Andy MacDonald holds the record for the most X Games medals in vert skateboarding and he’s an eight time (eight!) World Cup Skateboarding champion. But his hustle and grind don’t stop there. Keep reading to find out more about the Clash at Clairemont, the history of the event, and how it all got started in Andy’s own words.
How did it all start? Where did the idea for Clash at Clairemont come from?
“It all started in 2006 after I secured the donation of the 2006 X Games vert ramp for the Mission Valley YMCA. They wanted to have a demo for its grand opening with all the athletes that rode it at the Games so I suggested we ask the athletes to come and donate their time. It seemed only natural that we use the event as a fundraiser for both YMCA and Grind for Life, a foundation started by life-long skateboarder and cancer survivor, Mike Rogers that provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families when traveling long distances to doctors and hospitals. “
What’s special to you about the event and sets it apart from others?
“Clash at Clairemont is the largest action sports fundraiser in southern California– it’s not just another contest. In fact, it’s not a contest at all. It’s a family-centric celebration of action sports featuring some of the best athletes in the world all in support of two awesome nonprofits, Mission Valley YMCA and Grind for Life.
You’ve been at it for over a decade now. What have you learned or been most surprised by?
“I’ve been surprised both by how hard it is to get companies and corporations to donate money to charity and by how willing individuals are to do the same thing. “
Where do you see it going? What are your plans for the future of the event?
“Every year it seems like every attendee makes plans to come again the following year and bring a friend. The scope and scale of the event grows every year. It used to be that we were begging bands to come play the Clash. Now bands are calling us.”
Tell us a little bit more about your personal connection to the YMCA?
“I was raised by a single mom so the YMCA after school program has been a part of my life since I can remember. As I got older, I went to the Y for swim team, diving, wrestling, basketball and gymnastics. The first job I ever had was teaching a skateboarding class at the YMCA on the basketball court. When I graduated high school, I drove from Boston to San Diego and literally went directly to the YMCA because that’s where the skatepark was. Eventually, I was asked to become a board member at the Mission Valley Y and in 2002 I designed the skatepark. In 2006 we added the vert ramp and started Clash. In 2016 we replaced that vert ramp with a steel-framed ramp and built the world’s first Skatercross® course. “
Can you tell us a little bit more about Grind for Life and how that plays a role in this event?
“Grind for Life is a small, all-volunteer organization that gets people to the cancer care they need. There have been times when someone who is newly diagnosed with cancer has shown up on Saturday at the Clash and by Monday there’s a check in their hand so they can buy a plane ticket to get to the treatment they need. Skateboarding has given me everything in my life, so using it as a catalyst to give back to people that are less fortunate than me just seems natural.”