Los Angeles, after more than a decade of hosting the Summer X-Games, has finally relinquished the best known event in alternative sports, to let it tour several cities across the country. That new era starts here in Austin next summer, and the bmx/skate scene at Fun Fest has definitely followed suit, with a legitimate half pipe from Hoffman Bikes.
The whole scene has some of the best energy at this year's fest, this time with some of the world's most legitimate skaters and BMX riders.
The official Pro Rides and Demos are light years beyond the Free Skates that invite local riders to the stage. Mat "The Condor" Hoffman, and Pierre-Luc Gagnon are probably the two biggest names here, but during Friday's Vert Demo, BMXer Simon Tabron blew a few minds, going way bigger than everyone else, and landing everything he tried, with ease.
The rest of the pros were skewered mercilessly by the sarcastic (and usually hilarious) announcer, for doing the trick the crowd wanted to see, "the 360 Nosedive."
"They just can't get enough!" he said, each time they blew it and went sliding down the wall.
Despite the tricks that didn't pan out, there was more than enough skill on display to whet the crowd's appetite for X-Games.
But later on, the free skate showed that Austin's skaters are no slouches, from a guy in his forties to a helmetless kid with long blond hair who may have been twelve.
Although they seemed to fall after every compliment from the announcer, as if on cue, the locals went technical, and occasionally wowed the crowd by going big.
These events drew a respectable crowd of men and women, and even a few families earlier in the day. Under the big moonlights and the oak grove, the street course was a nice break from all the noise, and more fun to watch than some of the bands.