LOS ANGELES — Encinitas pro skateboarder Rob Lorifice celebrated his first X Games silver medal on July 31.
Lorifice, who took home two bronze medals in X Games 15 Big Air events, improved on that performance by capturing a silver and bronze medal in Big Air Rail Jam and Big Air, respectively, during X Games 16 at the fabled Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
“I’m stoked; it all worked out,” Lorifice said, noting that he had difficulty landing his bronze medal-winning trick, a backside rodeo 540 during practice. “When it’s contest time you just kind of go for it … pretty much, throw caution to the wind.”
Just 22-years-old, Lorifice, a four-time X Games medalist, is now a veteran rider of the MegaRamp, which debuted at the 2004 X Games. The large-format ramp features a 50- and 70-foot gap as well as a 27-foot quarterpipe that can launch skateboarders an additional 20 feet or more above the ramp. Lorifice has skated at all six X Games featuring the behemoth ramp.
For the last two years, fellow North County skaters Jake Brown and Bob Burnquist, both in their 30s, have won the gold and silver medal, respectively, with Lorifice earning the bronze in Big Air.
Last weekend, Burnquist also grabbed his second gold medal in the Big Air Rail Jam — another dimension of Big Air in which skaters focus their tricks onto a metal rail that is placed over the gap of the MegaRamp. The event debuted at the 2009 X Games.
Lorifice landed a backside lip slide at this year’s X Games Big Air Rail Jam for a score of 82.66 to take second place. Elliot Sloan of New York City took the bronze.
“It’s great to see guys like Rob Lorifice who are young but they have style,” said skateboard legend Christian Hosoi, who judged the recent Big Air events. “He’s doing manly tricks but making it look sweet and graceful, and I think that’s what Rob has got over a lot of the others.”
Hosoi isn’t the only professional who has noticed Lorifice’s smooth style. Since getting his first skateboard at age 6, Lorifice has been fixture at Encinitas’ Magdalena Ecke YMCA skatepark, where he grew up skating with some of the sport’s best, including Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald.
“I got into it because everyone I’d seen skating in videos and magazines was there skating,” Lorifice said. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without those guys, because they helped me learn lots of tricks.”
MacDonald, of San Diego, remembers filming an instructional video at the Encinitas YMCA in which he enlisted a young Lorifice to help him demonstrate front side airs. “It’s cool to see how far he’s come,” said MacDonald, who garnered two medals at X Games 16 bring his career total to 21.
Several years later, in 2003, Lorifice joined the ranks of only a handful of skateboarders in the world, including Big Air pioneer Danny Way, dedicated to pushing the limits of what can be done on a MegaRamp.
“I remember the first year or two Danny Way was the only one doing the 70-foot gap,” Lorifice said. “Now it’s to the point where everyone is doing hard tricks over the 70-foot gap. Basically, you’re not going to get anywhere close to the top three if you’re not doing an 18- to 20-foot 540.”