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January 19, 2012 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times
Dominant online video site YouTube has launched a lineup of sports channels featuring some of the biggest names in action sports — including pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, snowboarder Shaun White and surfer Kelly Slater. The four channels seek to tap into the rising popularity of action sports — especially among teens and twentysomethings — by offering clips, commentary and live events on YouTube. The original content represents another step in the site's efforts to augment its user-created videos with more professionally programmed offerings.
November 6, 2011 | By Susan Josephs, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Jacques Heim, the 47-year-old artistic director of the dance company Diavolo, is spending a good chunk of his time lately hanging out with a group of teenage skateboarders. He watches them zoom up and fly off specially designed ramps in his company's warehouse-like space in downtown Los Angeles and, at appropriate moments, tosses them a lot "of random questions," he says. "I'll ask, 'What does fear mean to you?' Or 'Why would you abandon movement in midair?' And I've learned that the word 'commitment' to these kids is as powerful to them as it is to any adult," he says.
November 3, 2011 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
James Van Doren and his older brother Paul had only sample sneakers to offer when they opened their first store, in Anaheim, in 1966. They took a dozen orders in the morning and delivered custom canvas deck shoes, made in their adjacent factory, in the afternoon. Operating as the Van Doren Rubber Co., the brothers and two other co-founders planned to succeed by cutting out the middleman and selling their distinctive thick rubber-soled shoes directly to the public. By the early 1970s, the company owed some of its success to Southern California's burgeoning skateboard culture.
September 26, 2011 | By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
So far there have been no dead bodies, no safes stuffed with soggy cash, no rusty stolen cars. The only things exposed by the receding water at Echo Park Lake have been shopping carts, 55-gallon steel barrels, a parking-enforcement "boot" and lots of skateboards. But who knows what is still hidden in the muck at the bottom of the 13-acre lake, soon to be dredged and outfitted with a leak-proof clay liner? Officials say that leaks once required them to replenish the lake with valuable drinking water.
August 22, 2011 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
The weather on Venice Beach was typical for a Sunday afternoon in August: The sun was out, there was a slight breeze, the thermometer registered 74 degrees. So, naturally, it was the perfect day for snowboarding. In a patch on the boardwalk amid wandering tourists and crispy beach bums, a snowcapped mountain had been erected out of scaffolding, plywood and massive bricks of ice chipped into a wintry powder. It was built just for the day for the Supergirl Jam, a women's competition in snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.
July 30, 2011 | By Douglas Farmer
When even the skateboarders start commenting on the heat, you know it's hot. But 16-year-old Nyjah Huston survived the temperatures as well as eight runs in two rounds Saturday to claim his first X Games gold medal. "One of the best feelings of my whole life," said Huston, a Northern California native who now resides in Huntington Beach. "Definitely the best win of my career. After getting silver the last two years, when you get gold, it just feels so great. " Huston advanced from an elimination round earlier in the afternoon, and then took to the concrete plaza four times in the finals, all in the glaring sun. "When you get to the end of your run, your legs are definitely giving out," Huston said.
July 30, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes, Douglas Farmer and Matt Stevens
Stressed out, not skating the way he wanted, and with one run left and a gold medal on the line, Shaun White thought of his brother's recent advice: "You just have to stop thinking and do what you used to do. " In the skateboard vert final Saturday at the X Games in Los Angeles, with the packed Nokia Theatre crowd cheering him on, White did exactly that. His brilliant sixth and final run landed him a score of 93, which overtook his rival Pierre-Luc Gagnon's score of 91.66.
July 29, 2011 | By Douglas Farmer
After 17 X Games and 21 medals, it makes sense that Bob Burnquist would know what it takes to win gold. Burnquist proved that again Friday night in the Skateboard Big Air competition, landing two 540-degree turns in his fourth run to earn a score of 92.66 points. "It feels great," Burnquist said. "It's a dream. I never thought I'd be holding it down this long. " Burnquist landed two of the only six runs to include two successful tricks. Defending gold medalist Jake Brown failed to land a single run as he attempted a backflip over the 70-foot gap, and 14-year-old sensation Mitchie Brusco never even got to attempt his famed 900. In Brusco's final four runs, he failed to land his jump over the gap preceding the quarterpipe.
July 28, 2011 | By Douglas Farmer
Santa Cruz native Raven Tershy only finished two runs in the skateboard park finals, but those two runs were all he needed to win his first X Games gold medal. Tershy's total of 82 points edged the 81 of defending gold medalist Pedro Barros. "He deserved it," Barros said. "He skated the whole contest amazing ? It was a really good feeling to see my friend out there, killing it out there. " Barros opened the finals with two runs of 40 and 41, respectively, to take what appeared to be a commanding and decisive lead.
July 28, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
People began asking for Mitchie Brusco's autograph when he was 3½ years old. But he couldn't write yet, so he asked his older sister Jessica for help. One night, they created his mark: the letter M with a skateboard drawn beneath it. He called it his "M. " "Why do they want my 'M?' " he would ask his mother, Jennifer, when people approached the Kirkland, Wash., native at skate parks after a run. Brusco didn't know it, but the people watching how he maneuvered on a skateboard as a toddler, they knew he would be a star.
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