Friday at Noble Park

The weather has been horrid every day off I have had lately. Friday was superb, so it was time for some skids on the old skateboard. I went into work at 7:45 to tie up some loose ends, then to Doncaster to get my back aligned (is there nothing more satisfying?) and then met up with Duncs.

The CSP crew were kind enough to invite a few heads out for a roll at the nearly finished Noble Park behemoth. I couldn’t pass up on that, the place will be the best park in the state. The fences are still up and security present, so if you haven’t been invited just wait a few more weeks. The place is epic, snake run, bowl and street section are incredible. Hats off to the CSP crew on the tools Baseplate and Australian Legend Johnny McGrath.

Ghetto spot warm ups. Duncan with a pole jam 180

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Nosegrab pollie

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I screwed my thumb in the first 10 minutes but was keen to hit this bump. I’ll have to go back for what I wanted, school pickup was on and it was a nightmare! Bean plant, thanks Duncan for the photo

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Then out to Noble Park in the shittiest of traffic. It is poured perfectly, what a park! I’m so keen for it to be open and finished

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This is my favourite bit. It flows beautifully

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Faster Seany was charging. Good to catch up. Fangin’

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Simon was finding solid form in the intimidating bowl. Styling airs

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Invert on the chunky coping

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Grim Creeper/CSP ruler Shoota has been on the tools all week with a few broken ribs. Still blasted a perfect stalefish before sundown. Thanks Concrete Skateparks, next slab is on me

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Beach Burrito+Pistonhead Bowl sessions

The Beach Burrito and Pistonhead bowl is now finished, and the restaraunt and bar is open. The service, food and vibes are awesome, drop in for a visit.

There was quite a while there where the bowl was finished, but due to some beuracracy they couldn’t pick up tools to finish the restaurant. Rj had a key and discretionary powers to have a few sneaky closed door sessions. I was fortunate to attend a few. I only got my camera out at one due to gear issues and wanting to roll myself.

It’s an intimidating bowl, super gnarly. The Team Pain crew have poured a beast fitting of their name. Some serious shredders struggled to drop in, and people got properly worked. There has been some whining from skaters thinking they are entitled to have a roll and critical of the owners selective policy. When you see the thing you will understand why. It’s a business, and a private pool. The owners shouldn’t be responsible for scraping out overconfident punters from the bottom of the bowl.

All I can say is I am grateful to have had the oppourtunity for these closed door sessions. The vibe was rad and the crew stepped up to the plate and got some. No one walked away without copping a hiding! Honourable mention to Nick “War Machine” Bright who takes care of business in this thing.

Everyone I have met and dealt with that is connected to the business is rad. I wish them well with their venture. If the opening is anything to go by I reckon it will go off.

Bisho rips this thing

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Lexi is the wildest of wildcards. You can’t really ask him to re do a trick and you have to run around the bowl trying to predict what he will do next, which is impossible. Varial boneless from the step into the deep

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Nollie into the shallow. He kickflipped and switch rolled in too! Landed in the vert on all

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Ollie from the bar area step INTO the hip. Yep!

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Matt feebs over the steps. Every line leads you into the steps, you can hear them laugh at you when they crunch you

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Seany picking his nose where few will ever dare. The face tells the story

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Shoota was mid chemotherapy at this session. You could see it was taking it’s toll, but he was skating like a man possessed. Full length, full speed.

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He wouldn’t let this slob beat him, he really had to work for it. Absolutely blasted it

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This is Rj’s bowl. This bloke and that dude will come and do this and that, but it’s his damn bowl. No one gets the speed and lines in there like him. Crailslide

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Full noise lien to tails

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All class on them smiths

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Proper stalefish’s every time.

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It’s open now, so go get some. Photo not mine. If you are fortunate enough to skate the pool, good luck!

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Respect Where Due: Dr Anger

Dr Anger is a unique chap. A talented skateboarder, artist and casual nudist. Old mate can party. He will out party you. While you are passed out he will still be naked wrestling men in the street long into the night, with half ruined speed dealer sunnies and nothing else.

Don’t let the exterior fool you. Despite looking like he belongs in The Thunderdome brandishing a knife and a saxaphone he is a thoughtful and considered bloke. Truth be known, he is a bit of a softy, and would do anything for his mates.

