missingham skatepark is indeed a picturesque place to hold a skate comp

Words: Richard Flude
Photos: Matty Hooker
Video: Luke Rigby

Due to freeway upgrades, Ballina’s been getting bypassed quite heavily in recent times. Ballina is transitioning to a quieter life without the constant passing of trucks and cars. The Ballina Shire Council wanted to step down its involvement in organising the annual Fair Go skateboarding competition, and they subsequently approached Skateboarding Australia (SbA) to run the event. One thing was for sure: Ballina would be anything but bypassed this weekend.

pedro day sits on a properly leaned frontside feeble

The freshly painted skatepark awoke to a tangerine sunrise void of clouds: perfect conditions for a skate-party. With the support of the awesome volunteer team, bump in was made light work… until it was time to sweep the bowl. Turned out some meddling detractor had sprayed the thing with Canola oil, making it ice-like in feel. After moments of panic, we got on the Googler and found a substance that would clean it off. Degreaser is the key if you’re ever faced with this hate-inspired situation.

(clockwise from top left) the crowd, the voice, the vibe, the blood

The first heat was off and the energy was high. At nine, East Ballina’s Grace Dwyer was the youngest girl in the comp; it was great to see her dad supporting her bravery. Ashleigh Hill did a sick fakie shuv-it on the flat bank, but it was the birthday girl Abbie Barnes Whitaker that came in for the win. She use most of the Missingham Skatepark: further evidence that the Nimbin skatepark is producing a large talent pool. Abbie’s mum left a message on our facebook page informing us that she had the best birthday party ever.

1st Abbie Barnes Whitaker – 12 – Nimbin – NSW
2nd Ashleigh Hill – 12 – Mullumbimby – NSW
3rd Grace Dwyer – 9 – East Ballina – NSW

Lots of these youngsters were regular to the StreetWise workshops in the Northern Rivers Hub, learning tricks with Dylan McNamara and the team. Skill level varied widely as some were newbies on the shred-sled that were encouraged to go in the competition for the experience alone.

he got the flick, the poise, and the slide. joey cormack back lips an approving peanut gallery

Standouts included Thor Turner’s benihana to flat over the spine, which was followed by Keegan Palmer (new to the Nike squad) backside three-sixty airing said obstacle to a double fisted air-punch. He mixed the hippy twist with other assorted gravity-defining maneuvers. Joey Cormack wowed the pen-welding critique of Darren Kirby, Rome Torti, and Brooke Thomson with straight-faced consistency and legit trick selection. Solid flip tricks and a clean style saw Joey take out the Juniors.

1st Joey Cormack – 14 – Suffolk Park – NSW
2nd Keegan Palmer – 9 – Currumbin – QLD
3rd Thor Turner – 13 – Aspley – QLD
4th Jack Hanson – 14 – Binna Burra – NSW
5th Jake Martinovich – 13 – Lennox Head – NSW
6th Damon Cahill – 13 – Lennox Head – NSW

hub manager dave tyson ensures port macquarie’s skatulation is in able hands. fside flip.

This was a great heat. Emma Jay skated barefoot, doing layback slashes straight outta Dogtown and closing with a handstand in front of the judging tent. Aimee Masse has got a great flick, opting for the technical strategy opposed to her hammers-approach of the year before.

miami’s shanae collins powers through a proper frontside smith

Second place went to Nikki-Rose Quinlan who went rewind with a smith stall to fakie amongst other transitional trickery. For the winning spot Miami’s Shanae Collins woman-handled the transition-heavy skatepark with power and proper form to take out the Open/Sponsored Girls.

1st Shanae Collins – 19 – Miami – QLD
2nd Nikki-Rose Quinlan – 23 – Carters Ridge– QLD
3rd Aimee Massie – 20 – Varsity – QLD

an office with a view

This division was the epitome of the word ‘open’: multiple geneskations flowed the Missingham ‘crete side-by-side. One heat included Miller flips, finger flips, and kickflips in the same minute. Something about the rawness of guys like Tony Hunja blasting  wallie-hannas is inspiring. The passion is evident in Damian Brown who Miller-flipped the spine. Most outstanding was the heartwarming efforts of Luke Watt, using his strong arms to paddle his skateboard in the absence of having fully-formed legs. Once again skateboarding showed its versatility and ability to highlight similarities over superficial differences and connect humans despite disabilities.

damian brown gets time-warpy with a miller flip. these might well be the next impossible

Jarrod Rigby, the Prince of Coops given his Open win in the King of Coops not long ago, sat on grinds long and steady, flippin’ the board into a 50/50 on one occasion. Trent Riley, a Moreton Bay Hub regular who put out a decent part in Michael Pearce’s ‘The Grass Is Greener’, is getting good fast: frontside tailslide 270’s on the flarbar, mixed with frontside grinds to lipslides on the quarter pipe ushered him into in second place. Its funny, the guy who’s style reminded me of Jackson Pilz ended up winning the Opens with a philosophy similar to that of Jackson and Bobby McFarren: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Fashion points aside for wearing a tie-died t-shirt/blouse, Simon Carven mixed it up with crails, long fs feebles, a 5-0 to 180 across and down the pyramid that glided him into the coveted spot. Oh did I mention his back tail on the Jersey barrier? T’was easily one of the tricks of the day. The best bit, Simon is a Ballina local!

