Monday June 6th, 2016

Extreme Exposure: X Games Austin Wraps up While Fiji Heats Up

In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—the youth movement in women’s skateboarding is in full effect.

X Games Bids Adieu to Austin

The X Games final showing in Austin certainly had its farewell moments to remember.  Huge storms that have displaced thousands of people throughout the state of Texas hampered the event all weekend, with cleanup crews working to keep venues dry. The event featured a touching tribute to the late Dave Mirra, the rebirth of Pedro Barros as one of the truly great park skaters in the world and 44-year-old Jamie Bestwick winning his 14th X Games gold in BMX vert ramp.

But a story that might have gone under the radar was the youth infusion in women’s skateboarding, an encouraging sign for the future of both park and street skating.

Sixteen-year-old Pamela Rosa established herself as a star. The Brazil native—who comes from an impoverished background—won gold at X Games Oslo three months ago then won the street comp this weekend. Nineteen-year-old Mariah Duran out of New Mexico ended with silver. In the Park competition, Japanese native Kisa Nakamura, also 16, grabbed her first gold. Jordyn Barratt, from Encinitas, Calif., who won bronze, is just 17. Meanwhile Brighton Zeuner, also from Encinitas, finished fourth and is only 11. The future of women’s skating is definitely in capable hands for the foreseeable future.

Cape Fear Tow-in Contest Instills Plenty of Fear

While the World Surf League was in Fiji, some of the best and most fearless big-wave chasers gathered at Cape Solander in Sydney, Australia. A wave dubbed “Ours” by the infamous Bra Boys surf gang, the right hand slab literally folds over on itself in grotesque fashion, creating gnarly steps and treacherous drops that can easily send experienced surfers head over heels.

Naturally, Red Bull decided to host a contest there: The Red Bull Cape Fear. With the wave at a dangerous 10-feet, the contest was tow-in only (meaning surfers had to team with partners on jet skis).  The contest made it through two of its four rounds, sending competitor Justen Allport to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition after receiving a nasty gash to the head following a wipeout.  The contest continues later today at Said commentator Chris Cote: “I put (this spot) in the Top 3 heaviest, surfable waves on planet.”

The World Surf League’s Fiji Pro is On

The men are two rounds into the Fiji Pro and there’s been some early surprises: Julian Wilson went down in the second round as did Nat Young, both posting equal 25ths, results they’d definitely like to forget. But Taj Burrow—who’s surfing his last contest as a pro—and Mick Fanning staved off elimination by forgoing the small barrels and unleashing massive turns that scored well with the judging panel.

But perhaps the biggest news from this weekend in Fiji was the scuttle created after Gabriel Medina dropped in on Jordy Smith during a free surf or practice. After the Brazilian World Champion burned the South African, Smith kicked his board at Medina in frustration (below). The video was shared all over the web and solidified Medina’s reputation as a competitive machine. A reputation he lives up to, even in “practice.” 

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