It was a hard-fought battle for Southern California local Mark Gomez, who traveled the globe to compete in the 2018 IFWA Freeride World Tour. Gomez is no stranger to competition though, having won the World Championship before. This year came down to a final between he and fellow freeride all-star Abraham Ho on the shore of Japan.
Gomez wrote, “This year a new Freeride World champion is crowned, congratulations to my brother on tour Abraham Hochstrasser. I finished 2nd in the world this year on the IFWA Freeride World Tour and 5th place at the event. Conditions were less than ideal, which made it extremely tough across the board for all riders. Timing, luck, and skill, were all factors this weekend in every heat. Abraham and I both fought neck and neck by points until the very end.
“It was such an insane and competitive year with the tour points that every riders result combined with our own was intense to keep track of. I am incredibly proud of Abraham especially for his efforts that I now understand personally from coordinating a World Tour stop to grow and promote our sport. It’s not easy at all but it takes an athlete and a big heart in this sport to accomplish what he has.
“I am grateful for all of my sponsors help this season in freeride as its been a big one. I am blessed to have my beautiful fiancé Kaley McNay who has been at my side every tour stop this year. I am extremely thankful for those who attended this event as it has been very intensive on the side to assist coordinate the championship event here in Japan.
“The mayor of the local town came to the event ecstatic about our presence and has extended an invitation to come back next year at Sunset, the heart of freeride in Japan. I am not Japanese, but this filled me with pride since I have been looking out for the tour’s interest as well as making sure this was as positive of an event for the supporting Japanese community at Sunset.”