Cole wins Maloof Money Cup street title, $100K
COSTA MESA, Calif. – Chris Cole is skateboarding’s $300,000 dude.
The 28-year-old street star clinched his third $100,000 payday in 13 months, landing enough tricks to top a sensational performance by 15-year-old Nyjah Huston to win the Maloof Money Cup at the Orange County Fairgrounds on Sunday night.
Huston landed all 16 of his tricks in his section of the third and final heat on the beach-themed concrete course, forcing the 28-year-old Cole to come up big on his final run. He did, successfully defending his title in skateboarding’s top-paying contest.
Cole, originally from Philadelphia who now lives in northern San Diego County, won last year’s Maloof Money Cup as well as the inaugural Maloof Money Cup New York in April.
Cole said this is probably going to be his last Maloof Money Cup. He’ll be part of a new street league, which will require exclusivity.
“That’s why it was extra important for me to do well in this last Maloof that I was going to do,” he said. “I really wanted to do my best.
“It’s quite a wild ride,” he said after performing before an amped-up crowd that included NBA players Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris “Birdman” Andersen of the Denver Nuggets. “It’s definitely something to look back on and just be happy and proud of what you did.”
The competition is hosted by Joe and Gavin Maloof, the brothers who own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
“I feel bad for Nyjah. He did so good,” Cole said. “I feel good for me.”
Cole finished with 286.33 points. Huston, from Davis, had 281.67 points and won $40,000. Sean Malto of Lansing, Kan., was third with 281.33 points and won $25,000. Torey Pudwill of Simi Valley was fourth with 274.67 points and won $15,000.
Huston was crying afterward.
“I landed all my tricks I wanted to. That’s the best way to think about it. I know I skated my best,” Huston said. “I know how I skated, the fans know and just everybody’s cool about it. The judges, they make certain decisions that are very surprising. I’m used to it.”
With his dreadlocks flying, Huston was perfect in his final heat as he did tricks on obstacles that replicated Southern California beach skate spots.
“It was nerve-racking to watch him do it, but in the long run I’m really happy I was there to witness it,” Cole said. “That’s what those dudes are doing all day. It was a really monumental moment.”
The 12 finalists presented their best lineup of tricks down the stairs and various grinds and slides on ledges, hubbas and rails. It was Cole’s style and skill that allowed to three-peat.
Cole said it was special winning a contest loaded with talented skaters.
“The list of dudes who were out here, there’s only a few other dudes that weren’t here that I’d be OK losing to,” Cole said.
Joe Maloof said he wants to do four Maloof Money Cups around the country next year, one of them perhaps being in Chicago.
This likely will be the last one at the Orange County Fairgrounds because the street course has to be torn out each year. This year’s course required 160 cubic yards of concrete. Joe Ciaglia of California Skateparks said much of the material is recycled.
Still, “It depresses me to tear it up. I hate tearing it up,” Maloof said.
He’d like to build a permanent skate park in Orange County to host his contest.
“This is the home,” Maloof said. “We’ll always be here.”
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.