X-Games 2009

Posted on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek and Jenna Becker

There was a party at Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory one night. On the right is Nick Dompierre's mom. I wonder if her Camaro hair has anything to do with Nick's taste in cars
Are we still in Europe? Nope, welcome to the XCarnival. I do not feel comfortable here. I should leave
That's Brian G from DC showing us around at the DC store. The insoles on the shoes that people with neon pants wear are not as tech as the ones in the DC skate shoes. On the left is neon pants guy's favorite, in the middle is the legit skate insole, and on the right is the super insole on the PJ Ladd shoe. These days every company sells to neon pants guy, but it's nice to see they put much more into the shoes we skate in
Meanwhile, back at the XCarnival, would you like a tattoo with a mushroom, pot leaf, and anarchy symbol that says "skate or die"? Nah, I'd rather die, thanks
Seen skateboard furniture before? Check out this females only chair
Zumiez ginger, NJ hustler, Twitter hater
Back at the Fantasy Factory Party, here's the scene complete with this oriental rice flap
Clements ran into Dyrdek at the Fantasy Factory Party. There is nothing subtle about Monster advertising
Silver Spoons was an 80's TV show. Jenna ran into the childhood star of that show. I wonder if he's a crackhead these days like the rest of the them
Alright, maybe I should go shoot some skate photos. Nope. Got denied to get on the course or even in the industry viewing section with my photo pass that basically just gets you in the stands. I could have snuck in, but instead I used it as a great excuse to take bad photos with my zoom from way far away. Dyet here made it all the way to 3rd with a watermelon on his head
I was in the crowd with the true fans of skateboarding
Somehow I found this calculator watch more interesting than anything else going on around me. Maybe I shouldn't come back here next year
I did not watch that one segment of skateboarding where they do a touchdown dance on the deck after every run, hold their hands in the air, and flash that thing they ride into the camera for obvious logo payment. Next comes NASCAR type suits. May as well, there's no turning back now
I did check out most of the Girls' Contest. Suckurity didn't kick me out here because there was no one there for them to get all suckurity on. It was pretty much empty at this time. The girls are ripping, though. Check out Alexis Sablone's kickflip frontside 50-50 on the hubba
Marisa Del Santo - backside flip over the bank to bank thing
Vanessa Torres did crooked grind pop out on this bump to bar but I missed the photo. This is a frontside boardslide
Back to the Fantasy Factory Party for a minute. I'm a fan of Lauren Perkins. She rips and she's probably the only girl in these contests that won't put me in a headlock and kick my ass
Lacey Baker as you know is one of the best girls out there these days. That's a kickflip over the bump to bar
Lacey Baker - hard flip
Leticia Bufoni - switch frontside 180 the grass gap
Marisa Del Santo - kickflip
This is Abisha Alshebaiki with a varial flip over the grass gap. Girls skateboarding has come a long way, but still has a long way to go. These are the girls pushing themselves to make it happen
Elissa Steamer paved the road for girls to push their skateboarding forward. The best and most classy female skateboarder of them all is doing a frontside nosegrind here
Elissa Steamer - boardslide on the bump to rail
Elissa Steamer - crooked grind on the rail
Lacey Baker - nollie heel down the double set
Since I've seen people doing heelflip indy for 15 years now, I skipped the rest of the carnival action activities and went on LA tourist tour. There were more people at Rob Dyrdek's Safe Spot on Lafayette than you'll ever see at a city football court or basketball diamond
The Maloof Cup is on a grand scale like this extremist event is, but at least it's all skateboarding and you definitely get the feeling that they're trying their best to be as accommodating as possible to the skaters and the industry. Maybe it's just me, but I have never felt that kind of customer service in all these theatrics going down with the four capital letters contest. Looks like Koston isn't into it either. Here's some stuff he was putting on Twitter all weekend. See you not next year
From the DVS TF:
That's Cullen Poythress, DVS marketing guy. When you're in marketing, that means you're usually the guy who controls wristbands to the party and has the best skateboard company bar tabs going. That's a frontside disaster Cullen's guiding back in on this weird double bank ramp
We just met Dylan who was in there skating with us. He was kickflipping out of these back smiths
It's a pretty tight space but they really packed in a lot of fun stuff, including a mini-ramp back there in the corner behind all this
Recognize this thing from the Matix commercial? Blunt fakie is the new meron grab. I'm turning it into an old guy trick
You know what the blunt nose grab of rock and rolls is? Doing them not like Ryan Clements is here with your board all the way up on the deck. Don't do that half teeter totter thing. They got pool coping in here? Wow, too bad they didn't have water, girls in bikini's, a bbq, beers, and all the other missing ingredients
Cullen, thanks for the session at your TF. See you at the extremist fest this weekend
Day 1 – Skating, Girls, & Big Air
Upon landing in California for the fourth weekend in a row, we made our way out of the ever-crowded LAX, grabbed the rental car, and tried to figure out somewhere to skate prior to watching the Girls Street. After sitting in traffic going north on the 405 towards P-Rod’s Skate Plaza, we said f-it and turned around and drove south towards Podium. A quick, delicious lunch from the roach coach around the corner from the HQ of DVS, Lakai, and Matix set us up for a fun-ass session in their private TF. Cullen skipped lunch to rip with us and a few other kids in the tight quarters. Built by Team Pain and filled with unique obstacles, the Podium TF is definitely worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood…and have permission of course.

