It was already time for the first event of the year, the Daytona Freeride!
By: Mark Gomez
After wrapping up the year of all years competitively in jet skiing after winning the IJSBA Freestyle World title, my 3rd IFWA Freeride World Title, and the Thailand Kings cup in pro freestyle World Championship in December. It was already time for the first event of the year, the Daytona Freeride!
On the surface (facebook/Instagram) It seemed to be under control and moving along as normal. In reality, I'm working every day spread pretty thin to accomplish a lot of goals to catch up from 2017 and most of all put down anchors on 2018 opportunities. I've become really hands on in a lot of different areas for sponsorship, events, and pushing forward the start of a new summer job, I'm extremely excited to announce once signed official.
Rolling into Daytona on a flight was no big deal, just another sleepless night working on a job presentation until 4am to catching a flight at 8am then teleport-ed to Orlando and driving to Daytona, getting there around 8pm. I got to see some friends for dinner including Ronny mac, Paul Lehr, the main man Nick Foederer, and a few new faces who were really cool.
I laid low Thursday in my hotel room working on my task since the TC freeride trailer hadn't arrived yet in which it also had my riding gear so I couldn't ride even if i wanted to. My Macbook took a crap in the early afternoon which wasn't ideal so i wrapped things up on my phone and took off to go catch up with friends.
Gomez Setting up the Hydro Turf Gear with Jet Maniac at the Daytona Freeride 2018
Mark Gomez and Girlfriend Kaley meet up on the Daytona Beach
Friday morning we unloaded the TC Freeride trailer and I got to work delivering over 60 sheets of Hydro-Turf product to JetManiac, then set up banners and Bow flags around the event site.
Surf at this point had got a little rough and inconsistent with the wind pushing sideways along the beach, I was stoked to ride regardless.
So stoked that within the first 10 minutes of riding I got a little carried away on an inside set re-entry to bad landing and felt my back ankle crunch when it got strained a way it shouldn't have. That really sucked as I tried to ride through it for 10 more minutes. My girlfriend Kaley had flown in and was at our hotel room. I got upstairs to ice and elevate the ankle then ended up falling asleep while doing so. I woke up a few hours later charged back up and my ankle feeling a little better.
Fortunately, word got out among my friends about my injury and a Ankle brace was made available by an east coast rider Mike Depalma (Thanks dude!) That Ankle brace really made a huge difference since the sprain wasn't my worst but jetskis torque around fast in the surf so it was difficult to feel confident again until I got that put on. Feeling good again I took to it and had a good time despite the cruddy conditions riding with people from all over.
Dinner with friends
Saturday was an early morning to get out and enjoy some clean but small surf to surf ride. It was really difficult to jump the way I wanted to because of how quick the waves stood up and broke, but I was able to find a few clean surf lines to put some surfing combinations together that was really fun.
Getting to ride with everyone all day was the best because you get to see so many different styles and see people send some good and not so good moves that always keep it interesting.
Saturday afternoon we carried on with a low key freeride showdown that morphed from sickest trick to best overall run, it was fun to be apart of as always. I took out my little team mate's Coy Curtis's Ninja X kids ski and pulled off a set up wake backflip, landing the flip on a wave that was closing in behind me then cut a few turns on the wave before it finished.
In the evening I signed Posters and the covers of the new ProRider Magazine which was awesome to connect with some of the families who came to spectate. I always love being able to connect with genuine fans and followers when stuff like signing or talking to them makes their day. I am always busy caught up riding or talking to other friends I miss some of these connections that really mean a lot to me.
Saturday Night JetManiac had a hell of a good ballroom party where everyone was able to meet up and talk the night way until the late hours when the shenanigans really kicked on.
Saturday, time to get out and enjoy some clean but small surf
Autographed posters for all
Blown Out Sunday
After the big night Saturday not too many people were excited to get up or even ride with temperatures really dropping and the wind howling destroying the surf and making it extremely cold to be outside. We ended up calling it at that point cleaning and loading up the trailer to wrap up the event weekend.
It was all in all a great time to see everyone to kick the new year into gear. My next event may be an international destination pending some details to be figured out int he coming weeks!