Summer is in the books. There are leaves on the ground, old pumpkins on the stoop, hot soup on the menu and the bookmarked snow report in your browser.
Before we embrace the cold, however, let’s reminisce on warmer times. Summer 2012 was a historic season, with athletes pushing themselves further, higher and faster than ever before.
This is our Ode to Summer.
In 2012, Nyjah Houston dominated the Street League for the third year in a row, placing himself in the pantheon of street skaters along with Rodney Mullen, Paul Rodriguez and the other legends of the game. Nyjah’s victory was one example of a greater skateboarding movement taking place: the youngsters are invading the scene. In March, 12-year-old Tom Schaar landed the first 1080 in skateboarding history. Then, 15-year-old Mitchie Brusco took silver in Big Air at the X Games with a 720 over the 50-foot gap and then a huge 900 on the quarter pipe. Old man Mischo Erban (he’s 28) was never about to try anything like that. In June, he kept his longboard wheels firmly rolling on the ground, setting the record for the fastest speed ever achieved on a skateboard at 80.74 mph.
Some of the best waves are found when winter hits, but surfing is a summer sport. Nothing evokes the season like shortboard cutbacks on crystal blue breaks. Year after year, nobody does it better than Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone, three surfers entered into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 3rd. While the youngsters dominate the terrestrial summer board sports, in 2012, these three grandfathers of surf proved that wave wisdom rules the ocean, and were honored for their skills.
How could our Ode to Summer not include one of the most thrilling BMX big air events in X Games history? Or Frank Schneider winning a Megavalanche mountainbike downhill marathon on a singlespeed hardtail? Or the Red Bull Rampage, which is one of the raddest steep mount MTB competitions ever? Summer 2012 was a great season for cycles – every summer is. We’ll definitely miss it this year.
The sky is open all year long, but air is friendlier during the summer when the sun heats the earth, creating updrafts that help keep wingsuiters aloft. Sure, why not, wingsuiting is a summer sport. Several summer exploits appear to prove it. In June, Valery Rozov jumped off 21,063-foot Ushba Mountain in the Indian Himalayas, nearly breaking the record for the highest mountain wingsuit ever (his jump proved nearly 200 meters short of the real record). That same month Red Bull announced the World Wingsuit League, an event which was won in October by Julian Boulle. And in August, Alexander Polli “grinded the crack” over his own poor mother, upping the game on freaking out family. Still, the most insane wingsuit stunt of the season occurred in late May (that’s kinda summer, no?) as stuntman Gary Connery wingsuited out of a helicopter and slammed himself, without deploying a parachute, into a tarmac of cardboard. He walked away unfazed, opening up a whole new range of possibilities for summer 2013.
Cover Photo Credit: Daniel Flower