|My take on a different form of ESPN bracketology: action sports|
|Written by Tawni Ricketts, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:44|
I am confident that over half of the people reading this sports page filled out a March Madness bracket.
But I can almost guarantee that few, if any, filled out an Action Sports Star Bracket or participated in the polling that took place on ESPN.com.
While this was indeed a poll and not a competition, I examined the action sports-star contenders closely and came up with my own results. Here’s my bracket breakdown, starting from my Final Four:
Travis Pastrana vs. Danny Way
Travis Pastrana, a professional motocross rider, rally car racer, and stock car racer, seems like he can do just about anything … with a motor.
He separated his spine from his pelvis at age 14 in an FMX competition. He’s had a countless number of surgeries and broken bones, yet the man continues to pull tricks and airs that most of us can’t get our minds around, which is probably why ESPN seeded him fourth in the bracket.
But when it comes to Pastrana versus Danny Way, the motor plays against Pastrana’s favor in my book.
Way is arguably the best pro skater out there.
I mention skateboarding and you think of half-pipes, full-pipes, verts, and grinding rails. But I bet you don’t think of the Great Wall of China.
In 2005, Way became the first person to soar over the wall without a motor vehicle and land successfully. Not to mention the 36-year-old landed a record-setting 28-foot bomb drop free-fall off of the Fender Stratocaster guitar atop the Hard Rock Hotel/Café in Las Vegas in 2006.
Way is the Evel Knievel of our time, giving him one of my votes to move into the championship round of the Action Sports Star Bracket, despite his ninth-seed ranking in ESPN’s eyes.
Kelly Slater vs. Carissa Moore
According to voters, professional surfers Carissa Moore and Kelly Slater didn’t make it to the Final Four.
This is just wrong.
All sports have their risks. But there’s something terrifyingly exceptional about riding a 30-foot wave.
Surfers have the athleticism of riding a board without bindings and paddling out hundreds of feet, and the capability to hold their breath for extensive periods of time as they get pounded by waves and held to the ocean floor. While skate ramps, ski slopes, and half pipes are rather controlled, Mother Nature’s waves aren’t — it’s impossible.
In 2011, Moore became the youngest surfer to win the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s world title at age 18.
Slater on the other hand, has held the title of ASP world champion for the past 11 consecutive years. He is literally the face of surfing. He’s so good that he skipped the ASP world tour event at Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa altogether to surf in Fiji because the waves were bigger there. And he still won the title.
Slater undoubtedly receives my vote, thus putting him in the championship round of my bracket against Danny Way.
Danny Way vs. Kelly Slater
Alright, both of these guys are maniacs, plain and simple.
Way’s stunts are insane. Slater’s perfection on the water and fierce competitiveness is incomparable. But as I said before, the unpredictability of an ocean gives surfing an edge that other sports lack. Surfing is arguably the most natural sport out there — all you need is a board. There are no helmets or pads to protect you from getting reefed, and there are no motors to propel you. Surfing is pure athleticism paired with courage, risk taking, and adrenaline.
Slater is not only the reigning champion in the surfing world, but he’s the champion of the Action Sports Star Bracket in my book.