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02 April 2013
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Darcy Corbett couldn’t have tre-flipped the wheelchair anymore perfectly. 

2013 Nike SbA Am Series
The Finals – Skatepark of Melbourne
Saturday 30th of March
Words: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Matty Hooker except where noted. (click pics to view larger)
Video: Shane Fowler + Louie Dodd (vid at bottom of page)

After a summer of seven incredible qualifiers in six states and one territory we were all excited to see the level at The Finals and it surpassed all expectations. March 30th saw over forty talented skateboard units hone in on Melbourne and spend a couple of days interpreting the obstacles at the Skatepark of Melbourne. There were a few course tweaks since The Finals last year. The micro-wheelchair ramp from last year was replaced with a more realistic version, which was designed and built for the Shocklands contest. The snowplough was also added which is a steep wallie hip. The spined area was simplified to just be a pump bump. This allowed more space, faster speed and greater flow throughout the whole joint.

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Nice poise on the overcrook there Mr Cameron Stanley.

In order to get a good view of the entire course the SbA judging and MC area was assembled on a scaffold high above the course. The judges for the day were: new SbA head judge Jim Dandy, OG Melbourne street guru Ben Harriss, the heavy-hitting Kurt Winter and last year's Open Am Champ Mr. Sam Tran aka ‘Gunti’ aka ‘Thug Angel’. Is Thug Angel not one of the best nicknames of all time? Cuzza and Fludey took to the mics as the psyched up MC duo. Considering the talent up in that scaff we sure were in good hands.

 

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These judges were a trio of skateboard knowledge: Kurt Winter, Ben Harriss + Sam Tran.

Of course none of this would have happened without the dedication of the rest of the SbA team and the Logistics Manager Steve Murphy. Steve has spent the whole of the series without a home in the name of the next gen. He has literally been working towards this final for months and except for one moment where I saw him crumble and take a relaxation flight whilst strapped to a giant foam amoeba, he was going one hundred miles per hour all weekend, sometimes dealing with ten trouble shooting missions at one time. Also a big thanks to sponsors: Nike, the Australian Sports Commission and the Victorian Government. Without their financial backing of the Series it wouldn’t have happened.

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2013 WA Open Am Champ Aarron Winter has got a mean hardflip.

Just minutes into the practice session and a cab heelflip was seen getting spun out of the lip of the small quarter pipe by Open competitor Steve Adam. Was this a sign of what luda-stunts were to come? From the moment the first couple of people started skating to well after the comp had wound up, there were wild moves going down all over the shop.

 

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Cuzza designed the snowplough last year, in 2013 he torques out a wallie back tail on it.

 

Some of the guys had grown a foot since last year and all of their trick bags had grown exponentially. I heard that one of the guys in the Junior final (Zack Lycos) had only been skating for two years! Who knows how good he will be next year? The overall progression of Australia’s next gen points in one direction: to even more world–class international names coming from our shores in the years to come.


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The most relaxing part of our logistic manager’s weekend: the amoeba flight.


JUNIORS (14 & UNDER)
As per most comps, we began with the Juniors. I am not sure what this ordering stems from originally, but I am pretty sure it is due to the fact that unlike their seniors, they can actually skate before midday. ACT Junior Am Champ Charles Robertson late shuved the bank to flat, which was pretty much head height for the lad: respect! I saw Adelaide’s sixth placer Jay Runciman doing various rail tricks straight into pop shuv fifties down the smallest hubba: linking it up like a boss. New South Welsh lad Jack O’Grady seemed to have grown a bunch on the power front. He held onto sweet crooked grinds down the long hubba and front boarded the big rail with supreme perfection.

 

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2013 ACT Junior Am Champ Charles Robertson with a locked and loaded crooks.

Fourth-placer: Zack Lycos is the guy who I mentioned earlier who has only been skating two years! Unbelievable right? He had a rad style, had double flips on lock and skated the course better than people who have been skating ten times longer than him. In at third was WA Junior Champ Zac Clinkers who took his solid crooked grinds to the big rail and 180’d the wheel chair ramp.

