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Friday, July 31, 2009
X Games 15 Skate Blog - Friday

By Josh Brooks
ESPN Action Sports

9:00 p.m. PST: Don't miss Chris Nieratko's unique take on Big Air, it's audience and what the Rail Jam does for the discipline. To read his column, Click Here.


7:45 p.m. PST: I need swear words and evil things to sum up what happened today. I know these contests seem too good to be true, but Danny was pretty much worked when he went into this event. I had the pleasure (fright?) of interviewing him before he knew whether he would be able to skate or not. He looked like a beast in thought, ready to kill somebody. I seriously though he might kill me. I was completely intimidated. But, that's what makes him who he is. And, when it all ended, Danny won with a switch 50-50.

My favorite part, however, was the press conference with an unending stream of some of the best quotes ever--one after another. You can see some of them below this post. But, some of them that didn't make it in were as follows:

"Some people said I couldn't do this [bring the Big Air Ramp to the X Games]. They said I was the only one who could, because there's a whole side of skateboarding that thinks skateboarding is it's own underground thing--that it shouldn't be here, that it should be out of this limelight. There is a whole side of skateboarding that doesn't like this, doesn't respect it. So, I had to give that part of myself up. But, for this to become what it was in the X Games and for the Rail Jam to be successful, is an honor. It's a huge accomplishment."

"I love Jake [Brown]. He's one of my best friends, but I think Bob had a better run last night. The judges decided what they decided. These things happen, but Bob deserved to win."

I use these two quotes, because Danny Way has gotten to where he is with this attitude. He does what he does. He explains his motivation and realizes the other side. He is respected not only for his skill but also for his candor and for his ability to do something new with foresight that becomes its own explanation. Few people can do what he does or did tonight and that's why he won. It truly was amazing to see in person. Some things don't fully transmit through TV, but I think the post-win press conference was something that put it all into words.

Tomorrow, the Men's Street Final is going down and the Vert final is going down. P-Rod, Sheckler, Nyjah, Dompierre—anyone could be a contender. I'm betting on Alex Perelson on Vert. Come back here and see more.


6:44 p.m. PST: Way has had 13 surgeries. He's had 4 different ligaments and 8 surgeries just on his left knee. He may need to repair his right knee after this Wednesday. He had to wait for his last ligament from a young person. But, he said, "I have an organ donor sticker on his license. So, I plan to give back if there's anything left in me that anyone wants."


6:36 p.m. PST: More from a thoughtful Way: "I don't like pain. I wish I made everything and went home unharmed, but I guess God put me here to show people you can get hurt and Keep going."


6:34 p.m. PST: Danny Way said, "I don't look up to Bob, because we're both still active. I looked up to Holmes [Christian Hosoi]. Bob he's one of today's current skateboarders that I respect for skating everything."


Danny Way leaving the Staples Center floor.
6:30 p.m. PST: Danny made his exit with his knee bandaged and a whole entourage of supporters. He's worked hard for it and he got the gold.


6:15 p.m. PST: Well, we saw Danny win the Big Air Rail Jam on a jacked knee and a possibly broken ankle. But earlier today on the street course, our man in the field, Chris Nieratko, was less concerned with Big Air and more concerned with "Big Hair." Confused? For Nieratko's Take click here.


6:10 p.m. PST: As usual, Danny proves he's made of steel or titanium or diamond or fire or machine guns or something else gnarly. Remember when I put the post up saying he was talking about rolling his ankle? Well, allegedly, he actually broke his ankle before winning it all! What is that guy made of?!


5:45 p.m. PST: Danny Way has just won the Big Air Rail Jam with his switch 50-50 while competing on an injured knee and ankle! Amazing!


5:38 p.m. PST: Danny just pulled into first, despite the knee with a switch 50-50. Man, looks like he could do it.


5:35 p.m. PST: Danny Way is riding switch only. Only switch.


