Russell with a frontside nose-Grundy on the outledge.

2013 Nike SbA Am Series Qualifiers
Stop #2 – Waterloo Skatepark
Saturday 19th of January
Words: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Matty Hooker (click pics to view larger)
Video: Shane Fowler + Leo Townsend (vid at bottom of page)

Last Saturday was the best and worst day ever. We spent the day-lit hours enjoying epic Sydney skateboarding during the NSW Nike SbA Am Series Qualifier, and as dusk struck we heard the devastating news of the passing of grand-master Lewis Marnell. We send all the healing vibes humanly possible to all of Lewis’ close friends and family. Make sure everyone of you reading this has a shred for Lewis soon.


The Nike SbA Am Series: fun for young and old. 

Waterloo is one of the most-fluid, funnest parks in the country. It is a staple for local and overseas tours when visiting our largest city, and it is probably one of our most-documented parks too, popping up in clips all the time. Every time it gets sessioned, it seems someone comes up with a new take on an old obstacle or a new line. I guess it is the infinite possibilities that have ensured the longevity of the park and it is a culmination of all these traits that ensures we select it as the location for our New South Wales Am Series Qualifier every year.


MC Bjorn Johnston headed up the mic antics with SbA’s Richard Flude.  

The day prior had seen Sydney’s hottest day of all time. As the barometer hit forty-six, SbA filmer Shane Fowler and myself had a roll at the park. And to be honest, even though Waterloo was solely ours, we soon retreated as it is no fun skating around inside a giant hair dryer set to max. Shortly after, the heavens opened up and dropped at least a dam worth of water over Waterloo. The rain continued well into the night. We dozed off hoping it would all change by Saturday morning. 


How is the intensity? Judges (L to R) Dean Palmer, Morgs and Darren Kaehne.  

We arrived at dawn the next morning to find Waterloo still waterlogged, but as we assembled the infrastructure for the comp, it seemed the looming clouds were maybe going to stay obediently dry for the remainder of the day. As per every stop we had some very talented local guest additions to the SbA posse to help the day run as intended. Bjorn Johnston was MC-ing (alongside Fludey) and the guest judges were Sydney legends Darren Kaehne and Dean Palmer. Having expertise of that level is simply essential to make a fair judging panel. Oh have you seen Dean’s Death part yet? 


The first Steve Murphy Best Dressed award goes to Tom Hodge. 

The Steve Murphy Best Dressed Award is an award given by SbA logistics manager and general fashion guru: Steve Murphy. At each stop when there is a total fashion standout we are going to award one of these. At Waterloo this went to none other than boneless bandito Mr. Tom Hodge (pictured above). Well-done son.


Morale was high at the NSW Am Series Qualifier


As per the Queensland stop a week prior, a few of the Juniors had moved through to the Opens, which left openings for some fresh faces on the Junior podium. In third was Caringbah’s Jack O’Grady who has gotten a fair bit of coverage since his last Waterloo appearance. Jack ripped through crooked grinds and boardslides on the large rail (which was pretty much eyeball height for the lad). He also locked in a ludicrous lipslide the length of the bump to ledge and 360 flipped the six in the final. Receiving a second place finish was North Balgowah’s Jack Paterson who kickflipped, 360 shuved and hard flipped the six. He came super-close to switch flips down the same set, but got denied on the roll away. Then there was Winmalee’s Blake O’Connor who skated most corners of the course and won the Juniors by boardsliding the six-stair rail, front shuving the six, feebling and kickflipping the small thee-stair, nose sliding the hubba and kickflipping the big three. Him and a guardian win a trip to Melbourne for the Finals!


JUNIOR QUALIFIERS (from left to right)

1st Blake O’Connor – 14 – Winmalee – NSW

2nd Jack Paterson – 14 – North Balgowlah – NSW

3rd Jack O’Grady – 13 – Caringbah – NSW

OPENS (15 & OVER) 


Charles Fester nails a picture perfect hard flip down the six.

The Opens killed it all day long. Unknown shredders are at a pretty spun out level these days. Of the thirty-five in the division it is safe to say that over half were of sponsorship level… at the very least. Style-wise the man of the match was none other than Corey Young. He backsmithed across the long ledge, nose manual to nollie flipped the manual pad and front tailed the hubba ensuring retinal satisfaction for all by-standers. Unfortunately a few bails in the final saw him slip beneath those who qualified.


Captain of smooth Corey Young owns backside smith grinds. 

Another non-qualifying stand-out was certainly man-am Ryan Baczynski who had the crowd electrified with his back tails across the love seat and his dangerously awesome alley oop frontside 5-0 grinds across the Shane Cross wall.

Ryan Baczynski with an uber-stylish tight trannied backtail over the love seat.

Receiving a fourth place and a wild card into the final for his outrageous pop and nollie ability was none other than Jono Power who nollie 180’d into reverse nose grinds on the small out ledge, ripping ’em back out to forwards upon exit. He also nollie heel nose slid the hubba, several times, with total ease. See you at the final Mr. Power. 


Jono Power using his namesake to nollie heel noseslide the hubba. <click for sequence 

In third was the Flip-approved Ryder Lawson who has grown vastly since last year and is showing glimpses of the kind of poise that will emanate from him as a pro in years to come. Ryder stood tall on back lips down the tall rail, 360 shuv’ed to lip down the small rail and even nailed a kickflip back smith down the hubba albeit a wee bit sketchy.



Jamie Keating ollied up the six stair like it was nothing. 

Second was snaffled by Shell Harbour’s Steve Adam who had some really hard tricks on absolute lock. He went to work on the flat bar: half cab heel nose slides, half cab heel boardslides, half cab backside nose grind 180’s and cab back lips. Due to the punishment that he inflicted on the unsuspecting pice of steel: I heard Dean Palmer comment at one point: “oh that poor flat bar”. Steve also took to the six with half cab heels and inward heels. 


NSW 2013 Open Champ Robert Pace showing proper tailslide shapes on the big rail. 

First place was seized by none other than Tumbi Umbi’s Robert Pace. He skated like a vet. Every rail trick was locked in just beneath the top and exited witrh perfect poise. He really mixed it up and got busy on every end of the course. His journeys around Ferny consisted of 360 flips and switch biggies down the six, blunt slides and tailslides down the six-stair rail, kickflip manuals on pads and kick flip back tails on the small outledge. Everything was delivered with style and a smile. What a deserving first place!


OPEN QUALIFIERS (from left to right)

1st Robert Pace – 16 – Tumbi Umbi – NSW

2nd Steve Adam – 17 – Shell Harbour – NSW

3rd Ryder Lawson – 15 – Cronulla – NSW

4th Jono Power – 22 – Maryland – NSW (WILD CARD)

As we announced the final placings and gave out the prize packs… the rain started. Thanks for holding off Captain Weather. The lack of rain for the duration made for another brilliant day in the Waterloo chapter and the Am Series. After packing up and heading back to the hotel we prepped for dinner. It was then we heard the heavy news of Lewis Marnell passing away the night prior. It sent every one of us spiraling into despair. This is one of the saddest times in our skateboarding history. We will get through it, but only by paying respects to what an inspiring human Lewis was both off and on the board. Lewis mate: it is not going to be the same without you, but we will do our best to carry on that smile and aspire to skate with the power you always did. 


Massive thanks and appreciation to everyone who helped out on the day and to the all sponsors of the comp. See you at Belconnen next weekend. 

2013NikeSbAAmSeries SponsorTitles GENERIC-584 

Australian Sports Commission




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