From there it was right down to the Home Depot Center to watch our favorite girls, Elissa, Lacey, and Marissa. The street course is interesting. I guess by first glance it seems sort of limited, but I think that it fit well with the format, which was certainly unique. I’ll explain the format a bit later, but for now here’s how our girls ended up.
  • 5th – Vanessa Torres – I see her pretty regularly, but I always get the vibe that me just saying ‘hello’ to Vanessa bums her out, so I avoid it all together
  • 4th – Lacey Baker – that’s my girl. She just graduated high school and is ready to do this, with 360 flips better than half of the dudes out
  • 3rd – Elissa Steamer – did you see Elissa switch flip and bs flip that gap without any trouble at all? And then a nosegrind on the hubba? She’s the best girl ever
  • 2nd – Alexis Sablone – I saw her ripping at the Maloof, but she was even better this weekend. She skates full-on and slams hard. Kickflip fs 50-50 on the hubba? Hell yes, Alexis rips!
  • 1st – Marisa Del Santo – I caught the varial heel over the gap and the gap to fsbs in between my always-entertaining conversations with Element marketing/TM dude, Ryan DeWitt
Due to the new format, the Girls ran over time quite a bit and we had to leave prior to the end. I just got those results from the X-Games website, which for some reason doesn’t list how much money the winners receive. Go figure. By the time we drove in LA traffic back downtown to the Staples Center, we missed the majority of the Big Air Contest, too. Either way it’s still sick to see this event in person. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it’s really, really far removed from what we know as skateboarding. There are so few people in the world that actually do this, that I can’t imagine that the average 15-year-old skateboarder can even remotely relate. Welcome to the only aspect of skateboarding where self-cheering is highly encouraged.
  • 6th – Andy MacDonald – All American Champ
  • 5th – Perier – who is this dude? He’s from Brazil, but I didn’t even catch his first name
  • 4th – Adam Taylor – just missing a medal
  • 3rd – Rob Lorifice – his mom was crying when he made his line
  • 2nd – Bob Burnquist – most insane, 20’ high bs 360 indy ever
  • 1st – Jake Brown – almost landed a 20’ 900…holy cow….
Later that evening we went to the Premiere of “X-Games The Movie.” It was in the Nokia Theater with a red carpet and all. There was a Slash and Pamela Anderson sighting in the Hollywood-style building. It was in 3-D, which was actually pretty good, but the movie dragged on and on and I think that I dozed off a few times since I was awake for about 23 hours.