5:32 p.m. PST: Adam Taylor's consistent. Andy Mac too, with melon lipslides. He's got some flat spots. Rob Lorifice looks like be could be in the running. The starters, guys telling them when they can go, seem to be having trouble controlling the skaters. They just want to go.


5:28 p.m. PST: After landing a flapping back nosegrind, Lorifice came up to the ramp laughing,"that was the sketchiest thing I've ever landed," he chuckled.


5:24 p.m. PST: Danny just rolled his ankle. I'm hearing him complain about it right now. "you're kidding me," he said, "One thing after another and another and another."


5:16 p.m. PST: The rail jam's about to start and, as usual, the man at the center of it all is the originator of the competition—Danny Way. After hurting his knee on Wednesday on practice, he's set to compete in the rail jam. Despite a potential MCL tear, he's dropping in at the top and, always progressing, he's skating almost entirely switch to make it easier on his knee (video should be up soon with a behind-the-scenes interview with Danny). The other competitors are not letting up. Bob is doing unique tricks like front noseslides, front feebles and more. Adam Taylor is almost putting down nosegrinds. But, really, even though he's hurt, I'm putting my money on Danny or Bob. If Danny can't get his body to do it, Bob's got it. Stay tune to your TV and the behind the scenes coverage here.


5:08 p.m. PST: Nieratko checked in with the street guys to get some Big Air Rail Jam advice for Danny, Bob, and the boys. It might be more entertaining than the event itself.


5:06 p.m. PST: Nick Dompierre was a manimal in the elimination rounds. He's one of the rawest, real street skaters to make it to X Games finals in years. Want proof? Click here.


4:22 p.m. PST: Steve Reeves and Brian Patch just collided hard. Both skaters managed to brush it off but the smaller Reeves looked a little dazed. At that speed and with that momentum, that's like sumo wrestlers being thrown at each other from giant catapults!


4:12 p.m. PST: Bucky just ollied into the Euro gap that's about 5 feet across and drops down about 5 feet into the tranny.Mike Peterson does this cool wave when he tailslides (I don't think it's intentional). It's like the royal wave that British Monarchs have.Every time John Rattray does a baackside disaster it could be photographed for a magazine cover.Chalmers is trying the backside ollie over the capsule channel and when he bails it's frightening. —AS


3:52 p.m. PST: In the skate gossip column, Ratray, who recently parted ways with Osiris shoes, is rocking eS Bobby Worrest kicks (nothin official, just sayin is all). And Steve Reeves who was on Creature is out there on a Powell board. Changes afoot? Changes aboard? Who knows? Just sayin'. —AS


3:48 p.m. PST: John Rattray just showed up with a brand new setup and asked if I had a tool to make adjustments. I didn't have one since covering skateboarding sometimes means not actually getting to go skating for a few days; such is life. Still, I'm hyped that John's here: he could easily win this thing if he's feeling it. He's also one of the only guys wearing shorts out here even though it's about 100 degrees in the shade. On the observation deck, there are some gnarly sea hag chicks scatterred among the pros and bros. This one sea hag is crawling towards 50 years of age and is telling her friend how she just got her belly button pierced partying in Vegas last weekend. That's fowl lady; nobody wants to hear or see about that. —AS


3:37 p.m. PST: Tweet from @Niickyyyy: When does the skate street final start?

@Niickyyyy, the skate street final starts tomorrow, Saturday, from 2-3pm Pacific Standard Time. Check in to keep up on the behind-the-scenes from the event because it's guaranteed to be amazing. Check earlier post in the live skate blog to see what went down in today's skate street eliminations.—AS


3:31 p.m. PST: Tony Trujillo just showed up and his warm up run, first drop in could place him in contetion for rawest dude here. It can't even be called a warm up; itks strictly go time with that guy.My buddy Keegan Sauder is rolling around with some new facial hair that makes him look like either a police officer or a sex offender. -AS


3:26 p.m. PST: I'm out here at skate park practice now and things are seriously getting gnarly. Steve Reeves, Mike Peterson, Rune Glifberg, Lance Mountain and Kyle Berard are all in the mix really getting a feel for this concrete Frankenstien. Chad Bartie is still possibly my favorite to watch. He doesn't look effortless and he doesn't look sketchy. He looks like he's trying hard and it's paying off for him.

