History in the Making
If you missed out on the action, don’t worry we’re bringing you all the highlights…
This past week, the waves of Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido, Mexico witnessed all sorts of X-Games history. There was the first perfect 10 scribbled down in the books, after Chris Ward dropped in on an 8ft Pipeline-style Barrel and made it his bitch. Then of course there was the highest team score in the 2nd period of the men’s comp, when thanks to Ward’s untouchable ride, the USA team notched a record-breaking 35 out of a possible 40. However the biggest and most important piece of news to rock the Mexican Pipeline was the arrival of the highly anticipated girl’s surfing competition on the X-Games scene.
After years of patiently waiting, the women finally got the nod this year from the prestigious action sports competition. The event went down on the 4th of July, and saw the USA team win the first ever gold metal in the history of women’s X-Games Surfing. The competition was overflowing with action so fierce it witnessed the narrowest win margin in the game’s history, a slim 55-52.
According to the rules and regulations of ‘The Game’ format, surfers are divided into two opposing teams based solely on their geographic origin, hence we are left with the one of the bitterest rivalries to date – The World vs. The USA.
The USA team was led by 4X World Champ Lisa Andersen and was made up of some of the most talented female surfers in the states, including Rochelle Ballard, Melanie Bartels, Keala Kennelly, Courtney Conlogue, Carissa Moore and Megan Abubo.
The World Team was headed up by Australian surfer and 7X World Champ, Layne Beachley. Beachley was given some of the best surfers in the world to make up her six person team including, Stephanie Gilmore, Sofia Mulanovich, Chelsea Hedges, Claire Bevilacqua, Paige Hareb and Lee Ann Curren.
Zicatela Beach offered the girls immaculate 6-8ft. swells at the start of the competition, giving them the perfect conditions to showcase their talent. USA rider Rochelle Ballard caught the first action of the competition, when she threw down a solid ride and pumped up the crowd.
The USA team’s Melanie Bartels was a one woman powerhouse, bagging the highest score of the day with a solid 8.5 out of a possible ten, on a never ending barrel ride. A modest Melanie credited the team format for her amazing performance, saying: “If it wasn’t for my team-mates and the coaching staff cheering me on or directing me, I probably wouldn’t have found those two insane barrels. I’m so stoked to be a part of this experience.”
The World Team came out looking strong when Chelsea Hedges and Lee Ann Curren disappeared in the barrel of a wave, and simultaneously shot out the other end. But at the close of the first period the USA led the World 25.5 to 20.0.
In the second period of play, the pristine barrels of the first period were exchanged for a choppy rip tide, that ultimately favoured no one. However, in the 3rd and final period of play, the USA team turned it back on and finished off strong, when Bartels emerged from a barrel with a 6.5 and the X-Games gold.
The rest of the X-Games action will pick up August 2nd-5th in Los Angeles, California – be sure to check it out!
For more information on X-Games XIII check out their official website.
Words by Nina Kiersted