X-Games 14 - 2008
Posted on Sunday, August 3, 2008 by Ryan
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
Upon landing we grabbed the car and headed straight towards the Staples Center in downtown LA. Somehow we managed to miss the infamous LA traffic and were looking for a spot in downtown in relatively minutes. At these big events it’s always a hassle to get your credentials, but this time it was pretty easy…we didn’t even get the run-around.
We watched the Qualifiers for Big Air and then Street. It was pretty rad to watch Big Air Qualifiers in the Staples Center with no one in there. The only viewers permitted into the building were staff and industry, so we sat back and enjoyed.
Then it was out to the Street Qualifiers, which was held on top of a parking garage…more on the Street after the Finals, but Adam Dyet missed the cut by one. And I hope that Rob got some pics of Leo Romero because watching that dude skate is such a pleasure. He dissects the street course and skates it in his own unique way, while slamming super-hard and hopping back up like nothing happened. I’m a huge fan of that kid.
After obtaining a properly sunburned forehead and not drinking any water for several hours, we headed back into the Staples Center for the main event of the evening. But first I want to give you a Mark Appleyard quote:
“I hope that I didn’t make the cut because I don’t want to come back to this $h!t tomorrow.”
I’m going to give it a shot, but the bottom line is that you need to see this $h!t in person to really take in the magnitude of the insanity that goes into Big Air, Mega Ramp, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve never been to the top of one of these ramps, but I can tell you that the runway started at the top of the arena. Granted, the take off ramps were about 20 feet off of the ground, but that still puts the drop-in at about six or seven stories, maybe higher. After dropping in they fly over a 50’ or 70’ gap (your choice), land on the biggest bank ramp ever constructed, and then go over 30mph towards a 30’ tall quarter-pipe. It’s the epitome of gnarly…and even with Indy 215’s tightened all the way down these guy still get speed wobbles.
- 6th – PLG – for some reason Pierre couldn’t land a damn thing. He was pissed
- 5th – Adam Taylor – nice to see you in the cut, Son!
- 4th – Andy MacDonald – bs 360 judo over the gap to gigantic bs air drop through the legs to Indy air (Is that called thread-the-needle?) on the quarter
- 3rd – Jake Brown – oh God…they kept showing Jake’s slam from last year over and over. That’s the last thing anyone needed to see, but it didn’t mess with Jake’s bs 360 ollie over the gap to 540 on the quarter
- 2nd – Danny Way – he’s so gnarly that I had to write all of this about him…
So Danny gets up after a slam that would have taken a normal person to the hospital. At this point, Dude can barely walk and he looks like he’s about to cry because he’s in so much pain. And then about 10 minutes later you see him back up at the top of the ramp. What the FXXK!?!? Are you kidding me!?!? And then what happens? Danny pull the fs grab backflip over the gap and then nails a 20’+ bs 540 melon on the quarter. The place erupted.
But that’s not good enough for Danny Way. On his 4th of five runs he does the backflip again, but tries to do a McTwist varial on the quarter…of course he’s 20’ because that how he do. He puts the board back on his feet on the way in, slips out a second after landing, falls about 15’ onto the mellow tranny, and bounces on his back. At this point I just want to plead with the guy, “Danny, please stop skating right now. I don’t want you to die. You don’t have anything to prove…we all know how good you are at skateboarding.”
But this was more like a “normal” slam for Danny, so he only lays down on the ramp for a few minutes to regain composure and he’s back up at the top again in no time. And then in true Danny Way fashion, he lands it the next try. Are you kidding me? I was thinking he won it at this point…
To end this and sum it up about Danny Way, I had a friend that doesn’t skate that was emailing me about the slam because he saw it on TV. This is what I typed back to him:
Danny Way is 34 and one of the most badass mother-fXXking human beings on this earth. He's a pioneer and inspiration on pushing the boundaries of skateboarding and what the human body can endure. He's been slamming like that for 20 years.
- 1st – Bob Burnquist – leave it to Bob to have something up his sleeve for his final run that blows everyone away. After doing a switch bs 180 over the gap, he did a nearly 20’ Indy 360 to fakie. Yes, you read that correctly, he came in fakie from 20’ after spinning bs 360 degrees…and then cried when he won. I would have, too
The format was the same for both the Girl’s and Men’s Street. The course was broken into three different sections and you got seven-minutes (I think) on each section to show the judges what you had. Considering there were only six finalists, this made the viewing very easy and I’m sure that the judges were stoked, too.
