EVERETT, Wash. - The Street League Skateboarding Championship tour kicked off in Everett with some of the most talented athletes in the world competing Saturday.
Hundreds filled the stands at the Angel of the Winds Arena to watch the event. Locals feel it's helping to put Everett on the map in the skateboarding community.
"I’m really happy with qualifying for the finals," said Roos Zwetsloot, a 2020 Olympian. "It was hard at the beginning to get used to it, and find nice lines, but once I got used to it, it’s a pretty nice course."
During the competition, participants are graded on their performance which includes a variety of stunts and obstacles with points given for harder tricks.
"The course is amazing this year," said Manny Santiago, professional skateboarder and competitor at the SLS event. "They have taken a very cool approach including street-style transitions on the course."
He was signing autographs and competing in his qualifying round later in the afternoon.
"It's cool to bring it to towns that show a lot of love, so we are just here to put on a show," said Manny.
"It actually was a two-year process. We were talking to Thrill One two years before the pandemic," said Tammy Dunn, Executive Director with the Snohomish County Sports Commission.
Local residents say it was worth the wait.
"It is exciting to have SLS in town because it’s one of the most important skating competitions in the world right now," said Ben Corey, the Co-Owner of Pops Skate Shop in Everett. "A single location to get everyone together to celebrate awesome skateboarding."
Ben opened the local skate shop in Everett in 2020 and hopes the community eventually builds more local skate parks in the future.
"It’s extremely accessible, and it’s the type of thing you can do in your driveway," said Ben. "We’d love to see a big regional skate park in Everett."
"I think that our community needs to have avenues and outlets, so the kids have a safe place to hang out," said Wendy Cook, Past Exulted Ruler with the Elks 479 Lodge. "It’s pretty exciting to have something like this here for sure."
"For the kids to have an opportunity to be here, and you know, to see what skateboarding has to offer for them especially, is amazing," said Jerome Price, Everett Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County.
Jerome brought young skater Elverto Rayo with him to the SLS tour event Saturday as part of the Girls & Boys Club program.
"I want to learn how to pop shuvit," said Elverto. "This is a dream come true really. I’ve been liking skateboarding for, like, two years, and having this in my life is just very special."
Elverto says having the SLS athletes in town is an inspiration to young people.
"I’ve already been doing a lot of skating, I’m trying to go pro," said Elverto.
Manny Santiago gave the young folks in the crowd Saturday some advice. "Just work really hard but remember to have fun, because at the end of the day, we are here to have a good time," he said.
It's the first time the event has been back in the Seattle area since 2011. Fans say they'll soak it up while they can.
"Hopefully everyone is going to watch tomorrow and yeah, lots of love from the Netherlands," said Roos.
The doors to the Angel of the Winds Arena open again on Sunday at noon for the finals.