Skateboard Vert: Looking Back on 2015
Looking back on 2015
A longtime staple at X Games events, Skateboard Vert is one of the few disciplines contested at the first Extreme Games that is still being contested today, over twenty years later. And for X Games Austin 2016, Skateboard Vert is back. But before that happens, XGames.com is looking back at last years Skateboard Vert event, in which vert legend and X Games veteran Pierre-Luc Gagnon returned to the top of the podium.
Refreshing and juicy
At X Games Austin 2014, Jimmy Wilkins went from complete obscurity to the youngest X Games Skateboard Vert gold medalist of all time with a style called "refreshing and juicy" by the judges. In 2015, with all eyes on him, Wilkins was unable to replicate his success, bailing his first two runs before scoring low on his third run. Of course, Wilkins is slated to make a return appearance at X Games Austin 2016.
Alex Perelson has been competing at X Games since 2007, but his best finish to date are too fourth places (one in 2007 and his most recent at X Games Austin 2015.) But that's not to say he's not consistently blasting the vert ramp with style to boot. For X Games Austin 2016, Perelson is back on the invite list and sure to go big.
U.K. on the rise
U.K. vert skater Sam Beckett "flew" into Austin having not earned an X Games medal in nine years (his last XG medal, a silver, was won in 2006). It wasn't looking good for Beckett at X Games Austin 2015, until his third and final run, where he rocketed from ninth place to third place, edging out Mitchie Brusco and winning a bronze medal in the process. He received an automatic invite to return to Austin in 2016.
Paul-Luc Ronchetti, who made his fifth X Games appearance in 2015, took his first silver medal at X Games in the process. According to Ronchetti, "I'm glad it's over, and I'm stoked to make a run and get in the top three. Everyone was trying to push themselves, obviously, and it's a tall order to do well, especially in this heat." Ronchetti is slated to return to Austin in 2016.
PLG's return to gold
At X Games Austin 2015, Pierre-Luc Gagnon dominated Skateboard Vert and earned his seventh gold medal in the discipline and first Skateboard Vert gold since 2012. Gagnon came back from multiple injuries, including a knee injury and a torn hip muscle, to claim the top spot by combining consistency with technical tricks. "Skateboarding is an art form to me," said Gagnon, who staved off the Texas heat by cooling down with ice packs. "It's not just about the competition and tricks -- it's been my passion my whole life."
Vert Best Trick winner
In 2015, X Games Austin also contested Vert Best Trick, which Elliot Sloan won by landing a fakie 720 heelflip (not pictured). This year, Vert Best Trick is not back for X Games Austin 2016, but Sloan is pulling triple duty for Skateboard Vert, Skateboard Big Air and Big Air Doubles.
Tune-in for 2016
Skateboard Vert returns for X Games Austin 2016 beginning on Friday, June 3 at 4 p.m. CT. This is the last time that the X Games vert ramp will grace Texas land, so be sure to tune-in on ESPN or venture out to Circuit of the Americas for the best Skateboard Vert action of the year.