OCEAN CITY – The Dew Tour has taken over the resort this week and BMX vert athlete Jamie Bestwick and skate vert athletes Bob Burnquist and Pierre-Luc Gagnon found the time to talk to The Dispatch prior to the start of the Pantech Open.
Bestwick of England has won first place in year-end Dew Cup standings for BMX vert for the last six years in a row. Bestwick rides for Team Toyota, which will host an action club Festival Village and he will be on hand Saturday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Burnquist Sunday from 1-2 p.m.
Burnquist of Brazil is a perennial favorite in the skate vert competition and has finished in the top eight of the year-end Dew Cup standings the last six years, while Gagnon of Canada took top honors in skate vert in 2010 and 2008 and is the defending overall Dew Tour champion.
Q: Have you ever been to Ocean City before?
Bestwick: You know what I haven’t. This is my first time to Ocean City, but I have been on vacation up in Rehoboth and we have driven through Ocean City a few times to get up and down the coast. I am looking forward to it, it should be really cool. If it’s like a lot of coastal towns on that side of the country, it’s going to be really great, packed full of the right people.
Burnquist: No I haven’t, this is my first time. I was talking to Bucky Lasek because his home town is Baltimore, he said when he was growing up he would come out here. I didn’t know what to expect actually and walking around its pretty vibrant, people are out and they’re having fun. It’s hot, it reminds me of Rio de Janeiro, I grew up in Brazil so I have done plenty of events on the beach but I haven’t done a Dew Tour on the beach yet, so that feels good.
Gagnon: No I have never been here before, first time to Ocean City. I have been to Baltimore many times but never been to Ocean City.
Q: How do you like being in Ocean City so far?
Bestwick: I’m not there yet, I’m still back home but I’ll get there on Wednesday. I am looking forward to it. I always like the atmosphere of action sports events being at the beach area and I think it will be a really cool vibe, and there are a lot of really great restaurants in Ocean City and I’m looking forward to trying it out.
Burnquist: I’ve been here only two days, it’s kind of like a hotel venue, but you know at least the walk is nice. A lot of other places are little further out, you have to get in the car and then go into a closed stadium and then back to the hotel so you really don’t see much of the town. Here because we’re somewhat close I can just walk here and walk back so I get to really take in the town a little bit. It’s cool, I like it so far.
Gagnon: Yeah, it’s a great change. It’s pretty cool to be outside on the beach hopefully the weather stays nice and there’s not too much wind for us to skate.
Q: What do you plan on doing while you’re here outside of the tour?
Bestwick: I’m sure I will be getting up to something while I’m out at the event, and usually the Toyota crew has kind of a big get together at the first event because we are all down at the action sports hub doing autograph signings during the day and having fun with all the people that come to Festival Village, but then they usually have a really cool night time event that’s just for the athletes and all the guys that work there and I’m sure it will be something fun. I know last year it was pretty good.
Burnquist: I’m not a club guy, I’m not really a drinker, I just kind of like to do my thing, I’m focused on the event. I have a hurt shoulder right now, it’s dislocating really easily so all I’m doing is hanging out with my medical friends there at the medical tent and back at the ramp. Beach time I would love, I did bring my fins. I am probably going to go out, maybe I will wake up early tomorrow and go for a swim.
Gagnon: I’m not sure, I am definitely going to walk on the Boardwalk and get some good food and try to focus on skating, I don’t want to be on my feet too much.
Q: Ocean City is a new stop for the Dew Tour, how did you feel when you heard the tour was stopping here?
Bestwick: I think it’s really cool that we’re coming to Ocean City. Having a surf community already established down there and then bringing BMX and skateboarding events to Ocean City, I think it’s going to be a really big hype. We got all of the world’s best athletes showing up and the competitions courses have been built not like anything we have done in the past, so I think as it stands for the first event of the year Ocean City is looking like it’s going to be pretty much off the charts. The first stop is always renown for the big fireworks and all the big names coming out putting the best rides in so I’m looking forward to having a great weekend.
