post practice pyrotechnics

photos: matty hooker
words: morgan campbell (head judge)
video: shane fowler and colin evans

During the practice session for Shocklands there was a distinct moment when I realised that the obstacle assortment had been an absolute hit with the skaters. Sure I knew that it was good when I first lay eyes on Cuzza’s scribbles and then the instantaneous ripping of the 2012 Pro/Am Tour constituents further confirmed the ‘on-pointness’ of the designs. But, when the pizzas arrived and the skaters didn’t flinch I knew we were dealing with some A-grade terrain. I mean how often is the magnetism of an obstacle stronger than the aroma of free pizza? Never right? My thoughts exactly. Cuzza has always envisaged that there would be a legitimate street skating stop to the Pro/Am Tour and that stop is Shocklands. The obstacles this year were about as street as they come. Not a transition or drop in ramp in sight.

dean palmer with a textbook one-foot

The elongated Shed 4 was filled with real-street-goodness including: a perfect wheelchair ramp, a bump to astro turf gap with ledges on either side, a really steep hip, an A-frame kicker and rail configuration, a city bike rack loop, a curved ledge and a Kalis-style kicker to bin launch. A couple of last year’s obstacles made an appearance: the picnic table, the snake bar and the flat bar with kicker on the end. There was also a kicker set up to one of the diagonal support bars of the shed, this formed an up-rail from hell and although it was seldom-hit, people sure were appreciative when skaters flew up it. Everything was pretty well spaced out, and there was plenty of flow for lines. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to see how these guys hold themselves on the actual streets with distinct styles being emphasised via pushing and carving. The whole shed was garnished with a giant Makatron ‘Shocklands’ burner complete with demonic quid and crazed Melbourne skyline.

bugs fardell ripping a wallie lip in the land of shock

Starting a comp at noon normally means that we were down there at crack-a-dawn and Saturday was no exception. As I left the house I noticed four hot air balloons effortlessly making their way across a pristine blue sky. Around the country you will always here whinging when it comes to Melbourne weather, but when you cop a sunny, warm, winter day here it is clearly one of the best places to be in the world. After a fortnight of strictly frumpy weather we were thrilled to cop a true humdinger of a Saturday.

quite the line up

As we were set up I noticed the judging panel arriving one by one. First up was Skateboarder’s Journal editor Sean Holland who was not only one of the first people to step to the course, but was also captured in this Fred Astaire-esque freestyle moment. Next to arrive was seasoned Melbournian technition Ben Harriss. Ben has been holding it down for at least a couple of decades and was not only one of the first modern street skaters in this city but he has a eagle-eye for style and technique. A few minutes after Ben arrived was Pro/Am competitor and resident Melbournian Kurt Winter. Kurt has been sidelined for a wee bit due to a knee injury and aside from being bummed he couldn’t enter, we were honoured to have him in our judging panel.

judges: morgs, kurt winter, sean ‘banana phone’ holland and ben harriss

Everyone in from the 40 selected to enter killed it in their own way. Harry Clark did a bionically tweaked switch ollie over the wheelchair and switch backside flipped the grass gap. John Dickenson heelflipped the wheelchair rail and partook in some breakdancing triples with Brett Royden and Jesse ‘Red Noonan’.

peewee, royden and red throwing some mean break shapes on the a-frame dance floor

‘Red’ boardslid over the A-frame rail (yep: up over and dpwn). Pedro Day was straight DGKilling it with multiple obstacle hits punctuated with great flatground. Mitch Robertom backside flip lipped and back noseblunted the A-frame. Battles crooked up the A-frame rail. Bjorn Johnston 360 flipped and frontside nosegrinded the wheelchair ramp.

jackson pilfers a back smith up the bike loop

Jackson Pilz pole jammed up the bike rack backside smith styles! Wait did I even mention Jack Crook? Holy smoke he was on fire: his frontside flip to switch manual was a true mind-melter. Alex Campbell flowed around the joint with his usual grace and speed igniting stylish moves wherever he felt the need.

battlecat with an uphill crooks

Now we all know that Dean Palmer is gifted. But did you know he is in fact so gifted that he switch backside flipped the wheelchair ramp. Jeremy Corea performed a crispy switch backside heel over the wheelchair and generally ran the joint with his fluid lines including a fakie 50/50 on the A-frame. Seriously everyone ripped: these are just some fragments from the people who placed under the top eight.