So, respect where due, and vale Dr Anger

Love tonic

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Back crail in his undies

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Getting all fast plant

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Seatbelt fastened at Meadow Heights

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Backside boneless at The Ring of Fire. The Dr put a lot of the hard yards in on resurrecting this place

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Nose pick a hefty log at Melton

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Cuntry Fangin’ Part Two: Tamworth Cuntry Music Fest

I’m out at my favourite country pub, Healesville Hotel, enjoying a quiet beer by myself. It has been hectic, properly hectic, since I came back from Tamworth. I’ve started University whilst still working 50+ hour weeks, plus trying to buy a bush property and all the other crap that entails. On top of this I have been spending a bit of time trying to get the right man for the job to fix my beast, as Cunnaz, Trev, Duncan and I were caught in one hell of a hailstorm on the way to Tamworth.

So, in short, life gets in the way sometimes and you don’t have enough hours in the day to get blogging.

It’s bittersweet looking through the photos. I didn’t take any of Dad and Robyn and they looked after us so well, they need to be in here. We awoke to a breakfast cooked with ingredients fresh from the garden, which is awesome when you were spending every evening on the beers. It is bittersweet too as I need another holiday already, and I am so keen to hit the road and blow off all my responsibilities.

There is sweet fuck all chance of that happening for a while!

After Millthorpe we had a leg stretcher at Bathurst.

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Cunnaz danced on the rainbow

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Duncan hazard plant

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Corner schloop. Thanks Duncs for the photo

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We then arrived at my old home town, Tamworth. It is a backwards and disfunctional kind of place, but once a year they get their shit together and hold a Country Music Festival. There is an over abundance of soft rock style horrible Country, but if you get lucky you catch some great stuff. We saw a few great jug bands, hillbilly rock bands and rockabilly stuff. It is well worth the trip. We even caught Chad Morgan before he dropped off the perch! 84 and still as dirty as hell. We saw mini pig racing, lady Hummer pull (not as dirty as it sounds) and a tonne of really bad tattoos. Everyone wants a chat, which we got amongst. I’ll go again next year. We tried to hit the infamous ditch and full pipe, but there was major construction work with throw you in the lock up kind of security.

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We drank a lot, and washed away our hangovers swimming in the river

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Troy and his daughter Anaky live down the road and have a rad shed. We sweated it out in there! I’ve known Troy since I was in high school and it was really great to catch up

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Troy is building an epic VW drag ute. Nope the Cosworth won’t be going in it, peripheral ported rotary

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Anaky is rad, she heckled everyone hard out right from the get go!

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Duncan was in his element

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Texas door clanger

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Duncan took these, boneless one

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Pop shuv footplant

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Troy fast plant

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Sweepin’

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Cunnaz always has got to end the session

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We can’t gangsta

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Then we hit the old skatepark. Man it needs a re do! We all got stuck in. I had a testicle related slam which took me out, I was really keen to have a roll with the homies. Another old mate Ricky came down with his family, it was cool to see all their kids hanging out at the park and having a roll.

This photo sums up the session really. Ricky was ripping. Damn good to catch up

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Committed angles

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Rad ones of these

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Standups

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Tailslides

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He builds rad motorbikes and his ute is pretty damn sweet

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Troy laid back

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Long lislides

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Sweeper

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Fastplant

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Cunnaz had to shoot off for the weekend to propose to his missus. You sure could tell it was the last skate he was going to get in for a while! He always kills it, but he absolutely ripped

Feebs to fakie

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Chillin

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Arty nose manny into the sunset

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Ollie

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Sugarcane

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Backside noseblunt

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Oillieng sweet into a frontside nose blunt

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Frontside flip!

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As always, has to throw the session ender. The worlds highest hubba on the gankiest funbox. Running out of light.

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Thanks to Dad and Robyn for putting us up, and Troy, Ricky and their families for being awesome. Thanks to my darling wife Jo for making the long mish up.

Cuntry Fangin’ Part One: Millthorpe Bound

For some, chanting mantras brings their mind stillness. Being in the present, not troubling yourself with the future or the past. What is done is done and predicting the future is futile, yet the mind feebly churns over the details like it has relevance. The present, that fleeting moment where your mind is still and content with the task at hand, that my friends is what life is about.

