Then after that was the gap loop not long after right?
Yeah. The gap loop was in ’02 for the King of Skate contest.
Then Baldy? To me the Baldy attempt is gnarlier than anything else. Just shocking. What was the thought process behind that?
Yeah. The Baldy thing came out of filming for The Firm video (Can’t Stop [‘03]). So it was another thing inspired by trying to film a video part. I would have these downtimes once a year—like gaps in all the scheduled tours or contests. Like right now I’m in the same time period. If I ever want to do something that I could possibly get hurt on, this is the period to try that stuff. So I was thinking I needed to do something really different to end my video part. I was kind of brainstorming it and it just came into my mind one day, like, “Man, if I could loop Baldy…” I figured it had to be a long pipe to get speed. I figured if I could carve down enough I could just go straight over. I had done the loop so many times straight on at that point that I was comfortable in that position. Baldy just seemed to be the best option. I woke up in the morning the next day and called Salba, Lance (Mountain), (John) Humphries—got the whole connection together. I knew that I wanted Salba there because I knew that if anything happened he would know the lines to make sure I got the best chance of making it. I remember we had breakfast and I don’t think he really believed that I was going to try it. He had skated Baldy for years. In my head we’re sitting there at 9a.m. eating burritos and I’m going to loop Baldy (laughs). I woke up super early, I couldn’t sleep. Once it was in my mind I just wanted to get it out, and the only way to get it out was to try it.
I remember we got there and I tried a few times. There were these tiny cement kinks and chips I would hit. Right when I started going up for it I was hitting them with the hard wheels and it was just enough to slow you down just that little bit—right at the critical part. Salba’s son had some soft wheels so I set those up real quick. It was better but it would still slow you down with the soft wheels. I would get speed and get all the way up to the top but it didn’t feel like I had enough speed to go all the way around. It was basically about the situation of the concrete. The first one I tried was with no pads. Just straight up raw. The first one I did a back flip and landed on my feet all the way from top to bottom. I probably bailed or slammed like that seven times. Then maybe four times I started getting around. Then one time, I came all the way around—like felt the wall under me all the way around. I looked down at one point and I remember thinking like, “Oh my God. I can’t believe it. I made it!” Right then the board came away a tiny bit from the wall and I fell. I was so bummed. Now it was almost worse, because I got that close. Now I had to make it so I couldn’t stop. But I probably should have stopped. Then it was just make or break and I went around again and I didn’t get a good pump, went kind of diagonal. I was tired too so I just backflipped and corked out, landed sideways—broke my right foot, sprained my left ankle, and broke my wrist. I was almost relieved. I wouldn’t have stopped otherwise. I knew I was done filming the part. I gave it my best shot. It stayed in the back of my mind for a while after. But after watching Tony (Hawk) get hurt at my fullpipe setup (Broke his pelvis), I just figured I had to do it quick and so I ended up doing it in the metal one in my yard.
Was Baldy the scariest out of all your loop stuff?
For sure. By far that was the scariest. The open loop was pretty scary too though. That was a situation where I had asked them to spin it to the left when they were building it. I went away on a trip and came home and they had spun it to the right because there wasn’t enough room to the left. I had planned on doing the open loop regular frontside, but when I got there the only way to do it regular would have been to go backside, which was way harder. That was the reason I did it switch. It was the only way I could do it.
Are you done with it? Any more loop plans?
No. Honestly, I have ideas but it’s all about budgets and size these days. Mostly things involving the Mega with the speed and height you can get from it. It takes some planning. But I had to do the loop on the Nitro tour in Australia at the beginning of the year and it’s just not fun (laughs). I slammed pretty hard on a couple of them. I used to do it all the time when I had the one in my backyard. But this was an inconsistent setup—it was built for bikes and all this other stuff. It wasn’t the right size. If I would have known it was in the plans I don’t think I would have signed on for it. The loop can just be deadly. It can easily become a vortex of injury. It’s not the most technical thing, but it can really throw you for a loop (laughs). I’ve seen so many people slam and just never want to skate that type of thing again.