Skaters and BMX riders at last year's Dew Tour Pantech… (Joe Soriero, Baltimore…)
The Dew Tour Pantech Beach Championships brings the action to Ocean City this week for the second year in a row.
The extreme sports competition includes events in BMX, skateboarding and surfing all right on the beach.
And that's "on the beach," not "at the beach." The equipment is set up right in the sand at Dorchester Street. Huge ramps, cement bowls, vert ramps and much more, all silhouetted against the ocean.
With this year's free admission, event organizers have aimed to involve more people than ever, allowing fans to go even deeper into the Dew Tour experience. Sponsors are also stepping it up, offering more free giveaways and giving spectators a chance to try out some skating. From sports fans to beach lovers, the Pantech aims to please all.
With that in mind, we offer 10 tips on how to really enjoy the action in Ocean City.
1. Bring the kids. Nothing is cooler than seeing your favorite skater up close. And Prybylo said the sponsors have some extra surprises for the kids- skateboard and BMX courses set up so they can skate like the legends. They can also get their boards and other items autographed by the skaters.
2. Get there early. If you want a good seat, that is, but if you sleep in you can still get a view. The tour being free this year means crowds are likely to be big. It was big last year when tickets weren't free. So come early if you want to make sure you have a seat in the stands. However, Chris Prybylo, vice president of events for organizer Alli Sports, said visitors shouldn't stress. There will be two jumbo-trons in the middle of the Dew Tour Experience, so viewing shouldn't be any trouble. He also said for the big-air events standing from the beach will still get you a good view. "There's a ton of standing room and a lot of the action takes place in the air, so everyone will have the opportunity to see things," Prybylo said.
3. Watch expert surfers. The surfing section of the Dew Tour is happening in an event called the GoDaddy.com Surf Expression Session. "We wanted to have an event that really showed Ocean City in the best light and showed the surf," Prybylo said. He said professionals and some locals will be competing to show off the best tricks. There will also be live music on the beach during the contest. The surfing is happening south of the pier at the inlet.
4. Understand the sand. Beach sand is great, but if you have to stand in it for hours, your feet will feel it. And if there's a crowd – and there will be – it can be difficult to keep your footing. If you don't want your feet trampled, closed-toe shoes might be the way to go. And if you don't like that advice, at least wear sandals — going barefoot seems cool until your feet are burning from hot sand.
5. Look for the legends. One of the most exciting events on the schedule is the Skateboard Legends Bowl. You can watch the people who shaped modern skating compete in a setting similar to the emptied out pools the sport took off in.
6. See the biggest stunts yet. New this year is the BMX Mega 2.0 and the Skateboard Mega 2.0. Essentially, athletes launch off a mega ramp and get scored on the trick they do and the height they get. Think the most air imaginable.
7. Watch the finals. The whole tour will be fun to watch, but if you're low on time and only want to check out a couple hours watching the finals is your best bet. Just like every other sport, the finals are where the most intense competition takes place.
8. Hit the ATM. The location of the Dew Tour puts you right at the heart of the boardwalk. That makes it easy to take a break from the action and head out to get lunch, dinner or snacks. If you're staying out all day you might want to stay hydrated too. The trick is, plenty of places to eat on the boardwalk only take cash. So before you head out, make sure you have some.
9. Plan for crowds. Traffic, parking and all the usual troubles associated with a big weekend in Ocean City. You can park for free on St. Louis Avenue, if you can find open spaces on the street. Apart from that your best and most stress-free bet is taking the bus or using the park and ride from West Ocean City, where you can park for free by the bridge and take the bus or walk over.
10. Go premium. The whole Dew Tour Experience is free this year, but if you want to make sure you get a seat and the best view at every event you can buy a Premium Pass. This will get you reserved seating, gifts, a souvenir credential and some other swag. You really have to pay for it though- you have to buy a pass for each day individually. Right now prices are $60 for Thursday and $100 each for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That's $360 for the entire weekend. But if you can afford it, why not get as close to the action as possible.
If you go
Dew Tour Pantech Open Championships
The action sports event is Aug. 16-19 in Ocean City at Dorchester Street and the Ocean. Admission is free. Go to http://www.allisports.com/dew-tour. Several events will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. and Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. Schedule of events
Thursday, Aug.16: Skateboard Bowl Semifinal, BMX Vert Final, Round 1, Skateboard Bowl Legends Final, Surf. Concert at 8:30 p.m. featuring RAC DJ.
Friday, Aug. 17: BMX Park Preliminary, Skateboard Vert Semi-Final, BMX Vert Final Round 2. Concert at 9 p.m. featuring Theophilus London and at 10 p.m. featuring Lupe Fiasco.
Saturday, Aug. 18: BMX Mega 2.0 Final, Skateboard Vert Final, BMX Park Semi-Final. Concerts begin at 3 p.m. with Rites of Ashes, followed by The Perfects at 3:45 p.m.; Vital at 4:30 p.m.; DallasK at 8 p.m.; Two Fresh at 8:45 p.m.; and Wolfgang Gartner at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 19: BMX Park Final, Skateboard Bowl Final, Skateboard Mega 2.0 Final