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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Updated: August 2, 7:45 PM ET
Nieratko's Take: Big Hair

By Chris Nieratko
ESPN.com

Nick Dompierre uses his Samson locks to power through this crooked grind.

Instead of Goofy vs Regular, Friday's street eliminations came down to a battle of the long hairs versus short hairs. Out of the five qualifiers three of them (Dompierre, Nyjah and Dyet ) had mops on their heads. Only P-Rod and Brazilian Rodolfo Ramos had short hair. With Sheckler straight piping it to Saturday's finals that evens out the numbers to three short, three long.

Nieratko's Take

Chris Nieratko lurked throughout XG15 skate events. You didn't see him, but he definitely saw you. Here's his take:

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Big Air Rail Jam
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Talking to some of the judges, the length of hair will definitely play a factor in the scoring. One longer-haired judge, who chose to remain anonymous, told me, "I really like it when Fabio, I mean Adam Dyet, stands in front of the big industrial fan. Looks like one of those romance novels."

Dyet's sexy locks might have helped secure him a spot in the top five but he couldn't edge out his hair farmer homeboy, Nick Dompierre, who hid his hair under his token grey Monster Energy Drink beanie straight to a first place qualification. I asked Nick how much his hair had to do with his rankings today. "Strength is in the hair." He said, "It balances me out. I probably wouldn't be able to back three the big steps without it." And the secret to his winning hair: "Wash, rinse, repeat."

Tommy didn't make the finals but he does have an epic set of locks

It's a hard call on who will take it all tomorrow. P-Rod is unbelievably stylish. Switch heel down the big 12 with ease and basically every other trick on lock really gives him a fighting chance. But he's a short hair.

Nyjah seems pretty comfortable on everything. I hope he does well because I don't want him to get grounded. Ramos did every trick on every obstacle today at top speed. He's as precise as anyone out there. The back lip to Smith grind on the long flat rail was gnarly for just how fast he was moving. But again, a short hair. Adam Dyet has the ability to look handsome regardless of how out-of-control he looks.

I was bummed that Koston didn't place. He seemed to be having the most fun out there out of anyone, especially when he was boosting across the gap in the China Banks that were strategically built with zero run-up. I think if Chris Cole would have chosen to grow his hair longer instead of his moustache he would have placed higher. But who knows. Maybe some haters just didn't want Chris to win another contest?

My big question for tomorrow is actually Rob Brink's big question: does it hurt or help Ryan Sheckler tomorrow not having skated today and going straight to the finals as a result of winning last year's X Games? Sure he'll have fresher legs than the other guys but he'll have less practice. And will his short, clean-cut hairstyle hurt his numbers tomorrow? We'll see. (Double pits to chesty por vida!)

What I do know is Shecklermania was running wild today and he wasn't even there. On the leader board fans were able to text in messages to be displayed on a screen for a nominal fee. One message read: "RYAN SHECKLER IS SO YUMMY" and another said "I WISH MY BOYFRIEND WAS RYAN SHECKLER INSTEAD. "


P-Rod tosses a kickflip down the 12, just the begining of his onslaught of tricks.

One girl I spoke to was dating a young man that looked exactly like Ryan. She said choosing him because he looked like Ryan was no accident. The boy seemed fine with it. Another girl had an entire laundry bag slung over her shoulder. When I asked what was in the bag she said, very proudly, "My underwear." I asked what she was planning on doing with a bag of undies. "I'm going to throw them at Ryan each time he skates by." She giggled. She stopped laughing once I informed her that Ryan wasn't skating today. I know a few of the judges and I'm pretty sure that short hair or not, if Ryan were to offer them one of his many female fans as an offering that he probably wouldn't even have to skate tomorrow either to win.

But we know that's not going to happen and Ryan will have to skate, so ladies, bring your dirty undies to the Home Depot Center tomorrow at 2 p.m. Judging by his appearance on Jimmy Kimmell two nights ago, Ryan has really been working out and is looking hella buff and I think his Blue Steel will be able to edge out Adam Dyet's Magnum. But my money is still on Dompierre.

The best thing about this year's street course is that it's next to the rally car track and every couple minutes you can see a racecar zip by. The funny thing is each time a car passed, Dompierre would say, "Man, I'd rather be doing that."

Final Note: Despite not making the cut for tomorrow's street finals, I'm still pulling for Terry Kennedy for the win.