Summer X Games for Dummies

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The 2012 Summer X Games are almost here and we are excited to be a part of the festivities once again. We love watching the events as much as you, but let’s be honest – nobody really knows what they are watching exactly. Most people don’t know the difference between a Kickflip and a McTwist. We thought we would be helpful and give you this quick guide detailing the various X Games events and how they are scored. Take a quick look and soon you’ll be shreddin’ the gnar with the best of them.


Big Air – In the Selection Session, nine skaters will each take four jumps vying for three spots in the Finals where they will meet last year’s top three finishers. In the Finals, each of the six skaters take five jumps. The highest score wins. This competition is not timed and is judged on style, creativity and amplitude.

Street  – The Selection Session for Street features 19 skaters (18 in women’s) who will be narrowed down to an elite 9 for the finals. The first place skater from last year’s competition will automatically qualify for the finals to round out the number of competitors at 10. The Finals will be broken into three fifteen minute sessions. At the end of each session the judges will rank the riders from 1-10, then assign each rider a score from 1-100, based on aggressive execution of maneuvers: content – the number, difficulty, originality and variety of tricks successfully performed; style – the fluid linking of individual tricks; and, the use of the course and course obstacles, such as ramps, boxes, handrails, etc. Each skater can hit the feature as many times as they choose in the allotted time. Judges again rank the riders 1-10 and assign each rider a session score from 1-100. The three session scores are combined and divided by three to give each skater an overall score. Skaters are ranked 1-10 on the Finals leader board.

Vert Men’s – Each of the 10 competitors takes three 45-second runs with the best score of the three serving as the final score for the standings. Competitors will be judged based on aggressive execution of maneuvers, degree of difficulty, variety, continuity of run, originality and style, amplitude and use of the ramp.

Vert Women’s –The eight skaters will skate in a 30-minute jam session and will be judged on the originality, variety and difficulty of the maneuvers performed. At the end of the session, they will be ranked 1-8.


Big Air – Each of the 16 riders get three jumps with the highest score taken as the final. They are ranked by their best score 1-16.

Step Up– In this final-only format, each of the six riders line up 30 feet from a near vertical wall of dirt in an attempt to jump over a horizontal bar positioned between two vertical bars at a height determined at the competition director’s discretion, above the lip of the jump. If a rider knocks the bar to the ground, that rider has one additional chance to clear the bar at that height or else is eliminated. After each round, the bar is raised in increments determined by the competition director and the entire process is repeated until one winner is determined.

Freestyle – Each of the 16 competitors complete two 60-second runs. The best of the two scores is assigned as the competitor’s best score with the top eight advancing to the final round. In the final round, athletes compete in reverse order of the leader board with each completing two 60-second runs. Scoring is based on overall impression, tricks, execution, use of the course, and landings.

Best Trick – In this final-only format, eight riders will take two runs each and are judged on the overall difficulty and execution of their trick. Riders attempt a single, one-shot maneuver to earn points from the judges and icon status from the fans. The greater score of the two jumps is their final score. Riders are ranked one through eight based on their final score.

Best Whip – In Best Whip, riders showcase their ability to throw a 350-pound machine sideways and bring it back with style. In this final-only format, six riders will attempt to execute their best and most stylish whip within a 10-minute jam format. This discipline is 100 percent fan judged, and their best attempt is voted in via text messaging.

Freestyle – In Freestyle, riders tackle a complex dirt course made up of a variety of different jumps – some dirt, some metal – and challenges overall riding skills while integrating tricks throughout their overall run. Scoring is based on overall impression, tricks, execution, style, use of the course and landings.

Speed & Style – Speed & Style combines racing and the gravity-defying tricks of Freestyle. Two riders will race head-tohead around a four-lap, short-track-motocross-inspired course. The twist is that both riders must hit a freestyle ramp and execute a trick on each lap. Upon the conclusion of the race, the judges will give each rider a “style” score based on overall impression of the tricks performed on each lap. In addition, the first rider to cross the finish line will receive bonus “speed” points for their margin of victory over the other rider. The overall goal of the competition is to find a balance between speed (time) and style (execution of tricks).

Enduro X – Making its debut at X Games 17, Enduro X will feature both men’s and women’s disciplines, showcasing
riders’ talent on an all-terrain obstacle course. Riders will race through sand, mud, logs, rocks and other terrain features in a blend of motocross racing and traditional Enduro, battling not only each other but also the challenging course for their shot at X Games gold.


Big Air – Riders fly down a 60 or 80-foot roll-in ramp and launch over a 50 or 70-foot gap where they will throw down some crazy trick variation, which then shoots them into a monster 27-foot quarterpipe where they can pull off a massive finishing trick. The big-air ramp is one of the most dangerous objects at X Games, as we learned in 2007 from skateboarder Jake Brown as he fell from over 40-feet in the air and was lucky enough to walk away alive. Scoring is based on a best of four format ranked 1-8.

Vert – Riders hurl themselves into a 60-foot wide halfpipe ramp with 11.5-foot transitions and two feet of vert. Riders have been going huge in recent years, pulling tricks like back-to back 900′s, flatwhip double tailwhip 540′s and more. Big tricks lead to even bigger crashes, and those metal bike frames sure don’t feel too good when they come crashing down on you from 15+ feet in the air. The two best scores per rider are counted with the winner of each heat advancing to the final.

Street – The Street competition showcases riders performing tricks in a concrete plaza, complete with stair sets, banks, manual pads and ledges. The two best scores per rider are counted with the top two of each heat advancing to the final.

Park – Park is a transition-based event on a fast-flowing course completely made of concrete and wood. It’s created to replicate a skatepark with continuously flowing lines and huge transitions. The two best scores per rider are counted with the winner of each heat advancing to the final.


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