Day 2 – Worldwide Domination with DC, Big Air Rail Jam, & Partying
After a good night’s rest at The Standard in Downtown LA courtesy of DC, we met up with our pal BG from DC, and then so appropriately went to the DC Store on Melrose in Hollywood. In between shopping for some new kicks and such, we talked about complete and total domination of the skateboarding industry via Skatepark of Tampa and DC Shoes. There was a parking ticket on the car when we left and DC picked up the tab. Talk about total domination…

From LA’s hip shopping area, we drove south for a quick stop at the Home Depot Center for some good-ass food supplied by the X-Games. I must say that their catering and the Athlete’s Lounge in general was very proper, with top quality grub, plenty of choices of drinks, and all of the Muscle Milk shakes and bars you could down! Derewenko was like, “What? Muscle Milk is real? I thought that it was just from that My New Haircut video on YouTube.”

We caught a very small part of the skating via the Street Qualifiers, but saw just enough to view Nick Dompierre dominate and qualify 1st. Of course all of the usual suspects made the cut, too, including P-Rod and Sheckler. But it was nice to see Adam Dyet squeeze in there, as well. From there it was back to The Standard, which consisted of waiting around a little too long, therefore watching the Big Air Rail Jam from the nice TV in the hotel room. I was used to watching the Mini-Mega at the Maloof Money Cup, but this thing really put that small rail into perspective.
  • 5th – Andy MacDonald
  • 4th – Adam Taylor – despite the fact that I don’t recall what Bob landed to get in 2nd, I do recall that Rob Loriface did a backside lipslide and Adam did both a kickflip indy to boardslide and kickflip indy to 50-50. Granted, those are not the most stylish choices of tricks ever done, but at the same time, the difficulty level was up there enough to beat out a backside lipslide. Just my opinion…
  • 3rd – Rob Lorifice – backside lipslide
  • 2nd – Bob Burnquist
  • 1st – Danny Way – switch 50-50 with major crowd support
After voicing my opinion on Adam Taylor, the TV got left behind and we booked it down to the Staples Center to watch BMX Big Air on the Mega Ramp and Motocross Best Trick, which both seem much more life-risking than skateboarding. The best part was the view from the DC booth, including an open bar and free food.

And the open bar and free food from DC didn’t stop there because we hopped on the shuttle over to Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, where once again there was an open bar and free food in the terms of the Carl’s Jr. truck. Mr. Rob Dyrdek himself was making his rounds through the party and there was a good DJ and hip-hop group that performed to make downing the drinks that much easier.

Day 3 – Street & More Partying
Morning crept up rather quickly and it was time to head over to the Home Depot Center to check out the Street. After using our badges to hang out in the VIP area, we realized that it was too crowded to even see the Contest, which led to sneaking onto the ground level of the Street Course and being right up in the mix.

This year the X-Games introduced what they call “instant scoring.” This was used for each event that I watched, but interestingly enough, it was used for Street, too. The way it worked was that each skater got 10 attempts on each of the three sections, but they had to skate in order. So it was essentially an organized street jam. But considering the level of ability, there was not a single dull moment. However, there is something that isn’t desirable about knowing who is winning as the entire Contest unfolds. It really doesn’t leave much for the element of surprise when the awards are announced and medals are handed out, you know?
  • 6th – Ryan Sheckler – after a long fs bluntslide on the flat bar in the middle section, Shecks took himself out with an injury down the enormous set of stairs
  • 5th – Nick Dompierre – I was seriously pulling for Nick to take it all, but getting 1st in the Qualifiers can sometimes be a curse, making pulling the same thing the next day that much harder
  • 4th – Rodolfo Gugu Ramos – just missing the bronze, Gugu hails from Brazil, therefore making his ollie over the hubba to noseblunt slide and hardflip down the huge set of stairs not worthy of a board sponsor
  • 3rd – Adam Dyet – rad as hell and all smiles just because he wants to be out there skating. He ripped the crap out of his palm on an attempt and then went back and nailed the kickflip melon fatty to flatty from the kicker all the way over the bank ramp
  • 2nd – Nyjah Huston – there is no denying that he kills it, but he should go hang out with Dyet one weekend to learn how to enjoy himself and smile
  • 1st – Paul Rodriguez – you know that P-Rod can turn it on and dominate when he wants to, and apparently that’s what he wanted. Switch bs lipslide the gap to rail, switch fs boardslide on the big rail, switch heel the big stairs, and the list goes on and on
Later on in the evening I got a call from Adam Dyet who said, “I want to go big tonight man. Can you get me a limo?” I asked, “Why can’t you just get your own limo?” He replied that he tried, but couldn’t seem to figure it out. Fair enough, but I still didn’t get it. So I handled getting Adam and friends a limo and our little crew joined up with their little crew for some good times and partying while driving over to the Rockstar Party.

