X-Games 2007

Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 by Ryan

X-Games 2007
Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Andrew Reynolds - nollie noseblunt slide. I should have kept the shutter firing so you could see all of Chris Cole's back noseblunt right behind him
Five frames per second is not fast enough to catch Chris Cole's quickness with this frontside 180 to switch feeble to forward. Later on in the day after we left for the airport, I heard he won Best Trick with a double 360 flip down the double set. Wow
Andrew Reynolds - full cab
Jereme Rogers - backside noseblunt slide with proper bow out like an orchestra conductor
If I did a switch frontside big spin to front board I'd give praise to Satan like Jereme Rogers is doing here. Well, maybe he's praising someone else. We all have our differences
Eric Koston - backside noseblunt slide while being followed by the 11 o'clock news guy and his giant VX
Greg Lutzka - frontside flip nosegrind
There's a new one. Frontside flip 270 back lip. Definitely deserves the Greg Lutzka finger snap after making that one
Muska makes me want to bust out the gold dipped baby shoes my parents made
Chris Cole is getting interviewed by some lady from the Tonight Show. At least that's what it says on the mic she's holding. These days I have no time for watching good old television. I miss it
This is the great view you get when you're issued a photo pass for losers like me. Meanwhile, dozens of people with a legit photo pass and a point and shoot camera were allowed on the street course. I had to sneak in to get the goods
I saw Nick Dompierre for the first time without his Thrasher beanie and holy hell, his hair is long as Rapunzel. This is a backside overcrook
Tommy Sandoval is going to back 180 out of this feeble grind
Mike Sinclair did a great job designing the street course. This think looks real fun. That's Nick Dompierre off the bump to front crook
Eric Koston - smith grind
Greg Lutzka - 360 flip noseblunt slide
Yep, it's real. The paparazi were all over it
Jereme Rogers fears no man or switch trick. This is a switch frontside noseblunt slide
Paul Rodriguez - switch frontside blunt slide
Last time I saw Mark Appleyard we were both out of our minds in some random Rotterdam coffee shop. Now we're on point and back to American rules. This is a 360 flip to flat
Andrew Reynolds - back heel to flat
Eric Koston - frontside 180 nosegrind
Jereme Rogers - switch crook
Mark Appleyard - 360 flip noseslide
Eric Koston - switch heel
Jereme Rogers - bsts
Ryan Sheckler - frontside noseblunt slide
Nick Dompierre - backside noseblunt slide
Danny Way and Holmes were on the scene as usual
I've been seeing a little too much Lil John at skateboarding events lately
Look who's new behind the lens. It's Rob Brink
Element let us in on the mini-ramp session outside. When we first rolled up, I was wondering how anyone could even get up to the top of this thing because the ramp was so low. Brent Atchley then did a frontside disaster on it
Lacey Baker is trying to get a mini-ramp in her back yard. Skate party at Lacey's house!
Muska and the gold dipped baby shoes were tearing up the mini-ramp
UPDATE: I have been asked to change this caption to: Turn on your TV to see what happened here
We left Tampa at 9pm on Thursday night and ended up at our hotel at 3am on Friday morning Pacific Time. I didn’t even need an alarm clock considering it was already 11am to my body when my eyes popped open bright and early at 8am PST.

We checked our email ultra-quick and found out that Jake Brown almost killed himself the night before on the Mega-Ramp. Good God Son! How in the hell did you walk away from that? We heard that he spent the night in the hospital with some internal injuries, but that he’ll be just fine. What a relief…

We got on site a bit earlier than anticipated and were able to catch the Girls Street. The scene was mellow and cool…the X-Games has turned into a bit of an Industry Trade Show of sorts. Seriously, I ran into so many friends and associates that it was ridiculous. Good times in short doses for sure.

The Format
Both the “Girls” and the “Boys” skated to the same format, with the only difference being that the Jams for the Boys were a bit longer. There were 10 skaters in each Division. The Girls skated for seven-minutes per Jam while the Boys skated for 15-minutes per Jam. The course was split into three different sections:
  • Jam 1: This was held on the big bank with the two chains at the top (resembling the spot that Tom Penny shut down back-in-the-day) as the main attraction. There was also a pole jam and up-ledge into it
  • Jam 2: The center piece area had a bank-to-bank with rails on each side as well as a couple of really small bank-to-banks with grass in the middle…this definitely had a cool look
  • Jam 3: Wow…$h!t went down on the huge gap-to-rail on the double-set and the big-fours and rails on each side. Let’s not forget the beastly hubbas in the middle. Damn this was gnar
Boys Street
The skating was at an all-time high. I think that the gnarlier it got that these guys just kept pushing it and pushing it to the next level. There were pros out there definitely doing stuff for the first time, but that’s what you expect when you have that many heavy hitters all in one spot skating together. Duncan commented, “This looks like a video part,” and he was dead on. It was truly rad to watch…especially since I snuck into the “cool guy” area and had a perfect spot. Rob snuck in, too, so I know he got the pics. Even with my proper “credentials” I couldn’t get a good view. Dyet asked, “What in the hell are credentials?”

