Friday was jam-packed with events, and I got Floor Access too.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten when access started, and the ticket didn’t say when.  One volunteer said I could go down in the morning so that’s what I did.  Then I got kicked out of one area, forbidden from another, and then invited in the media platform behind the photographers for a portion of the Women’s Skateboard Street Qualifier.

Women’s Skateboard Street Qualifier

  • The skaters seemed really chill even if it was a tight competition for the final qualifying spots.
  • Nanaka Fujisawa did really well for a newcomer (and a young’un).
  • Mariah Duran was ON.  Both of her qualifying runs were among the highest scoring.
  • Then there’s Alexis Sablone, whom you can count on for hitting some of the biggest tricks.
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Being on the floor was too nerve-wracking so I decided to head back up for to join my parents to watch BMX Dirt Qualifiers.  Unfortunately, all the doors look the same, and I got lost, wound up where all the athletes were, and then finally found another elevator with some VIPs.  As a result, I missed a chunk of the BMX Dirt Qualifiers but I caught the second runs.

BMX Dirt Qualifiers

  • Everybody was pulling out all the stops.  Who was going to enter the final kept changing up to the very end it seemed, and some  former gold medalists like Ryan Nyquist and Kevin Peraza didn’t make it.day2_4057
    You can always count on Kevin for great extension.
  • When did cash rolls and tailwhip backflips become staples?
  • My mom knows nothing about action sports or how scoring works for any event, but she was very impressed with Brian Fox’s first run.
  • Dawid Godziek was a name I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m gonna remember it how huge he went.

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Since X Games Sydney is happening right now, I thought I would hustle and finally get around my X Games Minneapolis recaps.   It’s not going well, and I can make excuses, but I’m gonna hunker down (without missing the action from Sydney).  Minneapolis was so different from Austin, both the city and the Games.  Although everyone was stoked that we’d be indoors, the stadium format makes me feel more distant.  As a result, getting Floor Access was SO worth it.

Vert, however, was outside.  Thankfully the rain had stopped a couple hours before the first event started.  We were in the back at first since we got there kind of late, and with it being nighttime as well, I don’t have as many photos this time around.

Skateboard Vert

  • Bucky Lasek was off his game and falling a lot.  Later we learned that he had a migraine.  Once I looked up to see if I had a migraine or just a severe headache, and knowing what the symptoms are, I have to give Bucky all the props.
  • Sandro Dias… talk about a comeback!  He was so close to landing a 900.
  • Somehow, my two photos that turned out okay were both of Marcelo Bastos, the number one qualifier from the previous night.
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  • It makes so much sense that Jimmy Wilkins’ mom is a ballet dancer.  He’s so graceful and has great extension.  Long legs help, but knowing your lines takes it to a new level.
  • Moto Shibata had some of the sickest, most difficult tricks, but he didn’t get enough amplitude to take the lead.  I thought he was scored a bit low though.

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Action Sports Gets Political

Posted: October 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

“Can we keep politics out of it?” is a phrase often repeated but not quite fully understood.  I say that as someone whose existence is political.  I’m the queer daughter of immigrants, and as as result, I can’t keep my politics out of action sports.  Whether the lack of exposure of female athletes or the choice of vocabulary that directly affects LGBT kids in a negative manner, I’m going to challenge the status quo of our community.  Nowadays, the pros are taking similar views, whether it’s Gus Kenworthy coming out in such an open manner or Colton Satterfield leaving Monster Energy for religious reasons.

I’ve previously posted about action sports athletes championing environmentalist causes.  It’s a great example about how politics is tied with the culture.  Winter and water sports depend on the existence of natural environments, which are legislated upon through policies regarding climate change, pollution, and protected areas.  Then you have motocross sitting on the other side with riders protesting restrictions on fuel emissions (although innovations in electric bikes and four-strokes are providing a compromise) and where they can ride.

