I have been wanting to write this down for a month or so. Well its been a few weeks since it all wrapped up so here goes. I have a longneck in hand and it does provide some respite from the unrelenting heat.
Bondi Bowlarama is probably the richest event in Australian skateboarding. More than half of the entrants are from overseas, and as one of the premier events on the World Cup calendar attracts some of the best skaters every year.
This year the Bowlarama was postponed for the first time ever. Bad weather ruined the planned event and at 9am Saturday morning, the organisers announced what we all knew was inevitable. The event would run to the same schedule on Sunday. Several of my mates and a couple of the competing skaters would now miss out. We didn’t get to see Ben Raybourn skate which was most unfortunate, after his blinding assault on Coastal Carnage.
Ending up spending most of Saturday in the Beach Road Hotel was far from agony. It was heaps of fun just hanging out and enjoying the afterparty before the main event even got underway.
Upside-down land, lots of games of pool, trips back and forth to the beach in sometimes very unsavoury weather and loads of random conversations with locals and tourists alike.
After a couple of days of either skating or just standing there transfixed as we watched the competitors practice and learn new lines in the bowl, in a very relaxed and low key setting before the big day, strange that it turned out that there would not be ANY skating.
A few people may have gone to Wasted Years or some other indoor locations, who knows or cares. Wasn’t really that interested in crossing town for this or that, going to the city or anything. Our fun was all around us and it would not be contained.
So Saturday night was a riproaring night of partying as you would expect. Most of the skaters did seem to disappear around 12 or 1am but I did notice certain people definitely had the legs to kick on thru the night. It was awesome fun to meet up with locals like Damo, Mikki, Skate for nothin’ filmer Pete, Jimmy from Beach burrito and Peewee and Pat.
Aussie bowl skating champ Jack Fardell was one of them, skaters from as far as Perth made the trek across to witness the brutality and it was fair to say that was left to the Sunday. We all had a bloody good time. Two nights out of four I like many people was quite happy to land on couches at the end of the night, as organising places to stay wasn’t that easy.
I guess alot of interviews went down with many of the skaters talking to the media and I had a go at interviewing a few people myself. Will be posting more of those on this blog shortly. I was super stoked to be able to spend a bit of the down time chatting with the skaters, most of whom have had an amazing run of success in recent years.
Pedro Barros was part of a contingent of Brazilian skaters, filmers and fans, which grows every year. The number of people down at the bowl speaking Portuguese was noticeably large, why wouldn’t it be though. Pedro had won the last three, and few people expected anyone else to win. Maybe Bucky or Rune?
Well in this case Pedro blew minds. Absolutely destroyed the bowl and has some really gnarly combinations of huge aerials, bold lip tricks and insane lines across the bowl. Hard to put a finger on exactly what it was, but the commitment, fluid style and the way he put his foot down right thru the heats and the final was pretty unforgettable.
Photo: Tommy Trinh, Boardworld
Bucky Lasek does some of the gnarliest tricks imaginable in the bowl, but unfortunately didn’t stay on long enough to threaten Pedro’s dominance. Rune skated really well too, but the way that Pedro tore open the finals from the outset, not even extra runs would give the others a chance to catch up. Josh Stafford into fourth and Sean Goff’s countryman Sam Beckett fifth. There were moments I thought that Alex Sorgente would have made the podium, but such a strong field it was he got sixth.
Bowlarama: The Highlights reel (FINALS)
- 1. Pedro Barros
- 2. Bucky Lasek
- 3. Rune Glifberg
- 4. Josh Stafford
- 5. Sam Beckett
- 6. Alex Sorgente
- 7. Brad McClain
- 8. Omar Hassan
- 1. Nicky Guerrero
- 2. Steve Caballero
- 3. Eddie ‘El Gato’ Elguera
- 4. Pat Ngoho
- 5. Christian Hosoi
- 6. Mike McGill
- 7. Sergie Ventura
- 8. Adam Luxford
Standouts included Powell skater Brad Mc Clain, his Bones and Osiris team mates Josh Rodriguez and Kevin Kowalski, who both ride for Lifeblood and were ripping too. Omar Hassan still has it. I remember a time he would just win everything, blazing switch lines across the bowl and putting some heat on.
Brad Mc Clain : Footage from winning Copenhagen Pro
Lifeblood skateboards Orcas Island trip
Who didn’t do a 540? Well I reckon there were at least 15 skaters, close to half the field would have landed them in competition. Steven Piniero, Alex Sorgente, Andy Macdonald, Ben Hatchell got one padless. Felipe was soaring high, and skaters like Rune and Bucky were certainly not gonna disappoint. Sam Beckett, a European vert champion was also amazing to watch. It was up to Ben Hatchell to show everybody something special for best trick which was awarded for a blunt kickflip in on the back wall. Easy money for Ben as that’s one of his staples but well earned all the same.
Here’s some recent footage of Ben absolutely killing it.
Prizemoney was paid out to 25th place, which was a generous way of doing things and ensured that most of the people who flew in from all over the world got to plunder the treasure chest. Lizzie Armanto ripped thru her heats and showed there is certainly a place for women to compete alongside the men. Big long boardslide rocks, smiths grinds and feebles thru the corner, footplants, inverts including the super difficult eggplant on lock, she destroyed it. After success at the Girls Combi Classic, Newcastle and Wellington Lizzie showed the women who skate around the world that you can dream big and it will pay off. Lizzie certainly put Womens skateboarding higher on the agenda for future World Cup events.
Heat 4: Lizzie Armanto, Alan Young, Alex Sorgente, Renton Millar
Lizzie Armanto and Alex Sorgente Boardworld Interview
I remember watching local gal Poppy Olsen absolutely ripping as well. A Bondi local and by far away the youngest I saw at just eleven. She had success coming in 2nd in the juniors at the Girls Combi bowl in January and at home in Bondi showed heaps of style and potential with consistent long runs packed with tricks.
This is a short video interview with Poppy, who recently won the Australian Open girls title in Newcastle.
Nicky Guerrero won the Masters event but had stiff competition from Christian Hosoi and Eddie Elguera. Great to see Cab skate, George Orton, who probably invented the frontside air and Sean Goff who not only ripped but then MC’ed for the rest of the day with Serge Ventura. Serge of course killed it as well with his huge airs and daring lines. What an amazing lineup like a wishlist of my childhood legends, and here are some highlights.