Daily Coverage: Kia X Games Asia
On-the-ground reports from Shanghai and Asia's biggest action sports event.
After a day of torrential Shanghai rain and a heavy re-scheduling session by the X Games staff, Saturday at X Games Asia opened to sunny skies, warm temperatures and a stadium full of eager spectators. Because of Friday's rain, Saturday's schedule was packed with events, including Skate Street finals, Skate Mini Mega finals, BMX Street finals and Aggressive Inline Vert finals. Things started a little earlier than usual, but the end of the day, new Asian X Games champs had been crowned across the board. First up, Skate Street.
In the finals were a mix of people from all over the world. Korea, Germany, Brazil and the United States all had representation, and the competition was intense.
First place went back and forth, back and back from skater to skater. Austen Seaholm was in the lead, but then Rodolfo Ramos took over, and then the lead went back to Austen. But it was Tyler Hendley, the man they call "White Chocolate," who landed a near perfect run and found himself $7,000 richer. Tyler's run included a stylish 360 flip on the quarterpipe and a gigantic backside flip over the bump to bump. In the end, Ramos finished in second, followed by Seaholm in third. An honorable mention goes out to the Japanese Vision Street Wear-sponsored rider, simply for wearing purple Vision Street Wear in the finals.
Skate Mini Mega Ramp
Over at the Mini Mega Ramp (which is a semi-ironic name, because that thing is still huge), things were getting wild. Andy Mac did a backflip over the 27-foot gap, while Blind's Rob Lorifice and his long flowing blonde hair landed a no-grab backside 180, followed by a massive frontside 540 stalefish.
Earlier in the day, during practice, Pierre Luc Gagnon was down on his luck. Whether it was the wind or the ramp he didn't say, but practice was not going well for the X Games vert gold medalist. After knee-sliding out one too many times, Gagnon threw his helmet into the grass and yelled, "I'm going to [expletive-deleted] kill myself," in frustration. But he took ten minutes, gathered his thoughts, and climbed back to the top of the ramp. And in the end, PLG's frustration turned to focus, grabbing top honors with a perfect score of 100. His winning run consisted of a backside flip mute grab, followed by a 720 on the 18-foot quarter. I know that's a lot of numbers and spins but if you think it looks gnarly on your computer screen, imagine how bananas it was in person!
BMX Street Finals
With the Nike 6.0 U.S. and international teams already on a filming trip through China, it was no surprise to see a handful of Nike 6.0 riders in attendance in Shanghai, including U.S. riders Garrett Reynolds and Dennis Enarson, along with U.K. rider Alex Kennedy and Irish rider Jason Phelan. Kennedy didn't make it out of the qualifying rounds, but the rest of the Nike 6.0 cleaned up in Street finals, with Dennis Enarson taking the win, Garrett Reynolds grabbing second and Phelan landing in third.
With runs that included smooth 180 tailwhips, 540 transfers and an up-rail ride to tailwhip on the round rail, it was no surprise to find Enarson in the first-place slot with the day's high score of 88.67. Although Reynolds got off to a slow start, falling twice in his first run, his later runs included trademark Reynolds consistency, new tricks (backwards grind up the round rail to 180 out) and more barspins than the rest of the class combined. In third was a new face (and new country) on the X Games podium, Ireland's Jason Phelan. Phelan landed on his head hard during the comp, but recovered to pull tailwhips down the double set stairs, huge flairs on the quarter and a perfect toothpick hangover to 180. "I can't believe it. I didn't even know what to do when I was standing on the podium," said Phelan. "I'm celebrating tonight," he added. Phelan, Reynolds and Enarson were last seen in the hotel lobby, trying to catch koi in the hotel lobby pool.
Both the fourth and fifth place spots went to Australia, with Kyle Bradlock in fourth and Chris 'Danger' O'Donnell in fifth.
Aggressive Inline Vert Finals
Familiar faces returned to the podium in the Aggressive Inline Vert finals, once again proving that Kobe, Japan's Yasutoko brother are unstoppable in the vert field. After grabbing the first place podium spot in 2008 at the Asian X Games, Takeshi Yasutoko returned to the top spot, finishing with a score of 87.00, followed by Marco di Santi in second, and Eito Yasutoko in third. Aggressive Inline finishes up tomorrow with Street Finals at 4 p.m. Shanghai time.
Check back tomorrow for the final day of X Games Asia, which will include final events in Aggressive Inline Street, Skate Vert and BMX Mini Mega.
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