Up until a few weeks ago, my favourite event of the year was Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. But after spending the day at Vans BOWL-A-RAMA watching the best skaters in the world battle it out with iconic Bondi Beach as the backdrop, I have a new favourite.
Now in it’s 10th year, Vans BOWL-A-RAMA is the largest skateboarding event in the southern hemisphere. The week long festival saw the pros take over the seaside suburb with Beach Road Hotel hosting most of the festivities. In between launch parties, after parties and closing parties, were cultural events that included a film night and an art exhibition that showcased the skaters creative work. If the pros were getting a bit too festive in the lead up to the competition, you wouldn’t have known. When competition day rolled around, they put on an incredible show nailing huge airs, technical spins and lip trickery. With the sun blazing and skater tunes like RATM pumping across the action-packed arena, the crowd were in their element. Not to mention the thousands of skater fans around the world who tuned in through the live ESPN broadcast and the Vans Live 2.0 App.
Legendary skaters Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and Nicky Guerrero shredded in the Masters Division, taking out the top three places. World champion Pedro Barros took home the title once again in the PRO Division, followed by Alex Sorgente in second and Felipe Foguinho in third. Some of our favourite skaters of the day were Bucky Lasek, Greyson Fletcher, Corey Juneau (the 14-year-old with an incredible amount of power for his size) and Sky Siljeg – not just for his skating but for the awesome feather he had tied in his hair.
The competition was just as fierce on the platform for the media as it was in the bowl. Michaela and I set up camp away from the sausage fest of photographers at the top of the waterfall. We positioned ourselves where the skaters were taking off so we managed to get quite different shots to the guys shooting for the magazines and sponsors. Because we were shooting from the take off point, we got to make friends with the pros. Nolan Monroe who injured his knee earlier in the competition shared his skateboard seat with me, and showed me his sick skate park photography that we’ll be featuring on the site soon.
As the sun went down, the bowl saw its final rush of action with a nudie run by an overexcited fan. Until we meet again great festival of the skateboard.
Photography by Michaela Skovranova and me (Laura McWhinnie).