AGE: 14 SPEED CLIMB
HITS:Allen gives part of her winnings to a friend's family in Benin to help build a house.
Tori Allen has climbed The Nose at El Capitan in Yosemite. She won the bouldering comp at the 2002 Gorge Games. She's undefeated in more than two dozen junior events. And in April she won the senior nationals. impressive? Sure. But as rock-solid as her climbing resume is, you should see her bank statement.
Rock climbers usually don't ascend into high-altitude tax brackets. Yet thanks to skill mixed with gregarious appeal, Allen has lined up 10 sponsors (and counting) and her income will top six figures in 2003. While veteran climbers may grumble about a kid snatching up a towering share of climbing's cash, Allen simply reaches for a higher hand-hold: "I think my success will help others. i just want climbing to be big. Really big."
Allen has an outgrown wingspan for her 5'1", 95-pound body, and she developed her scampering style during the five years her family spent as missionaries in West Africa's Benin, where Georgie, her pet monkey, was also her best bud. Georgie died before the family moved to indianapolis in 1996, so Allen now climbs with a toy monkey clipped to her chalk bag for luck (not the real monkey clinging for dear life in the photo). You never want to forget those who helped you on the way up.
MOTO X FREESTYLE, BIG AIR, STEP UP
HITS:Tom Cat won 14 national championships as an amateur motocross racer before making the switch to freestyle in 1999.
Big air. Big moves. Big world record. Standing 5'5" (with helmet), Tommy Clowers may look like a kid, but he's The man in FmX Step Up. "Tom Cat" goes vertical over the high bar like no other rider-just check the two X Games golds around his neck.
"You've got to push yourself mentally," he says. "That's the tough part." Clowers still rocks freestyle, nailing tricks like the Look Back Hart Attack and Cat Nac indian. But even the freestyle main events are taking a backseat to Clowers' Step Up show. And he has set the bar extremely high-a worldrecord 35 feet, to be exact.
"There's still room to push it," he insists. "You've got to commit. You've got to visualize it. i mean, you already know how to ride."
Nobody knows how to ride straight up like Clowers, who has a unique ability to "table" his bike at the apex of his jump. He kicks his right leg out and turns the bike horizontally as he clears the bar, then rights himself as he drops 30-plus feet to the landing ramp. This maneuver gives Clowers an extra couple feet of clearance and has launched him to wins in 17 of 18 Step Up events the past two years. The Little man can definitely go big-and high.
SHANE AND PARKS BONIFAY
AGES: SHANE, 18 ARKS, 20 WAKEBO ARD
HITS: THE BONIFAYS'S MAJOR INFLUENCE? THE RED DRAGONS, A VANCOUVER SKATE CREW THAT PRODUCED OWN VIDEO IN 2002
The statement at the beginning of the video is clear: "Warning. Warning. Don't try this at home. it will mess you up." minutes later, Shane Bonifay (with camera) pops from a swimming pool, over dry land and into Florida's intercoastal Waterway on his wakeboard. The trick is stupefying. The video is called Incomplete. The revolution has begun.
Incomplete was conceived and cut by Shane and big bro Parks (with hose). "We'd like to bring the sport mainstream," says Shane, "but in our own way." The Bonifays turned their DV on riders of the Pointless Posse, nine Orlando pros whose objective is to slide the edge and damn the consequences. Clips were downloaded to Shane's mac, riders edited their own sections and Parks laid down the music. So is the warning at the top absolutely necessary? Not as long as you only watch.
BIKE STUNT DIRT, aPRK
HITS:Nyquist is afraid of heights, but practice helps him overcome his fear.
He doesn't have the trophy case of Dave "miracle Boy" mirra. He doesn't have the hype of Cory "Nasty" Nastazio. Okay, he doesn't even have a nickname. But clean-cut Ryan Nyquist is the master of the most inventive Bike Stunt runs in the business.
Take a backflip. Add a bar spin. What the hell, add another spin or throw in a 360. Nyquist may not get the biggest air-he hasn't pulled off a double backflip yet-but he's always looking to tweak a trick, and does more airborne hand- and footwork than any other rider in BmX. "Progression drives me," he says. "it keeps the riding fresh."
Nyquist moved three years ago from Los Gatos, Calif., to practice at his best bud mirra's pad in Greenville, N.C. Being so close to his comp keeps Nyquist sharp and gets him juiced, but that's not where he gets his inspiration. That comes from under his helmet. "If I can imagine it," he says, "It's possible."
That's why before he pushes a pedal on the X Games dirt jump or park courses, as the music blares and the crowd loses it, Nyquist closes his eyes and sees his run unfold before him. His mantra: See it, do it.
SKaTEBO aRD STREET, PaRK
HITS:Senn is two classes shy of his degree in art. After graduation, he plans to teach it.
After three X Games street golds (1995, '97, '99) Chris Senn ranks as an Old master of skating. And although he's been worshiped among the rolling gods for years, he doesn't want to be labeled as merely a skater. No, Chris Senn is an artist.
Senn, a student at the San Francisco Art institute, still shreds on the concrete canvas. But chat for a bit and one hears little of the typical skater rap. instead, thoughts flow from Rodin to Rousseau to Robert Johnson. "You need everything," he says. Senn is a surrealist. His paintings bend the mind like those of his hero, Salvador Dali, and his aggressive skating stresses creativity over the robotic.
"Riding is a manner of expression," says Senn. "You don't plan to push limits. You have fun and it happens." Some might call him strange and eccentric. Senn doesn't care. Creativity takes many forms, and painting and philosophy are natural extensions of skating... except Dali never wore a helmet.