Kook Pool

Now I’m not about to enter into the name of the pool or any of that. That is what it was known as. Cheers to those that scoped it out and made it rideable.

Pools in Australia are usually small, bathtub sized transition and pretty difficult to skate. This one was indeed a harsh old matron of a thing. Rough, a bit slippery, tight as fuck… and Shane Macgowan teeth for coping. It was one of the best ones found in Melbourne though for the last decade.

The forecast was grim. Drizzle all day and little hope. As far as I knew it was a goner and we had one day to give it a crack. We gathered the crew and ignored the BOM radar and headed west.

The house was being demolished and was half done. There was no reason for a bunch of us to be filing inside. We aren’t really discrete even when we try! The older Vietnamese neighbours were standing in their front yard as our black vehicles pulled in and tattooed up skateboarders emerged.

Somehow, the newspapers did the job and we got some. The pool lasted a lot longer than expected. The workmen dropped in to say g’day a couple of times without any worries.

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The drizzle ceased and the session commenced

Getting over the light was the first order of business. Chris

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There’s going to be a lot of frontside grind photographs. It is the best feeling trick and charging one in a backyard pool is one of the best feelings ever on a skateboard. Getting one in this pool is no joke. It was super tight and loads of vert. Bristol fought for it and won.

Tom Rees, full power

There are few that make skateboarding look as good as Anton Jeandet. Barging through three or four pavers.

Cunnaz is always going to give it a solid nudge

Pivot on a serious amount of vert

Threading a line through the top step and jagged pavers was super difficult. I had a street fight with it and got away with it, but it took me about a solid hour! It was steep rolling into the deep, which doesn’t really translate in the photos.

Bisho did it the fastest

Muddy had the goofy line dialed

Brighty went to war in the thing. Impossible lines constantly. Hefty ollie over the steps.

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I don’t understand how he did them, frontside grinds in the shallow.

R.I.P Kook Pool

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Well bugger me I’m 40: Mild in the streets

Why would you do a blog post on your own skateboarding? Well lets face it no one else is going to run these photos. There are vast grades of skateboarding that ranges from pissweak to mind blowing. I am under no illusion to which end of the scale my “skill” lies. But that is largely irrelevant.

Skateboarding is difficult. It doesn’t get easier as the teeth marks of time leave their scars. I have been finding myself staying in second gear a fair bit. I thought with the milestone of 40 hovering on the horizon I should try and get some photos together to push my skateboarding. Enough of second gear, every now and then you have to dump the clutch and sink the boot in.

Thank you to Duncan Ewington (@ewingram) for his patience and for all the photographs. It’s rad to have mates like you keeping the stoke alive.

Same goes for all my extended skate family, particularly the Grim Creepers and NSC crew. Y’all bring the juice to a session. I appreciate it immensely. Nothing better than to hit the road with you lot.

Shout out to my younger brother, and also mentor, Hugh. We share the same birthday. I’ll do a Respect Where Due on him when his broken wrist mends.

I have to thank my gorgeous wife Jo. As I rapidly accelerate through my mid life crisis into old age I couldn’t hope for a better person to share the experience with.

“Skateboarding doesn’t make you a skateboarder; not being able to stop skateboarding makes you a skateboarder.” Lance Mountain

No Comply in Collingwood

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Dodging Friday night St Kilda pedestrains and an awful run up. Slappy

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Pole schloop

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Why do I look so terrified? Wall ride under the rail line

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This bowl is very difficult. So much fun though! Slash at Bowlriders HQ

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Country Creepin’ part three : Tamworth Country Music

The weather was going to shite, so there was no point camping another night in the Blue Mountains. After studying the forecasts and the radar I thought I could boot through to Tamworth and miss it. Last time I headed to Tamworth I got caught in one hell of a hailstorm. I wasn’t keen to end up in the same predicament. It wasn’t easy convincing my insurer that the matte black finish on my car was factory and I didn’t want to roll that dice again.

The Putty Road is epic. Hairpin corners, 100km/h limited and beautiful Dapto forest. It is in the top ten roads in the country. There are a bunch of car graveyards in peoples front yards so it a photographers dream. I didn’t have much luck, and the storm hit a few hours earlier than forecast. It was pretty severe! A road that was meant to be a highlight was a bit of a nightmare. Putty Road has it’s own memorial site, it is a stretch of tarmac to be respected.

The storm front. I had to head right up the guts of it.

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I pulled in here and had a rest. It was well played, I dodged the hailstorm front by fifteen minutes.