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2013 QLD Junior Am Champ Joey Cormack noseblunts the smaller of the hubbas.

In at second was 2013 QLD Junior Champ Joey Cormack who kickflipped and 360 flipped the bank to flat, he also 360 shuv lipped and noseblunted the small hubba. Keanu Peina was ahead of the pack when it came to the more technical side of street skating. Keanu smiled his way through the comp taking out time to high five others even during his own heat. Keanu switch heeled and switch flipped the small bank to flat, hard flipped the big bank, frontboarded the rail up the euro and nailed Suski’s and back tails down the small square rail.
 
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Keanu Peina has impeccibile technique, as seen here in this hardflip flight.

Once his heat was over, there was no doubt about it; we had a new Junior Oz Champ on our hands. Congratulations to Keanu and major props also to the rest of the Peina family who accompanied him down to Melbs and supported him throughout the day.

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JUNIORS (top six pictured above in order starting with Keanu on left)
1st Keanu Peina – 14 – QLD
2nd Joey Cormack – 14 – NSW
3rd Zac Clinkers – 14 – WA
4th Zack Lycos – 14 – SA
5th Jack O’Grady – 13 – NSW
6th Jay Runciman – 13 – SA
7th Jack Paterson – 14 – NSW
8th Charles Robertson – 13 – NSW
9th Beau Kelly – 12 – TAS
10th Matt Archer – 14 – WA 
11th Harry McEvoy – 14 – VIC (tie)
11th Ned Gude – 13 – VIC (tie)
13th Bradley Saunders – 10 – VIC 
14th Tom Reed – 13 – NSW 
15th Blake O’Connor – 14 – NSW
16th Callum Murray – 14 – SA 
17th Anderson Yuniardi – 12 – NSW 
18th Harry Vitkus – 14 – VIC 
19th Daniel Mason – 12 – TAS

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The 2013 Junior Am Champ: Keanu Peina

OPENS (15 & OVER)
Most of the guys in the Opens had pro-like ability when it came to their approach to the Skatepark of Melbourne course. WA Open Champ Aarron Winter may have placed relatively low down the field but his hard flips over the wheelchair ramp were winners. 2012 SA Open Champ Clint Kenneally backside tailslid the big rail, backside flipped the wheelchair over twenty times and even nailed a big spin flip over it.

 

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Clint Kenneally takes a back tail down the big rail with authority.

 

Nasal dominator Jono Power nollied the wheelchair ramp! Matt Cheney was crowd favourite for the second year running. He did a death defying fakie frontside pivot fakie on the vert quarter (ignoring the lack of platform and fifteen foot drop on the other side), he also frontside flipped the wheelchair.


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2013 ACT Open Am Champ Todd Baker was everywhere at once, switch k pop out mid line.

 

Todd Baker (ACT Am Champ) did some of the most creative lines of the weekend. Todd does back to back tricks quicker than a cicada clicks and his ollie-punctuated lines across the park were a real showstopper. Darcy Corbett got stuck on a switch flip down a drop for a little while but soon after rolling away he nailed a picture perfect 360 flip over the wheelchair ramp first try.

 
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Steve Adam can half cab heel flip crooked grind! <click for sequence>

Kristjan Rowell was one of the first people on the course and on the trick front was one of the most prolific of the weekend for sure. During practice I saw him hold onto a pivot fakie on the vert quarter, then survive a death cess down the pump bump upon exit. If anyone else survived anything this gnarly they probably would have taken a breather, but Kristjan just powered on into more back to back tricks. Unfortunately he bailed more in his heat than he did for the rest of the weekend. But good things will no doubt come to the fearless Tassie Am Champ who has just relocated to Melbourne. Steve Adam nailed the quarter-pipe cab heelflip in his run and also did half cab heel frip k-grind down the small hubba.

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Christopher Craig is a street rat. Front blunt pop out on the bank to block.

