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Day Two | X Games California 2023

Published On:: 22/7/2023

The busiest day at X Games California is a wrap! The second day of finals weekend inside Ventura County Fairgrounds & Events Center showcased the pinnacle of action sports in front of a sold-out live crowd.

Saturday featured a total of nine medal events. And when the dust settled, the Monster Energy Team claimed nine medals, including three gold. 

The energy was electric for the glorious return of X Games to Southern California. And to no surprise, the vibrant crowd support boosted performances with lots of never-been-done tricks and history-making runs for the history books!

Here’s how the Monster Energy Team’s medal journey unfolded on Saturday in Ventura:





GNARLIEST SET-UP EVER: The BMX Dirt course truly lived up to X Games standards. Bigger, badder, and with lots of boost, the complex course featured four jumps across gaps ranging from 17 to 25 feet in size. Plenty potential to Unleash the Beast, to say the least…

WHO’S THE ROOKIE NOW? 20-year-old Monster Army rider Brady Baker from Toms River, New Jersey came to Ventura for his X Games debut. Unfazed by the A-listers on the roster, he instantly qualified into the finals in first place. But then again, only seven rookies had previously medaled in X Games BMX Dirt. Maybe someone should have told Baker… 

Bringing the heat when it counted, Baker went next-level by posting triple tailwhip backflip, barspin cashroll, truck driver while spinning the bars the long way, and cash roll downwhip on the last hit for 93.00 points and the gold medal in his X Games debut. 

“This is an unreal moment. I’ve been working for this for so long and to be on my first X Games and get it done… it’s unreal. This has been my lifelong goal getting an X Games gold medal, so to have this around my neck right now is insane!” said Baker upon winning BMX Dirt gold at X Games California 2023. 

“Shoutout to the Monster family for all the support and taking me to all these events that qualified me for X Games. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to be here and get this gold medal, so I’m super grateful.”

Baker is now the first rookie in X Games history to take first in BMX Dirt Elimination AND go on to win Dirt gold. Another historic feat at X Games California 2023!

Saturday’s BMX Dirt gold marks Baker’s first X Games medal.



PLAYING THE LONG GAME: Saturday’s Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Park contest presented a real test of strategy to riders. Why? Because out the gate, the twelve riders had to battle through a semifinal cutting down the field to six finalists. Not much room for error, as many top contenders found themselves without one of the six chairs when the music stopped.

MASTERY AT WORK: Drawing on his unique experience and strategy, 23-year-old Tom Schaar from Malibu, California, advanced to the final six with big airs and technical tricks including a Barley grind transfer up the vert extension. In the final, he put down a flawless first run, hoping to add more technical tricks on the second and third attempts. But ultimately, the more technical tricks didn’t fire and Schaar still took home bronze on the strength of his first run.

Combining a transfer from the mini ramp into vert bowl, gap transfer to rock fakie the vert wall, fakie 5-0 grind channel, kickflip Indy the kicker, frontside blunt the extension, backside 360 nosegrab the kicker, head-high backside 540 the deep end, backside Smith grind, transfer to frontside Smith grind the vert corner, kickflip Indy fakie, Caballerial disaster revert, and half-Cab blunt earned Schaar 85.33 points and the bronze medal.

Schaar now owns 11 X Games medals (one gold, four silver, six bronze). Saturday’s bronze is his first X Games Park medal in five years and second at X Games California 2023 after Monday’s Skate MegaPark bronze. Also watch for Schaar in the Men’s Skateboard Vert Best Trick discipline on Sunday.




AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: When the BMX Dirt track opened for a 35-minute hunt for the Best Trick all bets were off. Instantly, the level of tricks escalated, and it was ‘go big, or go home’ for competitors. Even the youngest competitor, 19-year-old Monster Army Rider Kaden Stone from Corona, California came to throw down and make X Games history.

MAKING HISTORY ON THE LAST RUN: Putting it all on the line on his final run, and dedicating his attempt to the memory of BMX icon Pat Casey, Stone broke into the top three and wrote history by throwing down a never-been-done trick: A massive 1440 rotation over the first jump earned Stone the silver medal.

“I’m feeling amazing, I landed a 720 the other day at Pat’s and he told me to try a 1440 because I over-rotated. So, I came here wanting to do it and I stomped it for Pat Casey. RIP Pat! Everything is for you!” said Stone upon claiming silver in BMX Dirt Best Trick.

Saturday’s BMX Dirt Best Trick silver marks Stone’s first X Games medal in his second appearance. 



THE YOUTH ARE GETTING RESTLESS: In front of the sold-out crowd in Ventura, the Pacifico Women’s Skateboard Vert contest returned for the first time since 2011. The full progression of female halfpipe skateboarding was on full display – and it’s driven by a new generation of young rippers who have it all. Speed, style, and tech tricks were the keys to the top three on Saturday, in what ended up an all-teenage podium.

WALK-OFF VICTORY FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS: Before X Games California, 13-year-old Arisa Trew from Palm Beach, Australia, made history by landing the first 720 aerial by a woman skater at Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert in Salt Lake City. Now she wanted to put the trick down in a contest run – another never-been-done achievement (NBD). And with Reese Nelson cemented in first place as Trew’s final attempt rolled around, she all but NEEDED the 720 to win, so she went for it…

In the very last run of the contest, Trew put together huge alley-oop backside air, McTwist, frontside nosebone, body varial McTwist, lien varial air, backside air to fakie, switch frontside air, fakie frontside 360, air to fakie and the never-been-landed in competition fakie 720 mute aerial for 90.33 points and the gold medal. Talk about a walk-off victory for the ages! 

