Posted on Friday, August 04, 2006 by Rob Meronek
X-Games XIIWords by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
I ended up boarding the plane by myself and kicking it solo for about half a day in LA before Rob arrived. He didn’t miss that much though…just the usual picking up of the rental car (I got to ghost ride this whip!), finding out where the hell the venue is, etc.
I made my way over to the Home Depot Center and thought that I was at a trade show. From the team managers to the marketing guys to the company owners…everyone was there, including Sean Sheffey. I got to watch a good bit of the Street Qualifiers in the odd-looking arena that is normally used for some type of bike racing, which takes up a bunch of the potential seating area.
There was definitely some ripping going down. Even though they didn’t make the cut, it was rad to see guys like Dustin Dollin and Johnny Layton out there. Ironically enough, Baker Skateboards was the board company with the most entrants in the X-Games (Reynolds, Dollin, Leo, and Herman), which is rather odd if you think about how far away Baker’s philosophy is from the standard, extreme following.
And even more interesting was that the only advertisements on the street course were Element banners. What do you have to say about that, DeWitt?
Vert FinalsAfter I had enough socializing my duties led me back to the airport to pick up Rob. We checked into the hotel and hit a couple of local street spots in Downtown LA. From there we walked to the Staples Center to watch the Vert Finals. It’s definitely a bit of a hassle that the Vert is at a location about 30 minutes away from the Street and Mega Ramp. Rob couldn’t get his credentials so he snuck in with one of mine that was supposed to be for the other venue. Not exactly as cool as sneaking into the Super Bowl, but we got a laugh out of it.
The vert ramp was enormous and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Tim Payne and Mike Cruz of Team Pain, the proud builders, who had some interesting commentary during the Finals. One thing out of the ordinary is that the ramp included a step up and small, rainbow rail up it. But a friend of mine said, “Like I really want to watch a guy lipslide a rail when I just saw Billy Marks 360 flip into it on the street a few hours ago.” Good point.
Sandro Dias’ first run was great and earned him first place...and 50 Large, otherwise known as $50,000. Here’s what EXPN.com had to say about it:
That winning run included a Backside 540 McTwist to Tail, a Nar Jar 540, Heel flip to front side slider and Oli To Fakie.
There are so many things wrong with that sentence that it would take too much effort to correct it, but at least figure out how to spell “ollie” properly. Plus, Sandro didn’t do a “Heel flip to front side slider” at all anyway; however, he did do a frontside boardslide and definitely deserved top honors.
We did get the pleasure of seeing Anthony Furlong in the Contest and he was the only one to do anything over the extension/loveseat area with his ultra-smooth 5-0’s to fakie. He was invited because Pierre Luc Gagnon was out with an injury. Furlong put together a nice run and finished sixth.
Second and third place went to Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek respectively. Bob consistently had an ollie to frontside nose slap onto the gigantic bank that was basically a set-back, not-quite-vert extension.
Andy Mac ripped but was left out of the “podium finish”. I love saying that. Say “podium finish” out loud and tell me that isn’t funny.
Apparently there was a big party, but Rob and I opted out and hit the sack super-early in anticipation of the Street Finals on Friday afternoon.