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I ended up making it to Tamworth after a very stressful drive. It was where I was raised, it is always a bit nostalgic. Country Music Week sees the town double in size. I reckon the council and hoteliers have become a bit greedy. They are price gouging for accommodation and stalls. The buskers have to pay to audition, then pay if they pass the audition to busk. The crap buskers are part of the appeal and there was hardly any buskers at all. If the main clientelle of the event are grey nomads on a pension, then price hikes will have a detrimental impact.

Anyhow, we saw some great bands. I always go and see Uncle Bob’s Jug Band. Hillbilly AC>DC covers and the like.

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People drank out of a leg, and I had a beer with a one armed bloke named Wingy

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Murphy’s Pigs were my favourite.

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I can’t believe a didn’t get a photo of my old man. Blowing it. I took a photo of Cam though

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It is always a pleasure to catch up with my old mates Troy and Ricky. I’ve known them since I was in early high school. They are fortunate to have great families and it is great to see them. I was chuffed that they made the effort to throw a BBQ and we had a rad afternoon.

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After the temperature dropped below 40 we got stuck in. Anaky has got the fire for it and has improved heaps since last year. Shredding!

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Troy was ripping. Sweeper

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Texas plants

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Getting the speed for the sketchy extension was really hard!

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Ricky manhandled the thing

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His boneless ones into the extension were rad

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Then the fire came out!

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I’ve been fortunate to shoot some incredible skaters doing some heavy moves in my time. I reckon this is one of my favourite photos though. Ricky’s daughter Mat challenging herself and overcoming her fears!

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Thanks to Dad, Robin, Troy, Ricky, Tina, Maire, Anaky, Mat and Joey. See you next time!

Country Creepin’ part two: The Blue Mountains

I pointed the trusty WRX at the Kiama mountain pass and fanged it toward Katoomba. I lived in Katoomba for a year. I was at a real crisis point in my life, and I was kinda loosing it. Katoomba let me retreat and rebuild myself. It was a very dark period and a healing period at the same time. Healing? Mainly healing from my own stupidity and shithouse choices if I’m honest.

I perhaps needed to spend more time there to properly asses the place. It is always captivating and beautiful, however it had lost a little of its bohemian charm. The ice age had hit the place, and burnt out hippies and shabby lad dickheads gronked up the vibe. Again, I needed to spend more time in the place, and take my nose out of my book or glass of wine and get to know the current locals better. I’ll reserve my judgement at this point.

Terrain? Oh hell yeah! There is so much stuff to skate. Weird, fun and challenging stuff.

Lawson is my favourite. I would love to hit here with the crew. I had a fun dork around on my lonesome

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The best warm up spot ever? Katoomba mini bowl thingie

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Katoomba park was always pretty crappy. The DIY style makeover is total fun

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I set up camp at Ingar Billabong

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The road in got quite challenging at times

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The food is always spectacular. The bush is the highlight though. I awoke at dawn to have the mountains to myself. Aboriginal people from far and wide brought their sick here to heal. The eucalypt trees fill the air with an invigorating scent, intensified by the mist.

The mist rolled in through the valleys

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The rocks opals as the sun hits

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The stairs

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And the blue

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And the Eucalyptus

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Country Creepin’ part one: Jugiong and Wollongong

Am I an angry fellow? I think not. With the weight of making small talk with people I don’t know, or care to learn about, I get a little feisty. I spend a lot of hours a week doing this. It’s a part of my life I am rectifying mind you. I’m not about to unleash and start beating people about the head, but internally the scenario does play out.

I’m ok…Really I am.

It is remedied by hitting the road. Once the car is packed I exhale, feel a little lighter. I turn over the ignition and head north. I’ve got 3000kms of well chosen back roads and destinations in a capable beast. It is always a lonesome feeling kissing the wife goodbye, but she isn’t fond of spending the days at skateparks and then sleeping by the river. I sure am. Solitude is good for the conciousness anyhow.

I booted through to Jugiong, to camp by the Murrumbidgee.

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I met Col, and he showed my his travelling companion. He has owned this vehicle for 35 years. It was no show car, but i couldn’t see a ding or imperfection.

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I drifted off to sleep due to a mixture of Hank Williams and good shiraz. Swags are the way to travel. You can still see the stars before you drift off.

