X Games Gold medalist in Skateboarding Big Air, Bob Burnquist.

Photos by Tom Wallace and Kathleen Gasperini

One of the most exciting events at the X Games 17 is the skateboarding Big Air. The ramp simply towers with its 80-foot perch and 70-foot gap with a massive quarterpipe sticking up like a King Kong play toy in downtown LA last weekend. The excitement started right when the skaters started practicing, as thousands crowded around to watch what would be a heated battle as the sun set and start became official.

Catching massive airs off of the quarterpipe after landing the 70-foot gap. This is what%uFFFDs called a Full Pull meaning they stuck the big air landing over the gap and then pulled off another trick off the quarterpipe.

Based on practice runs, it seemed that newcomer, 14-year-olds Mitchie Brusco from Kirkland, WA might win it, as he attempted 900’s off the big ramp and was catching another 15-20-feet off the quarterpipe. Just a month previously, in his first ever Big Air event in Brazil, he stomped a 900 for the gold.

Meanwhile Edgard Pereira was attempting backside Ollie 360’s and landing quite successfully. Elliot Sloan was pulling tailgrab 900s, while Rony Gomes was launching upside inverts. It was insane, with most of the tricks looking like the guys were jumping over the Hotel Figueroa. Clearly, there were many made-for-TV moments.

Looks like they are clearing the Hotel Figueroa.

But when it came down to the competition, it was legendary Bob Burnquist from Brazil, on a mission to reclaim his gold from 2 years ago in this event, that pulled a huge switch into lein rodeo to grab his 3rd gold medal in Skateboarding Big Air.

“I am really happy that I made my run and the judges felt it was first place,” Burnquist said. “I am stoked about that and it feels great to be on top, obviously.”

Adam Taylor launched into a run with a frontside 360 off the ramp and huge air off the quarterpipe in his full pull to take home the silver. This was his first X Games medal.

Another Brazilian Edgard Pereira grabbed the bronze.

Trying a backflip–Jake Brown.

Elliot Sloan from NYC dropping in off the mega ramp.

Bob Burnquist greeting fans at X Games 17. Minutes later, he wins the Gold.

Little Mitchie Brusco, 14 years old and youngest to compete at X Games 17.

Mitchie Brusco grabbing huge air off the quarterpipe after landing the 70-foot gap.

All of the Skateboarding Big Air guys duct tape up their sneakers. Apparently laces are a problem. Indicates an opportunity for skateboard manufacturers to create “Big Air” sneaks. The skaters also say they tape them to their legs to avoid blowing out of their shoes on landing the Big Air gap.

Bob Burnquist in practice session.