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The Action Sports Report

1/8/2009
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[Ed.'s Note: The Action Sports Report is a weekly blog that covers sports from skateboarding to snowboarding to FMX.]

Recently, we published our annual NEXT issue and predicted the athletes we believe will soon make an impact on the sports world. This year, we dubbed 14-year-old Zoo York skateboarder Chaz Ortiz the next best thing. Not to toot our own horn, but a few days later, he was crowned the overall Dew Tour champion in skateboard street. While we haven't been perfect in our NEXT predictions, we've done a pretty good job of weeding out talent in the world action sports. We anointed Ryan Sheckler NEXT before he was an X Games staple and TV star, handed Shaun White the title before that Flying Tomato nickname took hold and zeroed in on motocross phenom Ashley Fiolek two years before she made her summer X Games debut. She's so good that stories about her now barely mention the fact that she also happens to be profoundly deaf.
But last year's choice may have been our best yet. We selected a group of young female surfers we like to call the Three C's—Carissa Moore, CoCo Ho and Courtney Conlogue—as the teens we believed would take over women's surfing. We thought it might take a few years. We were wrong.
The past month has proved that. Surfing as a wildcard in the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa (her home break) late last month, Moore became the youngest woman to win a Vans Triple Crown event, and she did so in bullish fashion. The 16-year-old didn't lose a single heat in the contest and beat Aussie surf legend Layne Beachley in the final.
The first time I interviewed Moore, she was 13 and had just upset world champ Sofia Mulanovich at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach. She was so humble and shy, she could barely bring herself to admit what she'd done. Mulanovich later admitted to me: "She kept apologizing, I thought she was going to cry." But those days are long gone. Moore has become a big player in women's surfing game. Just last month, Moore parted ways with longtime sponsor Roxy and signed contracts with Nike 6.0 and Red Bull that are purportedly in the high (rumor has it, very high) six figures.
CoCo Ho made a splash at Haleiwa this year for a different reason. She took fourth in the contest—an impressive showing for a 17-year-old--but it was an interference call in finals that drew post-event talk. As the heat was winding down, Ho knew she was out of contention for the win. Beachley needed one more wave, and a small score, to overtake Moore. Moments after Beachley caught the wave she needed, Ho dropped in on her, performed an aerial and ended Beachley's ride. After the contest, Ho told reporters she was helping out her friend. Later, she recounted that story, saying she was just surfing in the moment and didn't realize she was interfering. (The ASP decided not to fine her and instead she received counseling.) The story might have changed, but the facts haven't: a changing of the guard in women's surfing, and also a change in attitude, has occured.
* While we're at it, let's get one more NEXTer on the radar. At the first Grand Prix snowboard contest of the season, 14-year-old Madeline Schaffrick took fourth. The winner of the event, 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark, also made her Grand Prix debut at Copper--10 years ago. —A.R.


THE JUMP WARS CONTINUE

Robbie Maddison currently holds the Guinness World Record for jumping a motorcycle with a distance of 322' 7". But it's Ryan Capes, the 28-year-old Whidbey Island, WA native who's jumped the farthest with a mark of 390' 4". Unfortunatley for him a Guinness World Records crew was not present. So if Guinness isn't there is it still a world record? Capes thinks so. And the day after New Year's in Kent, WA, Capes will try to break the 400 feet barrier in an attempt to "shock the industry." He doesn't plan on Guinness being in the house. So while he still had his feet on the ground we asked him to set the record straight (the record according to him). —C.P.

MAG.COM: What constitutes a world record?
RC: If you beat the current distance that's a world record—as long as you do it the right way. Anybody can go out to a dune and jump 400 feet down a huge hill but the real way to get a world record is to do it on level ground with a man made ramp and measure it with the GPS. That's the only way to make it a world record jump.

Is the GPS accurate, though?
It's triangulated by satellite. There's a point of reference on the top of the take off ramp and one on the landing that records the distance. Everybody uses the same system so we all trust it. Plus, there are witnesses and it's all documented.

Some would say that it's not a world record unless Guinness is involved?
I have a lot of respect for the Guinness people but I don't ride for Guinness. Even if they don't recognize one of my jumps, if I've jumped a record distance then I'm the world record holder. [Ed. Note: Guinness requires a $15-20k fee to attend and recognize a jump.]

So what you're saying is the distance is all that matters?
A lot goes into what I do, months of preparation. Everyone knows it's about the distance. It's about who can jump the farthest. Period. I'm going for 400 feet because that's what I dreamed about doing. I've been endorsed by Evel K. himself. I fly motorcycles for a living. That's what I do.