Five Somerset skateboarders travelled to Mackay in Northern Queensland for the Australian Skateboarding Federation Rumble on the Reef Championships. Thomas Dawson and Aidan Chan (Year 11), Tom Enwright (Year 10) and myself, along with staff mentor Chris Enwright, were incredibly excited for the opportunity that we had, to compete against some of the best skaters in Australia and meet plenty of amazing people.
What a week it was!
The fact that this contest was even able to happen was a testament to the hard work the Rumble on the Reef organisers put in to making sure that the event was COVID safe, and we were incredibly grateful for their efforts.
We first competed 24 September, in the qualifying round, and despite the absence of NSW and Victorian skaters, the standard was incredibly high. Tom and Thomas both completed solid runs to qualify for the Under 16 Street Finals. Meanwhile, as I could no longer compete in the Under 16s as I did last year, I had decided to enter the Opens Socials, a new category that is intended to allow amateur riders to gain experience before they join the Open Men’s division, which is the most competitive category. I managed to come 1st in the Opens Socials, a surprising but exciting result for me. Meanwhile, Chris also came second in the Masters Street division.
We started 25 September with the annual Game of SKATE contest. SKATE is a game that involves a head-to-head battle to land the best flatground tricks, testing the competitors’ versatility and consistency. The game gave our Spartan skaters an opportunity to take on some internationally-recognised professional skaters. Aidan versed Rick Thomas, Thomas versed Corey Nixon, and I versed Dennis Durrant. The opposition in each case was incredibly talented, and while none of us won, it was satisfying being able to test our skills against the best and even land a few tricks that they couldn’t. That night saw the Bowl Championships, which Tom, Thomas and Chris entered. Tom managed a fourth in the Under 16’s while Chris took the gold medal in the Masters’ division.
Finally, 26 September came, the day of the Under 16 and Open Street Finals, the most anticipated events of the entire contest. In the run section of the final, Tom and Thomas both managed to improve on their qualifying runs and show off some difficult but consistent skateboarding. Then, Best Trick rolled around. They each had 3 attempts to land the best single tricks that they possibly could. Tom, first try, managed to land an incredible late shuv-it down the big stair set. Thomas also landed a first-try Smith grind down the nine-stair rail. He also got excruciatingly close to an amazing frontside feeble on his final try, which the crowd were desperate to see him land. And, even though time had been called, the fans cheered him on to go back up and land it next try, to an ecstatic reaction from the crowd. He ended up placing 4th, and Tom ended up taking out first place in the Under 16s Queensland Street title, both incredible achievements in their own right.
After the Opens Men's finals, the contest moved to the nine-stair for a Best Trick jam, in which skaters from every division lined up to land the best trick they possibly could, and it was here that we got to witness another incredible display from a Somerset skater. Aidan, whose birthday it was, decided to make this his moment to shine. Despite injuring his ankle, he incredibly managed to land both a nollie and pressure flip down the stairs. The pressure flip was an especially celebratory moment; after throwing himself down the massive set of stairs for about ten minutes, Aidan got a massive cheer as he finally rolled away onto the grass, after which an ecstatic group ran over and surrounded him, hyped by what they had just seen! Aidan ended up winning $100, which was given out for each of the three best tricks landed down the set. It was a birthday I’m sure he’ll never forget. To make things even better, both Tom and Aidan ended up gaining a skateboard sponsor due to their performances at the event. We wish them best of luck with their endeavors.
Overall, it was an incredible week, and we all left ecstatic about the opportunities and experiences we had had. I’d like to thank staff mentor Chris Enwright for supervising us, and we can’t wait for next year.
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