The Weekender: Snowboarding loses young talent Estelle Balet
Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos from the week that was—like Maya Gabeira’s return to Nazaré —and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
World Champion Snowboarder Estelle Balet Killed in Switzerland
Snowboarding lost one of its bright, shining stars this week when 21-year-old Estelle Balet was tragically killed in an avalanche near her home in Orsières, Switzerland, near the border with France. Balet was a two-time world champ on the Freeride World Tour, which promotes big mountain riding, judging athletes on line choice, flow and style. And Balet had plenty of style. She was an aggressive rider (who also happened to be a talented skier) with an incredibly bright future and was killed while filming with a crew. She was the second person to ride a steep, narrow, rock-strewn slope when the snow let loose and carried her nearly a “kilometer” down the slope. She was wearing avalanche safety gear but died at the scene. “Estelle was a naturally gifted, shining star and demonstrated remarkable talent,” the Freeride World Tour said in a statement. She’d captured her second world title just a few weeks earlier in Verbier.
Dave Mirra To Be Honored This Summer
Dave Mirra changed the world of action sports. His prolific BMX career, where he won 24 medals, altered the public's perception of the X Games athlete and he soon became an international star (he was once named one of People magazine’s most eligible bachelors). With his sad passing in February, the action sports community mourned. And they continue to honor him. This week, the BMX Hall of Fame announced Mirra would be inducted in June and ESPN’s X Games franchise also revealed X Games Austin will feature the Dave Mirra BMX Park Best Trick Contest. “Dave was always one to push the limits of what's possible on a bike, and to innovate his riding beyond what we all thought was possible,” said Ryan Nyquist. “Giving the riders a stage to push their riding and the progression of the sport in the name of Dave Mirra is perfect.”
Return to Nazaré
In October of 2013, big wave surfer Maya Gabeira drowned after letting go of the tow rope in Nazaré, Portugal, on a gigantic wave that had a choppy face. The wave bounced her up and down and broke her ankle, and after wiping out, she was tumbled in the two story whitewash before rescuers got her. She was revived but the mental toll was impactful.
In this preview for “Return to Nazare,” Gabeira works her way back to surf one of the world’s heaviest waves again—one that nearly killed her. No word on when the final cut will be out but this is definitely worth the view on its own.
Jaws in Photos—Lots of Them
That was some winter. And some on Maui are calling it the best surf in 20 years. Hence this photo tribute to Jaws, one of the most well photographed waves in the world. Shot and edited by Aaron Lynton, this time lapse includes 5,000 photos and includes highlights like the Peahi Challenge and some of the best free surfing rides in big wave conditions of all time. The level of performance was definitely heightened this year.
Skating a Dubai Water Park
What? This water park in Dubai looks like fun as, well, a waterpark. But Alex Sorgente, Milton Martinez and Jan Hoffman scored this once-in-a-lifetime session where they were allowed to shred the park sans water, using the slides as extended halfpipes to showcase their skills. Park officials shut down two rides, the Zoomerango and Aquaconda, emptied the water and let the skaters have at it, giving them the skateboarding equivalent of a first descent.
What’s On Tap
Monster Energy Supercross
Fox | Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Ryan Dungey takes his dominating roadshow to the House that Brady built this weekend as the Supercross Series heads to Foxboro for the stretch run. Only three events remain on the docket and Dungey holds a 48-point overall lead.