The competition opened with a duel between the Brazilian prodigy, Pedro Barros and Gagnon. Barros, a 16-year-old skater for Red Bull, gets more amplitude in vert than anyone I’ve seen and aired out the half-pipe like a fan. If it weren’t for Gagnon’s unflappable consistency and technical style, he would’ve fallen early to the Brazilian’s flashier runs.
The second heat was essentially a wing in the future Dogtown hall of fame: Sandro Dias of the 900 club; 38-year-olds Andy McDonald and Danny Mayer; crowd-favorite Shaun White; and Godfather of the sport, Bucky Lasek. Falls killed fantastic sets by McDonald and Mayer, while smooth spins from Dias propelled him into the super finals with White and Lasek.
Stocked with the best skaters from the previous heats, the superfinals promised incredible competition. Lasek compiled some beautiful sequences but bailed on too many runs to really push beyond White's inverted antics and flawless runs by Gagnon. In the end, White couldn’t keep up with PLG’s 94-point session either and ended up in second place.
When the last heat ended, I’d been standing in the same spot for four hours. I came early to catch practice runs by pros that I’d controlled and unlocked in the Tony Hawk gaming series. The tricks in those games seemed cartoonish and impossible at the time, but after today’s finals, I see them as prophetic. Run after run, the superfinalists unleashed a flury of tricks I could hardly take in with my eyes, let alone describe. Today will bring finals in skateboard street and BMX vert where spectators can expect more of the same.
Today is the final day of the Dew Tour's stop at the EnergySolutions Arena.
In honor of the ten-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, all active military service members, police officers and firefighters will receive a free grounds pass to today's event. Click here for the schedule.