Interview: Mike Clark on Vans Kill the Line

Mike "Hucker" Clark hails the Vans Kill the Line trails contest as one of the best.

Mike ""Hucker" Clark celebrates his win at the finals of Vans Kill the Line 2013
Crumbs! I've won© George Marshall

California’s Mike ‘Hucker’ Clark took the win at the 2013 Vans Kill The Line trails contest in Peynier, Southern France. We spoke to Mike straight after his last run before the winner’s were announced and found out why he’ll be coming to France for years come.

What did you think of the Peynier trails?

I loved it but on the first day of practice we had to deal with a bit of rain, the jumps were wet and I didn’t get to ride the trails at all. The first time I got to ride the trails was the day of qualifying. Despite that, qualifying went amazing and I qualified second, just behind Ben Wallace who rode awesome. The jumps were great to ride and everyone absolutely destroyed it. Everyone was smiling at the end of the line. The crowd was wild, there’s a great energy here in the woods. More contests need to be like this.

How finals go for you?

I did one run I was really happy with. I think it was my second run. I did a nose dived 360 one footer over the bog second set then a superman over the jump after the berm followed by a no footed can can to X-up on the jump after that. There was also a turndown on the right hip, on the long jump I did a 360 bar hump and stuck my tongue out at the judging tower, and then a 360 tailwhip, a regular 360 and finally on the last set I did a 360 downside tailwhip.

My last run I wanted to crush it but I blew up on that one. I wanted to do a flip cliff hanger on the big second set, but I over shot the step down so I just did a regular flip. For the rest of the run I wanted to end on an opposite 360 double downside whip…but I blew it. I don’t even know what happened. I went for the 360 double downside whip. I caught it perfectly, I thought I landed it and went straight to my face. I hope it’s judged as one run counts as I only landed one run.

Mike ""Hucker" Clark performs a nose dive 360 at the finals of Vans Kill the Line 2013
Hucker's Nose Dive 360 in the VKL finals© George Marshall

Kill The Line is definitely a trails contest opposed to a dirt contest. How does Kill The Line compare to the more dirt contests?

Kill The Line is not a dirt contest in any shape or form. This is a purely a trails contest. The atmosphere, the vibe, the tricks, everything is way different to a straight dirt contest. People do wild tricks here but at the same time a simple stylish turndown is just as respected. In my opinion that’s what BMX is. BMX is not always about going big and sending it, it’s about feeling good and doing what looks good on a bike and feels right.

What do you think of the European scene compared to the US?

The European scene is unreal. The contests here are way more relaxed and fun. The only BMX contest in the states that comes close to contests like this is ‘Texas Toast’ in Austin. There’s just a good energy at the contests here in Europe – people are drinking beers and enjoying themselves.

There’s less rules here and no security at the contests here, people are doing what ever the hell they want. That’s what riding trails is – a bunch of people partying in woods and having fun. I’ll definitely be coming back next year and for many years to come.

Podium at the finals of Vans Kill the Line 2013
Vans Kill the Line 2013 Podium© George Marshall