Despite my reservations on last week's show, I really do like Pastrana's jump to the Nationwide Series. NASCAR is absolutely a different animal than what he's done, but he's accomplished all that he's set out to do. I'm not saying he did this out of boredom, but honestly, how many times can the guy stare death in the face? My prediction? He'll win a race his first year, and crash at least three times. And I'll watch it. That's probably the biggest shocker of them all.
I don't like Chad Reed's decision to go rogue and create his own team. He's made it quite clear that no one was willing to pay him the dollar amount he was looking for. This January kicks off a monumental supercross season and Reed is going to have to put every ounce of focus he has into racing. The headaches of team ownership may be overlooked on his part.
Interesting move by P-Rod and the gang at Plan B to drop solo footage the skater on itunes today. I'm stoked to see footage of Paul, but I'd much rather be getting a full video's worth for my money than just five minutes of tricks that's taken three years to produce.
After chatting with me on-air last Friday, Brett Simpson went out over the weekend and defended his championship at the U.S. Open. Back-to-back victories in his hometown has to be sweeter than the champagne we sprayed on him at the podium. And less sticky.
Simpson is much more talented than his current world standing (24th overall). I can only hope that this will propel him to a killer second half of the world tour.
On to land
Chris Cole did what Chris Cole does, win huge contests. Cole won his third overall Maloof Money Cup on Sunday in Costa Mesa in dramatic fashion. Nyjah Houston had one of the best sessions I've ever witnessed and scored a near perfect 100. His second place finish was a shock to many, but none bigger than him. And don't think for one second that $40K will wash away the memory of just missing out on the grand prize total of $100K. Major props to both skaters as they were far and away the best two during the weekend.
And how about PLG? Pierre won his second vert contest in as many weeks just edging out Bob Burnquist. This goes without saying, but Pierre-Luc Gagnon is the best vert skater alive right now.
BMX All-Star Ben Snowden (right) joins Brando for a special XG16 Saturday edition of Late Night Action, LIVE from X-Fest in the Nokia Plaza.
With X-Games 16 in full swing, Brando is joined by BMX legend Kevin Robinson in-studio. [listen]
As the sun set on scantily clad Rock Star Energy girls and tenth graders disguised as Metal Mulisha soldiers began tumbling out of Staples, I found myself still in need of a fix.
The natural high of X Games is nothing short of captivating. Four days worth of the industry's best is a lot to take in, but bouncing around between bmx vert and moto x best trick is so fluid. I've heard the nay-sayers. X Games can be clunky, almost mechanical in its approach. Too much going on overwhelms ticket goers they say. But I say, "Nay."
The majority of fans who come to X Games and/or watch it on the tele are not fanatical one sport junkies. This is the church of adrenaline and the congregation merely wants to see the impossible. Those who think it's difficult to follow all the different disciplines are simply misinformed. X Games spoon feeds us everything we need to have an understanding of the who, what, and where. By contrast, attempt to watch an NFL, NBA, or soccer game and find out just how forgiving commentators and the sports themselves are to the uninformed. Trust me, I have a girlfriend.
This year's X wasn't perfect, but still had its moments of greatness. Travis Pastrana opening and closing this year's event with gold (Moto X Freestyle and Moto X Speed & Style), Tanner Foust winning both rally events, and Shaun White's return to skateboarding (where he was robbed at gun point of a gold medal).
There are other events in each sport that definitely matter, whether it be a Dew Tour title or a Supercross podium finish, but by and large, most of these athletes track their careers by how they perform in the X Games. They know the world is watching and the rosters are drenched in talent. You can scream corporate sell-out all you want, but in my eyes, there's no better place to get your industry dose than the X Games.
Click here to check out 710 ESPN's photos from XG16.
Jake Brown celebrates after a Bob Burnquist slam guaranteed Brown the Gold
Here's six thoughts:
1. Pastrana is a stud. Ok, this is technically not breaking news, but with Travis Pastrana returning to Moto X Freestyle, many wondered what he had in store. And boy did he deliver. With Levi Sherwood looking solid all night, TP stepped up his game and killed it right from the get go. He pulled off a gorgeous double back flip on a run after he was already assured gold. Studly.
2. Big Air should only feature Jake Brown and Bob Burnquist. After a repeat of last year (Brown with the gold, Burnquist earning silver) it's so clear that these two are so much better than everyone else at this event. Jake is such a fan favorite, so pulling off gnarly tricks ensures a roar from any crowd that watches him. Burnquist was so close on pulling off a 900 on the quarterpipe. If and when he pulls that off it will immediately become tall-tale status.
3. Dave Duncan is still looking for his voice.
4. Sheckler is a man on a mission. He owned during eliminations and appears destined for a podium finish. If he doesn't win gold he should be disappointed.
5. Congrats to ZJ Board house on their win in the LA shop final. Between ZJ and Active, there were a dozen jaw-dropping tricks. Plus, they asked me to MC the medals ceremony, so you know I loved it.
6. BMX Park is going to be must watch on Saturday. Between Gary Young, Brett Banasiewicz, and Daniel Dhers this event will showcase riding like we haven't seen in years.
Anticipate no more, X Games 16 has officially kicked off and we here @ Late Night Action are giving you wall-to-wall coverage. Expect live blogging throughout the weekend as well super cool interviews. Make sure to tune in tomorrow night @ 9pm for the show as well as a special Saturday edition of "Late Night Action live from X Games", 12-2pm.
