Danny Way

Big-Air Huckster

Danny Way     Photo: Jeff Lipsky

In the four-wheeled world of skateboarding, the name Danny Way has always been synonymous with big. That's because, from the start of his pro skateboarding career, at age 14, Way has never stopped flying. The 30-year-old vert (a.k.a. halfpipe) skateboarder and father of two from Encinitas, California, made headlines in 1997 when he became the first skateboarder to jump from a helicopter onto a vert ramp—a move he aptly named the "bomb drop" and repeated two years later for MTV. In June 2003, Way set two back-to-back world records in a single jump at a mega–skate ramp in Temecula, California: First he landed a 75-foot-long backside 360 over a 40-foot gap, with the momentum carrying him into the vert pipe, where he soared to 23.5 feet of vertical. This August, he wowed audiences at the X Games in Los Angeles by breaking his own world record with a practice jump of 79 feet—and then going on to win the big-air ramp event. Needless to say, it can be messy work: In the past year, Way has received 25 stitches on his right elbow, ripped off all the skin on his stomach, and been knocked unconscious twice. But that's nothing compared with his eight surgeries—six on his left knee alone—in the past ten years. Way is just as aggressive off the ramp. In 1995, he helped his brother, Damon, and friend Ken Block start DC Shoes, a San Diego–based skateboarding-apparel company, which they sold to Quiksilver in March 2004 for $100 million. Now he has the windfall to develop his latest idea—a portable 90-foot-high, 300-foot-long ramp that, he hopes, will kick off a big-air world tour. "Trying something new can be rough," Way admits, "but once you make it happen, the possibilities are endless."

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