I called it three days ago: Skate Park was the best of the skateboarding events all weekend. ESPN made huge strides from last year's course (which was really tight) with the use of cement. This year the park had it all.
Style: Rune's back Smiths over the cradle to powerslide over the bump looked so sick.
Tech: Australia's Chad Bartie was doing nollie heels in his park lines.
Drama: Omar Hassan drilled his ribs into the coping at Mach 10. And, unbeknownst to anyone watching, skated the park with a tear in his ACL.
Excitement: Not even Tony Trujillo knew what he was going to do next in his runs.
New Blood: Young bucks like Aaron Hamoke, Kevin Kowlaski and Steve Reeves all seem poised to dominate this event in years to come.
But as much fun as it was to see the guys flying around the course today, I still feel like it needs some work. And so as a big Bill Maher fan I have chosen to make some suggestions to the governing board with a segment I like to call NEW RULES:
No Pads: I'm not going to point fingers at any ONE individual but instead I'll make a blanket statement to all who participated in the Men's Park Event: NO PADS. If you want to wear pads you must skate in the Legends Division. It just doesn't seem fair that a top 3 spot and cash money is given away each year to someone wrapped in bubble wrap while guys like Hassan are skating with half a leg.
Extend the Time: I think the current length of heats is just fine, I was more thinking that if someone showed up late because he was stuck in Los Angeles traffic that the event folks and judges could extend him the courtesy of fitting him into a different heat. Especially if prelims has just started ("And that's going to be time for Alex Olson.").
Free Up Billboard space: I don't understand why none of the corporate sponsors chose to rent some of the enormous, gleaming billboard space on Aaron Hamoke's teeth. Seems like a waste of some prime real estate.
Riders Choice: Sometimes judges miss things. Sometimes they have hidden agendas. So each year there should be one guy that advances to the finals as chosen by his peers. A guy that skated hard, killed it and just didn't make the cut. This year I would've nominated Jimmy "The Greek" Marcus. I could watch him skate all day long.
All Star Balloting: I think that since this is an event for the fans, like the NBA All-Star Game, the fans should decide who is invited to the contest, with a few spots left open to be determined by a panel of Team Managers. In Park I could see the skateboard community voting in Darren Navarrette and Mark 'Red' Scott before Pads.
Jim's Ramp Jam: Like the famous "Last Man Standing" miniramp contest held at Jim Thiebaud's old ramp, there should be a final round for all contestants that didn't make it to the park finals. $1,000 goes to the last guy still standing on his board. For added audience enjoyment the guys could be blindfolded and the coping could be set on fire.
More Money: As thanks for being the most exciting skate event of the weekend the park riders should be entitled to the most money. Or at least some lovely parting gifts. Turtle Wax?
A Snake Run Lead-In: It'd be pretty sick if there was a '70s-style cement snake run that led into the park so that guys could haul a** at super speed. Lead in will not be counted towards the 30-second run time.
No Biting: If someone frontside tailslides over the cradle the next rider is not allowed to frontside tailslide over the cradle and mimic the previous rider. Judging will be scored on creativity.
I don't think any of these NEW RULES are too outlandish and can be easily implemented for X Games 16 in 2010. I doubt that ESPN will see my suggestions as anything other than an improvement over the first two years format. But I will say again, the park event and course was greatly improved from last year and I'm sure it will only get better next year.