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I headed towards Wollongong via the Macquarie Pass

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I caught up with one of my oldest and best mates Tim. We first rode skateboards together in an abandoned metal halfpipe made for industrial forming of concrete. We were 12. We turn 40 this year. It’s always so good to heckle each other and have a schralp. We meet up at Berkley

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It is a fun park, but overrun by ratty scooter kids. I ended up having a run in with a bogan mum after trying to teach her kid some etiquette. It is killing skateparks, the culture has outlived them and is under threat. It ruined our skate a little, but we still had fun. Tim on the trigger

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Front feebs

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It was so hard to get four wheels on this thing. Tim got some

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Tim’s wife Clem cooked up great food for us and I lurked the beach. We then hit Helensburg. It was a early 2000’s park, super fun lines. There ended up being quite the session. The Witchcraft team rocked up and destroyed it. So much stuff went down on the big vert wall to bank, I wasn’t going to poach photos

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I got a tail block before the rain on the steep roll in.

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And this chap did effortless textbook front rocks. I’ll find out who he is! He was from Spain

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Respect where due: Mudguts

Mudguts is a man of few words. Carefully chosen, but few. He will be the last one rolling the spot, trying to get that last trick. Long after everyone else has decided it is time to take a seat and heckle. On our recent camping trip he skated for a solid 12 hours…Yep 12. He might look life a ruff nut, but the truth is he is a cat loving softy. Nothing wrong with that! Mind you he will fire up if provoked in true ginger form.

It’s pretty hard to take a shite photo of Muddy. Everything is done clean and with speed. If you follow The Grim Creepers he gets a fair few photos featured. Stoked for more sessions in 2016

Mudguts, ladys man

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A noisy, lenghty feeble at The Ring Of Fire

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Smith at the cruel but fair Pearcedale

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Crail at Sommerton on the same day

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Back D at Deer Park

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Frontside feeble through the corner at Lara

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Slappy gap out yesterday at Citypark

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NSC X GC Peninsular lurking

Trying to get ourselves sorted and organised for a skate weekend away is a nightmare in logistics. It’s like herding cats, but the cats in zero gravity and there are biscuits floating everywhere to distract them.

We finally got our shit together and made some loose plans, stocked up the chilly bins and leaned heavily on Bristol Nick to take care of our infrastructure and resources. He stepped up to the plate superbly.

We were all having such a great time that we didn’t take heaps of photos. Duncan (@ewigram) and Tom Peden (@tommypeden) and I pooled our photos. Make sure you follow them on insta if you don’t already. Tom was injured, hence why there are no handsome back tail photos.

I won’t babble on as there is a load of photos to get through.

First stop, the underrated Chelsea. Now with shade sails

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Heaps of rad stuff happened, and my meh grind on the skinny extension. Photo @ewigram

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Then we had a mellow session at Mt Eliza under lights, cooked up, drank up and camped next to the bowl.

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After a 6:30am swim we had a leg stretcher. Mudguts barefoot barging

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And a decent length backside lipslide into the hip

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Heckle area warmed up before we moved on

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The heckling continued

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Pearcedale is so fun, yet snaps everyone off. Everytime. Jesse smiths

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Mudguts got loose

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Duncan lapped one. @tommypeden photo. Cracker of a shot!

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@ewigram shot these next four bangers. Cunnaz Liened one as a gnarly transfer

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Gez rocked @ewigram photo

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Dan slid one through the tight corner. @ewigram photo

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Mudguts rolled into the harshness @ewigram photo

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We then hit a little park called Sommerton. Cunnaz always wants moar Slayer

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Jesse has the best long as five-0 to fakies

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And switch 5-0’s

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Chris step off finger flip

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Ducky worked super hard to clear this gap. He had it in him, but didn’t get it. So damn close!

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He got retribution with this nosegrind pop out. @tommypeden photo

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Mudguts played all weekend. Crail

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Got the gap in his efforts to set a fire under Ducky. They amped each other up

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We set off for the paradise that is Balnarring

The flat bank triangle is rad. Dan with a backside heelflip @tommypeden photo

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Cunnaz with a kicky to fakie @tommypeden photo

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I did a no-comply @tommypeden photo

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and a tail block. @tommypeden photo

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Chris lapped a front rock proper @ewigram photo

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As did Bristol @tommypeden photo

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Mudguts nosegrab. First and last man rolling for the 12+ hour day. @tommypeden photo

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Duncan with a switch frontside shuv @tommypeden photo

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Punkpete shut it down with this banger over the gap

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And at the wee hours of the morning we polished off the last of the whiskey and hit the hay @tommypeden photo

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Cheers for the great times gents!