SkateIDSA’s President on skateboarding education, his next race, and where it all began.
Meet Joner Strauss. He’s not only the founder and current president of SkateIDSA, but infinitely more: he’s an expert event organizer and an educational program designer in skateboarding for kids of all disciplines.
Joner’s been building pumptracks with Velosolutions for the last four years, which introduced Skateboarding Supercross to the SkateIDSA family. His focus has always been focusing on increasing the awareness and participation in skateboarding, beginning with his love for the Adrenalina event back in 2009. Based on his extensive careers in swimming and wakeboarding, the adoration for fitness and lifestyle events took a natural and welcome change to skateboarding, so he took steps to build a governing board that oversaw events similar to the Adrenalina that started it all for him. The rest, he says, is history.
The distance skate family is no stranger to Joner. He has been a host of the Homestead-Miami Ultraskate for years up until 2018, when he decided to compete again. When asked if he would revisit that event and shoot for an even greater goal, he said, “I loved it most as a memory. I think 8 hours on a board is enough for me.” So, while we’ll still see lots of Joner in shorter races and events, he’ll be taking the back burner at the longer ones to develop nicknames for SkateIDSA’s deserving racers: Joner is the one that developed Andy Andras’ nickname — “La Maquina.”
We asked Joner a few additional questions he would love to share with SkateIDSA:
On SkateIDSA events and board member decision-making processes
The success of an IDSA event is definitely the local family or skater that wants to host it. We tried for years to host events on our own and it is so hard to draw local community this way and that is what makes up the character of a race. I love that [the SkateIDSA board] has become a democratic system like every other sport body. We hope it continues this way. I was alone for years doing this as everyone was busy racing. Now we have such an amazing core of passionate board members that are wanting to make changes. We have to let them run with it. My goal over the next few years is to recruit more people to want to take part on the board and create a healthy cycle of service for board members. As humans, no matter how passionate, we get bored of volunteering after some time… we need ways to cycle that so boredom doesn’t sync in.
On the value of distance skateboarding, and it’s relation to endurance sports
The value is our core groups inclusive nature. The vibe at any race is so welcoming no matter if there are 10, 20, or 200 participants. We are all proud of each other’s accomplishments regardless of actual competition value. Don’t get me wrong, there are guys and girls that care about winning, but winning stays on the race track… Family starts immediately after each race. I see [other endurance] sports starting to migrate towards us, especially running… you cant do running for ever because of the impact. You can skate forever.
On 2019 SkateIDSA predictions and his next race
I just hope events sustain. I am currently thinking of ways that our board members can really help grow participation. My belief is we have to start to focus more on education of the sport: we need to host more clinics, create more ways to on board newbies. In my experience, 100% of people that I lend or give a board away to get hooked on longboarding. My next event will be the Ultraskate in Miami. I always try to make it out to the PACNW, [but] this is the first year I won’t since I am currently in China until the end of the month. I plan to be in Bend and in Minnesota (i hope) next year – both of those to compete.
Meet the Board is a short interview series intended to humanize and capture the hard work that stands behind competitive distance skateboarding and supercross. For more information on Joner’s work with pumptracks, follow along to his Supercross network, SBSX.