1st Simon Carven – 18 – Ballina – NSW
2nd Trent Riley – 18 – Caboolture – QLD
3rd Jarrod Rigby – Ormeau – QLD
4th Quaid Munson – 19 – Port Macquarie – NSW
5th Nathan Wisely – 18 – Maclean – NSW
6th Jorge Trehbon – 18 – Gold Coast – QLD

northern rivers hub manager dylan mcnamara w/ happy campers nj and jayden de pina


Apparently the Sponsored Division is always windy at Fair Go. The geography of the skatepark sees an afternoon gust come in regularly from the Pacific Ocean. This didn’t seem to phase anyone, and the heads who turned up were all time. MC Cuzza really fired up on the mic for this section, dropping history lessons left and right and at one point given an epic intro to The Doors ‘Break On Through to the Other Side’ which made the crowd explode. James Kennedy took switch flip tricks to quarters all over the joint, and when he hit them regular it was straight boom town.

teenage mothers frontman james kennedy’s been good forever. chillin, yet lofty kickflip fakie.

Port Macquaire Hub Manager and certified legend Dave Tyson was going for broke stomping backside kickflips over the big rail thinking he was still in his teens. Pat Dandy (last years poster boy) kickflip fs-lipped the quarter pipe with an Iggy Pop entry and maximum slide.

pat gemzik gets so many kids into skateboarding with SbA. poised 5-0 on his day off

Last years Sponsored winner Patty Gemzik (who holds down the Moreton Bay and Brisbane Hubs) entered from the bowl platform with a huge ollie into the bank, then casually front boarded and 5-0’d the big rail all while sporting that beaming Nelson BC smile.

red danced with the crowd and then waltzed with the jersey barrier: backside decker

Jesse ‘Red’ Noonan wallie boardslid the Jersey barrier from flat and back deckered it out of the bank. Jesse Schulkins is fast becoming a name to remember with his no-prisoners approach to handrails and big tweaker airs. Joel Mcilroy did effortless kickflip fs krooks while panting like a wild dog: mixing up his lightning flick with ally oops tuck knees.

surprised jackson pilz didn’t grab the nose on this one: backside smith. (nice mall grab jk).

Bugs Fardell is the master at taking his foot off the board mid trick: who else can do backside no-compy’s to backside tailslides on tranny? All in all, it was Jackson Pilz who stole the show without trying. The guy seems to dork around, grabbing in out frontside and backside overcrooks when he clearly doesn’t need to. He would kickflip to decker, then fingerflip to decker in the same line, adding proper backside smith grinds up the pyramid ledge for street measure. Our Head Judge, Morgan Campbell commented that he could very well be Australia’s best all-rounder. Thankfully, Jackson Pilz loved the kilo of prawns he won (and the $1200 cheque).

1st Jackson Pilz – 20 – Yandina – QLD – $1200 + 1kg prawns
2nd Bugs Fardell – 19 – Elanora – QLD – $700 + 500g prawns
3rd Joel Mcilroy – 23 – Cleveland – QLD – $500 + 250g prawns
4th Jesse Schulkins – 19 – Deception Bay – QLD – $300
5th Jesse Noonan – 21 – Melbourne – VIC – $200
6th Pat Gemzik – Thornlands – QLD – $100

the prawn stars: (l to r) bugs fardell (2nd), jackson pilz (1st), joel mcilroy (3rd)


eithy does cab and lance proud with a perfect frontside invert

The Rail and Bowl jams went off big-time, the trivia between divisions was all time, no car got upturned, the sun shined all day, and finished with many cooked prawns been enjoyed. Dustin Dollin’s grandma even rocked up and hit us up for pole position parking once she dropped her grandson’s name!

is it switch? you tell us. corey byrne is ambidextrous

‘Fair Go’ was just that, a fair go for skateboarding. The total spectrum of the regional Northern NSW / Southern Queensland skateboarding community was there: from skid-lid donned groms to the Pro/Am Tour elite, they all made the annual pilgrimage to Ballina keeping alive what is the oldest and best regional skateboarding competition in the country!

bugs fardell hiding behind a hyper-extended madonna that would do ms ciccone proud



Big big thanks and multiple appreciations to everyone who helped and to the sponsors of the comp: concrete skateparks, almost skateboards, picture wheels, skull candy, thunder trucks, cherry street, northern star newspaper, the australian sports commision, nike and of course ballina shire council.





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Free events brought to you by the City of Palmerston and the COPAL program, Australian Sports Commission, N…