Wednesday, July 15, 2009
When 18-year-old Alex Perelson became the fourth (and youngest) vert skater to land a 900, en-route to his first major competition victory at last week's Maloof Money Cup, Andy Macdonald was cheering as loud as anyone. "I've been skating with him since he was a little kid. We all know how talented he is, and that when he got all the physical and mental pieces together, he was going to win a big contest. It wasn't a surprise," says Macdonald.
There's no question Perelson is now the standard bearer for the future of vert skating. And there's no question Andy Mac, who turns 36 the day before the vert final at X 15, has been a fixture of vert's past. The question now is, can he represent its present, too?
Consider: His silver in last year's Park event (on a course that incorporates vert elements) gave him a total of 17 skateboarding medals and broke his tie with Tony Hawk atop the all-time list. With eight golds, five silvers, and four bronze medals, his place in skateboarding's history book is secure. But while Perelson's win at Maloof was huge, Macdonald has two big wins of his own this year, with golds at X Games Asia and the Dew Tour's China Invitational back in May. There's also his second place finish overall on last year's Dew Tour.
Macdonald credits last year's change in the X Games vert format—from a 3-run event to a jam session—with helping him adjust his competition strategy. "Now, we have a lot more tries to get that one great run," he explains. "It allows you to take more risk." And taking those risks has allowed him to reintroduce tricks to his competition runs that just a few years ago he wouldn't bother with, for fear that they weren't consistent enough.
When Andy says 720s create knee torque, this is what he's talking about.
The best example is his "lottery flip," so called because "when I first tried it, it was like winning the lottery every time I landed it." The 360 varial nollie heelflip is among the more technical tricks thrown by anyone in the vert field. Macdonald also reintroduced the 720 that he stopped throwing in 2003 after a double knee surgery forced him to completely relearn how to handle the considerable torque that the trick creates.
So, Macdonald brings momentum and a considerable bag of tricks with him to Los Angeles. He also brings energy none of his competitors—no matter their age—can match. By competing in Park, Big Air, and Vert, Macdonald will spend whole days without removing his knee pads; in one instance he'll have a little more than an hour between Park qualifiers and Vert finals, not to mention the fact that whatever Big Air practice he gets will be his only Big Air practice of the year. "It's the triathlon of skateboarding," he admits. "My schedule is just ridiculous."
The future of vert skating is coming to X15 and he's bringing a 900 with him. But he'll have to go through Andy "Iron Man" Macdonald to lay claim to the present
Up-and-coming Vert skater Alex Perelson just made history at the Maloof Money Cup by becoming the 4th skater EVER to land a 900. Perelson landed the 9 during his run this afternoon, and believe us when we say that everybody in attendence -- from onlookers to competitors -- went nuts. We'll have more later, but we thought we'd at least break the news as fast as possible. SICK, Alex!