Focus caught up with Drop Knee Sessions Organiser, Clayton Pickworth and professional rider for TURBO, Luke Hall to find out about this exciting sport …
> Describe the style of Drop Knee for our readers?
Clayton: Well, the best way to describe Drop Knee is that it’s the most exciting side of bodyboarding, with guys busting out some surf like moves … but better! The event was put together soley on the basis that Drop Knee riders had their own contest to compete in, to display their talents in the best possible conditions. Previously they had to compete with Prone riders and usually in the worse conditions of the day due to high number of Prone riders entering the contests.
So, I came up with the idea of showcasing the riders in a contest format that enabled the best riders to compete at the optimum time, when the surf was at its best. Now in its 7th year, the contest seems to have this following that attracts the world’s biggest names, like Mason Rose, Luke Hall, Micah McMullin and Jake Sharp. Drawing such huge names as this, the contest really is at the next level.
> Why is PMQ the best wave for DK sessions?
Clayton: Well, there are plenty of better waves for DK around the world, but Port Mac always seems to produce something when it comes to the crunch.
We have 2 of the best options for beaches here at Breakwall and Lighthouse beaches, depending on the conditions and the swell. Everyone knows the beaches well – Breakwall for its run out tidal waves near the wall and Lighthouse for its cranking lefts on the NE swell, so we have some good options to rely on.
> After 7 years, is it true that DK sessions is expanding beyond Port Macquarie?
Clayton: Along with growing the contest into a gathering of the world’s best riders, DKS has now expanded to the Tiona Park region of Forster for a second event, Sundowner DKS Tiona.
Simon Luke and I had come up with the idea that we could expand the contest into 2 events, so international riders could experience more of our coastline and some of the best beach breaks on the coast.
We chose the secluded site of Tiona Park right on the coast at Pacific Palms. This contest is in its second year now and has seemed to become more of a chill out event at which the guys can just enjoy the area and the uncrowded waves.
The Great Lakes region of the coast is fast becoming a real favourite for the riders because of this, and the contest looks like it will remain for years to come.
> As more international riders are coming to the area, is competition tougher?
Luke: I don’t think the international riders really put any more heat on us here in Port. Port Macquarie is the bodyboarding capital of Australia, if not the world.
On a good day at Lighthouse Beach, bodyboarders will outnumber surfers 10 to 1, and I love that! Because there are so many bodyboarders here in Port, we have had and still do have countless amounts of raw DK talent.
I think there is something here in the water. If you can stand out in Port, then you’re surfing at a world level without even knowing it. DK Sessions, in my eyes, is a good chance for other people to come and take a shot at us Port riders.
> Who do you think are the greatest contenders this year?
Luke: Mason Rose is a fierce competitor; it’s a shame he can’t dance though (laughs). Aussie Champion Keegan Croonin has recovered from drowning on the Gold Coast and is on fire again.
If Lighthouse is big, Alva is a machine. To be honest though, after years of trial and error, I’m finally riding a great DK board thanks to TURBO bodyboards.
Clayton: Definitely Jake Sharp. I think he has all the skills needed to win if he gets the right waves. Mason is also a two-time winner of this event, and I think he needs to have a good result this year.
Also, the riders from Hawaii, Micah McMullin and Colin Black are dark horses, as we haven’t seen much of them since their last trip here in ‘05.
> Luke, You have been out of the DK spotlight over the last couple of years. What’s motivating you to succeed on the circuit this year?
Luke: I broke my leg skating a couple of years back, so that kept me out of the water for a good while. And I went through some pretty tough times, with a loss in the family of my brother Benny.
In this time, there are a bunch of young guys coming up and biting on the ankles of us older riders.
So I’m not just going to let them; I want to bite back. Some people release their frustration in the gym. I choose DK …
> Port has some great riders in the water and in competition. Why do you think it’s this area that has shaped such talent?
Clayton: It has basically all been shaped around guys like Eppo and Todd De Graaff in the early 90s. They influenced so many riders from the area, that it was destined to carry on from there.
As far as DK riding is concerned, guys like Adam/Ash Murray, Rick Bannister, Troy Heart and of course Toddy were the guys that really opened up the door for kids like Mason Rose, Luke Hall, Chris Apps and now young gun, Keegan Cronin.
> Can we expect to see the DK sessions expanding in coming years?
Clayton: Definitely. There is already interest from the Gold Coast region to host an event there, and I also have some ideas on travelling to other breaks on the coast, so we’ll see what happens!
> What can people expect to see when they head down to the beach for the event?
This year at the Port Mac event, viewers will see all the usual attractions that riders enjoy each year besides the contest – like the free taxi service to the presentation, with the Hastings Old Holdens driving some classic restored cars for the riders and loads of prizes, cash and trophies in excess of $3,000.
DKS Tiona will kick off on the 2nd August and DKS Port Mac will follow on the 9th August, so make sure you check out the best riders in the world!
> Thank you Clayton and Luke.
For more info on the 2008 DROP KNEE SESSIONS, contact Clayton Pickworth on 0414 608733 or visit www.myspace.com/dksessions