9:00 p.m. PST: The day started out as any other day, I sat down and watched as men catapulted themselves over a gap fit for the Great Wall (see Danny Way). I guess that's pretty cool. They were vying for the four spots left in the Big Air finals and the big surprise was Edgar Pereira bumping out Lincoln Ueda with his last run, after bailing all of his three previous runs.
After that, I teleported to Home Depot Center to see the ladies pump, pump the vert ramp. The three finalists, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, Karen Jonez and Gaby Ponce won first, second and third respectively. All three medalists landed kickflip indy airs in their final runs. That's progression.
The ladies shined again today with the Women's Street Finals. I thought the girls were fun to watch, but Nieratko claimed that it was just because I was a pervert. That's not it, though. I mean, you would have to be there to see it and make your own opinion, but I was really impressed. It was better than last year. Marisa Dal Santo came with Slave Skateboard's Pat Burke as the "M" in a shirtless crew that spelled out her shortened name, "Mar." That must have given her all the confidence she needed to dominate her peers and claim her second X Games Gold Medal. Other gals pulled some amazing tricks (see earlier posts for details). In a heart-warming story, Alexis Sablone, has come back with a vengeance recently, after finishing her architecture degree at Columbia University, she's employing the same go-for-it attitude in her revitalized skate career. She earned Silver. Elissa Steamer took Bronze with her always eye-pleasing moves ("no pervert").
Lastly, the Big Air was a weird affair, with all parties going for it. Young buck Rob Lorifice made some sick runs to grab the Bronze. Jake Brown and Bob Burnquist tied going into their final run which added some drama to the already dramatic event. In the end, Jake took his first Gold. Tomorrow's going to be even bigger with Men's Skate Street eliminations and the Big Air Rail Jam. Will Danny Way make it into the comp? We'll keep you posted all day long so keep checking back.
8:30 p.m. PST: Athlete Update: Emmanuel Guzman is out of the Park comp. Aaron "Jaws" Homoki is in.
8:25 p.m. PST: Even though Jake Brown won the Gold with Bob coming in behind him and the younger Lorifice in third, there's one man who will forever be the undisputed, most-sought-after face of mainstream skateboarding--Tony Hawk. Kids love this dude. Bagel bites, Club Med, this guy's living the plush life. But, he still takes time for the kids. Oh, and he hangs with other celebs like David Beckham.
7:10 p.m. PST: Final runs:
Rob Lorifice sticks a backside 360 and a backside rodeo 540 on his last run. Well done.
Andy MacDonald back 360 varial then bail.
Adam Taylor attempted 720 over the gap but bails.
Jake Brown back 360 mute and a bail on the second 900 attempt.
Bob Burnquist falls on a back 180 over the gap.
Gold: Jake Brown
Silver: Bob Burnquist
Bronze: Rob Lorifice
6:50 p.m. PST: Switch 180 into an indy 360! Bob tied with Jake now, with the same run he pulled last year. Jake's got one more to see if he can top it.
6:50 p.m. PST: Young buck Adam Taylor just stuck a flip over the gap into a melon 540. He's currently in 3rd at barely 19 years old. Jake Brown just spun but threw away a 900: a mega 900! Insane!
6:40 p.m. PST: Edgar Pereira keeps taking runs during the comercial breaks and he's just spinning massive no handed back 360s. That's Brazilian for loco.
6:38 p.m. PST: Pierre-Luc is up here cheering on his peers. He doesn't look hurt. Wonder why he didn't compete?
Bob's having trouble holding on coming in on the massive quarter. Jake Brown is currently out in front. Could this be Jake's year?
