Gavin Bottger, 11, wins amateur event as Dew Tour opens in Long Beach

  • Amateur Liam Pace, 17, of Tucson warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Liam Pace, 17, of Tucson warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Amateur Tate Carew warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Tate Carew warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Toby Ryan, 14, of Carlsbad, competes the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Toby Ryan, 14, of Carlsbad, competes the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kiko Francisco, 16, of Carson competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Kiko Francisco, 16, of Carson competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Josh Dirksen, 17, of Hampton, NH, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Josh Dirksen, 17, of Hampton, NH, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tyson Zane, 14, of Jacksonville, Fla., competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event on Thursday at the Dew Tour in Long Beach. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Tyson Zane, 14, of Jacksonville, Fla., competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event on Thursday at the Dew Tour in Long Beach. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kiko Francisco, 16, of Carson competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Kiko Francisco, 16, of Carson competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Skaters ride a small park course that is set up for visitors at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Skaters ride a small park course that is set up for visitors at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Amateur Tate Carew warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Tate Carew warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Amateur Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, went on to win the event with a score of 87.66 The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, went on to win the event with a score of 87.66 The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Amateur Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, went on to win the event with a score of 87.66 The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside warms up before the start of the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, went on to win the event with a score of 87.66 The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Toby Ryan, 14, of Carlsbad, competes the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Toby Ryan, 14, of Carlsbad, competes the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Taylor Nye, 14, of Costa Mesa competes during the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Taylor Nye, 14, of Costa Mesa competes during the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tyson Zane, 14, of Jacksonville, FL, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Tyson Zane, 14, of Jacksonville, FL, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, gives a wave after his first round in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, gives a wave after his first round in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Amateur Liam Pace, 17, of Tucson falls during the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Amateur Liam Pace, 17, of Tucson falls during the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Eleven-year-old Gavin Bottger of Oceanside competes in the Amateur Park Final skateboard event on Thursday at the Dew Tour in Long Beach. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Eleven-year-old Gavin Bottger of Oceanside competes in the Amateur Park Final skateboard event on Thursday at the Dew Tour in Long Beach. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, left, pumps his fist as is congratulated by other competitors in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Gavin Bottger, 11, of Oceanside, left, pumps his fist as is congratulated by other competitors in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. Bottger, the youngest competitor, won the amateur event with a score of 87.66. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tate Carew, 13, of San Diego competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Tate Carew, 13, of San Diego competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tate Carew, 13, of San Diego competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

    Tate Carew, 13, of San Diego competes in the AM Park Final skateboard event at the Dew Tour in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 28, 2018. The Dew Tour is taking place next to the Long Beach Arena through Sunday and is free to the public. (Photo by Scott Varley, Contributing Photographer)

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LONG BEACH — Set up just outside the Long Beach Convention Center, with the historic Queen Mary in view, the Dew Tour opened its third consecutive year in Long Beach on Thursday.

The first two competitions were amateur events, as skateboarders competed on Park- and Street-style courses, with the first-place winner advancing to the Pro Men’s Park and Street Qualifiers on Friday.

Eleven-year old Gavin Bottger of Oceanside claimed the title in the Amateur Park Final, after a third-place finish a season ago. Bottger was the youngest competitor, but he outperformed the rest of the field, showcasing an arsenal of tricks en route to a score of 87.66 on his first run. That score was good enough to take the title, as Bottger’s body varial 540 and kickflip indy stole the show.

“I was just like I need to stick this landing, and be the best that I can, and that’s what happened,” Bottger said.

Bottger is originally from South Lake Tahoe, but he moved to Southern California alongside his family to continue skating. He enjoys competing alongside his friends and expressed the desire to turn pro in the near future.

“It means everything to me, because you get to skate with people who you look up to,” he said. “I’ve been skating for six years, and I love it because it’s just fun. You never get bored of it.”

Rounding out the top three in the Park competition were Tate Carew (13) of San Diego and Liam Pace (17) of Tucson, Ariz., both of whom were just short of Bottger’s high mark.

