Late yesterday afternoon, as about 100 hungry fans gathered ramp-side for hot plates of catered organic grub at Bob Burnquist's Dreamland MegaRamp Invitational, 12-year-old Tom Schaar landed his second 900 of the weekend.
Schaar, who hails from Malibu, Calif., was skating the invitational's so-called Kinder Kontest, along with 11-year-old Trey Wood and the Eaton brothers, Jagger and Jett, who are 10 and 13, respectively. The foursome represents a new generation of groms fast-tracking MegaRamp progression. Just give them a few more years to beef up a bit, fine tune their aerial awareness and study the moves of the masters. Then sit back, watch them ride and revisit that feeling you got in 2003 when you first watched Danny Way's part in "The DC Video."
In October at Woodward West, Schaar became the world's seventh -- and its youngest -- skater to land a 900. Over the weekend at Burnquist's compound, Schaar landed a 900 during practice on Friday. Any chance of a repeat performance on Saturday was rained out by a heavy afternoon storm. But the small crowd got a show nonetheless when Burnquist duct taped a skateboard to the bottom of a surfboard, put on some foul-weather gear, climbed to the deck of the Mega's 26-foot-tall quarterpipe, and rolled in, hydroplaning across the flooded flat bottom.
Like most skate disciplines -- from street to pools to vert -- MegaRamp riding is advancing at an exponential rate these days. That's in no small part due to the fact that Burnquist has had a MegaRamp in his backyard, in the rolling Vista hills halfway between the skate epicenters of Los Angeles and San Diego, for five years. This year Burnquist hosted the fourth and final stop of the inaugural MegaRamp Championship Series.
The series launched in June with the MegaRamp Open at the Woodward West action sports camp and training facility. Burnquist won that one. The series then traveled to Burnquist's native Brazil in July for the Nescau MegaRamp Invitational. Burnquist won that, too. Then he chased that win with his third Big Air gold medal at X Games 17. And yesterday, especially with distant contender Adam Taylor out with a bruised knee, it was a foregone conclusion that Burnquist would claim the overall MegaRamp Championship Series title. He also won the day's event.
"I've been getting into some legit combos; I hadn't done the switch 540 to [forward-to-fakie] to indy 720 before today," Burnquist said with five minutes left in the two-hour jam session. After the contest, Burnquist and his fellow competitors -- Elliot Sloan, Mitchie Brusco, Lincoln Ueda, Edgard Pereira, Jussi Korhonen -- powwowed with vert legend Christian Hosoi to come up with the day's podium.
"You want skaters to come out of their comfort zone a little bit," Hosoi said about judging MegaRamp events. "They need to up the ante, set new standards."
Just behind Burnquist, Pereira scored second and Sloan landed in third.
"I'm stoked everyone came out. Rad session," Burnquist said then gestured toward the groms. "When I was 12, I didn't even dream that a MegaRamp could exist. Now look what these kids are doing."