8:00 p.m. PST: Day one of the X Games 15 lead-up was pretty relaxed. A lot of people were just getting off long weekends with the Dew Tour and Cons Coastal Carnage. But, that doesn't mean people weren't out there killing everything from the street course to park to the big air ramp and rail jam.
P-Rod and Terry Kennedy made it to street and braved the heat, killing the double-set rail and giving tips to fix the course. Meanwhile, everyone basked in the park. Legends like Hosoi, Salba and Osiris' T-Mag were mixing it up with top pros like Rune, Omar Hassan and Alex Chalmers who ripped the masterfully built wood/cement contraption. Meanwhile, Keegan Sauder got bumped up into street when Malto backed out; More on that tomorrow. All in all, a great day, though. There should be more rippers showing up and more skating to gab about tomorow so stay tuned.
7:44 p.m. PST: The ramp builders are putting the rail in now. Looks like the rail jam
practice is gonna start. I just saw Danny Way (in all subsequent posts
his name can be substituted with gnarly, if you're so inclined).
7:17 p.m. PST: Want to read a dope interview? We've got a full interview with Paul Rodriguez that just went live. Check it out!
7:13 p.m. PST: Correction: dude who I thought was Alex Perelson was not Alex Perelson. It's one of Bob's Brazilian homies. I have no idea who he is.
7:07 p.m. PST: Andy Mac must have read what I wrote. He just tried something different—a mute backside 360 over the gap and a frontside shove-it method. He didn't land the latter, but he tried something new. That was sick.
6:54 p.m. PST: Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins is here, dropping in from the top of the landing bank and she's well-dressed in the always-classic Tuxedo T-shirt—a must-buy for edgy sassiness this spring season!
6:49 p.m. PST: Adam Taylor's frontside airs are pretty epic. Everyone's doing backside airs.
6:45 p.m. PST: From the looks of things, Andy Mac's going to opt for his same run as last year—judo 360 the gap and backside judo the vert wall. I'm guessing he hopes to use the consistency factor to get himself into the top three and add to the 17 X Games medals he already has. Guess who's ahead of Andy Mac on the all-time medal list for skaters? No one.
6:29 p.m. PST: Everyone has on these crazy multi-padded harness back sliding things on. Adam Taylor wears his on the outside of his shirt. He looks like some
futuristic special ops assassin (think "Terminator Salvation" or something). Rob Lorifice is the only one that's not wearing one of those—and, surprisingly, I just noticed Andy Mac isn't wearing one either.
6:24 p.m. PST: No one has greater tips about falling on the Big Air quarterpipe than Danny Way (last year) and Jake Brown (2007). But when Lincoln Ueda almost got into the same predicament, with a hairy near slam in practice today, everyone had their suggestions for bailing when landing low on the transition:
Andy Mac: "You can still put a foot down and then just crumple"
Adam Taylor: "Kneel like this and you'll just slide out [crouches down
like Michael J. Fox shredding the guitar at the high school dance in "Back to the Future"]. That's what I do."
This things gnarly to see in person.
6:07 p.m. PST: Just made the LA traffic slog from Home Depot Center to Staples Center in order to check out Big Air practice. Rob Lorifice, Adam Taylor, Lincoln Ueda, Alex Perelson, Andy Mac, and Elliot Sloan are all on it. Not to suggest that I know everyone or anything, but who's Elliot Sloan? Apparently, he's from NYC and rides for Birdhouse. Lots of backside 360s in practice.
5:42 p.m. PST: Email from Michael in Detroit:
How does the Park course differ from last year's, and who does the design favor?
Hey Michael, I posed your question to Rune Glifberg right when Park practice was winding down. Here's what he had to say: "The design is different in that the course's footprint is 100 feet by 100 feet versus last year when it was 100 feet by 70 feet. That opens it up a lot. Once you build up speed, you can keep that speed and you don't run into places where you can't use it. This year is a lot more open so it favors anyone who likes to go fast. And there's concrete on the course; the whole inside is concrete! We have real pool coping. It's a really good course and we're just getting used to it. Looking forward to the weekend."
So there you go. —A.S.
5:38 p.m. PST: Email from Eric in Houston:
Will Alex Perelson throw a 9 in the vert comp?
It depends on how hot the vert comp gets. He didn't spin one in practice or during the comp at Dew Tour, but he was trying and pulling them at Maloof. I think you have a good shot at seeing one at X Games. If things get heated, he'll try one for sure. —A.S.
5:24 p.m. PST: Email from Alan in Tampa:
There are some sick real street skaters on this year's list. Do guys like Mike Mo or Billy Marks have a shot against comp robots like Sheckler?
