--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
June 4, 2001
Un-Xperienced? The X Trials, Xplained
By Mike Nguyen
Well, you’re stoked about the X Trials coming to town but you’ve just realized something: you don’t know a thing about extreme sports.
Thank goodness, then, you’re reading this article, as we’re going to fill you up with some extreme knowledge that will help you follow the crazy and outrageous weekend at the X Trials.
We’ll start with the basics.
As you might already know, there are three sports coming to the Bristol Trials: skateboarding, inline blading and BMX biking.
All those sports come in two categories: park and vert. BMX or bike stunt comes with an additional flatland competition.
Okay, let’s explain some of these terms.
The park competition is one where riders, bladders and boarders are showing off their moves on a makeshift skate park.
This park comes equipped with ramps, grind poles and pipes, all of which are used by the athletes.
All athletes map out of a course in their head before they competition (well, the smart ones at least) and when it’s their time to go, they try to get in as many tricks as possible in the allotted time.
The winners are the ones who use the large park to its fullest and milk out the largest and best variety of stunts before the time runs out.
This event is sometimes called street, as the park, depending on how it is made, can sometimes resemble an outdoor skate park in the streets.
Now, on to vert.
Vert is the same idea: trying to get the most and best tricks possible before the clocks runs out.
But the vert competition isn’t played on a park.
Rather, it is on a huge halfpipe (a vertical U-shape “with two transition areas at either end that extend to vertical stands, separated by the flat bottom in between,” according to EXPN.com).
And then, special to only BMX or trick biking, we arrive at flatland.
The objective of this event is still to get in a good variety of tricks to impress the judges, but our trick bikers are on a flat area, kinda like a parking lot.
Lucky for our competitors, the Bristol X Trials are going to be set right on the parking lot of Lake Compounce so there will be plenty of room. Basically, they’ll have to pull tricks out of thin air.
Well, you have the basic events down so let’s get started on those tricks.
All tricks originate from three things.
An ollie is just a jump or a bunny hop.
You can’t do anything without ollie-ing first, as all tricks need air to be performed.
From that ollie, you can do three things.
For one, you can grind.
Grinding consists of an ollie, or a jump, onto a railing pole, or edge of a pipe.
In aggressive inline, it would mean sliding with your skates across or down that railing or pole.
Grinding can also be done on trick bikes and skateboards, and it can be done in a variety of different moves such as the boardslide, railside and nosegrind.
Secondly, you can do a type of grab.
Grabbing is clutching something around you, obviously. In inline, it can be the back of your skates in the air. In skateboarding, you can grab your board from beneath you. In biking, you’re best to grab onto your bike for your own safety, but don’t be surprised if some bikers are pulling out no-handed moves.
For blades and boards, you can also grab the pipe, which is more commonly called a plant. By grabbing the lip, or edge, of a wall or pipe, our skaters are doing a one-handed handstand for a second or two, before dropping back down onto the pipe. Obviously, with rotation and backwards riding, things can get pretty complex – and cool to watch.
Thirdly, you’ll see flips.
Flips are throwing yourself forward or backwards to do a full flip.
It can be done, kids, but it might be a bit cringy to watch, especially if it isn’t landed. You won’t see very many of these unless someone really has to “go big” to win.
In skateboarding, however, flipping the whole body while still having a board under you is quite difficult. So they turn things around.
A flip in skateboarding is flipping your board around with your feet while still being able to land on the board rightside up.
Kickflips and heelflips are the most common flips you’ll see in skateboarding.
There you have it.
You should be all set to go into the X Trials with a little more experience.
Our best advice is to watch some of the coverage of extreme sports first – on television or online – and really get to see what we’re talking about.
You’ll go into Lake Compounce confident, or at least less confused, about the X Trials.
For the simplest primer on X Trials sports, click here