scott standley switch flips like the boss of all bosses

In eighth was the stylish-speedster known as Dennis Durrant. There were people who fell below the cut off for the final who made way more tricks, but the sheer level of luda on a couple of his bangers entitled him a slot in the final. In qualification he did a well-pointed switch back smith down the A-frame rail and nollie front blunt on the same! He switch k-grinded the massive flat ledge on the back of the hip and was the only person to straight nollie the wheel chair ramp. Oh did I mention his frontside feeble grinds? I remember after the Am Series I felt like I could never watch that trick again, but after seeing his rendition of the frontal feeble that took him almost the entire length of the flat bar, he has reinstalled my faith in the trick.

filming duo shane fowler and colin evans

Seventh place went to New South Welshman Reece Warren. Reece is so rad to watch and his confidence is totally infectious. Such a lovely lad too, straight up and a heart of gold. That’s how they roll in the country. Eden’s finest ignited the course with frontside 270 lips and frontside hurricanes on the A-frame, 50/50’s and 50/50 backside 180’s on the wheelchair ramp, kickflips over the wheelchair and smith grinds with jump ramp aided exits the absolute length of the flat bar.

jack crook frontside flips to switch manual with ease n authority <click to animate>

Sixth-place-getter was Alex Lawton. And what a shredder. This is the first time we have seen him in a Pro/Am Stop Final and what a treat it was. Alex rattled off nollie frontside noseslides, nollie frontside k-grinds and a nollie biggy to back lip on the A-frame rail and put down a monster switch heel over the wheelchair ramp. He also nailed (multiple times) the most ludicrous backside flip off the kicker over the bin, and in the final this was whilst having a severely cramped thigh. This was an obstacle that most were struggling to ollie and Alex was the only person to flip his board over the beast.

despite being over a bin, alex lawton’s backside flips were far from rubbish

In fifth was Jack Fardell. As per usual he was one of the fastest units on the course. He rattled off 5-0 transfers on the side of the wheelchair, backside bluntslides over the steep hip, ollies over the hip (impossible),  Howard grinds and switch front boards on the A-frame, 50/50’s and a cheeky 5-0 to boot up the escalator rail of doom. People may know Jack as a bowl destroyer but he truly destroys every terrain in a blur. He is off to the States shortly: heads will be turned.

Fourth place was seized by winner of last year’s Stop #1 Mr. Sam Giles. He came straight out of the gates with a blinder of a backside 270 lip on the A-frame. He nollie flipped over the A-frame rail. He also frontside flipped and backside nose grind transferred the wheelchair ramp, blunted and frontside crooked the table and crooked grinded the steep bank from flat.

sam giles straight out of the gates with a back 270 lip <click to animate>

Now we get to the top three. And depending on your take on skateboarding really any of these guys could have won. It was a super close down to the wire scengnario. This was some seriously nex-lev ripping that went on amongst this trio.

Third went to the winner of Stop #2 Mr Blake Harris. Wowsers. Nollie frontside feebles and big spin front boards to fakie on the A-Frame. Frontside flips over the wheel chair ramp. To top it all off: a ridiculous backside 50/50 to backside 180 up the escalator beam.

kirksy’s back smith 180’s around the curved ledge were all time

Second place went to Jack Kirk who was soul arching all over the joint. I can try explain it in tricks, but it wont work. It was the way he fanged, carved and took over the joint in the most fluid manner. Highlights were back smith backside 180’s around the curved ledge, half cab boards the length of the snake, frontside blunts to shuv and nose grind 180’s on the A-frame and a luda tailslide up the escalator of doom.

tommy fynn’s tre flip noseblunt raised the roof <click to animate full sequence>

First place was clenched by last year’s Shocklands winner and Oz Champ Tommy Fynn. The precision upon which his toes are operating these days is truly phenomenal. He 360 backside ollied, 360 flipped and backside flipped the wheelchair ramp. He also performed a noseblunt slide on the top of the wheelchair ramp ripping it out just before his toes caught. His kickflip front boards were great as were his backside noseblunt slides. It was definitely the 360 flip noseblunt slide that sealed the deal though (on the A-frame). First try in qualifications and second try in the final. The look on Tommy’s face when he made that first try one was so rad. Kind of like the reaction you see on someone’s face when they make their first drop in. Gold.


1st Tommy Fynn ($4,000)

2nd Jack Kirk ($2,500)

3rd Blake Harris ($1500)

4th Sam Giles ($800)

5th Jack Fardell ($500)

6th Alex Lawton ($300)

7th Reece Warren ($200)

8th Dennis Durrant ($200)

L to R: Jack Kirk (2nd), Tommy Fynn (1st), Blake Harris (3rd)

A sincere thank you to all the sponsors and people who were involved with making this happen. It was a monumental day for Australian Skateboarding. See you in Sydney for Stop #3.



Australian Sports Commission
City of Melbourne




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