Out of the Box Sports
Though Jacksonville prides itself as a football town, there are plenty of unique sporting adventures throughout Northeast Florida.
Practice your best skateboard tricks at Kona Skatepark, located in Arlington just minutes from Downtown. Established in June of 1977, Kona opened at the height of the Dogtown days, providing east coast competition to the street skaters of Southern California. As the world's oldest operational private skatepark, few others can compete with Kona's contribution to the sport. Throughout its storied history, Kona has hosted a veritable "Who's Who" of skating legends from Tony Hawk to local pros Mike Peterson and Buck Smith. In 2002, Kona was featured in the Tony Hawk: ProSkater 4 video game as the skating phenom named the park one of his top five in the country.
The park is also home to the Kona Summer Nationals competition each June, attracting some of skateboarding's biggest names.
Horse lovers don't want to miss the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, located on Jacksonville's Westside. Since opening in 2004, it has quickly become one of the country's most premiere equestrian facilities in the country. From rodeos and horse shows to automobile derbies and monster-truck shows, this multi-purpose facility is home to a calendar full of exciting events. The sprawling 1,700-acre complex offers fun throughout the year. In 2007, the Paso Fino Mundial - an international World Cup event for the Paso Fino breed met in Jacksonville. It marked the third time the event has ever been held in the United States. Over 500 horses were shown during the event with 10 countries represented.
Fans of hard-hitting Rugby League can check out the local's favorite team, the Jacksonville Axemen. The team takes the field every summer from June through August at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida. The full-contact, semi-professional team is a family-fun spectator sport with players going head-to-head with teams from New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC and Connecticut. Jacksonville's own American National Rugby League team brings has over 1,000 fans attend each match.
On January 26, 2008, Jacksonville served as host to an international Rugby League game between the South Sydney Rabbitohs of Australia and United Kingdom Super League Club, the Leeds Rhinos. It was the first time the two power rugby league teams met on U.S. soil. Both teams participated in a combined two-week training camp leading up to the match held at Hodges Stadium.