In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—surfer Steph Gilmore is back in form and skateboarding is now scientifically proven to hurt.
Margaret River Officially Ushers in New Guard
There have been sweeping changes on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour this year and the Margaret River Pro has seemingly been a catalyst for the change. Mick Fanning announced he was taking a break from competitive surfing, effective just before the event. Long-time world championship contender Taj Burrow, 37, announced his retirement during the contest and was then eliminated by Californian Nat Young in Round 3, receiving the traditional carry up the beach. Kelly Slater, who has now openly talked about leaving the competitive realm, was knocked out by Italian surfer Leonardo Fioravanti, 18, who made the event as an injury replacement. The only members of the old guard that remain in the contest are Ace Buchan and Joel Parkinson. While no one should count Slater out (he did finish 9th last year and won the Pipe Pro earlier in 2016) the new generation of surfing’s elite is set to take over the tour ranks—two of which are Americans Kolohe Andino and Young, who will both surf in Round 4.
Steph Gilmore is Officially Back
Six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore looked like her old self after missing most of last year with a knee injury (suffered during a free surf at the 2015 Margaret River event). She officially put the rest of the field on notice with a ridiculously powerful layback hack that had booth announcers Ross Williams and Ronnie Blakey ooing and awing at her powerful technique. Gilmore faces Tyler Wright in the quarterfinals in a rematch from round 3 where Wright outlasted Gilmore in the non-elimination heats.
• MORE EDGE: Is Kelly Slater considering retirement?
Skateboarding Hurts—and Now it’s Scientifically Proven
For decades, skateboarding has been one of the most important action sports in terms of progression and style. It has influenced nearly every alternative pursuit in existence including snowboarding, surfing and even skiing, and has been a base of such major action sports showcases such as the X Games. But, thanks to its unforgiving nature, it also hurts. A lot. According to a recent study released by Injury Epidemiology, researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital studied skateboarding injuries from 1990 to 2008 and found that some 176 skaters visit emergency rooms every day with injuries suffered while riding a board and four wheels. That’s 64,572 children and adolescents each year, most of which were male (89%) suffering from breaks and dislocations. But that doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t skate. It could also be argued—anecdotally, of course—that nothing builds foot dexterity and coordination more than skating, the basis for most all of modern day action sports. It just might mean breaking a wrist or two in the process.
Nyjah Huston demonstrates how crashing makes you better:
Lourdes of the Downhill
Aaron Gwin and Rachel Atherton both opened the Downhill World Cup mountain biking season with big wins at the Lourdes Downhill in France this weekend, despite wet conditions. Loic Bruni looked to have a chance to overtake Gwin on the men’s side but took a pretty intense wipeout near the bottom of the course, ending his chances for a World Cup victory. He still ended 14th despite the crash. The win for Gwin, from Morongo Valley, California, kicked off his quest for a fourth overall world championship.
Dungey is Dangerous
Ryan Dungey is having a career year. In front of 60,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Dungey extended his overall points lead by outlasting Ken Roczen, who made a serious run at Dungey at the end of the race. Roczen and Dungey were side-by-side on both lap 3 and 5 with the German pushing Dungey hard (he won by a mere 1.7 seconds). It was Dungey’s 29th victory—leaving him sixth on the all-time list—and his 29th straight podium.
@ryandungey and @kenroczen94 battled it out in Indy last night which made for some great racing, and in the end they both showed each other respect, which is how it should be! . #DiffySmooth #KenRoczen #RyanDungey #IndySX #IndySupercross #IndianapolisSupercross #IndianapolisSX #Supercross #SupercrossLive