Morgan LaFonte continues to amaze me. The girl hadn’t been on a snowboard in three months, but was determined not to disappoint the Summer X Games folks who had invited her to San Francisco last week. Without hesitation, she strapped on her board (no longer a K2) and launched the biggest airs of any of the women competitors. After lifting off with just straight airs in practice, when it came to competition, she pulled a laid-out backflip and landed partially on her face. The crowd was thrilled, I was stunned, but Morgan wasn’t. She got up, brushed off the man-made slush, and climbed back up to the top of the 11-story Big Air jump. Morgan came in last of the five women competitors that day, but no one cared. It was her birthday, she busted, and we sang Happy Birthday.
Tina Dixon, from Salt Lake City, came in second with consistent 540’s taking the lead in the first round until Barrett Christy and her Barrett Roll stomped three in a row for the gold. “I’m so over people labeling my trick a Barrett Roll,” she told me after she won. “It’s really just a switch frontflip 180.” Just.
“We’re always trying to up the level a bit,” said Tara Dakides, who came in third. “The way it works is someone tries a new trick, I do a new trick, like that, until we up the level.”
Janet Matthew’s was relatively consistent with her front flips, but was shaky on a couple of landings, giving her a bronze. When the Big Air was over, the girls signed autographs for the largest crowd the Summer X Games Big Air had ever seen. As Tina Dixon put it, “I’m overwhelmed. This is amazing.” The Games, if anything proved that girls, too, can become rockstars.
“But we have to think about what’s out there,” continued Christy.”They limited the competition today to five of us, but look, there’s like 35 women right behind us waiting for their chance.”
Tina Basich has had hers, and taken the X gold, but was sidelined this time by a broken ankle. Being the true sport she is, though, she encouraged all the other girls competing, stayed to signed autographs, and with her parents, cheered on her brother Mikey Basich, who came in 8th in the men’s competition. Although this is Girl’s Gospel, I have to tell you the latest Mikey Basich creation: He built a guitar from wood and metal for Tina’s boyfriend, David Grohl (Foo Fighters fame). “It was the most amazing thing,” David told me. “I mean, it really plays. I’d BUY it if I saw such a creation. I was so stoked.”
Michele Taggart was also at the X Games, but was still recovering from knee surgery. “It’s OK,” she said. “I’m focused on getting this thing healed and having a terrific summer. I’m gardening and reading and doing arts and crafts and working at the YMCA and things like that. Just hanging out in Salem. My teepee is still set-up from last summer, and I’m sure we’ll get some crazy drum sessions going again this year, so come on up a visit.” (Stay tuned for next Gospel, live from Michele’s teepee.)
In other news, Carrie, the boot designer from Shimano (and only female boot designer in the industry, I think) had a baby girl, Kaiya Hazel Kizuka, on May 26th. Congratulations to her and her husband, Mako. Greta Gaines, the former World Snowboard Extreme Champ, completed her second CD, self-titled “Greta Gaines.” It’s a good mix of folk, southern rock, and sporty American lyrics like: “Mikey likes to take big airAnd throw you the peace sign from way up thereHe dyed it red, white, and blue his hair, butHe’s unaware of his patriotic flare…” from the song “Mikey Likes It.”
This song was also turned into a music video featuring Morgan Lafonte dressed like a boy riding a skateboard in New York City. (Yes, Morgan does ride a skateboard quite well). News from Nashville is that she’s performing and getting the word out about her Wild Women’s Snowboard Camps in-between gigs. To order her CD, go to www.gretagaines.com.
Down under, the girls in the upcoming Rip Curl Heli-Challenge, July 24th-August 8th are trying to increase their coverage by encouraging the New Zealand Board of Tourism to get journalists down there. Marguerite Cossettini called to say, “In the last 2 years, they almost totally ignored the women’s presence through the media. I’m embarrassed. We bust, but know would know it. But they had no idea they did anything wrong until we brought it to their attention.” Way to go Marguerite. (Stay tuned next Gospel live from New Zealand?) In case the gals get ignored again, I promised them a little space. Competitors include, Marguerite, Karleen Jeffrey (TWS Woman Snowboarder of the Year), Pep Ahonen, Kiki Thompson, Eva Sandelgard, Elke Barnes, Lizzy Walker, Lori Gibbs, Melanie Russek, Rene Hollis, and Julie Larson.
As for summer at the Hood, it’s going off, as usual, and with more girls taking to the air and pipe than ever before. In case you haven’t heard, we are fast becoming the largest demographic of new riders out there. But then, we all knew that. Other news: the All Girl Skate Jam has two more stops, September in Orange, CA, and November in Oahu, HI. Go to www.allgirlskatejam.com for more info, or call (714) 525-0925. Boarding for Breast Cancer (BBC) is officially on the both the Warp Tour and Lilith Fair. If you’re going to either of these, stop by and say Hi to Liz on the Warp tour and/or go by the ChickClick booth on Lilith, which is where the BBC station is located. We’ve got jelly boobs, stickers, and soon-to-be-made mouse pads with the Chickclick cartoon girls showing you how to give yourself a breast exam.
Here in Utah, Snowbird is still attracting hardcore riders on little pockets of slush. This sport never sleeps. And so, the Gospel remains. But help me out: email me what you’re up to while your snowboard’s in the closet. Just curious. I’m email@example.com or in fuller detail, www.wigmag.com.