Let’s not sugar coat it, chanting mantras is pretty bloody dull. I’m not alone in having a chuckle at the happy clappers in church getting lost in the evangelical trancendance of hymns. Hey no judgement here it’s just not for me. It’s all a means to an end, being lost in the present. The now. No more no less.

When you are on full boost exiting a corner in a high performance car, launching a motor bike, playing guitar on stage, sparring in boxing, painting or being moved by a musician…you are not thinking about when the gas bill is due. You are transfixed by the concentration of the enjoyable task at hand.

I am fortunate to surround myself with passionate people that grab life by the horns in a variety of ways. Sure, we all get caught in the mundane. Some would argue that physical pursuits are fleeting and temporary, and the consciousness itself should be nurtured. Yeah maybe, but I am no Yogi. I’m sure a full speed, just hanging on grind feels as good as it can get. That is my meditation.

Forgive me, I digress. It was time to escape the task of earning a living and hit the road. This should serve to light a fire under the arse of my skateboarding brethren to come along next time, we could have hit more spots with more crew. We had quality company and some Kms to slay, so we packed our gear and hit the road.

We had a burger and a leg stretch at the border. These drains looked promising, but no dice. Sick graff though

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Duncan hit the whippy bits with a front rock

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We then arrived at Wagga Wagga. Great chill park

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Duncan got to work and embraced his inner Ed T

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Duncan snapped a Front Feebs of me

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Cunnaz manhandled the jersey

Wallie

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Back smith

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Old mate shut down the session with a thong clad banger. Huck and exhale!

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We stocked the chilly bins and headed for the campsite. A bath in the river and a cook up. Light a fire and tell tall yarns

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We awoke in a serene environment…I took old man photographs.

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Could have done without the brutal calls of these dicks. Shit birds!

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After some internet reconnaissance we headed for Young, which wasn’t even on our radar. Some single lane road fangin’ was had, we even got a little air at one point!

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Filled up for gas and went here, it was pretty crap

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And then found Young. Behold!

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Duncan snagged a Howard grind on a cool obstacle

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Feebs in the ripper of a bowl.

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I gave the pocket a tickle. Thanks Duncan for the photo

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The local solitary skater was stoked to have some crew in town!

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Trev chilled

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And of course, old mate Cunnaz slayed the joint.

Grind up to fiddy, this obstacle was no joke!

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Fangin’ over the hip

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Charging!

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…and then on to my favourite bowl in NSW. Millthorpe. A tucked away great little food and wine town of about 800 people. The pump track is a hoot, and the bowl just works

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Duncan shot these before I had too many beers. The cradle is tight with a waterfall, so fun.

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No comply

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Duncan got a couple of publishable photos of Cunnaz here, I missed the action and was happy to heckle

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Back 180 up the step up

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And Duncan snagged a blunt slide behind the cradle

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And then it was time to cook up and set up camp for the evening, right next to the bowl. The lightning stayed on the horizon and all was good in the world.

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I have been having a lack of inspiration with the old bail cannon lately, skating a lot, just not wanting to get the camera out. I thought I better get back in the mood as we have a heavy weekend of radical adventures ahead.

Five blokes one dog squeezed into a Forester and we hit the long, boring, straight road. I only got the camera out for about 20 minutes, this is a few of the manoeuvres that ensued.

Duncan krooks nose grizzle on a steep tight bank

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It was Jesse’s welcome to Melbourne, so out of kindness we let him be designated driver. Lengthy 5-0 to fakie

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Krooks to noseslide revert, gotta figure out the animated gifs

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Full entension, full flight boneless

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Tom was full of finesse, backside flip

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Cunnaz ended up having a massive slam at the end of this roll, bounced back of course! Heavy back fiddy on the sub box

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Grind from the steps to the drop

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Pretty amped for the weekend!

Yosemite and Escape from LA

There has been a bit of a delay with me finishing off my USA blog. After a killer adventure of doing all the things I love with my beautiful wife I hit some hard times upon my return. I knew I was working for clueless cowboys all year, and after seamlessly running the finance for a whole dealership singlehandedly I was presented with some news that confirmed my opinion. It makes you reluctant to share your travels and generally awesome experiences when you have to deal with some stressful and unfair situations.

