Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Jason Dill #3.
For my X-Games viewing, I watched a replay of the Mega Ramp on Friday night and the Real Street contest on Saturday. I'm naming names and places to provide a sense of context, even if you've never heard of the people or bars I'm talking about.
I caught the replay of the Mega Ramp at Ellicottville Brewing Company on Friday night. My friend Dan was bartending and they have multiple TVs. In all honesty, I was watching SportsCenter more for highlights of the Royals/Indians game than the Mega Ramp coverage. There were a couple of casual skateboard fans at the bar also watching and their commentary was cracking me up. I didn't feel like being "that guy" and correcting them so I sat there and listened.
Anyway, I'm not into the Mega Ramp. Yes, it takes a lot of guts and there's an understandable progression that some of the top skaters are willing to take, but it doesn't do much for me. I don't hold it against anybody who has the talent and opportunity to skate the thing. I'd like to make some sort of argument about how it reduces skateboarding to a spectator sport since a relatively small number of skaters can actually do it. This is different from how street and mini ramp skating were more inclusive back when I started, but street skating these days is nearly as much a spectator sport with guys and girls jumping down massive stairs and rails so that idea doesn't hold much water. The Mega Ramp is also more singular and specialized as you aren't exactly using a regular skateboard, plus you need the ramp itself and the land to host it. It's more on par with snowboarding in terms of gear and location requirements. This is in contrast to the simplicity of street skating, where you just need a board and a flat surface. Finally there was this Chris Miller quote in a Schmitt Stix ad from 1988 that said he liked to go from side to side and use the whole ramp, instead of just going back and forth. With the Mega Ramp you are basically going forth without substance between the tricks. I've always liked Miller's approach, but in street skating you are mostly just going in a straight line, so that point isn't very valid either. Whatever. Heath did it, so that makes it cool, right?
On to the Real Street portion of the X-Games. My friend Sean bartends at Coughlan's. We've been meeting up there to watch Street League and the X-Games on their big TV. I try to keep my opinions on these contests mostly positive and pick out the things I can support from the cheese rather than get bogged down by the negatives, Mega Ramp rant aside.
I caught most of the section where pros submitted their one minute videos before heading down to the bar. Silas Baxter-Neal had a great clip and won. I was hoping Eli Reed would have made the cut after reading his ringing endorsement from Boil The Ocean, but he didn't. In the fan voting, Brandon Westgate edged out Billy Marks. I'm fine with that. Both dudes rip.
For the Real Street contest, I thought they gave the skaters too many runs and the event seemed to drag on. I understand having more than just a best of two, but after watching five runs without much variation, it got repetitive. The skateboarding that went down was great in terms of tricks and mind boggling to think that these guys are doing some very hard tricks every time. I liked what Luan Oliveira was doing and thought he should have won over Nyjah Huston. Nyjah has got the moves, but it feels like he is simply doing them perfectly without much style. Of course he's also sixteen and still figuring a lot of stuff out. Did he try to one up Ryan Sheckler with a first try hardflip off the roof gap that Sheckler kickflipped with mixed results? Sean had the observation that Sheckler is now 21 and will be spending more time at the bars instead of skateboarding. We both liked Ryan Decenzo's every time tailslide followed by the rough gap frontside 360. I thought Chaz Ortiz had some good lines, too.
That's all the X-Games I watched and what I thought of them. It was basically fun. In the end I'd rather watch Dennis Busenitz, Raven Tershy or a Creature video, but that's just me.
Since I'm rambling on, there is one thing I would like to address about the Street League. They need to tone down the emphasis on the amount of money involved in the contest. Rob Dyrdek and company make it sound like the only reason the riders are in it is for the huge cash payments. While this might not be far from the truth with mortgages, car payments and the kid's college fund on the financial horizon, it's tacky to talk about how much money you make.
If I have to see that commercial for the Octane Zone car school one more time, I'm gouging my eyes out or throwing a chair at the TV. Probably the later.
Yeah, it had to be Dill to go with this. I'm stoked on his recent batch of coverage. Also the younger kids don't see the appeal of him, which is sign that you are getting old when you say that Dill is awesome and they say that so & so who hasn't had a skate photo in forever is better.
Dennis McGrath took the photo.
Transworld - May 1999 Volume 17 Number 5