ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shaun White skated his first of three scheduled runs on the Amway Arena vert ramp Sunday to the tune of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown."
He would leave the packed venue dazed and confused but, thankfully, not seriously injured.
White, 21, fell after a spin trick while practicing for his second run, slammed his helmet-covered head into the flat bottom of the U-shaped ramp and had to be helped off by medical personnel.
He became the third AST Dew Tour athlete in as many days to be taken to a local hospital for observation. Only BMX rider T.J. Lavin (broken leg) was seriously injured.
White did not return for the evening awards ceremony to receive his Dew Cup championship trophy, based on his overall points lead; and a bronze medal for finishing third in Sunday's Skateboard Vert competition, based on that first-run score of 91.00.
Before the contest he recalled his remarkable season: "I've never felt that same excitement in skateboarding like I did when I won the Olympics, until this year. I always thought about and dreamed about winning these events, but I never thought it would happen."
White won a snowboarding gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Red Zeppelin rocks
The red-haired White is a Led Zeppelin fanatic and does a mean impression of Jimmy Page on lead guitar.
Hence a new nickname: "Red Zeppelin," given to him by a reporter at the last Dew Tour stop in Salt Lake City.
He's not sure what to make of it yet but will take it over the overused "Flying Tomato" moniker, which he despises.
Bucky Lasek won the vert contest with a second-run score of 95.50. It was the top score of the season in the discipline -- for a routine that included multiple 540-degree spins and kick-flip tricks.
"I think this is the best I've ridden -- ever," said Lasek, 34, who has won five X Games gold medals but has struggled lately.
He credited good health, hard work and the recent birth of the Laseks' third daughter, Tenzin.
"Everybody who has a kid seems to come out skating great," the Encinitas skateboarder added, "so maybe I ought to have another one."
With all the tail-whipping and spinning Daniel Dhers did while winning the BMX Park event -- and clinching a second consecutive Dew Cup title -- it's a wonder he could stand during the awards ceremony.
The Dew Cup, he said, ranks highest among his athletic achievements, "next to my X Games gold medal from this year." It seems the Dew Tour might never escape the X Games shadow.
So ends another Dew Tour, a third season, bigger than the second, as its executives anticipating more growth in 2008.
Attendance for the PlayStation Pro was a Dew Tour-record 62,277.
Overall attendance for the five-city circuit is up 17% over last year.
Executives are contemplating adding a sixth stop and, beginning in the winter of 2008, they will add a winter element: a three-stop tour featuring snowboarding and free-skiing.
Stops are likely in the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains and California -- either in the Lake Tahoe area or at Mammoth Lakes.
"I don't think we could be any happier with where we are right now," said Wade Martin, Dew Tour president.
"The big-picture acceptance and embracement of our tour has not only exceeded our expectations but it happened quicker than we thought it would."
Not so fast
Action sports remain a tough sell to sports editors of most mainstream newspapers.
According to one Dew Tour employee, the sports editor of the Cleveland Plains-Dealer refused to staff the Right Guard Open in July, saying the section does not acknowledge competitions involving skateboarding and bikes as legitimate sports.
Had he witnessed what the top athletes can do and realized the preparation involved -- and the following these sports have among a key demographic -- he might have become enlightened.
Finally, an athlete's take
Jamie Bestwick, 36, who on Friday won his third consecutive Dew Cup championship in BMX Vert, on how action sports athletes have come of age:
"A lot of people often confuse us with being punk kids and dropouts, but with a tour such as this and the X Games, it's just showing people that there is an athletic side to this.
"You just look at a lot of guys that are on the tour, that have their own TV shows, their MTV commercials . . . they have sponsorships previously reserved for the NFL and NBA. Companies have seen that the market they're really after is here. They've come on board with us and it's great to see that."