Monday, August 28, 2006

MY FIRST KING OF THE ROAD JUDGING EXPERIENCE

I was pretty hyped when Phelper told me I’d be helping with the judging for this year’s 2006 King of the Road. We’ve travelled together a few times over the years, and it’s always an adventure. Add in the fact that we were picking up epic dude Preston (P-Stone) Maigetter down in LA to handle the video end of things, and I knew it was on. Boost Mobile hooked up a totally gangster rental car for the drive down south, and we hit the road.

We were to meet the four teams at the end of the KOTR to collect the tapes and challenge books before heading back to the hotel for an all-night session of adding up points and going over the footage before declaring a winner the next day. Midnight at the Santa Monica triple set was the official end of their two weeks of hell, and the teams looked like they were happy to be done with it.

Jamie Thomas surprised me with two DV tapes (a KOTR first) along with his challenge book. Darkstar and Toy machine handed over their footy and books, while Dustin Dollin handed me a shiny new Mac Book Pro and begged me not to lose it. He said he had problems with the new Intel version of iMovie and couldn’t dump it out to tape. No sweat. I stashed the laptop and the books in the backpack and stood up on the stairs holding Burnett’s light meter while he dialed in his exposure for the End of the Road snapshots.

Group photos and some awkward conversation between teams ensued. They were all trying to feel each other out and pry info out of us. No chance. The Worst Haircut challenge was my first indication of how seriously these dudes went off. Each haircut just got worse and worse. Mike rolled up first, with “POT” shaved on one side of his head and a giant weed leaf on the other side. Baker’s Beagle showed up rocking a pair of pink and black fuzzy earmuffs shaved from his mop. The Dick hawk was absolutely disgusting. Nice work, dudes.



We schmoozed the local dive bar at the bottom of the triple set into staying open late, and proceeded to ring up a much-deserved (for the KOTR skaters at least) $500 bar tab in about half an hour before cashing out.

We grabbed another “six packie” of brewskis to go, and Jake, Preston and myself skated back to the hotel so we could start checking out the footage and adding up the points. We figured we’d just watch the vids straight thru at first to just sort it all out and start wrapping our brains around it all. Dustin’s laptop fired up first (these new Macs are FAST), so we clicked on the KOTR file and crowded around the screen, all pumped to check the footy.



Within seconds we were dumbstruck. Dustin Dollin had not only assembled all the tricks in order, he had completely edited one of the most insane skate videos I’d ever seen—complete with great music, voice-overs, slow-mo, duplicate angles—the works. Somebody was pounding on our hotel door to shut the fuck up (I guess it was 4:30 am), but we were too wound up to care and still had three tapes to watch. We’re not sorry.

The barrage of gnarlitude that we had just witnessed had us all talking about certain victory for the Baker squad. Besides, the Baker book looked almost entirely filled out, and was funny as hell just to page through. “FUCK THIS BOOK” was scratched into the cover, and Neck Face had left his mark all over. We weren’t adding up numbers at this point, just checking out the vids, so we dove into Zero’s tape to check out the carnage and see how it stacked up to Baker’s video.



The tapes are organized just like the books, starting with the easier tricks and working up to the 100-point “fucked up” challenges. As Preston keyed up the Team Zero tape, I flipped through their book, noticing very few blank spaces and a healthy number of the “f’d up” challenges completed. What followed was nothing short of mind-numbing. All I can say at this point is that Tommy Sandoval is a fucking animal and Chris Cole is absolutely unreal on a skateboard. Their TM, Chris Bodiford knocked out more challenges than anyone, and not just the weird “shirt off for a week” challenges—this dude rips shit. The other Zero riders are no slouches either, but these three knocked out what seemed like the lion’s share of the points and made it look just too damn easy.

We were hyped now, and Toy Machine was next. This is where we started to get scared. These dudes were fucking going off too. Harmony was grinding bars half a block long and coming out 180. Ed was getting naked every chance he could, and Billy Marks was kickflip lipsliding all over the place. Jesus. We knew we had our work cut out for us, trying to sort through the madness.

By the time the Darkstar video was starting, I was just finishing flipping through their book and realizing we had a real contest on our hands. They also had filled the book out, and added up a preliminary point total. Dyet does ridiculously difficult shit and makes it look too smooth. Machnau does death-defying stunts, and Paul Trep is not to be slept on. Plus, these guys know how to have fun and it showed. By the time we got to their “Highest, Longest, Most” section, we were in a scramble to start comparing this to that and trying to sort out who our winner could possibly be.

When the book challenges were added up, we started to get an idea of how the teams were stacking up. All the teams completed ALL of the challenges on a number of pages, but 20 points missed here and 50 points missing there start to add up over the course of the 25-page booklet. Most teams missed most of the “Fucked Up” challenges—nobody pulled the frontside 360 to nose manual—but the teams that did get the “F’d Up” challenges were ahead by 100 points for each one. You could spend days knocking out the 20 and 30 point challenges, but if someone else pulls even one of the Fucked challenges, it’s a tough hole to dig yourself out of.

Once the books were tallied, we still had all four teams separated by just a few hundred points. I gotta point out that at this point, the last place team still had more than enough points to win any other year and we hadn’t even judged the “Highest, Longest, Most” portion of the contest yet.

As we started comparing the “HLM”, Zero began to pull away from the pack. Some things are really difficult to judge, like which is gnarlier: a blunt to fakie on 14 feet of infectious concrete, or a blunt to fakie on a 14-stair rail? Does “biggest rail” mean longest or tallest or both? Does MVP go to the dude with the 1200 skate points or the dude with 1200 miscellaneous points?

There were also a few controversial calls, but we kept track of ’em all and decided if the point difference was less than the disputed challenge points we would have a skate-off. Fortunately, the point differences were great enough to offset any complaining about 100 points here or 50 points there.

By the time we tallied the “HLM” points, we had a clear winner and definite runners-up. Zero added 500 “HLM” points to their already-first-place total for 5530; Darkstar added 200 to hold on to second place with 4610; Baker had tacked on 450, but it wasn’t enough to lift them outta third with 4540; and Toy added 150 for a total of 3690. Theoretically, had Baker, Toy, or Darkstar taken home a minimum of 1000 “HLM” points (that’s 20 categories), the results could have been different.

So your team frontside flipped 14? Zero got 16. You skated 25 pipes? Zero skated over 200. Learn a McTwist for the first time? Only Zero did. You made out with how many women over 40? Zero bagged more, believe it. The list goes on and the DVD is going to be the gnarliest one yet.

Team Zero is King of the Road.

4 comments:

convertito said...

keep up with the whole story out here:

http://secure.thrashermagazine.com/index.php?SCREEN=events_kotr06

Jody said...

Cant wait to see the video! KOTR kicks some serious ass!!!

salus said...

everybody walk the dinosaur!

Anonymous said...

This looks like it's going to be the best KOTR yet!!!