Transition. www.dictionary.com defines the word as; movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another. Pour some cement all over that definition and you have the Skate Park division of X Games 16. It has only been held twice making it a relatively new division to the games, but one of the more popular skate events, especially amongst actual skateboarders.
On this course it’s all about choosing a line, going fast, grinding coping, and clearing: hips, gaps and flats. The name of the game is speed, and the ability to keep that speed for as long as possible, and hit as many obstacles as you can along the way is the plan of attack. A cross between pool and street skating this discipline attracts a diverse group of skateboarders. You have your straight up pool guys like Rune Glifberg and Omar Hassan. You have your vert guys like Bucky Lasek and Andy MacDonald. Finally, you have your all-around guys like David Gravette and Jake Duncombe. The later being skaters who film street sections for their sponsors, but have pool and other types of transition skating mixed in.
The first year of Park was held was on an all wood course during X Games 14. Then, last year at X Games 15 it took place on combination wood and concrete course. Now, this year at X Games 16 an all-concrete course has been constructed complete with a glass wall-ride extension. It is like one of those perfect concrete parks they have up in Oregon, maybe just a little mellower. There’s a very doable gap in the middle, and it should be interesting to see what types of variations go down over that. During practice Gravette already cleared the gap, and then a hip to transition.
The skaters to look for in this competition are of course two-time winner, Rune Glifberg, and transition legend, Omar Hassan. There are also guys like Tony Trujillo, Chad Bartie, John Rattray, Sammy Baca , Gravette, Duncombe and Alex Olson who excel in cement parks.
As far as contestants go, there are three interesting little side notes. First, the youngsters, as in 14 year-old, Curren Caples, and 15 year-old, Pedro Barros. They’re both young, but they both can skate a line. Barros already qualified for the Big Air main event, and Curren’s been flying all over the place in practice. Second, how is two time Pro Tec Pool winner, Lasek, going to do. This is the first year he has entered this event, and he has been proving latey he may just be the best pool skater in the world, along with being one of the best vert skaters. Third, Ryan Sheckler? Yup, The Sheck is slated to skate this division, he may be a Street guy, but he’s another one who’s no slouch when it comes holding a line in the cement. His brother Shane is a very good tranny skater, and may have given him some pointers in a training session or two.
The Park Final will be Sunday August 1 from 7 PM to 11PM on ESPN2.
Rune Glifberg at last year’s event. Photo: Harry How via Getty Images.
Below is some footage of Glifberg warming up on last year’s course: