Driving north through the middle of nowhere with a stranger could never have been so uneventful. Once in Mojave you can spy the United States' world famous Edwards Airforce base across the dirt and sparse brush along the highway. Playing out scenes in my head from Apollo 13, of previous American greatness in the skies as pilots dared to do the unthinkable strapped into metal tin cans with rockets attached. I mentally reach for a representation to compare the test pilots to the crazy mutherf-n skateboarders who defy gravity and push the limits of human endurance and they are closely matched. Although I also think that the Airforce Test Pilots would not drop in on the MegaRamp, but I think the Skateboarders would probably have been willing to jump in the crazy rocket planes for a spin. Then again, maybe not all of them....
Test Pilot Mitchie Brusco warming up - Kickflip Indy, reflip (2 flips)
You'll get airborne one way or another if you drop in on this beast!
Don't get too close now
More test pilots are joing the ranks this year. Glory bound! HOOORAH! Today was a small showcase of some of the new talent and some of the more experienced combined in a 10 attempts format to see who could be the days best MegaRamp pilot. It was not like the X Games if thats what you were hoping for. It happened more then a hundred miles from Los Angeles, on a Thursday afternoon. The best days of the MegaRamp seem to be coming soon as more skaters are giving it a go. To me, It is without a doubt the most spectacular thing to watch in skateboarding. Seeing any trick above the lip of the 25 foot quarter pipe is awesome. I am sold on it probably because I always dreamed of blasting as high as these guys but never got even close. I would also be stoked to fly in a jet fighter, though neither of these are likely to ever happen to me.
Jussi Kohornen came from Finland to test pilot the Mega.
Happenings: So the skateboarding big air event went a little like this. Practice ensued for a couple of hours. It took its toll on a few, most notably, Jake Brown bowed out. 10 skaters were left to drop in 10 times each. Each run was to be given a score 1st on the Launch Gap trick, 2nd score comes from the quarter pipe, and a 3rd score if they completed each. Making a 'Full Pull' is crucial for getting points. That, however, was a lot easier said then done. One after another the riders hucked themselves over the gap, a few were lucky to get past that and into the air on the quarter. Even fewer were actually making the landing. Full Pulls by my rough estimate were less then 20%. There was a slight headwind apparently causing some problems gauging where they were going to land over the gap. They crowd was still very pleased with every successful launch into orbit. Bob Burnquist won it hands down with a wild one footed flip over the gap to enormous 540 (see vide clip). The awards ceremony was all about the trophies (Gold Silver and Bronze rolls of Duct tape), Hi Fives, and cake! The top 3 were to be awarded a trip and entry into the next stop in Brazil, and Bob got a real nice guitar.
Danny Way slinging out the cake to the MegaRamp pilots.
Top 6 results:
1. Bob Burnquist
2. Adam Taylor
3. Lincoln Ueda
4. Andy Macdonald
5. Elliot Sloan
6. Ronny Gomes
*Thanks to Chuck for picking me up and driving, Woodward for hosting and the MegaRamp crew for the hospitality.
Ronny Gomes with 'The Right Stuff' piloting to the heavens on his skateboard.