During last weekend’s X Games “Real Street Best Trick” event at Rincon Middle School in Escondido, CA, commentator Brandon Graham said that the production team at the long-running action sports competition had been trying for three years to secure the massive four-block and its accompanying rails as a location for their event. In fact, it was the first place they considered the series taking place.
As a skate spot with as extensive a history as Rincon has, that makes sense. Thanks to its association with skateboarding, this aesthetically lifeless and forgettable mountain of concrete and steel could reasonably be dubbed “iconic.” It’s been featured on and in magazines and videos for over two decades. For some of the skateboarders who’ve managed to ride away from tricks there, it’s helped launch careers and cement legacies.
It’s also so imposing in stature that it seems absurd to turn this place of cultural myth-making into a contest course. This was reflected in the results, where even with some of the gnarlier big drop and rail skaters in history in attendance — some of which, like Ryan Decenzo and Chris Joslin, who had already marked their names in history there previously — the group could only manage to ride away from eight tricks in total over the course of an hour of skateboarding.
While a thoroughly entertaining watch, it was odd to think of this place known simply and somewhat frighteningly as “Rincon,” becoming a location where a gold medal could be won. The broadcast did a decent job explaining the gravity of what having an event here meant, using talking head interviews with Jamie Thomas, Chris Cole, and Chris Joslin to place the dull grey concrete bleachers in a historical perspective. But what does having an event like this here mean for the spot itself? Can a skate spot sell out? Are skateboarders going to want to try NBDs here now that the spot will likely get rebroadcast on ABC? Or had skaters already wrung out what was left of Rincon’s cultural impact over all these years and tricks, and this was the only way to resuscitate it?
That’s a lot of questions without definitive answers. What is concrete, however, is that Alec Majerus kickflip-frontside-nosegrinding Rincon’s rail in nine tries was absolutely messed up. But that begs another question: if someone does a trick at a street spot but in a contest setting, does it still count as a “street” trick? … Damn.
Simple Magic is a weekly newsletter about skateboarding, the internet, and other means of escape. It’s written by Cole Nowicki and comes out every Friday. Sometimes on Wednesday. Pretty sure there was a Monday post one time, too. Be sure to click on the following link to subscribe: https://simplemagic.substack.com/
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