Australia Report: Grommets
Aki Yaguchi reports on the Australian scene for Skate[Slate]. Enjoy this insider report on the next generation of young riders coming up in “aw-streyl-yuh”
So here’s the deal. I have writer’s block… And I can tell what you’re thinking…. “How can you have writer’s block… when you’re writing about skateboarding?” My answer: EASY. I want to write an article on Australian downhill, and so far… all I’ve come up with is a pile of ideas, and no follow through. I could write an article on Australian groms… right? That’s a great idea! Except I was told that it was a “shit” idea, due to the fact that all our groms are “gay”. (I would tell you who said that but I run the risk of getting in trouble by them, and I don’t like conflict). Ok then… Our professionals? Ah… it’s been done. Terrain? Atmosphere? Community? ARRGH… so many ideas…. So little focus.
So, to try and aid my indecision, I have devised a way to be able to write about a selection of these things without making one single enormous article filled with information. I will write about this glorious country in parts.
So, here is part 1.
Australian grommets are a keen bunch, and make up the majority of the longboarding community. Did I mention, they’re all shredders? I’m all for groms, I love them, so to see so many of them taking part in this amazing sport in Australia makes me optimistic for our skate future. I don’t want to sound biased when I say we are home to some of the raddest, fastest, steeziest and stoked-est groms. And they just keep getting better! (Watch out!!)
One of the steeziest groms in Queensland is a young boy named Jordan Riachi. Jordan shreds. There’s nothing more to it. He’s a local (local being Brisbane, Queensland) and he’s known through the community for being a straight up ripper, and an all around rad dude.
– Whereabouts are you from? I’m from Brisbane, Australia.
– How old are you? I’m 15, going onto 16 later this year.
– Downhill/Freeride (pick one) I love trying to mix the two together as much as possible when I go out for a skate! But I have to say that I think that fast freeride is the best option for me as spots are super limited for downhill runs around Brisbane.
– What is your opinion on grommets in Australia? Most groms in Australia are super friendly and make friends with basically every skater out there. Probably about 95% of the groms in Australia just focus on standies. More recently, the downhill scene has started to grow on them and make them try to get faster and faster, stoked!!
– What are your achievements? A few. Getting onto the extreme skates team! A lot of freeride jams, some races. Nothing too major yet.
– Which are you most proud of? Why? I’d have to say the achievement that I’m most proud of would be making my way into the extreme skates team. I never planned on making my way to being on the same team as Michael English! Best shop out.
– Favourite places to skate in Australia? Goldcoast for sure, the hills down there are crazy! Perfect for anything you can imagine. The skaters down there are the nicest dudes too. Always down for a shred.
– Places you have yet to skate (where do you reeeeaally want to go?)(IN AUSTRALIA) Why? Mt Panorama and Mt Stewart for sure. Those places look like heaven! and some spots in Tazzy look pretty hectic too!
– What’s the best thing about the Australian skate scene? The best thing about the Australian skate scene would definitely be the fact that everyone is so friendly, and you can almost head out to any hill and expect a few guys to be there.
– Most influential Australian skateboarder in your opinion? Why? Michael English for sure. This guy has taught me everything, and he shreds harder than anyone! Super nice guy too.
– How did you start skating? Started skating street for a little bit, then a few of my friends started cruising around the area on longboards. One of them learnt to slide and bomb some hills, and after watching that I was hooked! had to try it out for myself! Stoke was spread.
– What are your aspirations skatewise? Next year. Newtons Nation, Beat the Bastard freeride, King of the zig, and I might even try to go somewhere overseas with some friends for a skatetrip!
– Favourite trick? Anything fast and with no hands!
So, if Jordan hasn’t convinced you our groms are rad, perhaps you should read on… (Even if he has you should keep reading, that would be nice)
If you’ve followed downhill for a while, you’ll surely have heard of this rad dude. Stephen Daddow is one of Australia’s finest OG rippers, and he makes the sickest skateboards. I asked him a couple of questions about himself, and his opinion on the growing grommet populace. Here’s how he answered them.
