Skateboarding’s Elite Face-Off in Downtown

One of the most popular competitions in skateboarding is under way at a top-secret location in downtown.


The third annual Battle at the Berrics is in full swing at an exclusive indoor skate park in downtown Los Angeles. Thirty-two of the best skateboarders from around the world are fighting for the championship title and a $10,000 payout.

"The 10-grand is cool and it's a bonus," said professional skateboarder Mike Mo Capaldi, who won the first ever Battle at the Berrics. "All the kids watch it; all the kids love this competition."

The winner is decided by an extended tournament-style competition where professional skateboarders face off in a game of S.K.A.T.E., a game that follows the trick-for-trick concept of basketball's "Horse."

The rules are fairly simple; one player sets a trick by successfully completing it. If the trick is not landed, another player attempts to set one. The tricks are simple and on flat ground, without rails or half pipes. Once a trick has been set, the other player must perform the same trick in his or her first try. If the skater fails, he or she earns a letter. The first player to spell S.K.A.T.E. loses.

"You have to take a trick and match the other trick and if you miss one, you get a letter," said Capaldi.

The competition takes place over the span of approximately four months and is hosted by skateboarding shoe company DVS.

All of the action goes down in a warehouse named "The Berrics." It is the brainchild of pro skateboarders Eric Koston and Steve Berra -- the title is a fusion of their names.

The Berrics is a mecca for skateboarding enthusiasts.

"That's where all the pros are at," said Capaldi. "If I was a little kid, it would be the dream skate park."

But don't get your hopes up young skateboarders, "The Berrics" is exclusive and invite only. The owners "don't just let anyone in."

"You might as well just not even go there…it's not going to happen," said the 20-year-old professional skater.

On the other hand, the entire competition and skater interviews are posted on "The Berrics" website. Matches are posted on the weekend during the battle.

"It's great exposure for you," Capaldi said. "It's great for us. It's great for them. It's like they got the best skateboarders skating their competition and we like to skate their competition…It goes hand in hand. We help each other out."

Capaldi has been professional for two years and has been skateboarding since he was 9 years old.

"I skate every day," he said. "I definitely enjoy it. It reflects in the way I skate."

Capaldi doesn't dwell on being pro, saying, "It's almost like when you get a girlfriend, you think it's going to be different or something, but it's not. It's like the same thing, nothing really changes."

Things have certainly changed for Capaldi, winning dozens of competitions in the last three years, including the first "Battle at the Berrics."

As he competes in the third battle, he does it with an injured ankle. But he is as confident as ever that he'll do well. At the very least, he'll have a good time.

"You put up a good game of S.K.A.T.E. and that's all that matters. It's just for fun anyways," he said.

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