Growing up in Huntington Beach, Val Bertignoli played S.K.A.T.E. almost every day with friends. This weekend, he'll be at the center of a tournament again — only this time, he's looking to show off his business savvy rather than his skateboarding prowess.
Bertignoli, a 21-year-old Orange Coast College student, founded the skate shop Street Wise in August. The shop, tucked into a strip mall at 18358 Beach Blvd., offers skateboards, clothing, protective gear and other accessories. On Saturday, to promote his enterprise, Bertignoli will host the Street Wise Game of S.K.A.T.E. Tournament in the front parking lot, with free registration and hundreds of dollars in cash prizes.
"It's universal, pretty much," said Bertignoli, a Huntington Beach High School graduate. "Everyone who skates knows about it."
The game, modeled after H.O.R.S.E., challenges players to come up with difficult skateboarding moves that their opponents must duplicate. If a player fails to copy a move, he or she receives a letter of S.K.A.T.E., with players eliminated when they reach all five letters.
Bertignoli said he may join the competition, but he's more intent on spreading his business' name. When the shop hosted its first tournament in October, inviting contestants to jump over rows of pumpkins on a skateboard, it advertised with fliers and social media and drew nearly 100 people.
For the tournament, Bertignoli has lined up more than a dozen corporate sponsors, including Glaceau Vitaminwater and Supra Footwear, which he said will give away products to attendees. The prize money, which runs as high as $150 for first-place winners, will come out of his own pocket.
The tournament features three age brackets: 10 and younger, 11 to 15, and 16 and older, although Bertignoli said there's no minimum or maximum age.
"If you're 70 and still want to enter, you can," he said.
Among those planning to enter the tournament is Kyler Neice, a member of the team that represents Street Wise in competitions and films promotional videos to post online. Neice, who lives in Fountain Valley, said the game is a natural way for skateboarders to show their creativity.
"Everyone usually has their own little something that no one else can do," he said. "It's always a surprise."
If You Go
What: Street Wise Game of S.K.A.T.E. Tournament
Where: Street Wise, 18358 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach
When: noon Saturday; sign-ups end at 11 a.m.
Information: (714) 842-2900 or http://www.streetwiseskateboards.com