Dew Tour Brings Extreme Sports To San Francisco But Faces Criticism (PHOTOS)

Oct 19, 2012

Socrates said "to be is to do;" Satre said "to do is to be." And now that San Francisco has said "Do the Dew," some people aren't particularly happy about it.

Sponsored by Mountain Dew and a division of NBC Sport Group, the Dew Tour is kind of a like a traveling X Games, showcasing some of the world's best BMX bikers, skateboarders and freestyle motocross racers going head to head on both aerial and street courses. After kicking off in Ocean City, Maryland, earlier this year, the action has finally come to San Francisco.


Starting last week, the Dew Tour began setting up shop in the Civic Center, filling nearly all of the space in the plaza and blocking many of the surrounding streets with vert ramps, dirt mounds, stages for musical performances and the ever-present fleet of food trucks that seems to show up when anything cool happens here.

The actual event, which features appearances by Ryan Nyquist, Ryan Sheckler and rapper Lil' Wayne, kicked off on Thursday.

"We're right in the heart of the city with City Hall in the background, so it's a real authentic city feel," said Chris Prybylo, vice president of events for the Dew Tour, told the San Francisco Examiner. "The heritage and the history of action sports in San Francisco are great."

But not everyone was quite so enthusiastic about the prospect of the Dew Tour coming to town. Supervisor John Avalos relayed his concerns to NBC Bay Area about both the physical demands hosting the event had on the neighborhood and the overall message it sent with regard to the city's anti-obesity efforts.

"We closed down this park [for the Dew Tour and other events] probably altogether for maybe four weeks in one and a half months," Avalos said. "So our park is generally closed off to public access."

"We actually had an event that was a soda-free summer event," he added. "Now we're actually supporting a soda company by doing an agreement with them to put on this event."

Avalos also said his office was looking into allegations that the event's organizers were illegally paying workers less than the city's highest-in-the-nation minimum wage.

The road closures also snarled rush hour traffic on Thursday, causing delays approaching an hour for some motorists.

Recreation and Parks Department Spokesperson Sarah Ballard argued that, because the event is almost entirely free and open to the public, it's an ideal vehicle to get San Francisco citizens engaged with their public spaces. It also doesn't hurt that the tour's organizers paid the department $311,000 to rent the space.

"In this case, we have actually undertaken a concerted effort to bring people to Civic Center," Ballard explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is a continuation of the efforts to bring activity to Civic Center Plaza."

Everything in the City Center is expected to return to normal by next Wednesday.

If you don't particularly care about sports and you just want to see Weezy spit some verses, he's supposed to show up around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Check out these photos of Dew Tour athletes in action: