Photos: Matty Hooker
Words: Morgan Campbell (head judge)
Video: Shane Fowler and Matty Hooker

I had a bit of a dilemma when it came to getting down to the comp on time for set up. I had to be there at eight and already it was ten minutes to. Tram? Bike? Cab? No: skateboard it was: despite the fun factor it would be the fastest. I broke out and bombed through the city. Normally I’d take Lil’ Burke but today it had to be Collins. Bombed it, copped a green across Swanston, skipped across the tracks, left down Lizzy, under Flinders Station, across the Yarra and I seemed to be there. It was one and half songs on the pod, so I reckon I might have even gotten there a minute or two early.

Pat Dandy smith grinds the hubba to early exit for bank time.

After I’d initially surveyed the area for some familiar SbA Wolf Pack faces it occurred to me that someone was already skating. It was a rather bedraggled, yet chipper Dix. There were a few surfers who also looked like they had pulled an all-nighter behind the fences too. They were seemingly ‘checking the swell’ (as Dix put it) at the top of the gap. Dix was obsessed by nosesliding down the hubba into the bank and after a solid splat and a couple of spit outs he was victoriously on his way… on his way back up to check how the swell would suit a 50/50 I guess. While Dix kept the security guard busy I set up the judging desk and snuck off a coffee. It was there that I realized Melbourne’s South Bank was indeed a different world to the Melbourne I knew. There was an abundance of silicon, make up and girls running around in penguin covered flannel jumpsuits.

It was Woodsy’s birthday. Look how stoked he is!

Given the stage of one of the most premium boardwalks in the country, only a slither of land was available for this set up. This leads to a uni-directional course, which was dead gnarly but definitely different. The gap was of the same proportions as the Docklands pebble gap, a measurement was made and a foot got added to both the height and length. There was a tight bank added that you could catch a bit of if you preferred (due to the whippiness this was a gnarlier alternative to going the full length). A couple of hubbas were added to the sides and there was a gap to giant electrical box kind of contraption in the middle that had a lil gap to it and an eyeball height drop off the end. There was a quarter pipe for added for extra run up when needed and a couple of small wallie-ish banks on the back of each hubba.

2011 SOTY Nick Boserio and 2011 Oz Champ Tommy Fynn

The assisting judges were Dix, Mike Martin and Richard Flude. The MC’s were Glenn Scott and Anthony Mapstone. Aside from a wee bit of wind in the second qualification heat Melbourne had really turned on the dope weather button for the afternoon.

MC adds some exoskeleton to Will Hine

The forty-man field was promptly cut down to thirty-odd due to injuries, a couple of no shows and one guy who had simply ‘forgotten to get up’. What we were left with was just shy of eight four-man heats. Of the thirty-two who showed, and thirty that skated, the ripping was of such a frequency that we had no choice but to extend the normal eight man final into a simply rabid ten man-i-fiesta.

Kieran Reilly noseblunted the hubba first try

With thirty of Australia’s best guys unleashed on the plywood wilder beast you can imagine just how many bangers got mashed onto the course. It was impossible to comprehend it all as it unfolded and looking back, it seems even more absurd. Seriously: that much went down. Here is a mere morsel: Jackson Pilz stunned onlookers with a blunt benihana to fakie; followed by a stroll down stairs to get a beverage. Jake Hayes is amazing: think a sprinkling of Will Ackerman on a dude with Brophy pop. His trick bag was rad to boot: everyone who witnessed was a fan. Jake ollied the whole electrical box, went on to back smith the beast and back tailed down the hubba to forwards. Gabbers got buck with his newly found werewolf beard and frontside blunted the hubba with the most casual demeanour indeed.

Kieran Reilly scoring multiple fives for noseblunting the hubba first try

Newly crowned Australian Am Champ Sam Tran blended into the talented line up with no worries what so ever. His first try kick flip 50/50 down the hubba melted minds. He easily nollie crooked it and even gave the old nollie front crook a bash! Dean Parsons was one of the slighter guys on the course but his backtail to fakie on the gap to box was easily one of the gnarliest tricks of the day. Kieran Reilly went mental. Aside from nollie crooks and a first try frontside noseblunt down the hubba he also wallie slappied the end of the hubba into an arc of airtime that took him all the way into the bank that lay way below. Pat Dandy nailed fifties and smiths down the hubba popping out early into the bank. He also laid down frontside 180 nose grinds and frontside 180 fakie 50/50’s in both regular and switch stances.

Warrior Mitch Robertom with a tre banger down the gap

Mitch Robertom hit his head so hard in the qualifiers that he went grey in the face and started shaking. A refusal of medics seemed questionable but Mitch had an itch for more. Over the day he rattled off: the aforementioned front blunt, bluntslides and backside nose grinds on the electrical box and brilliantly tweaked 360 flips and frontside flips over the gap. The frontside flip was within seconds of the head bop.

