Gaby Ponce, gold medalist in X Games 16 in the Women’s Skateboarding Vert.

Photos by Tom Wallace

Long gone are the days when people speculated that women skaters couldn’t get height above the coping. Now, as proven yet again at this Summer’s X Games 16 held in downtown Los Angeles July 29- August 1, the Skateboard Vert Women’s Final proved that big air wasn’t the only thing going down in the adrenaline pumping competition.

Mimi Knoop, sponsored by Nikita Clothing, came in fourth.

At this event, which included a packed audience at the Nokia Theater at X Games 16, the top eight athletes in women’s vert skateboarding pushed each other and cheered each other on towards trying new tricks -including the McTwist. While no one landed the McTwist, that didn’t stop Gaby Ponce who is only 16, and last year’s champion Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins from attempting to be the first female to successfully complete the trick in competition. Owning the Final from the second she took the ramp, Gaby Ponce claimed gold for the first time, improving upon her bronze finish in 2009.

“I was so nervous that I was up all night,” said Ponce. “This is the biggest contest for women’s skateboarding. The McTwists I tried today were the closest I have ever gotten because I was so pumped.”

One of the youngest and smallest skaters in women’s vert, pulling big-air.

Ponce’s method and momentum featured plenty of hangtime and awesome tricks, including a huge backside blast, double kick, nose grab, gay twist, back-to-back airs and efforts to stick the McTwist. Silver medalist Adams Hawkins impressed the packed NOKIA Theatre with her kick flip indies and multiple attempts to grab the elusive McTwist. At one point, the audience chanted “Twist, Twist,” and her last chance ended with her skateboard getting caught and dangling from the safety net.

“Women’s Vert was awesome this year as we are pushing the envelope and progressing every year,” Adams Hawkins said. “The new format gave us all a chance to work on something towards the end with the 5-wall max for ten minutes.”

Karen Jonz flipped to indy and landed in third place to take her fourth X Games medal in bronze.

Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins came in with a Silver.

Gaby Ponce with Lyn-Z cheering her on.