Monday June 27th, 2016

In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Skatercross makes its debut and Southern California beaches get wild.

Grant Baker Wins Puerto Escondido Challenge

Durban, South Africa’s Grant “Twiggy” Baker doesn’t stop. The 43-year-old big wave surfer continues to surf his best when the waves are at their most frightening. That’s how the weekend worked out for the former Mavericks champion as he won the Puerto Escondido Challenge in maxing conditions. Baker scored a perfect 10 in the final and was seemingly in position for every single makeable wave throughout the 60-minute heat. Greg Long, who also surfed superbly throughout the two-day event placed second while Brazil’s Pedro Calado finished third. Baker takes the top spot in the rankings after the opening event of the year. Meanwhile, 2014 Big Wave World Champion Makuakai Rothman was injured in the final when he pulled into a barrel and his board hit him in the chest. He finished 6th. The next Southern Hemisphere event is Punta de Lobos, Chile.


Skatercross Makes Its Debut

So this event was inevitable with skier and snowboard cross already holding down spots in the X Games portfolio. This weekend at San Diego’s Krause Family Bike and Skate Park in Clairemont, Calif., the sport debuted during the 10th Annual Clash at Clairemont, an event that benefits Grind for Life, a cancer charity. The course was conceived by Andy Macdonald, a 42-year-old pro skateboarder who’s won some 23 X Games medals. It consisted of giant speed humps, a 25-foot gap jump and vertical wall rides that sling-shot skaters around tight corners. Macdonald was pleased with the reaction by some of the pros that showed up including Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler and Greyson Fletcher, among others: “In skateboarding, it can be a pretty fickle bunch with anything new,” he said. “I thought we’d get some naysayers, but 99 percent of the feedback has been positive. This is the cool thing—when I talked about it and hadn’t built it, the naysayers didn’t get it. And when they come to the track now, they’re, like, ‘Oh this is gnarly.’” Arizona skater Trey Wood captured the inaugural title


Southern California Mayhem

This is not how you want a date to go. Huge southern hemisphere swells have been pounding Southern California of late and according to the Orange County Register, this couple (below) rented a jet ski in Newport Beach and apparently got confused on where to safely operate their personal watercraft. They drove the jet ski too close to the Wedge, a mutant wave that breaks ridiculously big on south swells. A 20-foot wave knocked them off and the jet ski ended up dry docked on the jetty. Newport lifeguards rushed in to make the rescue along with several local body surfers. The jet ski was destroyed and thankfully, that was the only loss. “Apparently, they were just kind of lost or something, He just drove straight in,” said Newport Beach Marine Safety Capt. Skeeter Leeper. “They were at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The Wedge is always a good place to see out-of-the-ordinary sights—a 20-foot gray whale washed ashore a week or so ago, and with the hot weather and crowds, the area has kept lifeguards busy. There were some 268 rescues over the weekend. And it’ll only get busier with Fourth of July right around the corner.


Former Nike Executive Killed in Base Jumping Accident

In sad news over the weekend, Michael Leming, a former talent scout for Nike, was killed in a BASE jumping accident in Norway when his chute apparently failed to open on a jump. Leming, 53, was a consummate outdoorsman and skilled in the mountains. He reportedly summited Mt. Hood near Portland dozens of times and was a hard-working volunteer for Portland Mountain Rescue, where he’d given his time since 2000. Leming, who worked for Nike for 15 years, had several close calls over the years. In 2009 he fell when a block of ice he was standing on broke off and he had to be airlifted off a mountain. In 2002, he was part of a rescue party on Mt. Hood that was nearly killed when the rescue helicopter hovering above crashed dangerously close to the group. "For years, Michael was the lead talent scout for Nike, hiring some of the company's top executives, " wrote Portland-based KGW-TV's Joe Donlon in a tribute. "In his younger days, he was a top international model, although he didn't like to talk about that. He wanted to talk about the next BASE jump he had planned, or mountain he was going to climb."

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