Water Tower Gap
Jeremy Wray is not a household name like Hawk, Way or Burnquist, but he will forever be legendary among skate video fans for his epic ollie that made the cover of Thrasher magazine in November 1997. The location was Rowland Heights, Calif., where two round water towers sit 40 feet (12 meters) off the ground and exactly 18 feet (5.5 meters) apart [source: Skately]. Wray had the audacity to attempt a jump over the gap without the aid of a launch ramp.
To set the scene, these are two perfectly flat concrete surfaces that are exactly the same height. The only way Wray would survive the jump is by building enough ground speed and ollying with enough lift to carry him 18 feet (5.5 meters) to safety. He warmed up for the stunt by leaping across the gap without his board, just to give him the confidence that it was even possible. After that, it was a matter of getting the cameras in place and letting it fly.
Unlike other big jumps, where you can see how the rider might bail out safely, there is no room for error in the water tower gap. If Wray falls short, he smacks face first into a concrete wall, then falls 40 feet (12.2 meters) to the ground. Thank God he didn't. The footage is undeniably crazy, earning Wray our top spot in the 10 craziest skateboarding stunts.
Author's Note: 10 Craziest Skateboarding Feats
I have insane respect for skateboarders. What they do should not be possible. Even something as "simple" as an ollie. Watch a clip in slow motion. The board appears to stick to the rider's feet, even though you know there's nothing between them but a pair of worn-down Etnies. What I don't respect -- and this might be my inner old man talking -- is the outright refusal by professional street skaters to wear helmets. The vert guys have the sense to protect their skulls from high-flying brain damage, but the street guys must not want to mess up their hair. While researching crazy stunts for this article, I saw skater after skater smack their heads off the concrete. Can't we just agree that protecting our brains is a fashion statement worth making?
- Associated Press. "Armadillo move carries Shaun White to vert title in Dew Tour event." September 15, 2010 http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/action/2010-08-15-shaun-white-dew-tour_N.htm
- Bachinsky, Dave. Classic Clips. "El Toro Kickflip." (accessed October 23, 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_tQ5nAKjoE
- Hamm, Keith. ESPN.com. "12-year-old Tom Schaar lands 1080." March 30, 2012 http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/story/_/id/7755456/12-year-old-tom-schaar-lands-skateboarding-first-1080
- Hamm, Keith. ESPN.com. "A new downhill record." June 26, 2012 http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/story/_/id/8098465/mischo-erban-breaks-world-record-fastest-skateboard-speed
- Higgins, Matt. The New York Times. "A Skateboarding Ramp Reaches for the Sky." November 1, 2006 http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/11/01/sports/othersports/01ramp.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- Skateboarding Magazine. "Radically Extreme the Danny Way." July 11, 2008 http://dannyway.com/press/radically-extreme-the-danny-way/
- Skately. "Jeremy Wray Water Towers" (accessed October 23, 2012) http://skately.com/library/spots/jeremy-wray-water-towers
- Yen, Yi-Wyn. Sports Illustrated. "My Sportsman Choice: Danny Way." November 21, 2005 http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/magazine/specials/sportsman/2005/11/18/danny.way/index.html
Mountains are definitely not the only thing worth climbing. Learn more about the urban climbers scrambling up cranes, skyscrapers and even Corcovado.