Burnquist: I confess I was a bit ignorant about where and what to expect. I’m sure a lot of the other guys knew what we were up to, I didn’t know what to expect, I knew we were going to be on the beach but to be honest with I didn’t think it was going to be a beach venue, and I got so many events I go from one to the other, and when I get on the plane I’m like ok where am I going? I was pleasantly surprised that this was a beach venue and the town is the way it is.
Gagnon: It was pretty cool. It’s a city I have never been too so it’s always great to hear you get to visit a city you never been too. There’s some cities we have been to so many times and it’s like the same old thing and it gets kind of boring so it’s always great to hear we are going to travel to a new city.
Q: Are you going to compete in any other categories this year?
Bestwick: I’ll just be doing the BMX vert because I have to run double duty at the event and I also do the color commentary for NBC at the BMX Park. Between dividing my time between NBC TV and competing in BMX vert, I’ll be down at the action hub with Toyota signing autographs and getting up to all kinds of fun and games, so it should be pretty busy weekend for me.
Burnquist: I am competing on vert for sure. The X games is next weekend, I skate in two different events, and big air mega ramp is one of the main ones that I focus on so I am really tip toeing around here, and I am going to find my main focus.
Gagnon: I might be doing the bowl contest but I’m not sure.
Q: How are you feeling about the competition this year, are you expecting to come in first place again?
Bestwick: I don’t have much expectations coming into the first event. It would be great to win this weekend. It’s always a bonus when you can win at a brand new stop. I’m sure like the rest of the guys I am going to be trying to get into that first place spot too, but I got some tricks up my sleeve and I’ll see how I do on Sunday afternoon when BMX vert is the big finale.
Burnquist: I don’t like showing up to not do anything, but my shoulder was giving me some worries. I have skated the last few days and even though it hurts I have a pretty good brace and it’s been keeping my arm together, so it’s been working and I came up just this morning with a pretty good line that I feel confident and comfortable with, so I am going to focus on that. I feel good.
Gagnon: Feeling good. Shaun White is doing really well, Bucky Lasek, Bob Burnquist, all those guys are doing well. I got to keep my game up and hopefully keep the title.
Q: The surfing portion of the tour is new this year, are you looking forward to that?
Bestwick: It should be fun. Any time you can relax on the beach and watch the surfers compete head to head is always a good time. I think by introducing it to the first stop of the Dew Tour adds an element that comes hand in hand with the event. It’s great that the Dew Tour has been a great success and has added it to this stop and it’s a unique stop. I can’t see the same thing happening in Portland [Oregon], they don’t seem to have too many waves in downtown Portland. I think it just adds that extra wow factor to the competition.
Burnquist: I don’t know if the schedule allows, but I know I would love to check it out, I love to surf. It is something I have been doing for a long time and I enjoy it and to be able to see it at the Dew Tour is great. The one thing with surfing, its different then the skating venue is already in place we kind of got to hope for good waves for the guys to really showcase what they know. Hopefully some good waves are coming their way and I hope to check it out.
Gagnon: I didn’t know there was surfing, that’s cool hopefully the waves are good. I will be checking it out for sure.
Q: Will you return to Ocean City in the future, maybe for vacation next time?
Bestwick: Yeah, I think so. It’s only five hours from me [currently resides in Pennsylvania] so it’s really no big trip down there. Like I said, I’ve always been up to Rehoboth so maybe next time we’ll stop in Ocean City, especially after this weekend. If it is a great place to come and hang out, I’m sure I will be coming back for more.
Burnquist: Now that I know what Ocean City is like, I will most definitely come through. It feels like a great place to come out. I am working this weekend, even though my work is skateboarding there is schedules, interviews and practice times, and I have to rest so I don’t really get to enjoy Ocean City and I’m sure there is plenty to see that will give me something to do next time.
Gagnon: I would love to come back to Ocean City. I live on the west coast right now, but the beach cities on the East Coast are really fun to go to and where the Boardwalk is pretty awesome. I would love to come back when there’s no skating going on and won’t be so focused on competing.