Rob searched the Internet and couldn’t find the prize breakdowns anywhere, so all I remember was the loot for 1st. All three Jams were tallied and here’s how it broke down:
  • 10th – Nick Dompierre – Nick sort of bombed the first two Jams, but came out swinging on the rails and hubbas. He had gap to everything, but I must side with his kickflip cannonball grab from the kicker into the big bank. That was ill
  • 9th – Andrew Reynolds – The Boss was a victim to the ‘curse of the broken board’ on a kickflip fs lipslide during Jam 2, but he came back to do it on the gap-to-rail in Jam 3. He’s still got the best frontside flips of all time…all the way over the hubba
  • 8th – Eric Koston – my all-time-favorite had a bad day, but he still did it with a huge smile on his face. Koston broke his board on a nollie noseblunt slide on the handrail in Jam 3, which was his first trick! He came back to nail it and the switch heel butters down the double-set
  • 7th – Mark Appleyard – did anyone say 360 flip to noseslide on the huge hubba? Maybe. Maybe not. But Appleyard could care less because he nailed that and the gap to bs smith on the gap-to-rail
  • 6th – Paul Rodriguez – one of three of the Plan B ‘baseball team’ that made the top 10. P-Rod is a cool cat and he did the switch heel to flat on the big bank as well as the switch fs heel on the double-set
  • 5th – Tommy Sandoval – Captain Caveman skates like a beast at all times. You think he’d be chillin’ with the pot leaf shirt on, but hell no…Tommy was on fire and although it took him a few tries, he got the kf bs tailslide on the huge hubba
  • 4th – Ryan Sheckler – hate all you want, but Shecks kills it, even with an MTV film crew tied to his ass. By the way, he just made a $50,000 donation to some starving kids in Africa. Didn’t hear about that one, did you? Well, that’s ‘cause the kid’s got class. UPDATE: It was actually Shaun White, not Sheckler that made the donation
  • 3rd – Jereme Rogers – oh snap! Makin’ the higher-ups at Plan B all proud of him, you know how Jereme does it, right? He’s got all of the moves on all of the obstacles. This kid was born to skate these things – nothing phases him and he’s always “on”
  • 2nd – Greg Lutzka – the first thing that he said to me was that he LOVED the Mike Sinclair-designed course…and it sure looked like it considering the way he was skating. Lutzka dominated and did the 270 fs ollie to switch fs boardslide on the gap-to-rail and then one-upped himself by doing it to switch fs bluntslide! Oh man…
  • 1st – $50,000 – Chris Cole – we would have loved to see him at Tampa Pro, but at least we got to witness the destruction known as Chris Cole at the X-Games. This guy is seriously unbelievable. Nothing is out of his reach on a skateboard…and he did it all, but the bs 360 nollie heel over the chain (from flat) into the big bank was ridiculous. It was an undeniable first place
We busted out of there and headed to the hospitality tent. It was like a party without the alcohol, with tons of food, video games, and all of the VIP’s (I hate that description) hanging out. Due to our crazy eating schedule for the past 24 hours, I filled up quick.

Then we remembered that the boys from Element gave Rob and I a personal invite to skate their Mini-Ramp. Even though I had no business skating in the Demo, I couldn’t resist a session with Muska, Braydon, Levi Brown, Collin Provost, Lizard, and a slew of other rippers. That was a highlight for me and thanks to DeWitt and Kingman for having us.

Also, thanks to our extreme friend Caroline for hooking us up with the proper passes that made our day hassle-free. I’m in the airport right now and it’s almost time to fly home. It was a quick trip…about 17 hours in LA…and totally worth it. Good times with good people.

Ryan

Girls Street
Elissa Steamer - nose manny up and in
Marissa Del Santo does more melon grabs than I do
Who dat? I think it's Elizabeth Nito. Last time I saw her, her arm made the sound of a Black Cat firecracker when it snapped in half
Elisssa Steamer - nollie over and in
Amy Caron - front board
Lorena Lima - feeble grind
Evelien Bouilliart and I have been high fiving each other all around the world over the last couple months. Rotterdam, Prague, and now Los Angeles
The younger girls are stepping it up with frontside feeble grinds
The girls are ripping, but most of them are still pretty far behind Elissa Steamer
Amy Caron - kickflip
That dude has some kind of TV production gun pointed at Amy Caron while she backside lipslides
Marissa Del Santo - crooked grind
Vanessa Torres - front board
Lacey Baker and I have been around the world together this summer also. This is a 360 flip
Sucks that I didn't get any good photos of Lauren Perkins. She was ripping
The level that our female friends are bringing to the table is certainly getting up there. Elissa is still my favorite girl skater of all time, but there are some young ladies nipping at her high heels. Vanessa Torres showed up last minute with her care-free attitude that I just love to see. Hell, it was only $20,000 for first place…I wouldn’t bother trying either. Here’s how it broke down:

