Skateboard Vert 2016: Pierre-Luc Gagnon
PLG: Still on top
Pierre-Luc Gagnon is one of the best vert skaters in history, as his 21 X Games medals attests. His prowess on the ramp can be partially attributed to his "control freak" attitude and strong work ethic. He owns 9 X Games gold and perhaps the best board control of any skater in the field. He's one of the world's most technical riders, and he combines those skills with good amplitude. PLG was slowed by injured hip muscles in 2014 but remains in great shape, thanks to a great rehab and core workout program.
Sessions at Bucky Lasek's bowl can get very serious, very quickly. PLG adjusts with ease to the huge bowl and can make any trick, including this crailslide, all while wearing novelty Lowcard sunglasses.
PLG successfully balances the technical lip trick side of vert skating with classic airs, such as this mirrored backside air in Encinitas, California.
Ultimate skate sesh
Earlier this year, PLG's board sponsor Darkstar released a series of collaboration decks with Harley-Davidson, which included a PLG pro board. And in the past year, PLG has caught the motorcycle bug. On this photo shoot, PLG called it the "ultimate skate sesh."
Hot rod slide
PLG is not just a contest skater -- he's also well versed in the underground skate jam, including the Rumble in Ramona. Here, he crailslides the back of a hot rod positioned atop a vert ramp. You won't be seeing this at X Games.
This is how PLG warms up: Lien to tail in the deep end of the Terrah Bowl.
This rail on top of the vert ramp is no joke. It's almost as tall as Pierre, and a lot could go wrong with one minor miscalculation. Of course, miscalculation and PLG are rarely heard in the same sentence, except here...
PLG's local ramp, the DC/Monster ramp, is not your normal vert ramp. From rail subs to pole jams, this vert ramp takes all elements of skating to the vert forum. On this day, it was a pole jam set into the hip, and PLG floats over it backside.
Well-timed photography courtesy of Brian Shamanski, combined with PLG's precision, leads to the re-emergence of vert doubles. Here, PLG frontside airs and nose grinds on two different hits.
" I love days like this," says photographer Brian Shamanski. "You go into it with no expectations and walk away with some killer content. This day was one of those: Switch 360 to the set-back wall."