This Daytona Freeride was yet another killer trip and way to kick off the new season. I landed Thursday morning in Daytona Beach around 11am and was picked up 1 bag short by Freestyler Michael Petro. Delta had been so kind to leave my personal bag full of my gear and essentials during my layover through Atlanta. Fortunately, they fixed their mistake and had it on the next flight and hand delivered to my hotel room within 6 hours. I cruised up and down the beach Thursday re uniting with old friends and meeting a few new friends as I walked along the beach. I only had my helmet and board shorts so I wasn’t too stoked to jump on any skis without shoes and gear. My friend Scott Stevens threw some large gear on me and got me to ride his modified round nose Superjet with a widened bond line, lowered tray, and minus 2 inches off the hull. That ski handled amazing, it was a bummer having only 1 foot waves to test it on. This was a great little ride to shake out the rust from not riding in a little over 2 ½ months.
That night everyone came together as later flights touched down and people drove in. I met up with Kyla and Ryan of Liquid Militia Clothing, and my hotel room mates DJ and Natalie Graham, Chris Anyzeski, Kevin Colins of LegDrag, and many more. We all ended up crashing Kyla and Ryan’s hotel room as friends would come in and out, some familiar and some new faces. I would then find myself harassing some of the drunkards on the 3rd floor balcony of the hotel with my RC helicopter which was really fun. It escalated to a helicopter dog fight when my friend Drew Supon brought his RC helicopter to the party. I got too blood thirsty after the first take down of his chopper and ended up loosing control and braking some parts on mine ending the dog fight permanently.
On Friday I decided to change gears of my Daytona freeride experience a bit since my recent participation in the flat water freestyle scene. I got myself a ride and spent the day at local Lake Diaz for “Flat Water Friday”. There had to have been well over $160,000 in full blown top dollar freestyle skis along the lake side. Freestyle riders from all over would ride all the different brand and styles throwing down the baddest flat water tricks and then going huge off the periodical double boat wake sessions. I got to ride quite a few skis, and the one I had the most fun on was amateur freestyler Daniel Martin’s brand new X-Metal KDX 900. This ski was hands down the most powerful 900cc power plant I have ever ridden so far. Flat water back flips were as simple as pulling the trim and throttle and screaming, “WeeeEEEE!!!” all the way around. That night I went out to dinner with the New York Crew at the Crazy Horse restaurant which was full of laughs as always. We then waddled over to Dimitri’s Greek restaurant where I ran into familiar new arrivals like Mike and Arno of Hydro-Turf and many other friends. It was all fun and games until someone (as in me) got iced… Thanks Liquid Militia and Team Xtreme ya bastards!
On Saturday I finished up the final touches on the Yamaha superjet Kevin Colins of Legdrag brought back for me to ride and was the 3rd person on the water. The year before, I had brought my own shortened handlepole and steering system making the superjet very familiar and comfortable for me to adapt to. Kevin did his best, but was only able to find a stock length pole which after 30 minutes of riding left me very frustrated as I could not get back into the saddle of control and comfort in my riding. I brought the Superjet in and was given permission to ride my friend Scott Stevens Red Trinity Matrix ski. This is the Matrix that I had rode the year before that helped me choose what hull I would use.
After 10 minutes of riding his Matrix, I felt completely back in control and in my groove. I was able to ride fast and technical, slash lips faster without pearling, and over all I just felt unstoppable. I ended up loving this ski so much, I rode it all day! I also took it to the line of the Motosurf race where I raced it in the open ski class. Having an X-Scream 865cc engine with a 148 Magnum pump and short ride plate, it was fast as hell yet it was not the most ideal race set up. The hull handled extremely well, except for when I would jump waves all the power behind the ski would make it want to jump back up nose high. Scott and I tried to modify the ski with a longer ride plate which helped but still wasn’t quite enough to balance the power in the water. I believe I ended up 4th place and 5th place in the two motos.
Between the two races I rode in the sickest trick contest. Pro Freerider Taylor Curtis blew everyone’s mind on his Rickter XF-R when he stomped a back flip re-entry also known as an under flip re-entry. I was up next after him with two minutes to stomp something more amazing than an under flip re entry with crap for waves. I managed to get 3rd place for either the No handed barrel roll I threw, or the 2 rail grab re entries I did.
Booster Nugget, the 2011 15 year old amateur freeride champion Christian Young, took 2nd place with a solid look back surf stance barrel roll and back flip. Everyone packed up their skis and head up to the tower of power hosted by promoter Mikey Young for the awards and raffle. It was there where I received my 3rd place trophy and bought $40 in raffle tickets only to come out with nothing which was a big bummer. That night the shenanigans rolled on to club 509 where I hung out with Pro Australian Freerider Nick Barton. I decided to drink with an Aussie, so let’s just say the night ended in a bit of a blur.
Sunday morning got off to a late start after some much needed sleep and a quick pack to get my stuff out of the room we had to check out of. With most people leaving to get back home for their work week, the amount of available skis dropped considerably, including Scott’s Matrix and the Superjet Kevin brought. I ended up getting in the water mid day and rode some awesome skis though! I got to test out Nick Barton’s Australian built Krash hull which was rad. I also got to ride the Blowsion built Light Weight hull from Germany. I rode the Light Weight ski over to the far end of the beach to help the Blowsion crew and Photographer Ronny Mac set up the ski for a Pro Rider Magazine cover shoot, with a great looking swimsuit model. The last ski I got to ride was Mark from Rad Dudes completely gnarly and unique fixed steer Rickter FR-2.
That night I went out to dinner with Liquid Militia, freeride founder Nick Foederer, Hydro-turf, Jeff Bolte and a few other good friends. After a killer dinner we went down stairs to check out an mind blowing live band. Monday morning Kyla and Ryan took off to Orlando and I got a ride to Melbourne with Ronny Mac to meet up with Bobby Howering of Trinity composites, builder of the Matrix hull. Bobby and I got to Iron out the details of my new hull build featured in my last blog post. I spent the night at my local buddy Bronson Dafoe’s house and was conveniently transported back to Daytona by his fiancée Ashley who works at the Daytona speed way a block away.
This trip was yet another awesome freeride to be a part of. I was so happy to be able to ride so much and connect with so many good people.
Here is the link to my 2012 Daytona Gallery, which will have more photos as they become available. http://markgomez.net/photos/daytona-beach-freeride-2012
I look forward to my next adventure of 2012 destination: Argentina. More to come soon!