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X Games: Skateboarder Elliot Sloan gets off to fast start in familiar surroundings

VISTA — Elliot Sloan dragged his tired, aching body out of bed on Wednesday morning and did everything he could to get ready for three events on the opening day of the summer X Games.

Luckily, he didn’t have to travel far.

Sloan looked right at home on his backyard setup, winning a gold medal in the skateboard best trick competition, finishing second in the MegaPark and fourth in the vert.

“I’m just relieved,” Sloan said. “It’s been a lot of pressure and a lot of buildup, and it’s just taken a long time to get to this point right here.”

Sloan, who turns 34 next week, has not only been sidetracked by the distraction of hosting four events on his property, but he was dealing with hip, back and neck pain in recent days, limiting the amount of preparation he could do on his board.

It didn’t help that his first run of the day in the vert competition ended with a hard spill at the bottom of the ramp.

“I did not need that on the first run,” Sloan said. “I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to walk once this wears off.”

After bouncing back to finish fourth in the vert, he continued to get stronger. He was the only skater in the field of eight in the best trick to land two attempts on his eight tries.

Sloan’s winning score came on a Cab heelflip 720 on his second run, giving him six X Games gold medals and two in best trick.

“I’ve done that trick before, I’ve won best trick with that, but it’s still a really hard trick for me,” the New York, N.Y. native said. “I’m really stoked to do it and, yea, on to the next one.”

Sloan was surprised how tired he was during each event.

“We usually skate three or four hours no problem, but 30 minutes in a contest is so much more exhausting with your adrenaline going,” he said.

Five other skaters competed in all three events on Wednesday and 13-year-old Gui Khury of Brazil also had a big day. He finished second in both the best trick and the vert competitions, and fourth in the MegaPark.

Khury was the first skateboarder to land a 1080 on a vert ramp when he completed the trick at the summer X Games last year. He also became the youngest X Games gold medalist in event history.

Jimmy Wilkins set an X Games record by winning his fifth consecutive gold medal in the vert.

Wilkins, a 28-year-old from Columbus, Ohio who now calls Encinitas home, broke the record previously held by Bucky Lasek, a 49-year-old Encinitas resident who finished fifth in the competition.

“This is super special,” Wilkins said. “I never even thought I’d be in the X Games. Bucky was my hero growing up, so major respect.”

The last skater to go in the field of 10, Wilkins moved into the top spot on his first of five runs.

That score held up throughout the competition, despite strong runs from Khury and Mitchie Brusco, a 25-year-old from Washington state who now lives in Encinitas.

With Khury also in the field, it created a 36-year age gap between him and Lasek.

Khury strung together two solid opening runs, but couldn’t beat Wilkins on his final three tries, falling each time as he tried more difficult maneuvers.

Brusco wasn’t happy after his first score only landed him in sixth place, so he came back with a more difficult run the second time and moved up to third, where he finished.

Edouard Damestoy of France won his first X Games medal when he took first in the MegaPark, a first-time event that required skaters to complete four tricks across two jumps and two quarterpipes.

The BMX riders also took to the MegaPark and Ryan Williams won gold in that event, followed by Pat Casey of Riverside and Jaie Toohey of Australia.

“Shout out to Elliot Sloan, this place is amazing,” Williams said.

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