Politics doesn’t have to refer to the issues of one particular country’s government.  Imprimatur examines the decisions, trends, and identities that affect the economic. social, and creative aspects of BMX.  A lot of its articles remind us that a component of BMX involve making money, whether it’s pro aspirations or being able to access footage of other riders.  Sometimes it does get into the larger scope of things, especially with Chelsea Fietsgodin’s essays about microaggressions and the use of certain symbols.

If you know me or this blog, you know that I have a very specific point of view, and it’s obvious at how I’m trying to avoid expressing my strong opinions.  I could make an entire post about how I’ve had to cut ties with friends in the community and unfollowed certain athletes specifically due to their opinions on certain sociopolitical issues (and how they’ve expressed it).  The point of this post in particular is to challenge the notion that politics can be left out of action sports.  That’s a privilege only some can enjoy, and it might be taken away so…
43340005_1464558923677618_6491474164573011968_o Graphic by Violet DeVille

There’s even a site dedicated to getting American skaters to vote.  The deadline to register to vote for this year’s midterm elections, which are important (laws on all levels affect usjust think about city ordinances and skate parks), is today in some states and inching close in the rest. So if you haven’t registered yet, plug your info into Skaters Vote.

I won’t lie about how difficult it is to be an informed voter, but there are great resources out there (sample ballots and voter guides are your friend) and even if you choose to focus voting on one issues, that’s a start too.  We’re a community of revolution, and we now span multiple generations so we can get our voices heard and make the world a better place.

I had another post planned, but I’ve been trying to get my ducks in a row so that I can go to Minneapolis later this week for the X Games.  Therefore, I’ll make it a short but sweet one with another recount of action sports-related things I’ve found on Facebook.  This one relates to people in the arts and skating.

If you don’t know about the Hamilton musical, get out from under a rock and go check out the soundtrack.  This ain’t your mama’s Broadway musical!  An article that the Hamilton Facebook page shared caught my eye because it described writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who would star as Alexander Hamilton, skateboarding in the dorm where he stayed with director Thomas Vail and composer Alex Lacamoire.  Although I could not find a recent photo of Lin skating, here’s one from 10 years ago when his first Broadway musical In the Heights was playing.

The other artist I saw with a skateboarding-related post in on a board in a different way. Former burlesque dancer Cat de Lynn was featured on a deck.  Beautiful women on decks is not new, but not only was this someone I knew, but this was a creation by a team of women.  It would be really awesome if the skater was also a woman.

burly board.jpg From Boardpusher.com

This is the last update before the X Games.  Be sure to follow Jeniverse Writings on Facebook and JeniverseAbr on Twitter for the latest update from Minneapolis this Thursday through Sunday.

This weekend I was at the mall, and guess who I saw sporting a rainbow in the window display at H&M?  Gus Kenworthy! The skier has teamed up with the clothing brand as part of their Pride Out Loud campaign.  H&M will donate 10% of sales of their pride line to United Nations Free & Equal.

It’s hard to ignore Gus these days, especially now that it’s Pride Month.  He and fellow gay Olympian Adam Rippon co-hosted the TrevorLIVE New York Gala on Monday and lit up the GLAAD Media Awards in April with a kiss.  They also talked with Good Morning America on what “Pride” means to them.

Gus isn’t the only action sports athlete sporting the rainbow. Skater Brian Anderson posted this picture of himself on Instagram:
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Last year Brian and Lacey Baker were featured in Nike’s BETRUE campaign. Lacey herself collaborated with Sam McGuire for a pride-themed photo. Proceeds benefit victims of the Pulse shooting through the onePULSE Foundation.
LaceyFinalImage

Five years since my post about queer athletes, I still think action sports can be more gay. However, I’m stoked to see athletes be able to express themselves more openly and participate in Pride events with support from their peers and fans. I know they’ve inspired many queer kids because as a queer adult, I feel inspired to wave the rainbow (quite literally with Gus). I hope to see more rainbows in the next five years (and maybe some campaigns with trans action sports athletes?).

