San Diego hosts Clash at Clairemont


On Saturday, March 19, the Krause Family Skate and Bike Park at the Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego, Calif., will host the fifth Clash at Clairemont. The skate and BMX demo, featuring bands and vendors, serves as a fundraiser for the YMCA and Grind for Life (GFL). Gates open at 10a.m. and festivities run from 11 to 6p.m.

This year welcomes pro skaters Andy Macdonald, Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, and BMX rider Simon Tabron, among others. “We typically get 60-80 of the very best skateboarders and BMX professionals and sponsored [amateurs],” said Chris Conway, a member of GFL’s Board of Directors, in an email to ESPN.


 The street course, pool, and the one hundred foot vert ramp (donated by ESPN after the 2006 X-Games) will each see action. The best trick contest is on tap for the street riders and a “high-ollie” challenge for the vert crew. Agent Orange — the storied punk band that played the first Clash in 2007 — will perform after the “bowl jam” to conclude the day.

According to Conway, all gate proceeds are split evenly between GFL and the Mission Valley YMCA. Tickets are ten dollars at the door, but larger donations are welcome. “Our Goal this year is to have 2000 paying attendees,” wrote Conway, in order to reach the goal of $20,000 in donations at the gate, “plus what’s raised in our vendor village.”

GFL was founded in 2003 by life-long skater Mike Rogers following two bouts with sarcoma cancer that subjected him to a lengthy surgery, claiming his right eye, cheekbone, parts of the roof of his mouth, and several teeth. GFL and the Clash is Rogers’s attempt to allay a portion of the steep costs that cancer patients incur.

“The Clash is a great tool that we use to help people when they’re traveling out of state for cancer care or long distances,” Rogers explained. He utilized connections in the skateboard industry to convince other pros to participate and deliver exposure. “We have the pros come in and we’ve been able to help a lot of people get to their doctors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

PacSun, previously a title endorsement, is no longer involved. But Macdonald, who largely monitors the care of the athletes during the event, reached an agreement with some his sponsors to pick up the slack, including Sony and Monster.

Both Rogers and Andy Macdonald, another on GFL’s Board of Directors, emphasized the importance of—vand their gratitude for — the riders participating pro bono. Without it, the amount of prize money they regularly earn could hinder the effectiveness of the Clash. Macdonald argues that the gathering has been “arguably the biggest, best demo” given the prestige of the pros in attendance.

In 2006, once the Mission Valley YMCA acquired the massive X-Games ramp through Macdonald and his sponsors, the idea to partner for a fundraiser with the GFL originated. The resulting income is vital for both the event and the park. “The YMCA park is all wood, except for the pool, and being by the water it can start to rot,” Macdonald said. Shared contributions cover part of the park’s maintenance costs are, which in turn provides a site for the Clash.

“It’s been a huge help financially,” said Skate Park Director Laszlo Kelemen. The cash boost pays for flexibility as the YMCA plans its courses and adapts to trends in skate park design.

The Clash at Clairemont looks to be an annual occasion for the foreseeable future. “We absolutely want to keep it going. It’s the biggest fundraising event for Grind for Life,” stated Macdonald. At the YMCA, Kelemen is confident all will be good. “It’s been a success the last four years. Hope the fifth will be too.”

“It helps saves peoples lives,” Rogers claimed. “What better way to do it than through skateboarding?

Category : Blog &Things To Do In Clairemont &What's Happening in San Diego

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