Thursday night always provides highlights with Freestyle Moto and Skateboard Big Air set to kick off their finals tonight live from L.A. Coliseum. Tickets are super cheap so if you can make it down here and witness history!
Officially launching tonight (July 16) "Late Night Action" will be So Cal's first action sports radio show. Everyone here @ 710 ESPN and ESPN Los Angeles have been fantastic about making this thing a reality, so I ax that all you all tune in at 9pm tonight to get your action sports fix.
We got MotoX legend Brian Deegan and Jeff Cutler of Havoc TV popping in to say "hi" tonight. Plus, I'll chat with Joe C of California Skateparks as well.
"Late Night Action" Fridays @ 9pm PST only on 710 ESPN. You can listen live online here.
Last weekend's ISF Skate World Championships featured familiar faces atop the podium as Greg Lutzka took first place in park and PLG dominated vert.
1. Greg Lutzka
2. Ryan Sheckler
3. Chaz Ortiz
1. Pierre Luc-Gagnon
2. Sandro Dias
3. Andy Macdonald
Watching Lutzka pick apart the park provided a brilliant preview of what's to come this summer. A gorgeous 270 Noseblunt on the rail got some fist pumps at the TD Garden or whatever they call that arena. Sheck looked pretty relaxed, and you can't really argue with the result. A podium finish was the goal considering last year's injuries kept him out of the entire Dew Tour.
PLG continues right where he left off last summer with a W in competition. There was no Burnquist, but I doubt that Switch Master Bob could've topped him. His 720 is so clean and the air he gets is still first-rate. It could be a long summer for the rest of the field.
After one of the most talked about crashes in recent memory, Pearce is back home in Vermont. A five month hospital stay couldn't hold KP down, as he is able to walk and talk with ease, two abilities that were thought to be in jeopordy back in January.
While competitive riding is still atleast a year away, we here at the Action Sports Show salute Kevin and his courage is easily the most inspirational act we've come across in a long time.
In other news: Chaz Ortiz is growing up.
After spending the last couple years beating the best pros in the street game, Chaz is finally getting his due. Zoo York has finally given him a pro model board. About time. Something tells me this will be the "Avatar" of decks this year. Hey oh!
Kudos to Alyssa Roenigk's investigative journalism efforts in breaking the news that Shaun White is leaving his long time agent Mark Ervin at IMG for greener pastures at CAA. This is pretty fantastic considering we're talking about a snowboarder leaving the second biggest firm in the biz for the world's very best in CAA. NFL Quarterbacks and A-list actors foam at the mouth for a chance to take a meeting with CAA, so White obviously has a sense of what the firm is capable of doing for him.
This is peculiar for the very simple reason of... why? He is the cover boy of an entire industry, multiple Olympic gold medalist, and has a clothing line at Target. What is it that he isn't doing? My hunch, as is Roenigk's, is that the ability to cross over into the mainstream media is incredibly appealing to Shaun. Sure he can cameo as a skater on a TV show, but that's easy. What about a feature film where he plays the leading man? CAA can do that. What makes this move even more intriguing is how entrenched in the action sports world IMG is. It's as if White is saying, "I've outgrown you."
I realize hardcore fans view this, much like Sheck's show on MTV, as a classic case of a Hollywood sell-out. But let's be real, Shaun has been on a different level since he burst on the scene. Shaun White has been a pitchman for everything under the sun, and yet he has still backed up his star power by continuing to be the very best at what he does. He really doesn't have anything else to prove on the snow, and depending on his vert interest, he may just want other avenues to fill his time.
I like the move. The idea of any of these athletes having agents in the first place is pretty amazing, and the fact that he's heading to the premier firm in the entertainment industry will only help put all these guys and girls on the map.
Maloof Money Cup... three words that have literally transformed the skate world in the last two years. This is the contest that makes guys like Marc Johnson and Torey Pudwill come out and compete. Sure, you can theoretically throw a $100K into the pot and sit back and wait for the fireworks, but sponsors and promoters know better than to merely assume when it comes to skating. The pros, and fans alike, can sniff out a fake. The brothers Maloof were wise to put everything in the skaters hands and just write a check when it was all said and done.
The party in Vegas last weekend was bananas. The Palms was first rate, and although they must have assumed that my camera guy and I were life partners (one bed in a suite, along with a bottle of Tesco champ?), the stories are too legendary and graphic in nature to type. One of the perks was being one of the first to play EA's Skate 3. This game is so real it's unreal. I played as Lizard King, because he was sitting next to me. Side note: I would have never played as Lizard King if he wasn't sitting next to me. The pure joy of playing this game is comparable to the first time you played Tony hawk Pro Skater on Playstation. If you're a gamer you have to go out and get it.
Another new wrinkle with this year's cup is adding Vans into the equation after two years of sponsorship with Sole Tech. This is pretty large for Vans as they really have been looking for a contest to brand with on a grand scale. Not since the Vans Triple Crown has the company had something like this on their plate.
So check out the videos and if you're in the Brooklyn or OC area this summer, there's no reason why you should miss THE GREATEST EVENT IN ALL OF SKATEBOARDING (per Joe Maloof).