Big-Air Battle

Isaac Nesser holds the world record for largest chest at a bulging 74 inches. He’s been lifting weights since he was eight years old, and now lifts twice a day in two-hour shifts. His program includes bench-pressing 560 pounds in a series of three to five repetitions, and curling 300-pound barbells. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing. What does MTV have to do with skateboarding? Nothing, but if big-chest Isaac showed up at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas for the MTV “world record” air contest, he probably could have bench-pressed all the crappy uptight MTV dancers. He also could have thrown them in the world’s biggest blender and had a hell of a protein shake.

Now that would be a world record worth seeing. But instead of a huge blender, MTV had Tim Payne build a beast of a vert ramp. In fact, from this point on the ramp will be reffered to as The Beastmaster. The Beastmaster was constructed to try to break Danny Way’s high air record of sixteen feet, five inches. I’d have to say the 30-foot roll-in was the scariest part of The Beastmaster booster; just rolling down it looked like the G-forces could kill you. By the way, the record for highest G-force ever endured is held by Dave Purley the race car driver who survived a crash at 108 mph. Speed-racer Dave pulled 179.8 Gs and suffered 29 fractures, six dislocations, and six heart stoppages. Ouch.

Now, anyone who stepped up and skated The Beastmaster has some balls, not world-record big, but big. Measuring in at eighteen feet, The Beastmaster made even ten-foot airs look comparatively small. When skaters got into the twelve feet and above range, you realized how high they really were. It’s crazy seeing skateboarders do airs so big they have to slow down all their motions to keep themselves balanced and composed. Oh yeah, the greatest distance ever walked while continuously balancing a milk bottle on one’s head is 70.16 miles.

As usual, a bunch of the good tricks went down in practice. Sergie Ventura was going huge, Lincoln Ueda was doing thirteen-foot-high 540s, Colin McKay busted a backside tailslide shuv, and then there was Bob Burnquist. I don’t mean to play favorites, but Bob is one badass Brazilian. Taking the roll-in coaster switch into a switch stalefish twelve feet high!? Ridiculous. His kickflip grabs were even higher, but my all-time favorite was his rocket tailslide. It was probably the world’s highest rocket tailslide, which is not to be confused with the world’s fastest kangaroo–a female eastern gray kangaroo that can outrun a Geo Metro at 40 mph.

Since I’m playing favorites now, I’m just going to let you know Danny Way is like a superhero stuntman. Anyone who jumps out of a helicopter into The Beastmaster vert ramp is crazy, right? Well, anyone who pops their shoulder out trying and then does it anyway is double crazy, maybe world-record crazy. You could tell that Danny already had The Beastmaster dialed, and even though he jacked his shoulder on his stunt, he was still going to battle for the highest air the next day. Danny didn’t stand a chance of breaking the pogo stick record, though–177,737 jumps in a row.

When it came time for the big-air battle, it was basically between Tony Hawk, Sergie Ventura, Lincoln Ueda, and Danny Way. Everyone was going huge, but Danny had the experience. Danny snagged the title at fourteen feet, six inches. People had gone bigger than that in practice, but when it came time to land it, Danny rolled away. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “That’s not a stinkin’ world record!” You’re right. Apparently, there was a taller extension made for the roll-in, but the MTV chickenheads wouldn’t permit it. Danny said he could fly up around twenty feet if that were added to The Beastmaster. Disappointed? Well, I got your stinkin’ world record right here! The record for continuously running while carrying an egg in a spoon is 26 miles.

The best-trick contest was way more impressive than those wacky eggg-spoon runners. I kind of thought Bob Burnquist would take it with his huge switch airs or backside 360 kickflip grabs. Then again, you couldn’t count out Colin McKay with his technical lip tricks. Well, guess what … Tony Hawk broke off another 900. Yup, he won with that wicked spinner, too. Everyone cheered and clapped, but they didn’t come close to breaking the world’s continuous clapping record of 58 hours nine minutes. And just so you know, Tony Alva still holds the world record for jumping over seventeen barrels from skateboard to skateboard.