In the stands watching right now are no less than street legends: Mike Carroll and Rick Howard. Those guys have some trannies at the Crailtap HQ, how sick would it be to see them get in on this session?—AS


2:50 p.m. PST:Heat 3 Obstacle Area 2: Paul Rodriguez, Chris Cole, Greg Lutzka, Nyjah Huston, Eric Koston.

Cole right out the gate with a noseblunt down the 12 stair rail.

P-Rod right into a nollie down the 12.

Nyjah pulls a back lip down the 12 stair rail.

Koston with a nose manual on the ledge into the bank followed up by a 360 no-comply on the opposite bank: having fun out there

Lutzka pulls a switch front 360 up the bank into the wedge.

Koston with an impossible up the bank to wedge.

P-Rod with a perfect kickflip down the 12.

Nyjah with a kickflip over the 12 stair rail to flat.

Cole with a baker maker front blunt to fakie down the rail.

P-Rod follows up his kickflip with a perfect switch flip down that 12 and then follows that with a perfect switch heel. Damn!

Lutzka pulls a frontside flip over the bike rack off the bank.

Cole has more fun with a tucknee ollie over the rail into the bank.

Nyjah with a kickflip front board down the 12 stair rail.

Nyjah with a baker maker switch heel.

The folks that make it into the finals to face Sheckler will be:
1. Nick Dompierre
2. Paul Rodriguez
3. Nyjah Huston
4.Rodolfo Ramos
5. Adam Dyet


DLX's Jim Thiebaud forgoes badge-waving access to the event by posing as security personnel.
2:25 p.m. PST: Heat 2, Obstacle 2: Terry Kennedy, Adam Dyet, Tommy Sandoval, Rodolfo Ramos and Nick Dompierre.

Dyet pulls a back lip on the 12 stair rail and kickflip melon to flat.

Dyet pulls a nollie front lip on the rail too.

Nick Dompierre pulls a crooked grind on the 12 stair rail.

Rodolfo Ramos with a 180 to switch crook on the bank to bicycle rack bar.

Dyet is killing it! Nollie nosebluntslide down the 12 stair rail.

Dompierre just pulled a kickflip board down the rail!

Dompierre frontside nosegrind down the rail too!

After struggling with a tailslide, he pulls a frontside nosegrind first try down the 12-stair.

Dompierre just pulled an enormous backside 360 down the 12. He's out in front and out for blood. —A.S.


2:05 p.m. PST: Heat 1 Obstacle 2: Chaz, Layton, Trapasso, Billy Marks and Sierra Fellers hitting the big rail and stairs. Johnny Layton is the only one going for the bank to bar while everyone else is hucking carcass down the stairs and rail.

Johnny Layton pulling a chicken wing tucknee into the bank.

Johnny pulls a bump to nosegrind on the bike rack bar.

Chaz Ortiz pulls a front feeble down the 12 stair rail.

Billy Marks kickflips the bike rack off the bank.

Nick Trapasso front feebles the 12 stair rail

Chaz Ortiz kickflip front board

Sierra Fellers pulls a nollie 5-0 on the 12 stair rail.

Between those makes there were plenty of scorpions, bails and slams. —A.S.


1:57 p.m. PST: Danny Way's still looking like he's in pain, but he seems determined to skate. Bob Burnquist asked him, "Do you think you should be skating right now?" Danny replied, "I think I can, but I just need to get a feel for it." —A.S.

Way took another run and fell. Bob came down after him. Way yelled to Bob, "I had to take that one to the body, because I can't kneeslide." Bob replied, "I thought you went to your knees. You took it to your body?" "Yeah," Way replied.