And what a party it was! It was such a party that I didn’t even get in! Apparently when the rest of the crew was getting wristbands and passes, I missed out on the wristband part. When I got to the door I was turned away, but ended up having enough fun out front with Duncan and Patch and then cabbed it home solo.

Day 4 – “Park” & Goodbye CA
The morning started a bit too early and after being in California for the fourth weekend in a row I wouldn’t have minded staying in bed a couple of hours longer. But there was business to be done in the terms of a big-time, corporate-takeover style meeting with the head of DC Global Marketing. The big-time meeting took place on the street out in front of Starbucks, which is where all brilliant ideas come to fruition. Histories were told, deals were discussed, plans were laid out, and hands were shaken.

From there, Rob and I split up because I wanted to watch some bowl shredding and he wanted to be a tourist. My next stop was back on over to the Home Depot Center to view what the X-Games calls Skateboard Park. It’s basically a huge bowl with many different transitions, corners, pockets, transfers, a spine, and a capsule. There was steel coping mixed with pool coping and some of it was wood while the rest of it was layered with cement. I must say that the thing looked damn fun to ride!

Not only did Rob not attend this part of the X-Games, but he didn’t even take any photos of the bowl at all! Maybe I’m just an old transition skater, but I actually found this event more entertaining than Street. I’m guessing it’s because the format kept things going the entire time. The way they ran it was that there was a total of 15 minutes on the clock and the skaters rode in order until they fell or 30-seconds passed. Whichever came first determined the end of that skater’s run and the next guy was instantly dropping in. Basically it was an organized jam and action-packed the entire time.
  • 5th – Tony Trujillo – what more is there to say other than TNT is the epitome of who you don’t expect to see at the X-Games, but he still took his spontaneity to the unique terrain
  • 4th – Omar Hassan – leave it to Omar to take the gnarliest slam of the day. We thought that we lost him when he wasn’t going fast enough on a frontside grind and fell into the cradle. But Omar is tough, so he got up and skated the rest of the Contest
  • 3rd – Chad Bartie – didn’t I say it last weekend at Coastal Carnage? Yep, Bartie is doing nothing but getting better with age. He was the only skater in the Finals that did a nollie flip trick
  • 2nd – Andy MacDonald – everyone comments on the fact that Andy Mac is the only guy in the entire event that wears pads, but it works well for him
  • 1st – Rune Glifberg – he won it last year, too, and the more diverse the terrain, the better Rune skates. Each of his runs began with something huge over the cradle and kept going full speed until his time was up
After that division, the “Legends” was up next. I caught a little bit of it that included Lance Mountain, the Alba brothers, Duane Peters, Lester Kasai, Cab, and my favorite, Chris Miller. Then we were out of there to go visit some family and wrap up the trip.

It’s been four long weekends in California and I’m ready to be home in Ybor City for a bit, but there’s more traveling coming up very soon. Thanks to our pals at DC for taking care of our room at The Standard and inviting us for the good times, conversation, and parties. Thanks to Caroline from the X-Games for taking care of all of our passes, etc.

Ryan

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