MUNICH -- Curren Caples thwarted Pedro Barros' attempt to win his third straight X Games gold medal this year in Skateboard Park. The 17-year-old skater from California earned his first X Games gold, bumping Barros into second place with a buzzer-beating finish that came down to the final run. Ben Hatchell ended up in third to win bronze.
"It's just a matter of psyching myself up to go out and land everything, trying to motivate myself in my own mind, like, 'Don't fall, you've got this,'" said Caples, admitting that he's been his own worst enemy in previous contests that have come down to a close finish.
Caples was the top qualifier from the elimination round by an astounding 16 points after posting the only scores in the 40s. He was flowing and flying across the course with the seemingly effortless surf style that has become his signature, making use of street-inspired features on the Bavarian-themed course for more technical tricks.
The contrast against Barros' more muscular, aggressive style couldn't have been more pronounced, but both skaters expressed admiration for each other.
"Pedro goes so fast and so high -- just really gnarly skating -- that it's hard to keep up," Caples said.
Caples led for much of the 18-minute final jam session before Barros got back in the game and edged ahead of him. But Caples managed to squeeze in one final run and made it count. The crowd in Munich roared for his kickflip transfer, stylish tuck-knee transfer and stretched-out frontside boneless as well as more technical moves, like a frontside nosebone, backside kickflip transfer over the hip and backside noseblunt to fakie.
Although Barros ended his three-win run, he left another streak standing strong: He's never finished worse than second in his six appearances in Skateboard Park at X Games.
"Curren approaches the course totally different than I do," Barros said. "He has a lot more street skills and uses a lot more of the features on the course than I do, and he also killed it on the big transitions with huge airs and flip tricks in the deep. I love seeing everybody's different styles, and he deserved it for sure. I'm super stoked for him on his first X Games win and for bringing X Games to a new level."
Skateboard Park won't be contested next month at X Games Los Angeles, and Barros said he doesn't mind the time off.
"The thing I'm most looking forward to right now is to go back home and chill with my friends and my family in Brazil," he said. "It's been one very crazy year."