There was some skate royalty in the SbA tent: emcee Pedro Day alongside judges t-fynn (2011 & 12 Australian Champion) and the enigmatic J-Mac
2013 Nike SbA Am Series Qualifiers
Stop #1 - Nerang Skatepark
Saturday 12th of January
Words: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Matty Hooker (click pics to view larger)
Video: Shane Fowler (vid at bottom of page)
Trent Riley with a perfect rendition of the frontside bluntslide. a broken, yet positive Izzy Mutu watches from the BBQ tent where she cooked for the masses.
Stop #1 of the 2013 Nike SbA Am Series was held at Nerang Skatepark this past Saturday. Despite dripping humidity and fierce temperatures, the turnout and overall standard of the skating in the comp was overwhelmingly high. From the moment the Juniors started fanging around the joint through to the crew who ripped during and after the Open Final: there simply wasn’t a dull moment at Nerang. Guest additions to the SbA crew included some talented skateboard units: Pedro Day (MC), Tommy Fynn and Joel Mcilroy (guest judges).
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the park: no matter what your preferred discipline of sideways-rolling is, there will be something for you in the mix. As the Am Series has a street-orientated focus, the bowls were not scored in the comp. However the circuit of flat bank hips, curbs, Euros, steep banks, ledges, hubbas, back of cradle and handrails is both flowing and challenging. I am pretty sure that every single facet was hit multiple times over the day. For the SbA crew it is always a blast to start the series at Nerang as there is guarenteed a massive turnout of both spectators and shreddors. The vibe was truly electric from start to finish, but let’s have a gander at some of the highlights.
Timmy Shredz performed a wheelchair stunt demo in between heats, it was one of those epic moments where you realise how much can be acheived with determination and bravery. Keep ripping Timmy! You inspire us all.
I didn’t have a thermometer handy, but I knew that something was amess in the land of weather as not one, nor two, but three felt tip pens self-destructed in my hand! I have never seen anything like it. One minute the pen was working as a pen should: you know, making little marks on the paper. The next it was spitting like a squid-camel: every time the nib was pressed against the paper these wee black ink bullets would squirt all over the page, on my hands and even down my legs. Pretty funny that humidity can have that effect on a biro, yet all it seemed to do to the skaters is make them skate faster. It should be noted that there were quite a few cases of heat stroke at the comp: There were mostly caused by people drinking to many electrolyte-filled ‘sports drinks’ without enough waters. Our first-aid lady informed us that you need one litre of water for every 500ml of sports drink consumed. If you fall short of that ratio you will get served.
JUNIORS (14 & UNDER)
There were well over twenty juniors who were all well up for an early morning shred. Due to his newfound age last year’s Australian Junior Am Champ Mikey Mendoza was put through to the Open Division. Keanu Peina on the other hand was able to stay in the Junior Division as he was yet to turn fourteen and it is the age that people are at on day of qualification that determines which division they can enter.
Third place in the Juniors went to Mudgeeraba’s Kobe Graf who nailed smiths down the large hubba and a Rick Howard-ish front shuv to back 50/50 on the bump to block. It was hard to even recognize young Keanu as he has seriously shot up since last year. His new frame cruised around the park nailing large nollie heels off the kickers, boosted tres off the same, poetic back tails to forwards and well-poked backside smith grinds on the bump to ledge. This guy has got a pretty impeccable bag of tricks and he will no doubt be a powerful force to be reckoned with for years to come.
In first was Byron Bay’s Joey Cormack who has been killing comps up and down the Eastern Seaboard as of late. I remember him ripping the Am Series final last year, winning Ballina Fair Go in October and now he wins this! Consistency and poise took him into the lead with smith grind 180’s on the bump to block, tre flips over the small hip and a sizeable kickflip to flat over the main hip. He won a trip to Melbourne for the final for his efforts. Nice effort mate: see you at the Skatepark of Melbourne.
1st Joey Cormack – 14 – Byron Bay (NSW)
2nd Keanu Peina – 14 – Helensvale (QLD)
3rd Kobe Graf – 14 – Mudgeeraba (QLD)
OPENS (15 & OVER)
There were over 40 people in the Open Division! Watching even the qualification rounds of the Open was akin to watching a demo by professionals. Yep… these so called ams are getting that much better every single second that goes by. During the qualification heats I remember seeing kickflip backside nosegrinds down hubbas (Kyle O’keefe) and rail-based nollie flip back lips and nollie flip 50/50 grinds down the hubba (Nick Law)!
Bugs Fardell was a bit of an eyeball stealer, his flow was beyond belief. during his four-minute qualifiying jam he strung together several three and four tricks lines that lead to his first place qualification. Birthday boy Lance Cope was also on fire with ½ cab nose 270’s, perfect front blunts and lines traversing the length of the primed skateboard track.
Early in the day kyle o'keefe nailed a kickflip backside nose grind down the hubba first try! This was easily one of the highlight tricks of the Queensland Qualifier <click for sequence>.
The order of the top eight from qualification was almost reversed in the final, which was probably due to those who went extra hard early getting smoked by the ferocious heat. In the final Nick Law performed frontside crooked grinds down the hubba and locked backside 180 nose grinds down the small rail. Nick was granted a Wild Card entry to the final for his efforts.
Third place went to speed demon Pat Gemzik who powered all over the joint with a massive grin to boot: 5-0’s on the big rail, large frontside flips over the hip and massive tres and rail clearing kickflips off the kicker. Second was clenched by Ryan 'Peanut' Petith who was also super-consistent: back threes over the hips, back smiths on the ledge off the drop and frontside smiths down the large hubba.
Open winner Lapani ‘LP’ Nuku backside tailslid up the hubba in the midst of his qualification heat. A liquid-waxed up ledge is not the safest place to backside tailslide, but LP handled it with authority.
First place went to the effortless power-styler Lapani ‘LP’ Nuku who owned not only the final result but also some of the more difficult tricks of the day. He did a fakie flip nose grind in a line, picture perfect backside noseblunt slides, an incredibly stylish back lip on the big rail and a back tail UP the small hubba! Yeah LP: inspiring skateboarding right there.
1st Lapani ‘LP’ Nuku – 23 – Coorparoo (QLD)
2nd Ryan 'Peanut' Petith – 19 – Yatala (QLD)
3rd Pat Gemzik – 25 – Thornlands (QLD)
4th Nick Law – 23 – Beaudesert (QLD) (WILD CARD)
As the wows cleared from the final, many stoked punters and shreddors visited the SbA tent and thanked the crew. We can’t explain how much that meant after a gruelling 12-hour day (not to mention all the weeks of prep beforehand). Hats off too you Queensland for making it such a rememberable comp. Massive thanks and appreciation to everyone who helped out on the day and to the all sponsors of the comp. See you at Waterloo next weekend.