At 12 years old, Tom Schaar is young even by X Games standards, but the skateboarding wunderkind has more than proven that he belongs with the sport’s big names.
In March, Schaar became the first skater ever to land a 1080—and if you don’t feel like doing the math, that’s three full revolutions, on the skateboard, in the air. Schaar’s success set a new target for skateboarding stars: adding still another half-revolution to reach a 1260.
For the youngster’s X Games debut tonight, though, he’d be better off staying far away from that physics-defying stunt.
In the first place, he’s making his first appearance on a very big stage. He’s facing more than enough pressure to succeed without adding in a trick that he’s never landed before.
Of course, it’s not just that Schaar hasn’t pulled off a 1260—he hasn’t even been working on it. As his father, Nick, observed to ESPN, Tom is likely to push for a 1260 in the future, but not until he’s a little more experienced and has added some extra muscle.
In theory, he could have been working on a 1260 for tonight’s competition while keeping it quiet, but that’s hard to imagine in real life. As soon as he landed the 1080, Schaar became a celebrity, and something would have leaked if he had been preparing an even more astonishing trick in the three months since.
Trying a maneuver in competition that no one has ever landed takes guts, but would hardly be unheard of at the X Games. Trying such a maneuver without practicing for it would be pointless.
Then, there’s the simplest reason for Schaar not to go for a 1260 in this competition: he doesn’t need it. Just hitting the 1080, which he’s now done several times, will give him a trick that no one else is likely to match, much less beat.
For his first time on national TV, Schaar should stick with what he knows. After all, that should be more than enough to take home X Games gold.