Billy Marks definitely does because he skates a lot of comps and he has a good mix of knowing what's respected by his peers but also what gets points. I saw him skate at Maloof and if he's on, he definitely has a shot. I've never seen Mike Mo in a comp, so I don't know how he'll perform under that pressure. Guys like Sheckler know how to do that, and they know what tricks will get big ooh's and aah's from the crowd. His big backside flip got a huge response at Dew Tour, even though it wasn't as technical as, say, the nollie heel flip lipslide that Ryan Decenzo threw on the flat bar. It's way harder, but won't get the response, and we all know who won Dew Tour. —A.S.
4:35 p.m. PST: They've got two X chromosomes and they're better than 70 percent of Y chromosome-possessing skaters. The ladies are skating pretty well. Notables: Gaby Ponce, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, and Julie Kindstrand.
4:22 p.m. PST: Tony Magnussen, owner of Osiris shoes and competitor in the Park Legends comp, showed up at the park. His hair is amazing.
4:15 p.m. PST: Rune also showed up after a weekend of competing in the Dew Tour and the Cons Coastal Carnage contest. Looks like he got some rest ... skating well.
4:07 p.m. PST: Skater/professional stuntman Alex Chalmers just got here. In the legends division, Salba (a.k.a. Steve Alba) and Christian Hosoi are cruising the super park. This seems to be the spot of choice for everyone.
3:19 p.m. PST: We're still trying to get Malto on the horn to determine why he's bowed out of Street, but we did get 28-year-old Keegan Sauder on the phone. When asked how the long-time Zero am felt about finding himself in X Games for the first time in his career, he said, "I guess I made it. This is the pinnacle. Now I can start my descent."
3:05 p.m. PST: Breaking news: Sean Malto is reportedly out of the street comp, being replaced by Keegan Sauder. We'll update you with more specific info as soon as we get Mr. Malto (or whoever answers) on the phone.
3:02 p.m. PST: Even the ladies—Julie Kindstrand and Allysha Bergado—made it out to skate. They were so hyped on the super park that they "would rather skate the super park all day than skate the vert ramp." That seems to be the consensus. Only Andy MacDonald showed up to the vert practice.
No offense, but it didn't look nearly as fun as the park.
2:43 p.m. PST: More people showed up to park practice: a little Powell shredder named Kalani David, Pat Channita (but he's still just a judge) and Andy Mac. Omar Hassan just showed up with his knee brace in hand.
2:32 p.m. PST: From the looks of things, the gold rail and the granite ledge are going to have to be lowered. I mentioned this in a post not too long ago, but they're really too high to skate without Andrew Reynolds pop. P-Rod was out there talking with the designers about cutting them both down a little bit. More details tomorrow.
2:18 p.m. PST: No one besides TK and P-Rod showed up to street practice. Pat Channita made it, but he's judging. So, unless more dudes come, it's me, Terry Kennedy and P- Rod in the finals. Here are my predictions: P-Rod, Terry Kennedy and me ... really, really far behind. I apologize to the viewing audience if they have to watch any of my pitiful runs. Hopefully more pros show up tomorrow (they will), so the contenders are a little more up to par.
1:00 p.m. PST: TK: "You see that part right there?"
P-Rod; "Yeah, I saw that and I was like, I'ma forfeit right now. But, I think it's just for BMX bikes."
12:50 p.m. PST: TK and P-Rod are the first and only skaters to show up so far. I can't blame 'em. With the Dew Tour just wrapping up, Cons Coastal Carnage and the heat.
12:02 p.m. PST: Hi there, this is Josh Brooks. The heat's bearing down, I'm set to get completely fried in the sun and I'll be covering everything X Games 15 from start to finish, checking in with skaters during practice and giving behind the scenes access to things you might not see on your TV. X Games is due to start in three days and with a long line of amazing contest skating leading up to this event, it's bound to be an awesome debacle of street, vert, big air and the new rail jam event.
The street event is sure to feature the top contenders—Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, Paul Rodriguez, Greg Lutzka and Nyjah Huston. But, this year welcomes the 15-year-old phenom, Chaz Ortiz. While nearly half the fans in the stands may be here with their cameras taking close-up shots of Ryan Sheckler's back tat and waiting for the double pits to chesty ad to come on, a good deal will be rooting for the contest underdogs to sneak into the finals. Nick Dompierre, Billy Marks, Sierra Fellers, Mike Mo Capaldi and Darrell Stanton come to mind as unexpected contenders for street. Meanwhile, Marisa Dal Santo, Elissa Steamer and Leticia Bufoni will be showing how far they've come since last year's entertaining women's street.
The park event is sure to be one of the best, with a bowl made of wood and concrete and will be a total toss up. Vert and big air will feature the same top contenders, Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg and Bucky Lasek with the younger crowd, like Alex Perelson (just pulled a 900 in his MMC contest run) and Adam Taylor, biting at their heels. Womens vert will hold the same double X skaters. Last, but not least, Danny Way will be stepping in to usher something new to the competition by foregoing big air to skate exclusively in the rail jam.