Danny's visibly in pain and just spent the last few minutes at the bottom of the ramp consulting with his girlfriend about which tricks would be plausible With his hurt knee. "I think switch would work. Maybe a switch 5-0. It doesn't hurt as bad—If it's one trick to win, maybe a 270 boardslide. That wouldn't be as bad on the knee, I think."

Danny way is so gnarly. It's crazy to hear him talk about his strategy and all that.—J.B.


Some of the heavies on the street course.
1:50 p.m. PST: Koston pulled a gap to feeble 180 out. Cole pulls the back 360 to flat across the gap and Nyjah with a kickflip back lip across the pyramid to concrete rail. Now last tries:
Chris Cole fakie 5-0 transfer over the flat rail.
P-Rod bailed.
LUtzka bailed
Nyjah kickflip front board across the gap to ledge.
Koston bails
P-Rod is in the lead after the first obstacle.


1:45 p.m. PST: Koston just took a digger on the flat rail. Lutzka's flailing frontside flip attempts across the pyramid to flat. Chris Cole's gonig for backside 360s and P-Rod just came close to a gap to back tail on the highest ledge across the gap. —A.S.


1:40 p.m. PST: Over at the Big Air Rail Jam practice, I could have told you years ago what would be one of the keys to Burnquist's longevity (besides being ungodly good, committing to nearly everything he does and organic multi-grain health bars)-he let's his body go limp when he falls. He's like a Brazilian Gumby. He just becomes like puddy, oozing to the ebb and flow of whatever fall he takes...maybe that last part seemed cheesy, but you know what I mean. Remember when he was on Antihero? —J.B.


1:35 p.m. PST: Heat 3 Obstacle 1: Chris Cole just pulled a first try back tail to fakie on the concrete rail across the pyramid gap. Koston's rollnig around geting love from the crowd. P-Rod jsut tried for a gap to back side nosegrind but got a 50-50 instead. But he landed the nosegrind he next try.


1:23 p.m. PST: Way was talking with his girlfriend about his brace. "I've got someone coming with a brace, but he won't be here for two hours. I need less padding and the one he's bringing is the best kind. This one I have pinches my knee." Admit it. You have this conversation before you go skating every day.—JB


1:15 p.m. PST: Rail Jam...it's kind of a risque name if you ask me, but who am I to say? Nevertheless, the skaters participating in tonight's entirely wholesome rail jamming will be jamming the rail in practice for the next hour or so. They're just getting out there on the ramp, suiting up and pumping the landing. Adam Taylor, Bob and Andy Mac are pumping the vert. And, Bob is sticking tre flips deep in the tranny. Hope fully Danny Way will be able to ramp himself up for some rail jam action. I'll let you know.—JB


1:05 p.m. PST: Johnny Layton with the gap to noseblunt. Billy Marks with a nollie inward heel over the pyramid. Johnny Layton switch tre flip. Billy Mark kicklip to flat over the pyramid.

Chaz ortiz front feeble over the long flatbar.

Johnny Layton, ollie over the big hubba entirely. Trapasso with a gap to backside 5-0 across the hubba.

This seems so casual. Guys are stepping it up to the gap to tall hubba now. Chaz with a kickflip front board across the gap to lower hubba. Gnarly.—AS


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Cole's secret weapon.

12:57 p.m. PST: There's one thing Chris Cole's got that the rest of the field don't.—AS


12:54 p.m. PST: This is how it's gonna break down: 15 skaters in 3 heats of 5 each. Each heat will allow eack skater 10 tries at each obstacle area. It's almost a combination of a best trick contest and a jam format. Takes some of the pressure off the frenzy.of a jam format and allows for more concentration to pull a higher level of tricks. We'll see how things work out.—AS


12:42 p.m. PST: The elims are getting underway in just a minute. Dave Duncan is on the mic getting the sunburned crowd hyped. Nyjah's looking solid out there gap to 5-0ing the pyramid to hubba with ease. He's also hit his growth spurt big time now and is no longer little. He seriously might be six feet tall.

