There can be no better example of the merging of sports, music, media and pop culture all wrapped up in an interactive technological package with more bells, whistles and clicks than you can shake a smart phone at. This summer, X Games begins a four year residency at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. The four day festival will be jam packed with all that is cutting edge in sports, music and gaming. We’ve put together a guide to the madness that is X Games, hitting Austin June 5-8.
There are four different skateboard events at X Games Austin, and the competition is gnarly.
Skateboard Vert consists of the gravity-defying Halfpipe. Twelve competitors will get two 50-second runs each, and the top 6 scores move on to finals. Veterans Bucky Lasek, Pierre Luc Gagnon and Andy MacDonald are all defending hard earned records in Vert. Lasek is the only athlete to compete in every X Games since its inception in 1995. Gagnon and Lasek are the only two to receive consecutive X Game gold medals. MacDonald holds the record for the most X Games medals in Vert. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Pro Tom Schaar holds two World Records: youngest (and one of 8 known) to land a 900 (2.5 revolutions), and the first to land a 1080 (3 revolutions) in a professional competition.
Skateboard Big Air is the big trick spectacular. The competitors take off down a massive drop to gain speed and momentum- usually about a 50’ drop- into a jump from a kicker, into a landing then a quarter-pipe for a trick. 10 competitors will get 4 runs each; the top five advance to finals. One of the pioneers and continued innovator of Big Air, Bob Burnquist will be defending his gold medal win at this X Games. With 11 X Game golds, 5 silver and 7 bronze, Burnquist also hold the honor of being Tony Hawk’s favorite skater. The tallest private Vert ramp is in Burnquist’s backyard, at 59m.
Skateboard Park is every skateboarder’s dream on the X Games skate park: an incredibly challenging course of bowls, ramps, rails and more. Twelve of the best will compete in 2 minute runs; the best 6 will advance to finals.
Skateboard Street takes place at the X Games Street course, consisting of steps, rails, ledges and every crazy obstacle that a street skater can jump, flip, slide or fly over. Twenty men and twelve women will compete in 50 second runs, with the best half advancing to finals. Riley Hawk, the son of legend Tony Hawk, who some say has surpassed his father’s abilities in Street, is the one to watch in this competition.