-What do you do? I make Longboard Skateboards and do some concreting here and there and a Stunt man in the movies when I am needed.
– What does Australian skating mean to you? From no races or crew to downhill with for the first year to now!! Skaters in every town and a race or gathering of skaters every weekend or everyday in some cases. We have riders that can race with the best and even a World Champion. I’m proud and stoked to see the growth of the sport…
– What is your opinion on our young talent? There is a lot of young talent out there and they are ripping it up fast and sideways!!! They seem to catch on a lot quicker than people did 10 years ago. Time will tell..
– Do you see a bright future in regards to the skate scene here in Australia? The long boarding scene is growing so fast with the amount of racing going on these days and the general public getting on a skateboard for source of transport and fun!! We have proved that we can put on World Cup races and hopefully the councils will see the need for closed roads and for sanctioned events and safer skating.
– Do you have anything to say to all the Aussie groms out there? Skate for fun and wear your helmets!! Support your local skate shop and Aussie skateboard builders.
Okie Dokie. You’re convinced aren’t you. Yep. But wait. Before you can collapse from exhaustion after reading approximately 1054 extremely rad words, there is MORE. Only a little bit more, and what’s left is well worth the read. Brisbane locals know about it. It’s almost a life source for the Brisbane longboarders. We wouldn’t be anywhere without it. It’s an online congregation we like to call BFL.
BFL is the brainchild of two rad dudes, Joshua Marriage and Isaac Gale. I asked Joshua a couple of questions about BFL, himself, and the grommies.
What is BFL?– BFL started out as a quirky idea I had to meet other skaters at the beginning of last year. I was fairly new to Brisbane so I started a Facebook group and before I knew it the thing was buzzing with all kinds of stoke. I guess BFL is really a community, with the aim of making all skaters feel welcome, keeping them informed and most of all in touch. For Isaac, and myself it’s a creative outlet, an escape from the daily grind.
What do you do?- During the week I work in Computer Systems Engineering, but as soon as I’m out of the office, I’m on my board shredding for Arbor! Any time I have in between goes to BFL and I never pass up the chance to spread some stoke, especially since Isaac and I launched our website www.bflsteeze.com.au about six months ago.
What events have you organized in the past? What have they gone towards?- We’ve done two fairly major events, Longboard For Flood Relief and BFL Birthday Bash, with both events raising money for charity. We raised about $1200 for the community after Brisbane was ravaged by floodwaters early last year. This year we raised over $2000 for the Brain Foundation, and we are actively involved in helping them raise helmet safety awareness.
What are your plans for BFL in the future? - We have some great ideas for the website and would one day love for it to fund itself. The web is such a great tool for stoke spreading and BFL has so much to share. I wanna focus on all the content for our site being made by the local skate family, give the groms something to be proud of. I just love the thought of skaters from around the world checking out what we do and for all of the BFL crew (over 1300 peeps) taking pride in something awesome!
What is your opinion on Aussie groms – If I had to sum Aussie groms up in two words, I would say enthusiastic and passionate. They instill a real sense of pride and responsibility; they are truly proactive and really care for how the general public portrays them. I’m really proud to say I’m a part of the local scene, and these kids have some serious steeze!
In what way does BFL encourage/assist the local grommets?- We just wanna be here for the kids, make sure they have some guidance so the growing scene continues to thrive. We get a kick out of helping out the crew, whether it’s educating them on road rules, giving them pointers for events, or sharing some trick tips, our main concern is that they are safe!
So there you have it. I have to finish it here. I apologize for any information overloads you might be experiencing, but I hope this very long, rather disorganized, yet hopefully interesting article has been… interesting.
Jordan, Daddow and Josh are all rad rippers! Thanks to them for answering my questions! Aussie Grommets are IN-SHRED-IBLE… get it? ;)
Linus Marsh- http://www.facebook.com/LinusMarshPhotography
Michael English – http://skatedownhills.blogspot.com.au/
Jacob Schneider – http://jacobschneider.com.au/
(thank you all very much!!)