6:34 p.m. PST: It smells like serious man musk up here on deck: permeating mostly from Bucky (up here live chatting) and Jake (the smelly Aussie party gremlin). At least it's not the stench of bravado that, I'm told, comes with the double pits to chesty. -AS
6:29 p.m. PST: I'm impressed that the new jacks, including Pereria, Adam Taylor, and Rob Lorifice, can even roll this monstrosity but it's blatantly obvious who's the most comfortable up here: Bob and Jake. That said, Edgar just nailed a gnarly run with a backside 360 to a backside 540. Gnarbucket!-AS
6:21 p.m. PST: Jake Brown is on some new fashion. He's rocking one full pant leg and one cut-off one. That's some next level stuff right there. And he just pulled a 21 foot McTwist, which is also next level because he got a 91.33 and now in the lead.-AS
6:17 p.m. PST: Reporting from the top of the Big Air Roll In deck. It's scary just looking down. Here's some trick we've already seen go down: Rob Loriface did a no handed back 360 but bailed on the quarter. Andy Mac did a melon back 3 into a gnarly judo air. Bob did a switch back 180 to massive McTwist. Dropping in switch on this thing is one of the gnarliest things ever. Judges agree--Bob got a 91. -AS
6:11 p.m. PST: The street course is glorious. The women's skating, other-worldly. If they were in another time, they would be 12 different Joan of Arcs ... in a TV show a dozen valient Xena Warrior Princesses. As the sun sets on the street course, the contenders slay the battlefield like a formation of she-samurais or a line of Scottish infantry, like Braveheart, but ... like .. .girls, and stuff.
They are pushing and pushing and pushing across the course. They are flipping and catching. Olllieing and landing. Lacey Baker Tre flipped up the euro gap. Marisa Ollied the stairs. Men were intimidated and the sun warmed the skaters with a gleam of golden success. Oh yeah, and Marisa just front boarded the gold 12-stair rail. I know I'm supposed to be impartial, but I feel proud for Marisa, like her Dad.
6:00 p.m. PST: Alexis Sablone just kickflipped the 12-stair, perfect, and 50-50ed the rail, buttery. Elissa nollie lipped the ledge into the bank. Wow!
5:57 p.m. PST: Elissa on the new format: "I like this format! It's way more mellow. It's just a try. Usually, it's so nerve-racking trying to snake people and all that. This is so much better."
5:39 p.m. PST: Marisa is in the lead. Leticia is almost landing perfectly poked front feebles.
5:38 p.m. PST: Leticia and Caron are in the lead for the double set.
5:30 p.m. PST: Vanessa Torres took a crooks to the double set ledge. Elissa Steamer took it to the gold double set rail. Elissa kickflipped the double set and Lacey Baker is pulling proper nollie heels down it. Leticia Bufoni is grinding the rail with ease.
5:08 p.m. PST: Marisa Dal Santo just kickflip melon grabbed, backside flipped and varial heeled over the
pyramid. She also 50-50'd the long flat rail. She just gap to front boarded the yellow rail. Jeez!
4:55 p.m. PST: The ladies are hitting the first obstacle in the Women's Street Final. Elissa Steamer just backside flipped and switch flipped the pyramid. Alexis Sablone also switch flipped the pyramid. Dang!
4:50 p.m. PST: Eric Koston weights in on the new 10 tries per skater, per obstacle area, in Skate Street: "I'm torn. I hate the huck-fest, but it's weird, because I don't know how they'll score it. Can you do a two stock tricks and score better than a guy that does one hard trick? Then again, when I skate a rail like that," he said pointing to the 12-stair, "I get tweaked out if there's a runner passing by the bottom of the stairs, so the ten tries per obstacle format works out. When everyone goes at once, it tweaks me out."
4:30 p.m. PST: Marisa Dal Santo has some real friends that turn into crazed fans when it's time for her to put her game face on. Mar's homie and Slave skateboards am, Pat Burke is out here with some friends showing support with the old "name written across several chests" technique.
4:15 p.m. PST: Just ran into Rob Brink at the girl's comp. He's covers almost everything Sole tech, including Emerica, Etnies and eS. They have a lot of girl skaters in the competition, including Evelyn Boullivart (Etnies), Marisa Dal Santo (Emerica), Lacey Baker (Etnies), Alexis Sablone (eS) and Lorena Lima (Etnies) and Lauren Perkins (Etnies) although the last two pulled out due to injuries. Still, it's gonna be an amazing contest.
4:05 p.m. PST: Just bumped into Ryan Clements, the man behind Skatepark of Tampa. He said, "Man, you're serious about all this, huh?"
