Kona the King in 2015!

[caption id="attachment_51" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Kona is King! Kona is King![/caption]
  Have you ever wanted to see where one of the people you grew up watching in videos and looking at in magazines grew up? Ever since I watched Rodney Mullen do a “Casper Slide to Primo to 360 out”, I wanted to emulate his style. I am nowhere near as good as him, nor do I partake in that type of skating anymore but, going to one of the oldest parks in the United States is on my bucket list of things to do. It isn’t that far away. It isn’t a Carlsbad or a Venice Beach but, this mass of concrete is the “King of Parks.” The anticipation is growing as the event grows nearer and nearer. I can feel it, it happens every time. These jitters are different though, not the pre run jitters you get right before you start down a mountain, not the butterflies you get when you do that first drop in but, the warm feeling you get when you know you are about to visit one of the “Most Iconic Skate Parks in the World!”  
The drive down was far from eventful, the cops and salty cars from up north are just not that exciting to me. As I get further down, I can feel it more and more though. The anticipation, the overwhelming excitement. We enter Jacksonville, three Monsters deep and no sleep at all the night before. I’m running on fumes but I am skating this wave regardless. Last turn, The Sign, The Pro Shop, I see a few have already made it and are setting up tents. We have arrived at Kona! All waivered up, I take the family for a walk around the park. My son’s huffing and puffing confirms to me that he is the happiest little guy in the park right now, second to me of course. This place is amazing. The Jay Bowl, The Snake Run, The Fourteen Plus Foot Vert, The Mogul, The Tombstone and The Street Course! There is absolutely nothing in this park that isn’t skatable. So, I take the family to where I will be staying for the next four days, besides the park that is. I come back around nine o’clock. A considerable amount of people are here now. I take myself over to the street course. I’m not really a street skater but the discipline interests me. Throwing yourself down a flight of stairs is pretty gnarly. This one skater caught my eye with what had to be one of the steeziest Nose Blunts I have ever seen. If you know me, I start filming! A couple lines later and I’m beat but not before I see the Mini. I walk over to some dude skating in a Speedo, it is probably at most thirty five degrees outside at that moment but, had to get a couple of clips.
[caption id="attachment_49" align="alignleft" width="300"]OneoftheTenneybrosridinghisboardswitchdownthesnake One of the Tenney bros riding his board switch down the snake.[/caption]   Next day, it seems the crowd had grown ten fold. Spectators and Skaters are all over the park. Qualifications for the Snake run races are today. The Snake Run has some of the smoothest and also the jankiest pavement you have ever skated, all in one. I take some practice runs down this serpent of concrete, only to crash out into the center of the run. Laughing, I get back on my board and finish. I run back up to the top and throw my body into it once more. The short but exhilarating run only takes about twelve seconds for an average skater to make it down. Some people are killing that and pulling some elevens out. Second run, I pull a thirteen, given I haven’t ever skated anything like this before, I’m ok with it.      
After Qualifications, there is all kinds of craziness going on. The competition consists of a list of challenges to be done for points. Some of those things include : Getting a bad hair cut, Dropping into the Tombstone, competing in an event switch, Wearing a helmet from sun up to sun down. Things of that nature, So later during the competition you see people with horseshoe haircuts and people bailing down the 18 foot, 6 foot of vert Monstrosity they call the “Tombstone”.
[caption id="attachment_50" align="alignnone" width="300"]KonaDropIn Will Royce about to break in the Tombstone.[/caption]        
 I didn’t stay for the camping, having my son and fiancée aboard for the ride, I didn’t even want to ask. I didn’t have to camp to see the craziness that was going on after hours, thanks to social media. I seen videos of the debauchery on Instagram and Facebook, People shooting fireworks at each other, late night boxing matches, and unassisted Kegstands. I have done my share of partying in my younger years. I need my rest nowadays. I will drink some scotch and brews to numb my muscles at my families house.
  [caption id="attachment_47" align="alignleft" width="300"]AlexManningRichieKessliRobinCuttenMattClarkeampsiteshenanigans Alex Manning, Richie Kessli, Robin Cutten and Matt Clarke with the campsite shenanigans.[/caption]   Day two, more qualifications and a bowl competition going on today. Now, these bowl shredders get my attention one hundred percent. I will be filming more today, than anything else. These guys throw down in a way I have always admired. Something about shooting your body above the coping is just crazy to me. One skater has decided that this will be his switch challenge. He is determined to drop in switch and pump around. Thirty seconds into his session, he lands it, crowd cheering him on. This is a great example of the comradery that is “Skateboarding”. At this time is when Mother Nature is starting to get frustrated. Sprinkles here and there. The cold winds blowing, My son has had it for the day. He is tired, My fiancée is frustrated and I am so sore from skating around all day. My legs feel like they have been hit with baseball bats multiple times. We head to the beach, A short time later, we arrive at the Jacksonville Beach pier. About an hour later, I have to check out some local skate shops. My feet are sore and my shoes are tattered. I need new kicks. Seventy dollars later, shiny new foot savers. Third day is race day. So, I didn’t qualify but that doesn’t discourage me from skating anymore. Until the races start, I am going to skate until I get my time down more and more. By the time the races start, I have cut my time by one second. I am a happy skater today and hearing the announcer say “Respectable time”. I will rest on that.
[caption id="attachment_48" align="alignnone" width="474"]Cameron Frazier giving the safety meeting talk for the competition. Cameron Frazier giving the safety meeting talk for the competition.[/caption]        
“Racers to the Roll-in” It’s about to start. I have to get a good vantage point for some footage. I didn’t figure that the races would be too tight but, these guys had some of the tightest finishes I have seen lately. Neck and neck, two at a time they come down the snake. I’m snapping pictures at a constant rate. Some of the finishes were so close that both competitors wanted a mulligan on the run. Still, so close to each other. They both vow for a “Best of Three”. Now, both of these skaters are Jacksonville natives. The run is pretty much dominated by them. By the End, I am once again beat from skating all day. This trip has wore me out but, so much fun was had. Some great skaters of all disciplines have been met. Many videos and great pictures have been snapped. Hopefully, I will not ever forget, nor do I hope this park has any of the problems it has had in the past so, it can be enjoyed by many more generations to come. Thirty seven years, The park has been here. Through the rough and the tough times, one family has kept this park open for the enjoyment of skating. ChutingStar Video