An Introduction to the World Class Athletes of the Kona Clump Team

Feb 23, 2006
by Tyler Maine  
Meet the Clumps

The riders of the ’06 Kona Clump Team are prepping for another season of full-throttle riding, trotting the globe in search of epic gaps, drops and lines, and this year they’ll be rolling on fresh rubber thanks to new tire sponsor Maxxis.The Kona Clump Team is Kona’s professional freeride squad, a group that travels to distant corners of the world and pushes freeriding and dirt jumping to new limits. Comprised of riders John Cowan, Robbie Bourdon, Dave Watson, Carlin Dunne and Paul Basagoitia, the Clump Team is the most progressive team of out-of-bounds riders in the cycling industry and the driving force behind the design of Kona’s Coiler and Stinky freeride bikes. They’re also a bunch of guys who like to jump off stuff while riding bicycles.

John Cowan, Kona’s ambassador to dirt jumping and the sport’s crown prince, is the signature builder of the Whistler/Kona Jump Farm and namesake for Kona’s top of the line dirt jump bike, the Cowan. A San Diego, California, native, Cowan grew up surfing, but jumped on a mountain bike in 1998 and, while he still loves to surf, was able to quit his day job at UPS and turn his new-found passion into a full-time job. His breakout moment came when he was featured in 2000’s New World Disorder mountain bike film; almost overnight he became a freeride superstar and one of the most recognizable riders in the sport. Cowan’s exploits have included winning the Big Air Contest at the NORBA National in Snow Summit, Calif., being featured on the cover of the October 2000 issue of Bike magazine, and feature segments in dozens of mountain bike films. Cowan is respected among riders for his tireless work ethic and building his own jumps and stunts, including the world-renowned Hell Track I in San Diego and Hell Track II in Kamloops, BC.

Nineteen year old Paul Basagoitia, arguably freeriding’s most dominant force and only getting better, is the youngest and newest member of the Kona Clump Team. This Minden, Nevada native jumped onto the radar screen at 2004’s Sea Otter Classic when he almost landed an unheard of flipwhip. Paul had a break out year in 2005, winning Crankworx for the second straight year, coming in first at The Gathering and the Kona Indoor Dirt Jump, second at the Red Bull District Ride and the John Cowan Jump Jam, and winning the Best Trick award at Bike Magazine’s Monster Park. Most recently, Paul made jaws drop when he landed a 360 tailwhip at the Third Annual John Cowan Backyard Jam. The freeride world is waiting with baited breath to see what Paul pulls off next.

Nelson, BC native Robbie Bourdon, or “Air” Bourdon as he’s know to fans, is another stand out on the Kona Clump Team. After turning pro at age 17, Bourdon traveled the world on the competitive circuit. Now, at age 24, Bourdon ranks among the most explosive freeriders on the scene today, and regularly appears in the New World Disorder film series, which showcases the world’s most skilled riders in outrageous locations. Bourdon’s strength and toughness is apparent when watching him cruise a crazy line, and he needed every ounce of it to recover from life threatening injuries sustained in a 2003 car accident. Now back in top form, Bourdon is again raising the bar with lines and stunts that leave other riders simply shaking their heads in amazement.

Dave Watson, a Clump rider who brought international consciousness to bear on the freeride scene when he jumped a group of racers in the peleton of the 2003 Tour de France, is another integral part of the Kona team. Watson’s Tour de France stunt earned him England’s Guardian Newspaper Alternative Sports Personality of the Year award and coverage in magazines like Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and FHM. Watson, also an entrepreneur who operates Sombrio clothing, is humble when it comes to talking about his smooth, solid riding style. He prefers to let his riding speak for itself.

Clump rider Carlin Dunne, a freerider who hucks himself off massive jumps others wouldn’t even consider, is perhaps the Kona team member who pushes the limit of what’s possible on a mountain bike more than any other, as evidenced by his feature segment in New World Disorder 6. Runner up in Race Face’s 2004 Ultimate Freeride Challenge, Dunne came to freeriding when a friend let him borrow his Kona Stab Supreme for a beer run. For this 22 year old future of freeriding, the rest was history.

Members of the Kona Clump Team have starred in freeride videos and photo spreads in magazines around the world, and the team continues to produce some of the most electrifying stunts, lines and tricks seen on the competitive circuit. Watch for the guys traveling the globe this season, competing and filming in outrageous locations like Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Ireland, and generally tearing it up wherever they see a sweet line, a gnarly jump or anything that just begs to be ridden.

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