  • 1st – Marisa Del Santo – $20,000 – this chick is on another level and rose above the rest of the females without issue. I heard that one of the judges gave her a 100 in one of the Jams
  • 2nd – Elissa Steamer – my favs from Florida is fully ripping into her 30’s and has the style to prove it. She truly looks like a professional out there. I don’t know how much she won, but Big Al told me that she’s going to buy a Gucci purse! You go girl!
  • 3rd – Amy Caron – I’ve seen Amy enough times on FUEL TV to feel like I know her, but that just ain’t the case. She’s got a good style (for real) and skates smooth and under control
That’s all I can recall from the Girls because I had a pretty bad spot and couldn’t see a lot of the skating, so here are some random facts that I remember from the day:
  • Although he wouldn’t allow his picture to be taken, I want to state the fact right here the JIM THIEBAUD was present at the X-Games…with an iPhone
  • Greg Carroll gives off some damn good vibes
  • Chris Nieratko came up to me and said, “Can I get a photo of your worst tattoo?” I said, “Of course,” and took down my pants. Then later I saw him taking a photo of Sheckler’s tattoo. I wonder what he asked him.
  • Some of the TM’s were slipping. I saw pros breaking boards left and right and they had to borrow their friends’ boards. Wouldn’t you think that the TM would have an exact replica waiting? Duh. Danny Way even had to jump in and help out Shecks when he broke his stick
  • If you’ve read this far, you’re as much of a nerd as me and love skateboarding as much as I do. Thanks.
Ryan

UPDATE: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
What was planned out to be a quick trip home turned out to be quite an adventure. As we were waiting for our flight from LA to Vegas, we were informed that it was leaving about an hour late. Our choices were 1.) Hop on the plane and try to make the connection or 2.) Stay in LA and spend the night.

Not too bad of options, right? But considering we had already returned the rental car and US Airways wasn’t offering a hotel room, we opted to ‘test our luck’ and try to catch our connection to Tampa in Vegas.

The part that bugs me was that we had this planned out so perfectly. We were to arrive back in Tampa a 6:25am on Saturday morning, which means that we would still have our entire weekend to enjoy. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen my home on Saturday morning, so I was really looking forward to it. Now it’s almost 6pm, I’m still on a plane, my body clock is tweaked, and my Saturday is gone.

Well, the luck didn’t turn out so well…we missed our connection in Vegas by about 10 minutes. There were about 10 of us that missed that plane, so you’d think that they would have held it, but that didn’t happen. We then hoped for a flight out of Vegas…hopefully to anywhere closer to Tampa, but that wasn’t an option either. The next flight to the east coast was at 7:30am on Saturday morning. Now Rob and I were left with two more choices. 1.) Stay and sleep in the airport or 2.) Go and find a hotel on The Strip. Do I even need to tell you what we did?

I know this for sure: The cab driver was an asshole. He could have taken us to a nearby dive, but instead drove us halfway across town to Gold Coast. It wasn’t so bad, but the room was $120 and it was already after midnight and we had to be up at 5am.

We checked in, used our Free Cocktail coupon, and ate some grub. Now it’s about 1:30am and time to hit the tables. An hour later, here are the damages:
  • Rob – down $360
  • Ryan – down $100 even
No so bad, until Rob pointed out the fact that with as much as he lost he could have paid for a flight home on another airline. Good point there.

I fell asleep at 3am (next to Rob in a king-size bed). The wake-up-call came at 5am. Is that even considered overnight? Oh man…why did we pay $120 for that? So we hop in another cab and we’re back at the airport in about half of the time as the drive to the hotel. The cab driver is cool as hell and tells us that the guy last night ripped us off and we could have just stayed at Motel 6 which is only two blocks off the strip and really close to the airport.

We get to the Gate and the same loudmouth dude that I couldn’t get away from the night before is BACK sitting next to me. Unbelievable. I try to change my seat from the Middle to a Window because two hours of sleep just ain’t cuttin’ it, but the plane is full. You’ve got to be kidding me.

To sum it up, in the last 45 hours we’ve been from Tampa to Vegas, Vegas to LA, LA to Vegas, Vegas to Charlotte, and Charlotte to Tampa. Add in some extreme socializing, a bit of skating, some halfway crappy meals, lots of time in airports, rude immigrant cab drivers trying to rip us off, and a few hundos lost at the blackjack table and it’s been an adventure all right…

My eyes are burning. I need to shave. I need more sleep. I’m sick of sitting in the Middle between grown-ass adults and a little kid kicking me in the back for hours on end.

But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Thank you skateboarding. See you this weekend at Back to the Banks and Manny Mania in NYC!

Now if you’re still reading I really do love you.

Ryan

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