This particular post should actually be titled “Facebook and Tumblr Findings”.  Social media was made for cute animals.  As a result, I started to collect photos and videos of critters on skateboards.

One of the first I came across was a cat named Boomer featured on the page CATMANTOO.  After some digging, I learned that Boomer holds the Guinness World Record for Longest Human Tunnel Traveled Through by a Cat on a Skateboard (yeah it’s that specific).

Boomer learned how to push off the board himself so all he needs is a board and occasional help with steering.  A recent video also shows him skimboarding.  What a talented kitty!

Not to be outdone by their natural enemy, some mice have started shredding on fingerboards. Granted, there may have been more set-up involved, but this photo series by David M. Gallo on Tumblr is pretty sick. Check out one below.
skater2

It’s not just mammals though. Tumblr brought me a shredding baby bird, also on a fingerboard, courtesy of grumsal (click the link—you won’t regret it). More recently, my Facebook feed contained this video of a turtle getting a boost on a board:

It was a small terrapin so it also used a fingerboard, but I wonder if there are any videos of bigger turtles on regular skateboards. If you find any, send me a link!

Recently a friend tagged me in a link that featured this rad video:

Italian motorcyclist Luca Colombo rode across Italy’s third largest lake, Lago di Como, on a modded Suzuki RMZ 450.  The video has been blowing minds all over the internet, but anybody who has watched motocross movies has seen riders glide their way at least partly across a body of water.  It’s just a matter of physics and something we encounter on a rainy day.

The phenomenon is known as hydroplaning or aquaplaning (depending on which continent you’re on).  Most of us know it from that scary moment while driving when the car starts to slide on a wet road.  What’s happening is that the speed at which the car is traveling creates pressure under the tires.  At a certain point (NASA calculated an equation for this in 1963 but the speed is in knots), the pressure under the tires equalsand eventually exceeds—the weight of your car, lifting it off the road.  As there’s less friction between your car and the water, you end up feeling like you’re sliding.

The same thing happens when motorcyclists glide across a pond.  A bike’s light weight may make the feat seem easy, but narrow tires cause the weight to be distributed across a smaller area, making it more likely to sink.  Plus since a rider is intentionally hydroplaning, they also have to consider the transition from land to water.

hydroplane2
From HYDRO MX’s Facebook page

Luca had some help to keep his Suzuki afloat.  You can see ski-like blades attached to the wheels, which increase the area of distribution of weight.  The back tire also has treads designed to push him across the surface of the lake.

The end result is a battle of forces and a rider who has enough skill to control all of them.  The image below is based on Robbie Maddison’s Pipe Dream video.  Click here to see how he does it on one of the biggest waves.

hydroplane1
From Business Insider

If you’re not quite ready for spring, why not relive the magic of the Winter Olympics with my recap series for Breach TV?  Here’s an “episode guide” on which action sports events I cover:

There were a lot of things I could have said, but I was asked to do an overview of all the different events.  Also I live-blogged the events I was able to catch live on my personal facebook (with some comments on Twitter).  Now that I’ve taken a long enough break, look forward to more posts, some winter sports-related and others looking forward to the summer.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I was stoked to catch all the action.  I got a little bit of deja vu with the addition Snowbike Best Trick, but this time around, the riders are on machines equipped to be on snow and the athletes seem more stoked about it.  Olympic years are always interesting, and what went down kinda changed my mind about who may be in contention for the gold.

Jack Mitrani’s post-show went to Facebook this year, and I really enjoyed the interactive elements.  I got a couple of shout-outs, and my silly comment about Henrik Harlaut’s pants even became a conversation topic (I’m waiting for it to make news again at the Olympics).

Best Female Athlete – Sarah Hoefflin (Ski)
Gotta give props to my fellow scientist! Sarah Hoefflin has a degree in neuroscience and took up skiing after not getting into med school.  Her backup plan is paying off as she got a gold in Women’s Ski Big Air.

