our sport and lifestyle. Congratulations to everyone that skated in the event. It is not just about winning, but about having fun and seeing friends and family. Thanks to the whole Vans team for always throwing an amazing event. Much love to Steve Van Doren for carrying on the legacy of pool skateboarding. God bless you all.” – Christian Hosoi

Josh Rodriguez- 2nd Place Pro

Josh Rodriguez- 2nd Place Pro

“When I was a kid riding for Gridlock, Mike would bring us to watch the Combi contests. The first time I saw Darren Navarrette, I was tripping. I saw Chris Miller, Bucky, Bob Burnquist…  Now, here I am and I’m in the mix. I went from playing them in video games to skating with them. Unreal.” – Josh Rodriguez


Eddie Elguera- 4th Place Legends

Eddie Elguera- 4th Place Legends

“Being a part of the Vans Combi contest brings both past and present in ovation and passion. I’ve ridden all three versions of the Combi pool. I rode Hester II finals, the Vans plaster version and now the new refurbished Combi. I am stoked to be a part of this long history.” – Eddie ‘El Gato’ Elguera


Cory Juneau- 3rd Place Pro

Cory Juneau- 3rd Place Pro

“The Combi contest is the biggest contest in my area. I just want to do well. Everyone is really serious and competitive.” – Cory Juneau


Brian Patch- 2nd Place Masters

Brian Patch- 2nd Place Masters

“I consider the Combi contest to be the place where the bar was set at the second resurgence of bowl riding. Ten years ago, Steve Van Doren put up several thousand dollars and this put bowl skating back on the map. This contest raised awareness of its place and history in skateboarding. The Combi contest is the only one where people prepare for several months ahead of time. No other contest has this.” – Brian Patch


Trey Wood-4th Place Pro

Trey Wood-4th Place Pro

“This is a dream come true. I have always wanted to be in the Vans Combi contest. I’ve had a lucky year so far…” – Trey Wood


Darren Navarette- 3rd Place Masters

Darren Navarrette- 3rd Place Masters

“To me, it is never about the money or the placing. It is just the simple fact of being a part of something so rad… skateboarding. The Vans Combi contest is a gathering of generations of rad people. It is an honor to ride with skaters of so many levels and an honor to be a part of skateboarding.” -Darren Navarrette

In conclusion, I wonder about next year. There was a general reordering during this contest. Can the young guys coming up, carry the weight of such a venue? The older skaters have a history of pro models, advertisements, proven contest results, followers, panache… The Combi contest has a heavy attraction. Legends. Style. Power. It will be interesting to see where it all goes…  I find the future promising. Thank you to MRZ and Dan Bourqui for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Final Results Masters

1-Bruno Passos, 2-Brian Patch, 3-Darren Navarrette, 4-Sergie Ventura, 5-Steve Revord

Final Results Legends

1-Chris Miller, 2-Jeff Grosso, 3-Christian Hosoi, 4- Eddie Elguera, 5-Nicky Guerrero

Final Results Pro

1-Tristan Rennie, 2-Josh Rodriguez, 3-Cory Juneau, 4–Trey Wood, 5-Brad McClain



9 thoughts on “VANS Combi 2014

  1. Excellent coverage as always! Thank you again! Just wondering if you know where there might be a replay of the video, I don’t see a replay feature anywhere on vans sight and I missed the pro runs…. Thanks again!

  2. After reading this and as well being familiar with your past work, it makes me wish/hope that there could be money in skateboarding journalism again. Great article, great angle. Thanks for your contributions.

  3. That was an eye opening day. Happy to see so many people from my childhood to my recent move down to the OC. The skating that day was mind blowing, all ripping and having fun. The way it was supposed to be. Thanks for everyone down the line for putting on the best sk8reunion of the year. See yall around.

  4. Eddie Elguera…absolutely powerful photo of a true concrete coping ripper. This guy is standing on the coping with amazing finesse. Truly a legend that should be honored in the Skateboard Hall of Fame…..

  5. I was there with my son and we were able to take two of his friends. It was fun for me to see their jaws dropping over and over. My friends and I were blown away this year. The whole event shook down way different then I expected. For me I think it was the best bowl contest I ever watched. So many flawless runs. I couldn’t believe how good some of the young kids are now. I rode the original when i was a young teenager and during competition i was stoked to do rock n rolls and airs in it. It was gnarly. All three divisions tore that thing up yesterday. Thanks again for taking the time to cover the event.

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