There was on thing that I must note: The first section consisted of a rather tall and long, three-stair handrail. It was someone’s idea to put a little kicker in front of it so the broads could get up on it. Come on now, girls. I know that every single one of them out there had the snaps to get up on that thing without making it female-friendly. That’s like doing push-ups with your knees on the ground.
I wish I could give you all of the results, but they only announced the top three for a proper podium finish.
- 3rd – Amy Caron – I got most stoked when Vanessa Torres snuck up behind Amy when she was on the podium and put here head between Amy’s legs, popping out the front like a little baby. Sweet!
- 2nd – Marisa Del Santo – this is where I have to admit that I didn’t watch too much of the skating because I was participating in a great industry-kook gossip session
- 1st – Elissa Steamer – rumor has it that Elissa is coming out with “the best video part of her career” in the upcoming Zero flick. I’m looking forward to seeing her flowing blonde hair jump down some stuff. Nice work Elissa, and now that you’re on the wagon you’ll be saving even more of that 25 G’s you just came up!
And when I say “on top” of a parking garage, I mean it. Have you ever been under shade on the top of a parking garage? Me either…and that’s why my face hurts right now. For LA standards, it was pretty hot up there. The only relief we had was when the Goodyear Blimp blocked the sun, but that was only for a short period.
I can’t neglect to make a comparison here either…because after seeing that course at the Maloof Money Cup a couple of weeks ago, a lot of contest street courses are not going to match up. There’s just no way.
Here are a few random facts that I’d like to throw in here in no particular order:
- The prior day in Qualifiers the Chinese bank-to-bank didn’t get shredded nearly as hard as it did for the Finals. The finalists were really holding back the day before. Either that or they got used to it overnight or something
- I heard Rodolfo Ramos hurt his back in the Qualifiers, thus allowing Adam Dyet to squeeze in there. So then Rodolfo was out there skating in practice…and of course Dyet was, too. Then they called Rodolfo and not Dyet…and didn’t tell Dyet what was up. Poor Dyet…just missing the cut once again
- The music was pretty much non-existent on Friday, but then they were BLASTING some pretty random stuff on Saturday. “Dude, was that Papa Roach?”
- Everyone has noseblunts nowadays. They got them on rails, hubbas, quarter-pipes…it doesn’t matter. Everyone can do them and I think that’s sick
- 6th – Jereme Rogers – I think that J-Rog barely even practiced. I don’t know if that was part of the strategy or what, but he didn’t seem to be feeling it in the first two heats. But speaking of heat, Jereme turned it up in the final jam with a switch bs flip down the stairs and switch bluntslide on the handrail
- 5th – Rodolfo Gugu Ramos – so I guess he wasn’t hurt after all. And Rodolfo is the one that made me realize that everyone has noseblunts. He also has another great trick in his bag...the 180 fs ollie to switch krooks. Love that one
- 4th – Chris Cole – I have to admit that I was rooting for him to win. Cole’s just got it. He’s that legit dude that can roll up to the X-Games, or any contest for that matter, and completely retain his legitimacy. He killed the first and third jams, but during the second jam he hucked a bunch of crazy, old jump-ramp tricks over the China gap
- 3rd – Greg Lutzka – for some reason I had notes next to all of the other guys in the Finals, but neglected to write anything about Lutzka. That’s okay because I can go from memory…and I specifically remember him skating fast, doing his usual gnarness, and doing tricks on the quarter-pipe like kickflips to fakie and caballerials after coming off the big rail, like it was nothing
- 2nd – Paul Rodriguez – during the first jam I thought that he was going to take the entire thing. He was on it with a switch flip bs tail on the ledge and then a switch flip fs boardslide down the rail, but Shecks turned it on during the second heat and didn’t let up until it was over
- 1st – Ryan Sheckler – go ahead, say whatever you want, Hater, but Sheckler earned this fair and square by absolutely destroying every jam. He had a bs flip and 360 flip off of the roof gap and then shut down the China gap by nailing a PERFECT caballerial kickflip over it. He gave it 100% and it was his day