Chris Colbourn of Williston, Vt., took the crown in the Amateur Street Final, navigating a street course filled with various ramps and rails that gave riders ample opportunity to showcase various tricks.

Colbourn, 27, praised his fellow competitors amid his first-place performance, noting that he struggled to maintain his focus while inspired by the runs of his counterparts.

“I’ve been getting a kick out of seeing all the talent that’s surfacing at the Dew Tour every year, and this year is the gnarliest so far,” Colbourn said. “I keep thinking it’s not going to get any gnarlier and it does.”

The Williston native, who first picked up a skateboard at age 10, acknowledged he never imagined trekking from Vermont to California to compete, describing his moment in the spotlight as surreal.

“To be winning the Dew Tour, or at least the amateur series part of it, is a huge blessing and honor, so it’s just a good step in the right direction for me in terms of being comfortable skating in front of people,” Colbourn said. “I love filming video parts and documenting everything, the whole process, but contests are another breed.”

Rounding out the top three in the Street event were Maurio McCoy (22) of Reading, Penn., and Gustavo Ribeiro (17), of Lisbon, Portugal.

On Friday, the pro men’s park and street qualifiers will commence with the finals set for Sunday. Bottger and Colbourn will jointly hope to earn spots in the finals as amateurs.

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Hawthorne skateboarder Louie Lopez excited about coming home to compete on Dew Tour

Louie Lopez first picked up a skateboard when he was 5 years old growing up in Hawthorne. Eighteen years later, he is an accomplished professional skateboarder who will compete in the Dew Tour in Long Beach, returning to Southern California for the third straight year and competing alongside 103 other riders in various events.

Lopez, like many of his fellow riders, was giddy in the days leading up to the four-day event, scheduled to begin Thursday at the Long Beach Convention Center.

“To still be skateboarding and doing this for a living, not much has changed,” Lopez said. “And I’m still having the best time ever.”

Specializing mostly in street skating, Lopez noted his approach is simple, “Basically I just skate,” and that this particular mindset has given him the opportunity to travel across the world competing in places such as Peru, Colombia and France. He is additionally sponsored by Volcom, Flip Skateboards, and Converse among other brands that have funded the budding skateboarder’s journeys abroad.

Despite traveling across the world, Lopez was understandably excited – not just to compete – but also to be competing near his home, in front of his family and friends.

“My whole family gets to come out, and you get to sleep in your own bed after the thing, and it’s just comforting,” he said.

The experience of traveling abroad was made possible by hours and hours of practice. Like most skills, skateboarding lives up to the cliché of practice makes perfect. For Lopez, however, amid all of the hours spent in skate parks honing his skills, the constant presence of his father made a lasting difference.

Lopez said his father is his primary influence and the duo would often make trips together to skate at different venues.

“A lot of the times parents try to tell their kids what to do, or they’re very strict with them with contests and stuff like that, and it just defeats the fun in skateboarding,” Lopez said. “So my Dad was always just supportive. That helped out a lot.”

Lopez’s first event four years ago was the Tampa Pro, an event similar to the Dew Tour in reputation. After competing in Tampa for the first time as a pro, Lopez returned to Tampa in 2017, where he captured the title and earned a Street League Skateboarding Pick for that year. With that victory, he also solidified a position in 2018, having accrued the honor for the second consecutive year.

As one of the few Latino skaters on the tour, Lopez has enjoyed the trips to South America, where he said he was treated “like a rock star” by kids who he noted were not as accustomed to the regular presence of skateboarding as kids in Southern California. In doing so, Lopez has embraced his status as a potential mentor for prospective professional skaters and hopes to continue competing at the highest level for years to come.

“I hope I can inspire kids and make them think that they can do it too,” Lopez said. “It’s to keep the right head on your shoulders and stay out of trouble, and you can live an amazing life, travel the world, enjoy skateboarding with your friends.”

The Dew Tour will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center from Thursday to Sunday, and admission is free to the public.

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