It couldn`t be done by an ordinary skater, nor could it be done on an ordinary ramp. Just eight months after Sergie Ventura set the new high-air standardat 11.8 feet (topping Steve Caballero`s 1988 world record of 11 feet), Danny Way dropped into the mammoth DC Shoe Co. ramp and stuck a 16.5-footmethod air. Sunday, August 3 was the day the world record for the highest air wasn`t just broken, itwas outright obliterated–albeit on an eighteen-foot ramp built just for that purpose. Funded by DC Shoe Co., the 32-foot-wide, eighteen-foot-tall halfpipe with a flat roll-in ramp stood over 30 feetabove the ground at an airfield near the U.S./Mexico border. It was skateboarding`s version of the Tower Of Babel.
The architect and executor of the tallest halfpipe in the world was none other than Tim Payne. Like his other masonite masterpiece–the infamousAnimal Chin Ramp of ten years prior–the DC ramp was a covert forum for a select group of superstars; in this instance Colin McKay andDanny Way. While Colin proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ramp was totally skateable (his frontside pointer grinds were pretty convincing),the ramp was really built for Danny, who used the sixteen-foot transitions to their full potential.
With no less than seven photographers documenting the event from various vantage points, including a helicopter hovering nearby, Danny lifted himselfseveral times over the sixteen-foot post used to mark his height. Only after an extra three feet were attached to it could he be accurately measured.Video shot from the top of the roll-in deck, corresponding with the sixteen-foot marker, reveals that Danny`s board did indeed clear that height. As perregulations, proper documentation was submitted to the Guinness Book Of Records with formal approval pending.
Once he`d achieved his initial goal, Way decided to have some fun with his 20,000-dollar playground before it was dismantled. He managed a twelve-footIndy flip (certainly the highest yet), and bomb-dropped out of the helicopter from ten feet above the coping. And why not? He was having a good time.The only thing he didn`t manage to pull was his own personal Holy Grail–the 900. At least he still has something to strive for.
After three days of flying and filming, Payne went back to work, picking apart what he had barely finishedputting together. But like the Chin Ramp a decade before, something magical had transpired here, and it seemed best to preserve the memory of it byremoving all tangible traces of what went down.
For Payne that meant one nail at a time.