Downhill and Florida—words that the average skater would not think to use in the same sentence. In a state where the majority of the elevation is at sea level—some even below—most would be surprised to find a sanctioned downhill race with over 150 competitors from all over the US as well as 4 different countries. Skaters from Canada, Norway, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil were in attendance for a weekend of shredding. Contrary to what some might think, Florida’s downhill skateboarding scene is thriving and the King Of Clermont event is on its third year running.
The King of Clermont was originally an outlaw race held in 2009 with about 40 racers, all from Florida. Who knew Brent Dubendorff aka “Dubes” (Paris and Divine TM), would find reason to stop by the race and show the locals a thing or two. Not many people realize this, but Dubes is a Floridian, and was crowned the first King of Clermont.
There was no race held in 2010, but in 2011, a very ambitious Cameron Frazier and myself attempted to organize a sanctioned race and by some miracle from beyond; we received approval from the property owner, acquired insurance, and picked up enough sponsors and cash to actually run a one-day event. The event turned out to be a real success, and thus, the King of Clermont became the first sanctioned downhill event in Florida.
This year, it was decided that one day of gnar was not enough to appease the gods of Shred, so we added a second day and were thus spared the wrath of the overlord Nognar.
Day one of this year’s 2012 King Of Clermont played host to a Slide Jam, Kick the Can (aka longest standup, but with a twist), and Big Air. Day two of this year’s event consisted of the downhill competition. All the competitors were focused on running some fast heats; and wearing leathers, which was unheard of two years ago in Florida, is becoming more common. Racers were suiting up knowing that there would be some tight pack racing. The final left-hand corner of the course was where much of the action took place; there were definitely some ridiculous and numerous crashes, as well as some amazing passing action.
All in all, the event was a huge success. In the Slide Jam, Brazilian phenom Jonas Richter and Comet rider Riley lux were standouts in a very talented field. The Big Air title was captured by Brian Bishop who showed that the Original Mega Ramp might have actually helped (sorry, I had to—props to you Bishop!). Jonas Richter once again impressed everyone when he won the ‘Kick the Can’ competition by setting 5 consecutive distances that no one else could touch. In Downhill Racing, Jonas Richter would be crowned the Prince of Clermont, with Roberto Gonzales of Puerto Rico and Steven Vaughn of Florida to round out the Podium. In the Women’s division, Cordelia Welch of Miami would be crowned the Queen of Clermont, with Sara Paulshock and Jesse Dippy following to make it a Florida podium sweep. In the Open division, an action-packed final heat would reward Jose Guzman of Puerto Rico, the “King of Clermont” title, with Miami’s Jorge Garcia snaking Gullwing’s Andrew Mercado at the line for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Thanks to the Hampton Golf and Country Club at Sugarloaf Mountain (mountain in Florida?) for hosting us for the second year in a row, and thanks to Cameron Frazier and the Florida State Race League (FSRL) for putting on another sick ass event. Better start planning for 2013. . .
Here comes the list of sponsors:
Rayne Longboards, Bustin Boards, Gulf Coast Skate Shop, Divine Wheel Co., Vicious Grip Tape, Comet Skateboards, Coast Longboarding, Kelever Skateboards, Abec 11, the Ian Tillman Foundation, Bern, Gullwing Trucks, Wheelbase Magazine, Silverfish Longboarding, Vans, Monster, Surf Expo, and Caliber Truck Co.