Not to dwell on the negative, I was pleased my reputation does me a good service and I had plenty of opportunities present themselves. I was fortunate to have some mentors and peers have my back. Things are back on track.

It’s kinda weird though. It took a toll on my photography, I didn’t feel like sharing my photos or even taking many. I usually take photographs everyday and post them for my mates to enjoy promptly, but this has not happened. Regardless, I’m back in the saddle and ready to fling my arms wildly in the hope I hit something, which is my take on photography. I think the literally hundreds of Hummingbird photographs emphasise this point.

After Oregon we changed our plans and hit the Sierra Nevada. It is a truly magical place

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We drove deep into the forest to stay at this beautiful house.

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I slept in the hammock, and woke to a strange noise. I didn’t know what it was until I saw these comical yet gorgeous creatures showing off.

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We saw deer, and heaps of squirrels

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I was mesmerised by this place, it was all closed and an elderly chap rocked up to meet the owner. He was checking on the progress of his build. I wanted to have all the half finished items, and a bunch of free time to tinker. I wanted to jump the boat too. It was soooo spring break it hurt

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Back to LA

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You gotta go to the Rainbow, to soak in the history and check the old rockers turn up in their Hot Rods to be Valet

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I hit the new Team Pain creation, Peck Park. So damn amazing. I was the oldest there (not a new feeling!) and some of the latino gangsters wanted to have a word. Full face tatts and thugged out, I was a little intimidated. They wanted some pointers for their sons, who were still babies, in case they didn’t want to play team sports. They were absolute gentlemen and we had a great chat. The locals were ripping, and I got some as I knew it would be my last roll for this trip.

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We spent the last day at several museums and the Tar Pits. It was an experience I would always recommend. These are poached from Jo’s insta

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San Francisco

San Francisco is such a beautiful city. It would be hard to tell from the following photos, being all moody and messed up. I didn’t take my camera much, as I wanted to be hitting the hills without a bag on my back. All the skatepark ones are iPhone pics.

Growing up in Tamworth, there was no reference material for skateboarding. There was no internet, magazines and videos were few and far between. My favourite video part from my childhood was Tommy Guerrero in Future Primitve, and I had always wanted to skate SF since seeing his part 26 years ago. The hills are something else, properly scary, with hits on every block. It was so rad to just get lost in the city, bombing hills and trying not to let fear get the better of you. The motorists give you a wide berth, more inclined to yell props than insults.

We spent the nights walking the hills, the houses are so pretty, stopping for dive bars or to catch a cable car.

We hit Eugene for a quick leg stretcher on the way. Easily the best skatepark in Oregon, these photos are 20% of it. I’ll do a separate blog for the Parx database and upload more there. I wish I had more time, but it was a long drive and we had to hit the road after dorking around.

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We headed out to Alcatraz, Jo has a wealth of knowledge on the place and was keen to check it out up close. I tried to capture the isolation and despair of the place.

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It was a great day to be on the water, it was Fleet Week, so all the war machines were out strutting their stuff and showing off. War sure does suck, but the death machines are pretty boss.

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This place was all closed off, Jo broke in and checked it out.

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We went for a roll together through the street, it was really fun. Jo found a bit off the footpath that a tree root had turned it into a sweet bump. It was busy but she got amongst it.

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Then she took one of me. The spots are all pretty haggard. Mild in the streets!

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We went and checked out an outdoor roller rink in Golden Gate gardens. They had a big boom box cranking out Disco, Boyz II Men and Prince. So many characters, all strutting their stuff. I brought a book with me but only got through a few pages as I was digging the vibe, and trying to snap some Iphone hammers

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I then went off to check out some parks. The taxi driver told me not to head south from here, super sketchy area apparently. Potrero was so fun, big open lines.

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Some local younger punk skaters took me to the Flowershop DIY. We had a pretty rad session, this place was nuts. So tight, big holes everywhere. We had to go through these ghetto shanty town areas under the freeways to get there. I pushed myself here and got broke off pretty hard! I was all sweaty and bleeding and no cabs would pick me up, I was stoked when I got one as it was a pretty gnarly hood.

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And then it was time to hit the hills back to base camp.

