King of Kona Is Not A Skateboard Contest
Pretty much everything you see in skate videos and photos is way gnarlier in real life, but the Kona tombstone is truly fucked up. It’s six feet of pure vertical on top of a lumpy, rough 12 foot bank with inconsistent transition to the vertical. I usually try to drop in and frontside grind on the gnarliest thing in every park I visit, but I wanted no part of this thing.
I just got back from King of Kona. It was rad.
I didn’t bring my camera gear because traveling with thousands of dollars worth of camera shit is stressful as fuck. I always have to know where it is and make sure it’s locked up so nobody can make off with the tools I use to make my living. Also, being the media guy means spending all weekend watching your friends skate and have an awesome time while worrying about whether or not you got the shot.
Billy Bones cruising the snake run.
This time I just wanted to skate, so I left the 7D at home and shot with my phone. I planned to leave my laptop at home, but I brought it in case I needed to do last-minute SkateSlate mag stuff (the photo issue goes to press soon). Everything fit in one duffel bag. It’s the lightest I’ve traveled in years.
I spend a lot of time in airports these days. The people-watching is pretty high quality and sometimes the view is kinda pretty in an industrial way.
I got in kinda late on Thursday night but the session was already going. This frontside lipslide on the barrier was tight.
Woke up super early Friday morning because it was cold as hell. I wore a shirt, down vest, fleece, and jacket inside my sleeping bag. Dudes were huddled around the campfire after sunrise, trying to warm up.
Park overview. The pool in the middle of this shot is one of the only things at Kona that isn’t terrifyingly janky.
This is the bottom corner of the snake run.
Getting my Edward Weston on. This kinda shows how lumpy and rough the snake is. 35 years of rain have not been too kind.
The J bowl is even crustier than the snake run because it has huge cracks on the wall of the bowl at the bottom. Grinding the lip of that was the only cool thing I did all weekend. Also the vert ramp is kinda wonky.
This is the roll-in for the J bowl. I didn’t fuck with it because I am a coward.
Andrew Schumacher gettin’ some late afternoon snake run action on his Paris trucks.
Friday night I started drinking early and, after a brief power-nap, wound up taking a bunch of naked snake runs with some of the Team Mids guys.
This kid was epic. He kept his snakeskin-pattern pants and knee pads on all weekend and did unassisted keg stands.
I started getting cold and wound up having a long, in-depth conversation with a stranger while dressed like Winnie the Pooh: red jacket, no pants. While that was happening, someone was stealing my rental car to go check out an amateur twerk-off. So that was Friday night.
Saturday featured an IRL B/S/T. I woke up late, went to waffle house, and got back to the skatepark just in time to eat free pizza and watch the bowl contest. I think I may have done a little bit of skating, too. Stoked.
Steve Kong poaching my shot. Beat it, nerd. Iphone photographers only.
Todd Johnson with a frontside bodyjar.
Jacob Lambert getting the shot.
Same dude, FSG on the tombstone. Watching dudes throw down on that thing was crazy.
Tom Weiss got this blunt judo thing.
Late afternoon flyness.
More snake runs.
I can’t handle 24/7 skateboard bro-down, so I decided to check out the local wildlife at one of Jacksonville’s fine homosexual watering holes, the Boot Rack saloon. Draft beers were two bucks and I knew it was my kind of joint when I saw the “ONE AT A TIME!!! NO EXCEPTIONS!!!” sign on the bathroom door. Sadly, I missed the leather social. Maybe next year. Cruised out of there at like 10 to head back to the skatepark, where shit was GOING OFF.
Snake run fireworks war. As a side note, I am not stoked on skate event fireworks battles.
Meanwhile, up on the deck…
Ben Desnyder and Schu came prepared for the fireworks battle.
Draw me like one of your French girls…
This was shot at like 3am. Everything after that is redacted.
The morning after.
I need it.
It started raining and I had to wait way too long for breakfast, but it was free so that’s rad.
Mercado and the Landyachtz dudes were all stoked to check out Stud’s Pub, the strip club right by Kona. Any place with “beauty is in the eye of the beer holder” on the sign is guaranteed to be ratchet as hell, so I skipped it and hung out at the park.
This airbrush painting is pretty righteous.
Banana board collection on point.
This is a pretty outrageously sick piece of downhill history. I’m pretty sure TVS was the first company to manufacture a drop through downhill board.
Bill Rice riding the kitchen sink in the rain. I skipped out to wash my sleeping bag and shower at the Landyachtz dudes’ hotel (crucial thanks, y’all) and missed the crowning of the King, but congratulations to Tom Weiss for going hard.
The Sunday night party was smaller, but rowdier. See y’all next year.