Kona's 30th Year Anniversary
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 by Rob Meronek
Kona's 30th Year AnniversaryWords by Ryan Clements
Photos by Jorge Angel, Jake Schrickling, and Jonathon Mann
Captions by Jorge Angel and Ryan Clements
Met the boys, iced down the drinks, and it was a 9am departure from Skatepark of Tampa. We were straight off to Jacksonville for Kona’s 30-Year Anniversary, but we made a quick pit stop in Orlando.
OrlandoFirst we hit the mini-ramp at USS on I-Drive. I think that the guy working was hung-over and certainly over us because he was a bit hesitant to let us skate. Not much convincing was really needed, but I could tell that he wasn’t feeling it. So I would like to take this time out to say ‘thanks’ for putting up with us.
From there we drove a couple of miles down the road to Vans Skate Park. I can never really get over the mall atmosphere of that place. The NO SKATEBOARDING signs out front don’t make me feel so welcome either. But upon our entrance we were taken care of very nicely by the manager Jose and the young lady at the counter.
I don’t really know the rules, but we got to skate with helmets only and we even shot a bunch of pics. In the past we got scolded for busting out a camera, but we got away with it this time. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of the Street Course, so the session ensued in the pool/bowl with Giles, Levi, Jonathon (who took a helluva slam on a roll-in), and myself.
The A/C was cranking, but it didn’t help much – we were still drenched in half an hour’s time. It was off to J-ville…
JacksonvilleDue to closed bridges it was pretty difficult to get to the country’s (maybe the world’s?) oldest privately-owned skate park, but we finally made it around 5pm. There were cars parked what seemed to be everywhere, with people walking and skating in the street as we approached the site. After finding a place for the F-350 to reside, we walked up to realize that everyone was waiting to get in…and when I say “everyone” I mean like 3000 people. Marty Ramos was gracious enough to take care of us and before we knew it we were literally the only ones skating the entire park. How’s that for service?
Then the rain came. But cement parks in Florida dry up very quickly. Then the rain came again, but it dried up with just enough time to get the Tombstone Best Trick Contest handled before sundown. 6’ of vert is scary, but there were a handful of guys that were fearless enough to take on that beast. Benji Galloway showed off by doing a fs invert in flip flops and won the damn deal. Not sure what anyone else got, but Buck Smith and Mike Peterson did dual bs bonlesses. It was epic!
Immediately following the Best Trick was the Vert Demo…featuring Tony Hawk. Oh hell yeah…for real, Tony Hawk was there. I can only imagine that many of the 13-year-olds who are reading this and think that being hyped on Tony Hawk is “gay,” but I happen to be a big fan of the Birdman.
Also present were some other living legends such as Mike McGill, who threw down a McTwist, and Christian Hosoi who was out with an injury. Adam Taylor, Sergie Ventura, and a few others rounded out the Demo squad.
Good times and thanks goes out to Kona for the amazing hospitality we were shown. Congratulations on 30 years and we’ll see you in 30 more!
Atlantic BeachWe booked out of there and made it to our hotel. Just by chance the coolest bar in town happened to be across the street – Landshark. They had cheap beers, hot wings, good music, and skateboards on the walls. How come we don’t have one of those in Tampa?
The morning came early, but we were on a mission. The Official Body Surfing Championships of the World were once again on and I, Ryan Clements, once again took the title. Any challengers?
Starbucks was next, where we were pleased to find that Matt Giles got the cover of the Metro section with a fs layback rock that he didn’t even land! Ha. How about that? I know that locals of J-ville are cursing us for that one.
Next we met Mike Peterson, BC, and Pete Kelly at the Atlantic Beach Skate Park for a quickie. That place was built by Grindline (or possibly Dreamland…can’t recall) and is SUPER gnar. Just the type of place that Rob would really, really hate…vert and pool coping everywhere.
Peterson showed us how to skate that place, but too bad Jorge raged too hard the night before and had to catch up on sleep while we were skating, or else we’d possibly have some pics to share with you.
All good things come to an end and we had to book it back to Tampa. We had to say goodbye to the weekend and yet another amazing skate trip. Thanks to all of our friends in Jacksonville that we got to hang with…your hospitality was greatly appreciated. Until next time…