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Marisa Nuñez: Winning in Australia

Words by Marisa Nuñez, Photos by Flavio Biehl

These past couple of weeks in Australia have been really intense. It was raining at Mt. Keira, and Newton’s Nation was a fast track. Skating with all the ladies has been a blessing and a great time. There were 9 chicks racing Keira and 4 at Newton’s. Stoked to see the girls on this side of the world shredding and giving it their all. I spent a couple weeks in Sydney before the races started to be able to find a job. I landed one at this Turkish kebab restaurant, passing out flyers for less than the minimum wage. It was just enough to by myself food for that week, good enough. I still got to skate almost every day with the Hopkin team, before and after kicking it at the shop. The weather was sunny most days and the skate sessions were amazing. Such great hills here in Sydney! They have options, the long mountains runs, the short freeridey runs, steep, cruisey, whatever you prefer, Sydney has it! There was a rad video premiere night at the shop, where they showed some unseen vids that SkateHouseMedia was brewing, and the full video of To The End Of The World tour by Rob McWhinnie, filmed of us in Cusco, Peru. So stoked to see everyone’s reaction to the film! Everyone wants to go to Peru now, yay!

Race day finally came along. We all piled up in a bus and drove out to Mt. Keira, Mr. Shapiera (Dad) was our driver. It was raining really hard when we got there and the road was soaked. It stayed wet for most of the weekend and we skated it as it was. The first couple of days were brutal. Lots of slippery crashes to start us off. Both my knees were swollen and sore after 3 hard crashes during the practice runs. Finally on race day it cleared up and we skated a dry road. I managed to qualify first in time of the women and I placed first in the race. The women’s final heat was intense. It was Ishtar Backlund, Dasha Kornieko, Lea Robertson and I all fighting for the first place spot. I pushed off 3rd, made a couple passes, slipped and crashed hard on the last right turn, which was WET from the drizzle that had just started. Managed to get my board jump back on and finish with a first place win in the women’s class. Lea came 2nd, Ishtar came 3rd and Dasha came 4th. We later partied the night away to rock and roll and hip hop dancing. Leeches infested our shoes, but we didn’t care.

Newton’s Nation was such a rad event and an awesome experience. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a better organized race in my life. The people behind the whole thing worked so hard and efficiently. The ASRA and IGSA crew did a flawless job in making this race experience great for everyone. Can’t thank them enough for this.

We had three days of skating: two for practice and qualifiers and the last day was race day. There were four girls racing this year, Maga McWhinnie, Gemma Holland, Ishtar Backlund, and myself. We were all sketched out like crazy on the first day because the road looked pretty gnarly, so we were taking it easy. A couple footbrakes at least to start off, but with a few more runs following the boys, I was able to get it down to no footbraking at all. Super stoked on that! It was race to qualify for opens and I did pretty well, got second in my first heat and 3rd in my second heat, so I qualified for the open class. The next day was race day. My first heat was with Mischo and Luca. I made it quite fine until I got to Forest Elbow where I slid out, missed the hay bales by 5 centimeters, and then wobbled coming out of the turn. I came in last, but I was just happy to have held it together the way I did in that situation. Then I raced the girls, we did four heats and accumulated points each time. They did this so that we could get to skate the road more since it was only four of us. I came in first each time, Ishtar came in second each time, Gemma third, and Maga fourth. Except for one time where Gemma and Maga had a huge crash with each other. Thankfully they were both alright, just really sore. The guys’ final heat was a sick one. Dalua was way out ahead from the beginning and passed by Mischo on Conrad straight. It was so tight and really entertaining to watch on the live feed. Everyone was happy at the end of the day and the award ceremony was lit up with a magical sunset. It was such a great end to a phenomenal weekend. That night, we all partied our butts off. Can’t wait until next year, wouldn’t miss it for the world!

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