Interview by Annie Connolly
Surfercross is a popular event that many pro athletes and industry people look forward to every year. The event combines the two sports of Surfing and Motocross in an exciting competition where one motocrosser and one surfer are paired up as a team. The teams are determined by a random drawing and over the course of the two day event each team member must spend one day racing a dirt bike and one day catching waves on a surfboard. The event takes place August 9th at Starwest Motocross Park and continues on the 10th at San Onofre State Beach.
With just one week left before the event, we caught up with JGRMX team manager and Surfercross founder Jeremy Albrecht to talk about this unique competition…
Tell us a little bit about the history of Surfercross…What made you decide to combine surfing with moto?
I met Mike Parsons (Pro big wave Surfer) when I worked with Jeff Emig and he took us surfing. I became friends with many surfers that love riding so we tried it and it worked.
Its definitely a one-of-a-kind event that people look forward to now, but how hard was it to get sponsors on board and sell the idea initially?
It was really hard to get Sponsors but I had a few friends like Mike Parsons, Garth Tarlow and Dave Castillo that helped get it started. They all worked for great companies that supported it for a few years until it got rolling. Castillo has sponsored it every year with Asterisk.
After 11 years, what changes have you made to the event and where do you see it going?
It started out just a race and now it is a team race. We try to keep it fun and this helped out so it is not a serious race and is more of a team event. I do get better every year and this year the addition is beach towels and a better number system with pre printed backgrounds.
With the Pro event being invite-only, how do you choose who gets to participate each year?
I start with the crew that has been doing it consistently and then ask a few more after that. We shoot for 24 teams in the Pro class.
Between both the Pro and Industry events, is it mostly new faces or are there many returning athletes?
Most of the people are retuning athletes but every year we do get about 20 or more new ones. We invite 98 to fill two classes.
The event is mostly for fun, but all pro athletes have a drive to win, how competitive does it get?
It is mostly fun….it gets competitive on the beach day when they are going for the overall. Fender gives 12 guitars to the overall teams….a very cool trophy.
With each rider and surfer having to cross over between the two sports, is there any specifically funny memory from over the years?
In the early years Ronny Nelson (works at Oakley now but was a Pro surfer) was not a good rider yet and crashed a few Yamahas before breaking his collarbone (I think 3 bikes). We did give him an award for best crash.
Each year members of your team, JGRMX, come out to compete – Who will we see out there this year?
You will see Grant, Brayton, Hansen and many others….new and old JGR riders. I have all three X-Games medalists coming to Surfercross this year. I only want people that want to come to have a good time so that is how we pick who to invite.
This year the event will be shown during the live broadcast of Unadilla, that should provide some great coverage…
Yes it should be great and good for the sponsors. Toyota really likes the event and has helped get it to the next level with exposure. I see it getting better each year now with the sponsors I have now.
For more information on Surfercross you can visit www.surfercross.net