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Portland, keeping it weird

I was stoked to spend a few extra days in Portland, Oregon. It is a skateboarders paradise, I could have spent a month here and rolled a different park each day. This is largely to do with Dreamland Skateparks and their passionate approach to terrain. The owners roots are firmly planted in the building of Burnside, the most famous DIY skatepark in the world. Dreamland have built parks all through the state. They do it by sleeping on site and so forth, putting almost all the funds for the project into the park itself. The terrain is gnarly, fast and flowy. Eugene has shown how far this crew have come, with it being arguably the best park in Oregon. The street sections are on point now too.

Portland itself is rad, arty little cafe’s, bars and restaurants everywhere. It is like Fitzroy or Newtown in the 90’s, everyone embracing the fair trade tofu vibe. It’s apparent when driving. There will be four cars at a crossroad all stationary as they are too polite and passive to venture forth. I’m not exaggerating!

However it is not all man cardigans and crafternoons. Every summer there is a rising homeless rate. According to the numbers, almost a third of people on the streets have only been in Portland for two years or less and 60 percent of that group was homeless when they came to Portland. There is evidence that some cities are providing their homeless with one-way bus tickets to Portland. You can set up a tent in the main park of town or anywhere and not be moved on, it is more likely you will be given a smoothie and a blanket.

Ice is massive, sketched out tweakers are everywhere and they hussle aggressively. Behind Burnside I saw a group of fifteen or so twenty somethings that sleep there in a massive brawl. It was gnarly. I would hit up Burnside early to avoid the crowds and get a feel for the joint. Humbling is an understatement.

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There is going to be a multi level carpark built next door. The locals have negotiated a flat concrete wall opposite this bit that they can crete up to.

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These are the flowy bits you don’t see, that you get spat out into and have to deal with

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I had to take a big long line into these to get the speed, it’s rough and haggard in parts. Photo by Jo. This is me ticking off my bucket list

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Our former Melbourne based mates that we caught up with in LA put us in touch with Vicky, who was our awesome guide. We had a great time and checked out some cool art shows and bars. I hope she comes and visits us so we can return the hospitality. Nabbing Jo’s insta photos

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She took us out to Astoria to show Jo the Goonies house. Stoke levels were high

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There were smelly seals there. Jo photo

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And rad micro breweries. I think Portland hipsters invented the jar glass resurgence.

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The neighbourhoods are largely like this

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No issue closing off the main street for ping pong

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We hit the road and went to Hood River for some foresty sight seeing and a roll together. Found a rad little cafe for breakfast

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These photos are about 20% of the whole joint. So fun

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This thing was a beast! You had to hit both shallow pockets to get the speed for the pit

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Pooping myself

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Rolling in. Both these photos by Jo

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Got drunk, bowled badly

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I met Charlie, he was out of action due to injury. He BBQ’d up a feast for us and is welcome to come stay in Melbourne anytime. Coincidently, the day before this my mate Sean hit up one of the skate nerd forums I lurk asking around to try and get his first board for the wall. He had only one, but flowed the deck on the right for Sean. What a champ, I think he was quite chuffed about the request.

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Food trucks are everywhere

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Got me some limited editions!

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Bingen is super fun. So well planned, you can hit every obstacle and the bowl without one push. Rad jerseys and little hits on the bowl platform with well placed noping.

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3ft transition to vert with chunky pool coping=heaven

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Jo got some good speed happening, fangin’ it

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Thanks Portland, keep being weird

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On the road to Wendover

We hit the road for Wendover for the Bonneville Speed trials on the salt flats. It was called off at the last minute unfortunately, but we ended up in the best dive bar ever. I’m keen to go again.

I was disappointed as I had arranged an exhibition based upon work for the event. It is always good to look at the positives, I will take better shots with another year under my belt.

The small towns of the USA are in trouble, big trouble. Everything is boarded up, repossessed or abandoned. What isn’t is for sale.

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We awoke at sun rise, talked to the man in the hotel that was exactly the same as Bubbles from Trailer Park boys and fuelled up on coffee. Jonny Cash was cranked, cruise control set and I hit the 1000kms to Portland. Nothing quite like a long drive to untangle the mind. The speed limit was a healthy 80 miles an hour, so I set the cruise for 90 and began crushing the miles.

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