WORDS & PHOTOS Steve Kong
Once again, hundreds of skateboarders swarmed the hallowed acreage of earth that resides in the neighborhood of Arlington in Jacksonville, Florida for an event known as The King of Kona. This event
takes place in the legendary Kona Skatepark, which contains a sprawl of features and obstacles made to challenge skateboarders from all walks and all skill levels. Kona Skatepark is one of America’s oldest skateparks in the world and I had the pleasure of escaping our brutal northeast winter to take a trip down south with a couple of local northeast homies. . .
King of Kona, 2015 Official Video Recap:
Or so I thought. . . When we arrived in Jacksonville, it was a brisk 46 degrees. That’s nothing to cry about in NY, but I was underdressed and only brought a few sweaters and tanktops expecting warmth and sunshine. That’s okay though, because we skateboarders like to set shit on fire!
The first night we arrived was a mellow night as we were all tuckered out from our drive, so we set up our tents, passed out, and prepared for the first day of King of Kona. In the morning, a very confused and half asleep
me, woke up to a loudspeaker welcoming us all to Kona Skatepark. The voice was that of Martin Ramos (known fondly as “Marty”), owner of Kona Skatepark. He invited everyone to start the day in the Kona pro shop with some coffee and sugar, which was much appreciated.
Before the event officially began, there was a riders meeting. Cameron went over safety, rules of the park, and of course, the rules on how to become the King of Kona. The rules were simple: complete
a list of challenges that you had to either perform in front of a judge, or provide video proof of completing that challenge. The hard part was actually doing them! Challenges ranged from doing a three trick line to getting a bad haircut from Katie Nielson. The energy was high and there was MUCH shredding to be had!
When the sun went down at Kona, all hell seemed to break loose. From a Taco winning a boxing match to Kai Salam blowing fire with cheap booze, the nights at Kona were wild. That’s just what happens when you get a bunch of rowdy skateboarders in one place.
On the third day I witnessed some of the most incredible skateboarding I’ve ever seen. The bowl was destroyed by some extremely skilled shredders. I was especially blown away by the grom contest… and maybe a little jealous of their talents. Immediately after that jam, everyone scrambled to the Kona’s legendary Tombstone for a best trick contest. It was ridiculous!
The event was nearing an end and it was soon time to crown the new King of Kona. One of the final challenges was to be issued by the previous king, Dave Helmer. It was shotgunnin’ 5 beers, in 5 minutes. No easy task, but Tom Weiss powered through and got it done.
So that’s a wrap! 72 hours of pure skateboarding over and gone and Tom Weiss seals the deal and ultimately crowned this years 2015 King of Kona!
I’d like to thank Cameron Frazier for organizing this amazing event and Martin Ramos for his bighearted hospitality! Also, a big shout out to all the event supporters and staff. See ya next year!