Skating the rails switch proved to be the advantage Ryan Decenzo had hoped for Saturday as the Canadian made it two X Games golds in two years, winning the Skateboard Game of SK8 competition in front of massive crowds in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
“I’m feeling stoked,” Decenzo said. “I’m really glad that I was able to do those switch rail tricks that I had in my mind because I knew the other competitors don’t really skate rails switch.”
Decenzo went round for round with Ishod Wair, each trying to one up the other with some of the more unique and technical moves they could pull from their bag of tricks. Wair, who finished second in the event during his first X Games appearance, had his competition sweating when he threw a solid nosepick on the quarterpipe that Decenzo wasn’t sure he could pull off.
“Ishod had me in hot water at the end for a minute. He did a backside nosepick on the quarterpipe and I thought to myself, ‘I know how to do this but I’m for sure not going to do it,'” Decenzo said. “But then I was up there and I was in it pretty good and I had to land it. It was pretty cool.”
Following that turn, Wair couldn’t hit his front shove down the steps, opening the door for Decenzo to complete a switch smith down the rail and bestow Wair’s final strike on him.
The Game of SK8 takes place on the X Games street course – it’s a trick matching competition based on the basketball game of H-O-R-S-E. The format features four athletes. The first athlete completes a trick, and the remaining athletes must successfully complete the same trick. If they are unable to do so, they receive a letter. Once an athlete spelled out S-K-8, they are eliminated. The goal is to be the last skater standing.