I said, "Yeah, I gotta be."
"Get some quotes," he added. "I'll give you a quote!"
"Naw man ... no. It's my day off," he said.
3:58 p.m. PST: Ever had Ollie Pop? This was my first time. Someone gave it to me and I opened it up to find all these skate stickers. Free skate stickers? Awesome! (glasses not included)
3:35 p.m. PST: 5Boro skateboards' and Nieratko's own NJ Skateshop rider, Lorena Lima is limping around the course, so I asked her what happened. "I twisted my ankle yesterday after practice. I was skating a flatbar. I'm bummed, but it hurts so bad that I can't even think about what an ollie would feel like." she's just going to be watching this year. Lauren Perkins is also out of the Women's Street comp with a knee injury.
3:25 p.m. PST: Tweet from @Filmer4dayz: "Any sign Of Chris Cole at all? Is he going to compete (not that he needs to after Maloof)?"
Haven't seen Chris just yet but I'd be surprised if we didn't see him at today's Men's Street practice starting at 4:00 PST.
3:10 p.m. PST: "Do the straight 8," I yelled to Marisa Dal Santo and Elissa Steamer. It's the ultimate flatground challenge. You do all of the straight eight tricks-kickflip, heelflip, nollie flip, nollie heelflip, switch flip, switch heelflip, fakie flip, fakie heelflip. If you mess up on any of the tricks on the way to all 8, you have to start all over again. Elissa just did it. Try it some time. It's harder than it sounds. J.B.
2:55 p.m. PST: History was made at the Women's Vert final where three ladies pulled kickflip indys. Gaby Ponce, Karen Jonz and Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins all pulled them. Pretty sick.
Medals breakdown goes like this:
Gold: Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins
Silver: Karen Jonez
Bronze: Gaby Ponce
2:45 p.m. PST: Athlete Update Updated! I just spoke with Danny Way in person. He's pretty sure that his knee is fairly messed up (though he doesn't have an official doctor's opinion on the matter yet). Still, he told us not to count him out of the Rail Jam just yet. As he said, "I've competed on broken and injured stuff in the past so we'll see." Here's hoping.
2:20 p.m. PST: I asked Marisa Dal Santo if she got her athlete backpack (the swag bags given to the athletes by the event organizers and sponsors), yet. She said, "No, I'm gonna get it later." Then, she added, "A couple years ago they gave the girls pink backpacks and the boys blue backpacks. How embarrassing is that? It was like something out of grade school."
2:15 p.m. PST: Athlete Update: This is a bummer. Due to tweaking his knee in last night's practice, Danny Way will not be competing in the Big Air Rail Jam. An X Games with no D-Way? No Way! Bummer.
2:10 p.m. PST: LL Cool LFG: Ladies Love Cool Flatground. The ladies are warming up on flatground. Lacey Baker, Vanessa Torres, Alexis Sablone and Marisa Dal Santo are all putting many a man to shame with their flatground skills.
1:45 p.m. PST:
Tweet from @Farmacy: "What are the skaters saying about the street course this year?"
Well @Farmacy, different dudes have differing opinions. P-Rod and Terry Kennedy thought the rails on either side of the pyramid gap were too high and so the builders actually lowered those obstacles a bit to make them more accessible. Koston only seemed to mess with the brick quarterpipe on the street course and spent more practice time just sessioning with the park guys on the concrete park course. A lot of invited street pros have yet to show up (they don't all practice their runs), so it's hard to say what the over-all vibe is. I think different guys will like different aspects of the course but, as usual, you can't please everyone.
1:25 p.m. PST: Email from Billy in Arkanasas: "Who has potential for an upset victory in Men's Street?"
There's a lot of talented riders here Billy, and after seeing some unexpected guys give the usual suspects a run for their money at last weekend's Dew Tour, I can honestly say that under the right circumstances it's anyone's contest. But if I had to pick a dark horse favorite, I'd go with Heath Kirchart. How rad would it be to see that guy snatch Gold from the usual contest skaters? I know, I'd be hyped. A.S.
