Australian Damian King, also known as "Kingy" and "The Joker" within the international bodyboarding community, is a 2x Men's World Champion (2003 and 2004) as well as the 2011 Drop Knee World Champion. Kingy was the first Australian bodyboarder to win multiple world titles, and is the first bodyboarder in history to have won titles on both the Men's World Tour and the Drop Knee World Tour of the International Bodyboarding Association (IBA). Here, Kingy discusses his two men's world titles. This interview was conducted at the IBA Media House on the North Shore of Oahu on 24 February 2011 during the IBA Pipeline Pro.
STEVE JACKSON: What was going on in your life going into the first world championship that you won in 2003?
DAMIAN KING: My mum passed away in March, so that was kind of like a kick in the bum to do something with my life. I had just been kind of plodding along on the world tour, and just cruising kind of. Literally, like half an hour after that happened I walked out of the hospital and just made a full decision that I was going to win a world title. It was pretty crazy that I, actually, thought that. I thought I've got to do something with my life, do something important. Half an hour after she passed, I made that decision and then I was just absolutely focused, ridiculously focused on it.
STEVE JACKSON: After you won that first world championship, how did that affect your life? The day-to-day in life, short term, long term, looking back on it now, how did that change things?
DAMIAN KING: I guess I felt, just as a person, I just felt a lot more confident in myself. I remember even after that first event in Tahiti. I wrote on my board. I wrote on the front of it kind of where I could just see, but I wrote "1st Place" and I ended up getting first. I remember after that first event, I just spun right out. I was just like, "Wow, I can't believe I was, actually, so determined to win and I won!" I won the 2001 Shark Island contest, but it was different. I wasn't absolutely focused on winning as I was with Tahiti and all the other comps throughout the year. Then, when I won the world title, I couldn't believe that I actually won. At the end, I was just stuck in this work mode to win and when I actually won I was like, "Wow!" I just couldn't believe. You think you can win, but to actually win is another story. I, basically, came away from the first world title thinking anything is possible if you fully focus. Then, I just wanted to prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke, so I was just determined to win a second straight-up just because I was like I don't want to think that it was just luck. So, I was just as amped for the second. After the first one, I kind of like didn't really rest after the first one. I was kind of like, "Hang on, I just want to make sure that can happen again." I just wanted to test this out in my mind, and I ended up with another one after it was all over.
STEVE JACKSON: When you got your second world championship under your belt, you became the first Australian to ever have two world titles in the sport of bodyboarding. Did that play in your mind at all?
DAMIAN KING: Not really. All I wanted to do, basically, was use that to build the sport in Australia. I was pretty busy, always trying to get mainstream media and all that kind of stuff. I really didn't get caught up in it when I was world champion. I thought what I did was good. It was good that I accomplished that. I thought it was a big accomplishment, but I really didn't feel myself change as a person. I didn't really think like, "Oh yeah, I'm the only one." I didn't really care about whether anyone had done it before or whatever. Obviously, I have respect for that but it wasn't like I thought, "Oh yeah, I'm the only guy who's done it now." It didn't really worry me. I was just stoked that I put my mind to something and I did it.
I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Damian King for taking the time to sit down and answer my questions for this interview.
(PHOTOS: photo #1 from The Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au , photo #2 from Happy Zurowski, photo #3 (Kingy and Action Jackson, North Shore 2011) from Manny Vargas)