Mark Gomez Update: 2015 IFWA Freeride World Champion
It has been an Incredible whirlwind of adventures and events since my last update after the European leg of the IFWA tour back in June. I will bring you back up to speed with what has gone on in the last 3 months leading to my recent world title accomplishment at the Blowsion Surfslam event.
RPM Lake Perris Race podiums, Trip to Ketchikan Alaska, and Aqua Moto Vintage GP Champion
July 11-12th I competed in two rounds of the RPM Westcoast Jettribe Race series at Lake Perris, CA. After some tough vintage 550 motos racing my little 10yr friend Wyland Reden I finished 2nd round one and 1st place round 2. I also took on freestyle at the event on my vintage 550 with my partner in crime Tanner Thomas and managed to pull off a 2nd and 3rd place finish.
July 14th-22nd, Trip to Ketchikan, Alaska:
Almost immediately following our adventure at the race, I had arranged to finally fly to and visit Tanner and his family at his home island in Alaska. A chance to see all that goes on in Tanner’s world, I toured the place by Land, sea, and air. It was an incredible experience and I am very grateful for the Thomas family for taking such good care of me over there.
July 24th-25th, Chris Fischetti’s Aquamoto Grand Prix Race – Lake Havasu — Vintage 550 Champion :
Hitting the ground from Alaska running, I loaded up my brother’s 550 and bombed out to Lake Havasu, AZ. I raced in Chris Fischetti’s 10 lap 12 minute Grand Prix race in the Vintage 550 class. I battled hard, hit the ramp jumps every lap, and took home the title of Aquamoto King Of Lake Havasu. Here is the video from my on board GoPro camera from the entire race -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO_mAX2i6bo
Grayland Open Freeride Event Champion, TC Jetpilot’s Sortie event in Minnesota, and Bomber Eyewear Trip To Costa Rica:
August 7th-9th I loaded up a few rider’s skis including my own on and behind my truck then drove all the way up to Grayland, WA. At the event I was the event Announcer, time keeper, trick caller, event director, and Pro Rider contestant in the Grayland Open Freeride Contest. I had a few interviews with AIM Sports TV, who were on site putting a story together for EPSN. I also helped event coordinator Dan Lindgren out by attending 3 different local radio stations speaking about the event. After one hell of a long weekend, the event went incredibly well, and I was able to defend my Pro Freeride Championship title at the event.
AUG 21st-23rd, TC Jetpilot’s Sortie Lake Pepin, Minnesota:
A last minute addition to my crazy schedule was the sudden but much appreciate joint purchase of my flight accommodations to participate at the Twin Cities Jetpilot’s Sortie event at Lake Pepin, Minnesota thanks to West Side Powersports and Liquid Militia. I was able to ride and tune a few skis including my 2014 season Rickter Evo1 that My local friend there Brian had purchased from me last year. I connected with a lot of the local riders and hit some fun V-Wake sessions.
AUG 24th- Sept 2nd, Bomber Eyewear Team Vacation Costa Rica:
I took off sunday afternoon from Minnapolis, landed at LAX around 7pm and was airborne again from the same terminal with my sponsor Bomber Floating eyewear on the way to Jaco beach in Costa Rica. We stayed for a week in an incredible beachfront private estate connecting with the local Costa Rica Bomber crew doing photoshoots, surfing, and more. I connected with my friend Guiellmo Casas who owns his own resort north of where we stayed. With his blessing i was able to bolt on a few parts onto his Rickter he owns there in order to put on a freeride show on the main strip of Jaco Beach that sunday afternoon. On top of that the footage of me riding that day made into international Raggae Artist Toledo’s new music Video for his song “Buen Raggae” off his new album “Stress Free” Here is the video link to the music video: https://youtu.be/P0qEN0z8hpE
September – WORLD TITLE
Battle for the IFWA Freeride World title at SurfSlam
Sept 11th-13th, IFWA World Tour Final round, Blowsion SurfSlam in Pacific City, Oregon:
On Labor day I loaded up my truck with just my Rickter, my brother’s 550, and my sponsor Nick Salty investment’s Pit bull Mastiff, “Mr. Brown” and set off for Oregon. Mr. Brown provided a helpful supplement to my fuel expenses as well as kept me awake during the 15 hour drive north. The contest was an insane weekend of physical and mental breakdowns and breakthroughs. True to Oregon standards the surf conditions at the event site were erratic, and in most cases uncooperative. Competing in 6 minute head to head heats, judged 50 percent on surf riding ability and 50 percent aerial tricks. My first heat started out rough when my engine exhaust coupler popped mid run. I popped my hood and limped my ski back to shore where the first back up ski wouldn’t start, so my friend Abraham Ho let me use his personal new 1100cc Rickter Edge to finish my heat. I made up for lost time quick sending his nightmare powerful ski into the air to pull back ahead and secure the heat. One of the jumps I had managed to unlatch the hood latch the proceeded into another big backflip and didn’t realize that the hood merely opened and closed upon landing!
