Danny Way and the Gift of Fear
Credit: Photograph by Hugh Kretschmer
Project Lee-Way
Some of the rumors hewed pretty close to the truth. Way did go to Germany – not to have surgery, but rather an experimental treatment where doctors inject bone marrow into the joints to rejuvenate them; it worked. And he had been considering a stunt that involved skating down the Luxor in Vegas, and he had been doing a lot of street skating, but he put everything on the back burner to train for X Games 16, which could be the defining moment in his career. He wants to build an ecologically sound skate facility in Hawaii, but that's a ways off. Right now he's concentrating on erecting a MegaRamp with a foam pit at the Woodward West Skate Camp in California. The foam pit will help him practice his top-secret new trick, but more important, the Mega at Woodward West will make Big Air skating available to anyone who goes to the camp. It will democratize the genre of skating that has, in Way's opinion, been too exclusive. He wants kids who spend afternoons at small municipal skate parks to envision themselves on the Mega, and he wants to hit upon a Mega design that skate parks around the country will adopt.

Since his marriage ended in 2009, he and his ex-wife have been negotiating how to raise their three kids in two different houses. There were rough patches, but they're in the past. Way says, "Everything is chill. No one's right and no one's wrong. We're great friends on different paths, except with the kids. We're walking with them, together."

As for the rumors about him being strung out and jet-setting with Tommy Lee, Way laughs. "I am friends with Tommy, and I've been in his plane, but he's sober and laid-back. Partying wouldn't complement my life right now. What we usually talk about is our kids and our new band. He's a really wise, spiritual dude."

"He's got some stubborn bull in him," Lee says. "We keep each other going in the right direction. I'm on the Danny Way program and he's on the Tommy Lee one. It's all positive. We should brand it, call it 'Lee-Way.'"

Way tells me that the documentary is back on track, slated to hit theaters in early 2011, and he says he thinks he can take X Games gold in both Big Air and Rail Jam this year, if he can avoid injury. Just as the conversation seems to be wrapping up, he says, "If I tell you the trick I'm working on for X, do you have to print it? Can I just tell you for your own information?"

He sounds keyed up and nervous, like a kid with a secret. Then I realize it: He's not just worried that I'll spill the secret to the world; he's worried that I won't be impressed, worried that what he's trying to do won't be enough.

"We can go off the record," I say.

"Cool," he says.

Then he tells me. I ask him to repeat himself because I'm sure I've misheard him. I haven't. And he's right; everything he's done before seems like a warm-up, a throat-clearing.

"Is that really possible?" I ask.

"I'm optimistic," he says.

And then our connection drops. The line goes dead. When I call back, I'm dumped to his voice mail. His outgoing message is addressed to his sons: "Ryden and Tavin, leave a message and Daddy will call you back. Okay, I love you guys. Later."