IDF

International Downhill Federation: Announcement and interview with Kevin Reimer

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Big news came yesterday in the form of an announcement from the newly formed International Downhill Federation, a new sanctioning body for gravity sports. After a year of turmoil on the IGSA circuit, some riders and race organizers have decided to take matters into their own hands and create a governing body that is more closely inline with the needs of racers today. The IGSA has done a lot to help grow our sport over the last decade, but frustrations with the current structure really came to a head this season at a number of races, leaving participants with the short end of the stick. IGSA has promised changes for the 2013 season, but they’ll now be competing against the roster of races announced by the IDF. In order to get a better handle on what the future holds, Dan Pape got in touch with former IGSA World Champion and current IDF rider representative Kevin Reimer to ask him a few questions.

Dan Pape:

What is the name of this new organization?

How did it come to be?

Kevin Reimer:

The new organization is named IDF, the International Downhill Federation.

It came to be from years of desire for more. Personally, I am never one to settle. If it can be better, I want to be a part of that push forward. The IDF came from the same feelings from many people. After speaking with Koma about my displeasure with how things went at some of the races this year he expressed some interest in moving on to something of our own. There was no other option but to pursue it! Koma pulled some strings, did some talking, I did what I could with my contacts and we were on our way.

Dan:

Who is Koma?

Kevin:

Koma is Cyrille Harnay, the organizer of Peygragudes

Dan:

How many years has he been in it?

Kevin:

Ten plus.

Dan:

Cool.

What countries will have races?

Kevin:

The committee is comprised of the best organizers, those with experience, and people who desire better for everyone. We needed an international crew so we got Koma for Europe, Lee for North America, ASRA for Australia. We’ll be adding more organizers as time goes on. We need some killer South American events at the moment!

We’d like every country to be involved. The goal will to be have multiple races on each continent. It’s all about if the organizers have the skateboarder’s support. At the end of the day, the IDF is all about the skaters and what they desire.

Dan:

Why are you backing this bid?

Kevin:

I’m backing the IDF because it’s democratic, transparent, and includes my favorite races from all around the world.

Dan:

What will the prerequisites be?

Kevin:

Prerequisites will be skater supported and with experience. The IDF will support events that have a history of making people stoked.

Dan:

Are you able to disclose who is representing USA? Is Lee Cation taking that all on?

Kevin:

Lee Cation is representing his races: Brittania and Whistler and is a member of the board. I too am from Canada and I’m on the board. The great part about the IDF is it will be a democratic process when making decisions. This means that everyone’s opinion will be taken into account and the board will have a vote. We hope to add more people to the board so that it’s a better mix of opinions.

Dan:

What is your role with the organization?

Kevin:

My role with IDF is the rider representative. I’m there to put in the skater’s point of view and to help make things more rider oriented.

Dan:

Are you gonna race these events too?

Kevin:

I’ll be racing the events that I’ve always loved and the IDF events as well. I will be supporting IDF more than other race organizations, of course, but will also be attending the classics I love. I’ll be sticking to my words and not racing any IGSA.

Dan:

This has been attempted before, how will this time be different?

Kevin:

This has been attempted before and we’ve all been running under that same IGSA banner for a long time, almost 10 years in some people’s cases. The difference now is that we are a democratic board that is involving many different organizers. We’re not for profit, transparent, and are oriented to the riders.

Dan:

On that note, the IGSA has really helped with riders attaining credibility. Despite the stuff you don’t like about it, wouldn’t you agree that it has really helped bring a professional side to things for the past 10 years.

Kevin:

The IGSA has helped to grow downhill, undoubtedly. I am thankful for Marcus’ work and everything he has brought to the sport. Unfortunately over the last few years, coverage has been going down, prize purses have been going down, and overall professionalism has been going down on the IGSA’s side. This has made them an easy target to lay blame on. It’s time now that we lay the blame on ourselves, the skaters.

Dan:

You were crowned the World Champion under the IGSA banner, does that mean you’re relinquishing that title?

Kevin:

I am the World Champion of 2009, 2010, and the IGSA Series Champion of 2010. There should be a world championship each year, and if there is only one, you should be able to call yourself the World Champ without question. Series Champion is different than World Champion.

The IGSA is responsible for running a world circuit and covering the events. As the organizing body they should also be pushing for the growth of the sport and for larger sponsorship for the series or events. As noted previously, quality and speed of coverage has been going down. Prize purses have been going down. It was on the athletes’ backs entirely to attend and pay for the IGSA events and their attendance and success was what made them famous, not the IGSA’s world circuit.

Dan:

Thankfully almost all racers do it for the love. But tons fall off after a few years with credit cards being stacked and bank accounts in the negative. Even if you love the sport, you gotta eat. People need to know they are taken care of.

Didn’t Ian Comishin try this 5 years ago? Why didn’t it work then?

Kevin:

Ian tried running a series a few years ago, it was called DRAS. Many of us donated equipment to that cause and never saw any return from it. I think Ian had too many other things on the go and couldn’t get down to work on DRAS when Kebbek and his other business ventures were becoming successful. The IDF is a federation and board of many, meaning we can share the work. That’s important to keep things moving forward.

Dan:

Does downhill mean luging too?

Kevin:

Luge can be included in certain events. At one point luge supported downhill skateboarders, and I think it’s fair that if an organizer HAS included luges before and wishes to CONTINUE including them, that is their prerogative.

Dan:

Do you think races like Danger Bay will be under the IDF?

Are the DH RACES that have more of an underground style to them going to try to achieve the standards of the IDF in order to be able to be a part of it?

Kevin:

I’m not sure if races like Danger Bay NEED the IDF. It’s up to the organizer if they want to get involved. Certain races operate well on their own and with their own vibe. The IDF is all about maintaining the stoke for the races and having a more hands off approach than what we’ve experienced in the past.

Underground races are more than welcome to stay underground, or step up their game to be a part of the IDF. If an underground race has been delivering a great experience to riders, there’s no reason why they can’t stay that way and have the IDF on board too.

International Downhill Federation on Facebook

A New Future for Downhill Skateboarding on ASRA

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