Welcome back to another edition of Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. This week, shark attacks plague Oahu, Kurt Sorge becomes only the second rider to win two Rampage titles and much more.
To the Edge of Sanity and Back
In one of the most terrifying events in sports, Kurt Sorge captured his second Red Bull Rampage title among the orange, towering cliffs of Virgin, Utah. Sorge—who also won in 2012—joined Kyle Strait as the only two-time winner. Competitors draw lines on impossibly steep single track, not only pulling massive airs, but massive airs with inverted aerials, sticking landings on razor-thin cliff bands before charging through narrow canyons.
This year marked a solid decade of charging in the Utah desert for Rampage organizers, Red Bull, and Sorge laid down won of the most death-defying runs in event history that included two backflips, all while maintaining massive amounts of speed.
Weather hampered riding and organizers made the call to finish the freeride contest early. According to reports, some riders opted not to take their second runs due to high winds. “The toughest part out here is just Mother Nature—the wind, the weather, your runs are getting blown out,” Sorge, a British Columbia native, told the St. George News. “So they told us initially that we might only get one run, so (we just had to) lay it down on the line.” Check out Sorge’s winning run. Pretty ridiculous. In a good way.
The Big Night
Ken Roczen made a huge statement this weekend at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. Athletes race three times with finishes going towards the overall title. Roczen finished first, fourth and fifth at Sam Boyd Stadium—cashing the $100,000 winners check.
Roczen, originally from Mattstedt, Germany, has struggled a bit this year to get in sync with his Suzuki motorcycle. A little over a year ago, after winning the 2014 Lucas Oil Motorcross Championship, the 21-year-old made the surprise switch from KTM to the bikes he grew up racing (Suzuki). Roczen also had to fight through an injured ankle in 2015. “We did a lot of testing,” Roczen told Transworld Motocross. “ It was exciting coming into this. Sometimes you can go down because of someone else’s mistakes... but today we rode good. We won the overall. What more could you ask.”
The sport’s best riders usually show up in Vegas for the Cup as it serves as a preview for the start of the Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Series which begins Jan. 9 in Anaheim, Calif.
It’s been a scary week in Hawaii. Two shark attacks were reported within hours of each other on Oahu this weekend, the first in Lanikai where two men were swimming from the nearby Mokulua Islands, small parcels of land just offshore, when one was bitten, sustaining serious injuries to the lower legs. A shark attack was also reported in Waikiki but was later deemed to be an eel bite.
The reports come just days after 25-year-old Colin Cook was viciously attacked on Oahu’s North Shore by a Tiger shark in the 13-foot range. Cook was surfing a spot known as “Leftovers” when the animal pulled him underwater by his left leg, which was later amputated below the knee. Cook was rescued by an alert paddleboarder. Cook, a Rhode Island native who’d moved to the island to work as a board shaper, didn’t participate in social media but friends set up an Instagram handle and a Facebook page as well as a GoFundMe campaign to help with his expenses. “The big thing is having a good mindset,” he told Surfline.com. “All the support is incredible. That’s the hardest part. I know the waves are good today. Surfing is my life. My goal (is) just to get back out in the water and surf the best I can as soon as possible.”
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Chengdu from the Podium
Venezuelan BMX rider Daniel Dhers came up huge in Chengdu, China, winning the second stop of the FISE World Series, an action sports showcase featuring BMX, skate and wake athletes. Dhers was on point all event, busting out his 720 corkscrew condor while hyping a Chinese crowd just becoming versed in the action sports lifestyle. Based in France (FISE stands for Festival International de Sports Extremes) this is the FISE World Series’ 19th year and includes three stops, Montpellier, France, Chengdu, China and Malaysia.