Looks like Nick Trappasso has the okay to skate in the elims. He's seriously incredible with the caliber of skating he pulls off with casual ease. Nick's also got some fresh ink on his forearm: a tat that says, "Bootleg," the bygone board company that was Nick's first sponsor.


12:34 p.m. PST: Guys are really starting to figure this thing out. Lutzka and Cole stand out as two men who look pretty at ease with most of the obstacles. Cole's getting creative, manualing the entire flatbottom of the course into ollies over the pyramid grass gap.—AS


12:11 p.m. PST: I'm out here right now at men's practice. Chris Cole, Paul Rodriguez, Nyjah Huston, Greg Lutzka, Chaz Ortiz, Johnny Layton, Nick Dompierre and more are out here getting warmed up.

Johnny Layton is attacking feebles across the bump to high yellow bar. So stoked that he's in this.—AS


12:04 p.m. PST: Updates to Street Field:

Men's Skate Street:
Andrew Reynolds - OUT
Leo Romero - OUT
Heath Kichart - OUT
Keegan Sauder - OUT
Johnny Layton - IN


11:40 a.m. PST: People with
More
To prove
Do more
Moves.
That's a haiku I just wrote about the ams in the Hometown Heroes contest. Nick Fiorini just nollie front feebled the 12 stair rail then pulled the most insanely rocketed nollie flip down the same set. Daniel Lutheran was tearing the course up, too.


11:35 a.m. PST: Athlete Update Men's Street changes: Peter Ramondetta is out. Tommy Sandoval is in. Johnny Layton is in as a 2nd alternate. Mike Mo Capaldi is out. Darrell Stanton is out. Leo Romero is in.

Big Air Rail Jam: Danny Way officially back in.


11:20 a.m. PST: Daniel Lutheran is flow for Toy Machine. He's a nice kid who can backside over-crook rails very easily. Wish I could do that.


11:15 a.m. PST: Chris Cole, one of the top contenders, just showed up with a well-shaped mustache-trucker-style.


11:10 a.m. PST: Element and other sponsors organized contests in different inner-city neighborhoods throughout the US and the winners won a trip to the X Games. These are those kids. Cool story.


11:00 a.m. PST: Men's Vert practice is going down and there's nobody here. Late night? Too sunny? Everyone already have the same run dialed from the last 10 years? Who knows? I'm over to the park.


10:40 a.m. PST:

I spent the greater part of last night thinking about achieving greatness...almost. What prompted this was seeing the celebrity presenter, Kenan Thompson (yes, the guy from SNL who you can't help but associate with "Fat Burger") present awards to the Big Air winners, while listening to Jereme Rogers rap. Sometimes the next best thing to greatness is nearing greatness, but not quite getting there, because we can all relate with that. I mean, how often do we, as average humans, put on a performance so stellar that we get $50,000 in one day?

The almost great of yesterday are my heros--no joke. I'm stoked for Jake, who was like a bulldog running up to the Big Air ramp, but the fact that Bob Burnquist got second is proof that the dude is human. I mean, seeing him skate that ramp in person is unreal. He lands things that nobody would even try. But, yesterday, he fell and, well, I can relate to that. In the same vain, the girls came to play yesterday, but it's hard to even compare them to the guys. They're still pushing skating for their gender every year, but they're just not there yet. Still, top vert girls all landed kickflip indy grabs in their runs, which is a first (and much better than last year's scratcher frontside grind contest). And, well, I would say that the street girls contest was not full greatness, but it was the best one I've seen all year. There were some tricks in there that a lot of guys would have a hard time doing in their contest run. But, like the other girls, they're still pushing it to be better and better. So, in that way, they're great and that makes the average person not feel as stupid.

Today, there's your average practice from park, street and vert. Then, there's the Big Air Rail Jam finals in the afternoon, which will be a nail-biter. After that, the LA shop practice is going down. I'll keep you posted, so keep checking back.