Canadian Pierre-Luc Gagnon rules the halfpipe at Maloof Money Cup

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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COSTA MESA, Calif. - With US$75,000 and a tricked-up SUV on the line, Pierre-Luc Gagnon flew through and above the halfpipe better than everyone else, including "The Flying Tomato" himself, Shaun White.
Gagnon, a Montreal native, won the pro vert competition Sunday at the inaugural Maloof Money Cup on Sunday. The skateboarding championships are sponsored by Joe and Gavin Maloof, the brothers who own the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
Gagnon came out ahead following an action-packed, 45-minute jam session during which Brazilian Sandro Dias landed a 900-degree jump with less than a minute left and Bucky Lasek stuck a 720-degree turn he'd never landed before in nearly 20 years of competing.
White, the snowboarding gold medallist at the Turin Olympics and a gold medallist in the Summer and Winter X Games, had some solid runs and some equally wild wipeouts.
Gagnon, though, made off with the top prize after the 10-man final on a halfpipe set up next to the street course at the Orange County Fair.
"I've never made this much money off one contest. It's amazing," said Gagnon, who now lives in Carlsbad, the same San Diego suburb where White lives. "This is the best contest ever."
His previous best payday was at the 2005 X Games when he made $66,000 for a first and a second.
The biggest payday in skateboarding history came Sunday night when Paul Rodriguez, the son of the comedian of the same name, won the street competition and $100,000. He beat 13-year-old Nyjah Huston, who earned $40,000, plus another $5,000 for best trick. Others competing in street included Ryan Sheckler and Jake Duncombe. Rob Dyrdek, star of MTV's "Rob and Big," had been entered in the street competition but gave up his spot to another skater.
The Maloofs want this to become the World Series of skateboarding. They've attracted many of the world's top skateboarders by putting up nearly $500,000 in cash and prizes.
"It was a tremendous success," Joe Maloof said. "A lot of people doubted us. I turned it over to the skaters and let them design the course and the format. I'm so excited. I've never been so happy."

Organizations: NBA, Sacramento Kings, Orange County Fair

Geographic location: COSTA MESA, Calif., Montreal, Carlsbad San Diego

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