“I feel amazing, because I really just wanted to do my 7 in my run, and I did it!” said Monster Energy’s Trew upon winning Pacifico Women’s Skateboard Vert on Saturday.

Women’s Skateboard Vert gold is Trew’s first X Games medal. She makes history as the youngest Women’s Skate Vert gold medalist of all time.

JAPAN’S KAIHARA CLUTCHES BRONZE: One of Trew’s toughest competitors was 16-year-old Monster Army recruit Asahi Kaihara from Osaka, Japan. Fresh off a second place at Tony Hawk Vert Alert competition, she impressed the judges by blending high amplitude airs and technical trickery. Her best run featured a huge method air, frontside benihana, Madonna, saran-wrap air, kickflip Indy, air to fakie, fakie pop shove-it stalefish, body varial tailgrab, frontside nosegrind, and frontside noseblunt for 83.66 points and the bronze medal.

Saturday’s bronze in Women’s Skateboard Vert marks Kaihara’s first X Games medal.



ONLY THE STRONG SURVICE: Much like their Park skateboarding counterparts, BMX Park finalists were in for a grueling test of endurance. As the bar kept rising to qualify into the top six, several high-profile competitors found themselves bumped out of contention. But not 28-year-old Jose Torres from Cordoba, Argentina, who blasted higher airs and packed more technical moves into runs than the rest of the competition.

ALL THE WAY TO 11: Torres also delivered in the final crucial moments of the contest. With Monster Energy teammate Kevin Peraza holding down the top spot on last runs, the Argentinian put it all out there for the high-energy crowd in Ventura. On Run 2, Torres blasted high airs and tech transfers including tailwhip out of mini ramp onto roof, barspin drop in off roof, superman seatgrab, triple tailwhip, 720 whip, flip whip to barspin for 95.33 points and the gold medal.

“Thank you so much, I feel so happy. It’s difficult believing this, my first gold medal. It’s a dream come true. Maybe I need to arrive at my home in Argentina so I can start believing I got this gold medal!” said Torres upon claiming BMX Park gold at X Games California 2023. “Thank you so much Monster Energy, I’m so happy for this.”

Torres now owns two X Games medals (one gold, one bronze).

CROWD FAVORITE PERAZA TAKES SILVER: Ventura once again showed that nobody works a crowd like 28-year-old Kevin Peraza from Tucson, Arizona. Looking like a lock for the win, KP worked the entire course with creative and spectacular tricks. He popped onto the pergola then to switch tailwhip off, followed by 360 nose manual, nose wheelie 450 on mini ramp and then tailwhip high to low, 360 downside whip to turndown over the rail, 360 downwhip to look back for 93.33 points and second place.

Peraza now owns 7 X Games medals (four gold, two silver, one bronze). He also won the BMX Street contest in Ventura on Friday. Also watch for KP in Sunday’s BMX Park Best Trick event.



BACK ON THE PODIUM: After a string of injuries and missed X Games podiums, 28-year-old Nyjah Huston from Laguna Beach, California was ready to resume his medal-winning ways at X Games. Before Sunday’s big finale in Skate Street, the Best Trick event provided the kind of free-flowing environment where Huston is known to thrive. And of course, Ventura also offered the kind of massive street obstacles where the winningest street skater excels…

THROWING HAMMERS IN THE CLUTCH: Eight skaters threw down their best tricks on the stacked Ventura course, with most of the action focused on the centerpiece volcano featuring a tall grind box. And Huston had just the trick: A clean backside kickflip to nosegrind on the grind box above the volcano earned Huston the bronze medal in the no-holds-barred session.

“Feeling good and stoked to get something out here by putting down a trick. I was really stoked because I tried that trick for an hour in practice and didn’t even come that close. Sometimes you just need to get the contest motivation to make it happen,” said Huston upon taking Best Trick bronze. “Tomorrow, we get to send some more, so I’m stoked!”

Huston now owns 21 X Games medals (13 gold, five silver, three bronze). Watch for Huston in Sunday’s Men’s Skateboard Street final for a chance to tie Bob Burnquist for most X Games gold medals earned in skateboarding at 14 gold medals. Stay tuned!



FUELED BY CROWD ENERGY: Last year, the Moto X Best Whip spectacle was contested in private at the Slayground facility in Ramona without spectators on site. But as the final event of a busy day in Ventura, the air show returned in front of the capacity live audience cheering on every contorted whip aerial.

BACK ON THE PODIUM: As the session featuring eight riders got underway, defending gold medalist Julien Vanstippen from Ophain demonstrated his whip ability to remain in the top three. On final attempts, Vanstippen once again proved his altitude and style with some of the biggest turndown whips of the contest to earn the bronze medal in Ventura. 

“I’m a little bit disappointed but very happy to be on the podium. I think I need to work on this new ramp and next time I will be ready,” said Vanstippen upon taking bronze in Moto X Best Whip. “I need more distance in the jump. I overshot the landing, so I need more distance in the gap.”

Vanstippen now owns three X Games medals (one gold, two bronze), all from Moto X Best Whip.

Now that Saturday is a wrap, we have one more epic day in Ventura! Stay tuned for more action from X Games California 2023 on Sunday with competitions in BMX, Skate, and Moto X disciplines inside Ventura County Fairgrounds & Events Center.

In This Article:

Tom Schaar

Jose Torres