1:10 p.m. PST: This is a little preview of Danny Way's DC Big Air shoe, which comes pre-made with a click over lace saver and a reinforced heel for support (a lot like a snowboard boot). I highly doubt that the average skateboarder will need a pair of these, unless he or she has a MegaRamp in his/her backyard. But, if you're planning on jumping Springfield gorge, I suggest you get a pair of these bad boys. They may be very limited, though, and when I say limited, I mean, limited to Danny Way only.
12:55 p.m. PST:
Tweet from @rossboettcher: "When are elimination runs for Men's Skate Vert. Also, how much air, on average, do the athletes get out of the vert ramp?"
Well @rossboettcher, Men's Vert doesn't have an elimination round. All the invited riders that show up will be in Saturday's finals at 6:30 p.m. PST. And average height of airs is a tough call. I'd say Lincoln Ueda and Alex Perelson tend to soar the highest. Each of those two can easily bust backside airs that go at least 6 feet out of the lip.
12:30 p.m. PST: Lincoln pulled a backside 360 grab, but Bailed the backside air on the vert wall, getting nudged out by Edgar Pereira. Last three guys, Lorifice, Andy Mac and Taylor will be in the big air finals tonight.
12:25 p.m. PST: Edgar Pereira Landed his fourth run with a backside 360 melon and a backside air, bumping out Lincoln Ueda to put himself in the running for the finals. But, Ueda still has one more runnail-biter!
12:15 p.m. PST: Adam Taylor jumped up to first place with his last run, moving Andy Mac to 2nd and Lorifice into 3rd. Ueda's still holding on to fourth.
12:00 p.m. PST: So far Lorifice is in the lead. Ueda just bailed his second trick of his second run. He's in fourth.
11:58 a.m. PST: Elliot Sloan just took a spill and had to be helped off the flat bottom at the base of the vert wall. He looked like he was walking it off, though.
11:56 a.m. PST: Andy Mac: judo backside 360 and a melon with his arm rolling down the window the whole way. He held on though.
11:50 a.m. PST: Edgar Pereira and Eliot Sloan both bailed their first two runs. Three more tries for each.
11:47 a.m. PST: The guys pre-qualified for the Big Air finals are Bob Burnquist and Jake Brown. Lincoln Ueda first run: melon backside 360 and an always boosting melon (20 feet). Rob Loriface's first run: backside 360 tailgrab and a backside nosegrab.
11:30 a.m. PST: Big Air elimination is going down now. Six skaters are competing for four spots in the final. Four of these dudes will make it in: Lincoln Ueda, Adam Taylor, Andy MacDonald, Rob Lorifice, Elliot Sloan and Edgar Pereira. Judging is based on the guys with the top four runs.
11:20 a.m. PST: Athlete Update: Lea Taylor out of Women's Vert. Elise Dabby will be her replacement.
10:20 a.m. PST:
Hoo-eee! It's finally here. Light the torch. Buy a hot dog at the concession stand and put some mustard on it. Bring your point and shoot. Get amped. Drink a Red Bull, coffee, mate (?) or pour a beer on yourself (must show valid ID). You'll need electrolytes and that other stuff--what's it called?--Guarana, because today's going to be like a non-stop reggaton foghorn sound in your head, causing your heart rate to shoot through the roof and your mouth to open wide and go, "Owww!, If you're going to the X Games today, bring your oxygen tank. If you're going to sit in front of your computer at work or at home, carry your noise maker along, yank that thing out at the beginning of the Big Air event and fill the room with that "CLACK CLACK CLACK! You're co-workers and family will love it (Warning: Studies have shown that co-workers or family will want to kill you).
In the very least, follow along here, because Hometown Heroes Skateboard Street elimination and Women's Skateboard Street are happening in the afternoon, along with pro street and pro and legend park practice. But, the banger's going to be the Big Air elimination and finals. I'll try to bring you more on the injury Danny Way suffered last night during rail jam practice. Despite appearing in pain, he went up and skated the rail more, but left limping. Besides that, there will, no doubt, be more to cover and we'll be bringing it to you all day.