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Kona: Was Modern Skateboarding Developed Here?

In 1977, Tony Alva and the other Lords of Dogtown performed the first arial trick on the lip of an empty swimming pool during a California drought. This is widely recognized as the birth of modern skateboarding. The same year, skipping states and cities and time zones, Kona Skatepark opened in Jacksonville and an unexpected connection between the scene in California and the Skatepark here in Jax began a movement that would transform into a major sport that is pursued by athletes in almost every country of the modern world. Check out the legends and listen to how it happened in a special video presentation after the Jump. MJs Bella Coley reports from Kona with owner (and skater) Martin Ramos.

Published June 20, 2012 in Culture      4 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Kona has been the spot where more revolutionary developments have been introduced to the sport by skateboarding superstars for more than thirty years.

The sport has been perfected and practiced and changed by so many Kona alumni that Jacksonville itself has contributed some of the great celebrities of Skateboarding and this city has been home to some of its masters.

Kona is so iconic to the sport that it was recently the subject of a debut film sponsored by one of YouTubes new official channels.

Surprisingly enough, the importance of Jacksonville to the spread and development of Skate Culture is almost completely ignored by the city officialdom and unknown to the majority of its population.  Skateboarding has become a multi billion dollar industry and culture that has influenced everything from fashion and clothing to music, art, graphic design and engineering.

Arguably the sport deserves as much honor and attention as golf.  Interestingly while the city will spend millions alerting visitors and tourists to the TPC, there has never been an official dime spent towards promoting a sport that was largely developed in the city limits.

MetroJacksonville is very proud to cosponsor GO SKATE Day in Hemming Park this week, a benefit for The Kona School.

For more information about the Kona School and the Event, check out www.metrojacksonville.com/kona

to read more about the Z Boys and Dogtown, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-Boys

newscasting by Bella Coley
video and editing by Andy Leverett
produced by Stephen Dare

also, check out the video's from YouTubes new official channels:
Premiere Episode of "SPOTS" Featuring Kona Skatepark

"Behind every skate trick ever done, is a place or "spot" where it happened. Learn about these famous spots which have influenced skateboarding just as much or more than the individuals who skated them."











4 Comments

Roger904

June 20, 2012, 08:28:23 AM
I think you meant 'iconic' not 'ironic'

stephendare

June 20, 2012, 09:41:58 AM
thanks roger. 

Mac autocorrect strikes again.

Tacachale

June 20, 2012, 02:13:06 PM
This is a fabulous video. The only complaint is that Martin Ramos doesn't even begin to take enough credit for what his clan has done for Kona and skating in Florida.

What he doesn't mention is that by 1979, Kona had already gone the way of nearly every other skate park in the world and closed its gates. The bottom fell out of the market, in a similar fashion to another teen-oriented industry, video games, only a few years later.

Kona would have become just another footnote in the history of skateboarding, but Martin Ramos' family determined it still had potential and bought the park. They kept it open even as the other first-generation parks continued to close in the early 80s. They soldiered on through the years, giving locals and travelers alike a stable place to skate. Martin Ramos has certainly done his family proud since he took it over.

By the time skateparks made a comeback, Kona was an old veteran. With its throwback snake run and the tombstone bowl, the park offers an extremely rare glimpse back into skateboarding's past. In Jacksonville, a kid can skate the same park their parents and grandparents did when they were young. That's saying something.

The Ramos family are true Jacksonville legends and Kona is a gem.

BackinJax05

June 29, 2012, 12:18:38 AM
Kona...the pride of Sin City  ;)
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