Mind-blowing tricks are the backbone of action sports: Tony Hawk awed when he spun 900 degrees in the air off a skateboard ramp. Travis Pastrana shocked when heaved a motorbike over his head in a double flip. Josh Sheehan outdid him with a triple backflip.
Organizers hope the next trick to shake up the world of action sports might be one of the approximately 60 new tricks to be showcased at the inaugural Nitro World Games this Saturday.
The event was created by Mike Porra, CEO and creative director of Nitro Circus, a private action sports company that developed the MTV show of the same name. He had a hand from extreme sports icon Pastrana. The result is a three-hour competition that will take place on at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City and air in prime time on NBC.
“I feel like it’s going to be the most easily viewable, highly exciting show that has ever been for action sports that isn’t just a show,” Pastrana said. “This is a world championship event. This is something that the guys are going to be going for the title of the world’s best and I feel like that will definitely inspire some of the craziest stuff you’ve ever seen.”
Porra and Pastrana want to create an X Games challenger and become known as the “Action Sports Olympics.”
Seven gold medals will be awarded to the winners of BMX best trick, BMX triple hit, FMX, FMX best trick, skate best trick, inline best trick and scooter best trick. Athletes from 10 countries are coming to compete at the event.
Skate legend Hawk and seven-time X Games snowboarding medalist Todd Richards will co-host along with Pastrana.
Porra has been thinking about a world games competition for close to seven or eight years. On Saturday, Porra will finally see his vision come to life.
“The sport basically needs a total and complete revolution, there’s no other word for it,” Porra said. “It needs to be turned on its head completely.”
Organizers believe putting the entertainment-value of competition ahead of the more technical and complex aspects of the sport will provide for a better viewing experience.
About two years ago, Porra talked with Pastrana and together the pair was eager to create a new competition.
“We know how to do it. We know exactly what we have to do and we have the resources to do it,” Porra said.
Each event in the world championship will have a different format, but the overarching similarity is the simplicity to scoring the tricks.
Each trick will have a point value out of 10 associated with its degree of difficulty. After the rider does that trick in competition, a panel of five judges will assign a score out of 10 to how well the rider executed that specific trick. The five scores are then averaged and multiplied by the degree of difficulty point value to get the final score for that trick.
That makes it easier for the riders to understand what trick will get them enough points to win the competition or outdo a rival.
Porra said he had to really fight for the scoring format change in the case of some of the riders.
“My only thing was we got to keep the core of action sports which is fun, excitement, innovation so with us two butting heads I think we came up with a really good strategy that is easy to watch, easy to view and a lot of fun for the athletes,” said Pastrana, an 11-time X Games gold medalist said.
“I feel like people will be watching to see what goes down, what goes wrong, and like a train crash, you can’t take your eyes off.”