Sammy, Rob, Alex, Joel and Dennis. Now that is some line-up

It was so good to see Dennis Durrant on home turf. As you all well know Dennis slays it with a hand in the pocket gangsterness that is simply infections: speed, style, control and fearlessness all mixed in the same concoction. I actually let Dennis know how well we all thought he skated and he said “Oh man I felt like I was everywhere” or “I was all over the joint.” But I feel that was simply untrue. Dennis lorded it into seventh. Down the hubbas he unleashed nollie backside 50/50 grinds, nollie crooks, switch crooks, switch backside 5-0 grinds and just incase our cerebellums weren’t maxed out he nailed a nollie flip backside 50/50!

Dennis Durrant switch crook’d the hubba with ease

Six-placer Tim Williams is from San Diego but has an Australian dad, and he simply felt like a change of scenery so he moved to Melbourne. He got pretty buck with a frontside 50/50 to backside 180’s on the gap to box and slayed the hubbas with half cab fifties, half cab fifties to backside 180, half cabs to Suski and a rarely seen frontside 5-0 to backside 180. Down a hubba!

Jackson Pilz is family friendly

Sammy Winter has had some bad luck at the last couple of SbA events. He ran into a bar just before Shocklands. He ran into a hubba at The Island. One way or another he hasn’t been able to skate, and despite this course being different from the obstacles you might associate with the ‘ripper internationalle’, he went nutty and blew away every single bystander. Over the day he performed an outrageous slappy up the back of the hubba – to airtime – to backside 5-0 down the other side. He also frontside flipped out to the electrical box and got abstract on the hubbas with well formed frontside nollie 180 fakie fifties, frontside nollies into switch switch backside 5-0’s and almost locked a switch flip 50/50 down it. In our books though doing a switch flip into a hubba, (grind or not) is a pretty amazing trick in itself right? Sammy placed fifth.

Sammy Winter making great shapes with a 180 nollie to switch k <click for animated version>

Marty Girotto was definitely up there as the happiest unit of the match. Aside from his stylish fluid approach to the course he did it all with the biggest smile across his noggin’. He actually put lines together. Instead of dropping in he would set up for the hubbas with a backside noseblunt on the quarter. He was doing kickflip fakies on the lil banked back of hubba. He lit up the joint when he switch ollied down into the bank even though a hat was in the way. He melted faces when he kickflipped the gap, (about a metre high) despite there being a skateboard in his way. And yes… his fakie 50/50 down the hubba was slinky but he simply smashed it when he took a five-o to fakie on the quarter pipe straight into a fakie 5-0 down the hubba!

Mat Kinsman, Marty Girotto and Sammy Winter stoking

Back in the Questionable video it was mentioned that Pat Duffy was a Terminator from the future. Twenty years on I think we might have come across another one in the form of Reece Warren. Yes, Pat might have done his fearlessness training on the rails of Nor Cal and Reece may have done his in the parks deep in the sea off of Eden, NSW; but one this is for sure, these geezers are not scared. Despite popping his hip out in the final Reece laid some serious assaults on the course in the form of kickflip 50/50’s down the hubbas, backside 50/50’s to backside 180 on the electrical box and backside flips and 360’s down the gap. Last year’s SbA Am Series winner, is well onto being one of the higher ranked individual’s in the SbA Pro/Am Tour.

Nice wings bruv. Tommy Fynn styling a backside noseblunt slide

It was last year’s Oz Champ Tommy Fynn who placed second. Tommy was freshly off the plane back from the States where he had just Battled in the Berrics and has been hard at work filming a stereo part. Over the course of the day Tommy hoiked well poised kickflips and backside flips down the gap, backside nosegrinds on the gap to ledge and nailed frontside noseslides, frontside noseblunt slides, kickflip crooked grinds and a first try backside noseblunt down the hubba. You can see the photo right above. It was text book!

Getting buck on the gap to box, Blake Harris backside nosegrinds to drop off

Blake Harris got well busy on the course. He filled up judging sheets all over the shop. Well-popped switch backside 180’s and kickflips down the seldom-hit gap. On the gap to electrical box he stuck backside nosegrinds. Down the hubbas he rattled off back tails to fakie, frontside bluntslides, back smiths, frontside nosegrinds, frontside noseblunts, nollie nose grinds and even a nollie noseblunt slide! Through a tenacious assault on all bits of the behemoth Blake came through with first place and the four gees. Yeeew.

Winner Blake Harris


presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone

1st Blake Harris ($4000)

2nd Tommy Fynn ($2500)

3rd Reece Warren ($1500)

4th Marty Girotto ($800)

5th Sammy Winter ($500)

6th Tim Williams ($300)

7th Dennis Durrant ($200)

8th Mitch Robertom ($200)

Thanks to everyone who participated in this event at any level. And a huge congratulations to everyone who showed up to the 2012 Billabong City Squared and had a good time. See you at Stop #2 in July. Shocklands awaits.


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