Leigh Takemoto performs the impossible out of a hubba 50/50 <click for sequence>
2013 Nike SbA Am Series Qualifiers
Stop #4 – Roxburgh Skatepark
Saturday 2nd of February
Words: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Matty Hooker (click pics to view larger)
Video: Shane Fowler + Phil Watt (vid at bottom of page)
For the past couple of years the Victorian Qualifier for the SbA Am Series has been held at the Clifton Hill Skatepark. For those who are not familiar with Clifton Hill: check the clip from last year. It not only includes furious shredding by all the peeps in the comp but there is a much-cherished guest appearance by none other than Lewis Marnell (RIP). As you will see Clifton Hill is about as ‘street’ as a skatepark gets. To put it mildly: it is a block city, completely devoid of transitions and banks.
A year or so ago Agent Cuzza was on the hunt for potential new locations for the Nike SbA Am Series… which is nothing new really (he is always hunting). What was new however was the Roxburgh Skatepark in the North Western suburbs of Melbourne town. Somehow, even though Roxburgh had a couple of vague-transitional elements it was even more street than Clifton Hill. We are talking real rail, low rail, bump to rail, hubbas, ledges, out ledges, manual pads, long-steep banks, China Banks and a whippy ass three-foot quarter. The whole place is topped off with an icy-polished granite surface, which you would be more likely to find in an inner city high rise’s foyer than at a skate facility.
Jamie Keating is a legend! He's hit 3 of 4 stops! Front blunt shuv <click for sequence>
As per every Am Series Stop we had some pretty talented guests involved with the running of the comp. Ballina’s Scott Standley has been residing in Melbourne for the past year or so and he gladly came on board as the second MC. When combined with the vocal prowess of Richard Flude these guys truly had the audio waves on lock down.
This reminds me of one of those 'evolution of man' diagrams.
Our guest judges were two upper echelon shredders: Nick Boserio and Mitch Robertom. From Skater of the Year to two gazillion Life Splicing hits: Nick Boserio is obviously a name you are familiar with. Mitch Robertom took out the am Series Qualifier at Clifton Hill last year and was a favourite for the final only to crumble a tad to a shoe malfunction. Mitch went on join the Pro/Am tour for the remainder of 2012. Despite having ripping in common the two guys couldn’t have had a more different link with the location. It was Nick’s first time at Roxburgh, where as it was Mitch’s local.
On the morning of the comp we were treated to a classic Melbourne weather combo deal: rain, a rainbow, ferocious wind and sun. The first hour or so of set up was seriously thwarted due to the gust factor. Eventually the threatening clouds mysteriously bailed and we were left with a nice, sunny, overcast Melbourne summer day. There was a cricket match on in the oval beside Roxburgh, which made for an interesting Saturday morning juxtaposition. I know what I would prefer to be doing.
JUNIORS (14 & UNDER)
After last week’s Junior’s heats we were all pretty amped to see what the sub fifteen division was going to bring. Even though numbers were down on the Juniors compared to the Opens, we were treated to some fantastic shreddery from the younger division. It was epic to see the new-improved, larger, harder-ripping Bradley ‘Biscuit’ Saunders in full effect.
Bradley Saunders stepping to the China Bank with a boardslide-aided exit.
In at third was a guy with an incredible name: Ned Gude. Ned exited his front tails to forwards down the hubba, frontside boardslid the rail and kickflip 50/50’d the smaller flat ledge.
First and second was taken out by two Harrys. Harry the Second was Harry Vitkus who cruised around nailing front shuvs down the five and proper lipslides down the rail.
2013 Junior Vic Champ Harry McEvoy nails a heel varial down the five.
Harry the First was Harry McEvoy who rattled 'em off like a pro: feeble 180s down the small rail and both heel varials and 360 shuvs down the six. As the heat drew to a close it was pretty clear that Harry had taken out the primo position.
JUNIOR QUALIFIERS (left to right)
1st Harry McEvoy – 14 – Geelong (VIC)
2nd Harry Vitkus – 14 – Anglesea (VIC)
3rd Ned Gude – 14 – Torquay (VIC)
Zachary Doon can switch nose manny fakie tre with ease <click for sequence>
OPENS (15 & OVER)
From the moment the Junior qualifiers wound to an end, I saw tech stunts getting thrown down all over the Roxburgh shop. From balance kings like Zach Doon, to the impossible master Leigh Takemoto, to the rattle-railed crunt-sliding ledge prowess of Adam Andoson to the China Bank demolishing of Anthony Bull: it was all quality, top-shelf skateboarding.
Bull on a China Bank: frontside 5-0 to fakie like a boss <click for sequence>
In at six was Ben Currie, an up and coming Melbourne ripper who has been popping up everywhere as of late. He kickflip 50/50’d the hubba; nollie flipped the six and threw kickflip manuals in on his way from one obstacle to another. Sam Atkins was great to watch: he slinked around nailing tasty varial heels and back tails and well popped tres down the five.
Ben Currie kills it: kickflip front board with ease.
Ricky Davidson did a hardflip to fakie on the China Bank. To put this in perspective no one even did an ollie fakie on it all day. Bugs got pretty lucky; he placed ninth in the Qualifier, which meant that he just missed out on the Final. Luckily just as the finals started, one of the crowd favourites Adam Andoson (yep the crunt slider with the rattle bucket rails) decided to go street skating, allowing Bugs a spot in the final.
Josh Greene nails a bigspin fsbs on a Prahran-style bump to bar <click for sequence>
Bugs was getting warmed about half way through the final and easily executed hubba back smiths, China wall frontside nose grind pop ins, wallie back tails over the tiny hip and a frontside boardslide transfer into the China Bank.
Christopher Craig throwing proper frontside bluntslide shapes.
Christopher Craig was one of the true ledge skaters present: he fanged around linking up two trick lines where most did one. He is a great watch and judging by his tidy footwork he will be putting out some classy video parts in the near future.
Dean Johnston got third in the 2012 Junior Am Series Final, and by the way he had with the Roxburgh Open Finals he might just do that or better in this years Open Division. Dean nose bonked the hubba, smithed the high ledge into the bitumen bank, frontside feeble grinded the China Bank, frontside salad grinded the hubba, balanced long nosegrinds along the small out ledge and frontside nosegrinded the five-stair rail. It was quite clear that through his thorough shredding of every nook and cranny of Roxburgh that it was clearly Dean Johnston who is Vic Champ of 2013. See you rippers at the final.
OPEN QUALIFIERS (left to right)
1st Dean Johnston – 15 – Dingley (VIC)
2nd Christopher Craig – 20 – Weribee (VIC)
3rd Bugs Fardell – 19 – Elanora (QLD)
Massive thanks and appreciation to everyone who helped out on the day and to the all sponsors of the comp. See you at Devonport next weekend for the Tasmanian Qualifier.
Australian Sports Commission