Aug. 6, 2007 — -- It was the wipeout heard 'round the world, making hearts stop from America to Australia: Professional skateboarder Jake Brown cheated death at the X Games in Los Angeles.
Wipeout is almost an understatement. What happened to this guy was an epic, violent crash landing that had to be seen to be believed.
"I knew I was in big trouble, but I thought I'd survive it," Brown told "Good Morning America" this morning.
Brown, who is currently recovering in a Los Angeles hospital, says he feels like he survived a plane crash.
He suffered a hairline fracture on a vertebra, a bruised liver and some internal bleeding. Despite all he's been through, he plans to get back on a skateboard, hopefully as early as next week.
"It's how I make a living," he said. "I'm not scared at all."
After successfully completing two 360-degree turns in midair — the first time that's ever been done in competition — the daredevil skateboarder went hurtling into the air, out of control, before free-falling about 45 feet to the ground.
"I wasn't really as in control as I would have liked to have been — where I reached close to the top of the lift on the quarter pipe. From there it all went wrong. I got pitched to the flat," Brown said.
Brown said that time went slower as he was falling and he had a chance to "plan" his fall. He pedaled his legs furiously in the air "to keep his head above water" and turned at the last minute, hoping to hit feet first, then backside.
"I had a few seconds to actually contemplate how I was going to fall. I think I chose the best way to fall," Brown said. "I tried to break my fall with my feet, just went straight to the rest of my body like a commando roll."
What may have saved him was how he landed, with his feet breaking his fall.
After a few minutes on the ground, unconscious, the 32-year-old Australian miraculously awoke.
His fellow competitors said they were in shock and didn't know what to think.
"I'm dumbfounded," X Games competitor Bob Burnquist said. "The slam was so ugly — you see it over and over in your head."
Brown stood up and walked off the ramp.
The announcer was flabbergasted.
"That was about as far as you can fall," the announcer said. "He slammed as hard as anyone I've ever seen slam."
The X Games are known for high-flying stunts,and Jake Brown is one of skateboarding's best. He's starred in skateboarding videos and competed in events across the world, but no one had ever seen a fall like this.
"That was the gnarliest slam I ever saw in my life," said Pierre-Luc Gagnon, another X Games competitor.
Brown said watching the video isn't painful for him. "I can actually learn from it," he said.