My 1/8 final heat was against my good Australian friend Ryan Soloman. During this heat the waves really turned bad where sets just were not holding their shape and making judgement on waves incredible challenging. All was going alright until I threw a Scarecrow barrel roll off of a not so healthy wave. I over compensated and landed the trick driving my right knee into the handlebars. This gave me a charlie horse from hell during my heat making it impossible to put weight back onto the knee for over 3 minutes of the heat. I pulled it together enough to ride through the pain and pull off a few more maneuvers that would ever so slightly pull me ahead in the end.
On the final day I started back strong into the 1/4 final heat vs my long time riding buddy Zack Bright. Waves yet again didn’t stand out for us both but the battle was on. We both threw out an immense amount of tricks that would make a difficult judgement in the end that eneded up in Zack’s favor for capitalizing on some more surf rides than I had in the heat. It was incredibly difficult to swallow with such high expectations this year but in the end it couldn’t have ended better. Zack took that victory in stride, rode amazing, and ended up winning the contest. The points I had accumulated on the previous 4 international tour stops combined with my 1/4 points secured my lead making me the 2015 IFWA World Champion! I also placed 2nd in the Big air show down for a super flip i threw of a larger wave. The cherry on top of it all was having my Mom Patty and older brother Philip there at the event to witness it all. Neither of them had ever really seen myself compete all 10 years I have been at this. Having them there amongst all of my freeride family meant the absolute world to me. Zack and I had both traveled to this event together as amateurs in years past, we never had the opportunity to compete together on the world tour, so to be able to finish the way it did really left the both of us choked up and full of good feelings over such a roller coaster of our own growing pains to get there.
Going after this 10 year dream of winning the freeride world title brought so much light into my life through all of the incredible, genuine, and kind people I met around the world. All who helped me in some kind of way to achieve this dream along the journey of the IFWA world tour going to Australia, Portugal, France, UK, and USA. Standing on top of that podium in Oregon, I found myself struggling to fight my overloaded emotions to find the right words of sincere gratitude, and was nervous to maybe forget names of so many amazing people and companies that really made everything possible in that moment. I can’t thank you all “including you the reader” enough for your support in my dream to take on this immense goal of going after the world title. Doing so has generated some of the most unique and inspiring moments of my life so far. It forced me to step up as a freeride athlete and push harder than I ever had before. At the events overseas I had been brought to light through my fans and supporters as someone who embodies the characteristics of the athletes who inspired me on and off the water; Joe Kenney, Ross Champion, Mike Serlin, Randy Laine, Jerry Brandon and Taylor Curtis. Things have really come full circle from the kid who grew up riding a 550 with a big dream. These guys inspired me beyond words, so I don’t take it lightly when I hear I am having the same effect on this generation of riders, who will hopefully have experiences like I just had. It all is so incredibly amazing to me, I am so grateful, and even writing this now has me so full of emotions and gratitude I may never finish this email.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of my friends family
and all of my amazing 2015 World Champion Supporting Sponsors:
Worx Racing Components
Liquid Militia Clothing
Bomber Floating Eyewear
Pacific Motorsports Brea
Patty’s Cakes & Desserts
My Brother Philip
Fullerton Physical Therapy
The Lawrence Family
Cranberry Winery, Bog Water Brewery
The Thomas Family
The OSIDE CREW
THANK YOU SO MUCH, WE DID IT!
Coming Up next:
IJSBA World Finals of Jetski Racing – Lake Havasu, AZ October 4th-11th
PISMO JK Freeride – Pismo Beach, CA – October 23-45th
2015 IFWA FREERIDE WORLD CHAMPION
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