Christopher Craig is the street skater’s skater: finding proper little street lines all over the park. He stomped frontside tailslide bigspins on the out ledge, frontside blunts on the bank to block and even frontboarded up the small rail. Brendon Hill is another Tasmanian ripper and at twenty-eight was the most senior entrant in the comp. He did a nose grab blunt to fakie on the vert quarter and held sweet Suski-grinds down the long Hubba. Sean Parker did a smith grind kickflip out during the WA Qualifier, which was def one of the harder tricks done (in a heat) during the entire season. From his West Coast performance we expected good things and we got them: despite what looked like it may have been a broken wrist he did kickflips out of 5-0 grinds across the L-block and difficult two trick nollie combos down the section with the small rail / small hubba section.

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VIC Open Am Champ Dean Johnston frontside nosegrinds the big hubba. Photo: Morey. 

In fifth was VIC Open Am Champ Dean Johnston. He told me that he was hurt the day before and judging by his performance he either saw some kind of super-healer the night before or he is a master of pain blocking. Through the day of the Finals he nosegrinded the big hubba, ollied up to lipslide on the extension and did death defying did frontside feeble transfers on the wheelchair ramp railing. In fourth was the consistent NSW Open Champ Robert Pace who tailslid and bluntslid the big rail and whipped out the old kickflip back tail on the out ledge. SA Am Champ Beau Hinge placed third and he is so fun to watch. If you have never seen him skate, you may ask why? It is because he is having so much fun himself. His original take on the course saw him kickflip nose manual off a low to high pad that no one else hit, used the grass gap as an excuse to pop a manual to a nose manual, did switch 180 nose manuals to big spin, kickflipped to fakie on the China bank: a place where most seemed to struggle to kickturn.

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Bugs Fardell took to this massive quarter pipe as if it had a platform. Photo: Morey

Second-placer Bugs Fardell was the fastest skater of the weekend and his lightspeeds took him through Madonnas on the hidden quarter, frontside feebles on the vert quarter, nose bonks on the bank to block (coming over the back), a well-contorted kickflip over the wheelchair and an ollie up no comply tailslide on the super steep side bank.

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This proper noseblunt slide was just one of many feats nailed by Ryder Lawson.

 

Two years ago Flip prodigy Mr. Ryder Lawson won the title of Junior Am Champ. Now we see him winning the Opens as one of the youngest qualified riders in the division! He back smithed and back smith 180’d over the L-block, popped a massive frontside bigspin over the hip, nollie front feeble the small rail, nailed a really scary looking frontside blunt on the side of the big quarter and he nose blunt slid, big spin front boarded and 360 shuved to lipslid the big rail. At just sixteen years of age we are proud to introduce Ryder Lawson as the newly crowned Australian Open Amateur Champion.

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OPENS (top six pictured above in order starting with Ryder on left)

1st Ryder Lawson – 15 – NSW
2nd Bugs Fardell – 19 – QLD
3rd Beau Hinge – 22 – SA
4th Robert Pace – 16 – NSW
5th Dean Johnston – 15 – VIC
6th Sean Parker – 17 – WA
7th Brendon Hill – 28 – TAS
8th Christopher Craig – 20 – VIC
9th Steve Adam – 17 – NSW
10th Jamey Foxton – 16 – NSW
11th Kristjan Rowell – 21 – TAS
12th Cameron Stanley – 18 – ACT
13th Blair Howard – 22 – TAS (tie)
13th Darcy Corbett – 18 – NSW (tie)
15th Todd Baker – 22 – ACT
16th Matt Cheney – 20 – ACT
17th Jono Power – 22 – NSW
18th Clint Kenneally – 19 – SA
19th Ryan Petith – 19 – QLD
20th Issa Hassan – 16 – WA
21st Lapani 'LP' Nuku – 23 – QLD
22nd Aarron Winter – 16 – WA
23rd Tom Lupton – 19 – SA

 

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The 2013 Open Am Champ: Ryder Lawson


Seeing the level that everyone is currently at, the general camaraderie between riders and appreciation of the whole series made every single minute spent on the Nike SbA Am Series well worth its while. Super proud of the Australian skate collective: to infinity and beyond. 



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