Best Male Athlete – Henrik Harlaut (Ski)
Henrik Harlaut must not have slept very much over X Games weekend.  He scored a gold in Men’s Ski Big Air, which took place in the evening.  Then he got up bright and early to get another victory in Men’s Ski Slopestyle.  In between, he got to see two of his favorite rappers, Method Man and Red Man, in concert.  Henrik also deserves props for speaking his mind about the new Big Air format, which requires athletes to spin both directions.

Newcomer to Watch – Reira Iwabuchi (Snowboard)
The Big Air jump did not intimidate this pint-sized rookie.  Reira Iwabuchi stomped gnarly tricks early in the competition and proved to be a very strategic athlete by making sure she got both directions down early on.

Most Dramatic Finals – Men’s Snowboard Superpipe
The Men’s Snowboard Superpipe finals was an epic nail biter.  Ayumu Hirano threw down the first-ever back-to-back 1440s (Shaun who?), and Scotty James defended his gold as best as he could.  It wound up not being enough, but his score was close.  There was also Iouri Podlachikov’s horrifying crash (thankfully he seems to be doing better) and Ben Ferguson’s extremely tech run.

Best Trick – Marcus Kleveland’s Quadruple Cork 1800 (Snowboard)
Can you believe this history-making trick did not get Marcus Kleveland the win in Snowboard Big Air?  Not to discredit Max Parrot, who did a Cab Quad 1800, but the new scoring system didn’t favor Marcus so we’re gonna give him credit for being the first here.

Picture Perfect Moment – Boarding and Bokeh
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Chase Josey during practice.  By Mark Kohlman/ ESPN
Normally I’m more interested in pictures that put the athlete in the forefront; without them, we wouldn’t have the X Games after all.  However, the bokeh in this shot is a major attention grabber, and it looks a lot like snow.

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Stale Sandbech gets an SUV rental.
Let me preface this by saying I’m a terrible driver so this comes from a place of empathy.  I tried to learn how to drive on my mother’s Chevy Tahoe, and I live in Texas.  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Stale Sandbech, who’s used to smaller cars, to navigate the tight Aspen roads.

Most Educational Moment – the X-tionary
I learned a new term—”bolts”—and it’s a new fave.  Hearing Jack Mitrani and Craig McMorris go over lingo was a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see how the terms differ between the disciplines (like when Diana Dahlgren taught them “wadded it”).  Maybe we’ll hear some over the Olympics?

Greatest Comeback – Brett Turcotte (Snowmobile)
While Mark McMorris’ recovery story was the comeback of weekend (and deservingly so), Brett Turcotte experienced his own life-threatening accident last year.  He lost over 50% of his blood in an FMX crash.  Not only did he come back to compete, but he won two out of the three events he was in!

Most Inspirational – Shred Hate
It’s been a year since X Games kicked off their Shred Hate initiative, but it remains a super important mission.  Having found my sanctuary in action sports, I was deeply moved by the athletes’ comments about their personal experiences as both the bullied and the bullies.  If we can change a small group of kids, that’s doing something to make the world better.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Marie Martinod (Ski)
xgames2
By Phil Ellsworth/ ESPN Images
Although she could not repeat her victory, Marie Martinod still tried her best at her final X Games, having gone for a huge cork 1080.  We’re gonna miss this veteran skier after she retires at the end of this season, but she has sure inspired a bunch of young women with her boldness and resilience.  And maybe her daughter will one day pick up the poles?

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to everyone heading over the Olympics! Speaking of which, I’m working with BreachTV to provide a recap series.  There will be lots of commentary on snowboarding and freeskiing so click here to check out my channel.

The International Motorcycle Show is back in town, and that’s reminded me that I never shared my photos from last year’s show.  Fitz Army was a new addition, and everyone was stoked at the high-flying action (and maybe a little worried that the guys were getting very close to the rafters).
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I got to chat with Matt Buyten again, who had just become a new Texan, and my dad apparently recognized emcee Kenny “Taco” Bell.  I also met Cal Vallone and Jesse Jolson.
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