I would like to attend the Ditch Slap this year if it is all possible and represent the strength of kebbek there!
The King of Kona took place this past weekend. We actually covered the contest back in 1999 when I co-published International Longboarder. In fact, it was billed as the first ever longboard contest held at a skatepark. It took place in January of 1999.
Despite the fact Kona has been on my radar for decades, it’s taken quite a while for me to actually to the park.
I first became aware of the Kona Skatepark back when it was featured in SkateBoarder Magazine in 1977. That’s almost four decades ago. Thanks to the incredible efforts of the Ramos family, the park is thriving into its fifth decade.
Owner Marty Ramos (the business now spans two generations) asked me to attend this year and I am so glad I went down. I spent time at Surf Expo the day before and it was truly magical to experience both a skate show and contest in the same weekend. Kona is about three hours from Orlando (where Surf Expo takes place).
We’ll be featuring a look back on the four decades of Kona in an upcoming print issue. But I wanted to give you a sense of what I experienced. In a word, Kona just oozes soul. It’s like Back to the Future…only it’s not a film…it’s real.
When you first pull up to the area, you’ll spot the Kona sign. Then you walk into the actually building and you’re gently guided back in time.
The concession stand hit me like a ton of bricks. For someone who grew up going to skateparks in the 70’s, Kona is like a marching back in time. Retro has never been more authentic. Kona is the real deal. If Hollywood wants to do a remake of the film Skateboard, they don’t have to look any further than Jacksonville!
But nothing can quite prepare you for opening up the door to the actual park. In a word, you are dazzled by what is truly a geography filled with concrete waves. The snake run is massive and fast. In fact, the overall park is massive.
Adding to the experience is the vintage oldies blasting over the stereo. I grabbed a board from my friend Joseph Friedman and prepared to step into history. Ironically enough, the board Joseph lent me was a Dogtown with Indy’s and Kryptonics – the same brands I rode back in the day. Yogi Berra once said nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. I beg to differ. Come to Kona and you’ll find yourself reeling in the years!
I could go on about how amazing the vibe was at the event. I can rave about how well the Ramos family has managed Kona over the decades. I will save most of my thoughts (and the thoughts of many others) in an upcoming issue. If you haven’t visited Kona, go…but please, don’t follow in my footsteps and take forty years to do it. Make the pilgrimage NOW.
A huge thanks to all sponsors of the event including Omen and Free Wheel company who took the title sponsorship.
Just last week I flew down to the Agenda Trade show. Lots of your favorite companies were down there and we had a great turn out to the annual lunch. A special thanks to Abec 11 and Gorilla Palms for their support.
This week it’s Surf Expo and then onto the King of Kona at Jacksonville. At the end of the month, we’ll be hitting ISPO. ISPO isn’t just big, it’s 14 Agendas! January is one of those month’s where I really wish I had a clone. This year marks my fourth year of attending ISPO. It truly is monumental. Munich is an unreal city with a great vibe.
Besides the amazing number of exhibitors at the Longboard Embassy, it’s the parties and gatherings that are absolutely incredible. Sadly, a publication ban means I can’t really discuss what happens. Actually, that last sentence is not true. But the truth is that it’s the people that make ISPO amazing. We’ll be doing a few features as we lead up to the big event. The fun starts on January 25th. Unfortunately, jet lag is going to be in full effect that day!
We’ll be sending up reports and giving you some unique insights. So keep coming back to the site!
Our January issue is coming off press and ships Friday, January 15th.
The Bayou Battle went down this past weekend, stoking out 17 competing women between the long-distance push race and a full-contact garage race. Kacey Moon impressed the spectators when she swept the podiums with first places in both the LDP and garage race winning $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean!
1. Kacey Moon
2. Amber Burgermeister
1. Kacey Moona
2. Anna O’Neill
3. Candy Dungan
The Bayou Battle female competitors stayed at BOARDLoft, a modern loft sponsored by BOARDLife to help women feel comfortable during the Battle! View 20 second MOV file of the competitors.
The majority of the women racers also competed in Open Qualifiers. Andrea Scheck, Candy Dungan, and Hannah Matetzschk qualified to race open, giving the boys a run for their money. Kacey Moon raced open too, thanks to her qualification from the LDP race.
What about artist collaborations?