NSC Xmas Bash 2017

Nothing better than hitting the road. Disagree? Your opinion is invalid. It is a spec in the distance of the rear view mirror. Shrinking, disappearing. Like the troubles, anxieties or fucks to be given.

It hasn’t been as easy to get the crew together. I’m putting it down to the silly season and newborns and so forth. Once the dust settles on 2017 crew should be easier to muster. I bloody hope so.

Anyhow, we headed North East across to the alpine grazing region of the state, to drink beer, eat BBQ, heckle our friends lying in pain on the concrete and occasional skateboarding.

These guys had the right idea, except they were taking away all the good bits about motorcycles and adding a death pod. I snapped this whilst eating an AM pie.

First stop Yea. Scotty swept after hooning through Flowerdale in his SS ute. Cheers for driving mate!

Old mate turned up in a bee-keeper hat

On to Mansfield. It is a chilled little park in a sleepy tourist town. We begun to make the place our own with an urban camping attitude and gypsy flair

The kicker to kicker was longer than most. Kinda challenging. Old mate Gez emerged from the forest to snag it

Bristol battled for it. It was his 32 birthday we were celebrating

Jake rocked up with a fresh haircut and killer new whip. Steezed

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Street Morris is on a warpath. Back 180

Boardie to fakie first shot

Scotty ripping the gap from the bowl

Cunnaz is always going to kill it

Fiddy on Mr Plow

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Bonk to melon

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We lit the place up, shared (mostly) the same old yarns and showered under a livestock bore. We camped in a school yard due to a lack of options. The next day we found a hangover cure and washed away our shame.

Thanks gents, always a pleasure

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

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 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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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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Spot Check:Deer Park (Vic)

Our crew like mix the terrain up a bit. Backyard mini this week, crusty old bowl the next followed by a session at a DIY. It takes us to some fun areas to lay a few skids. I thought I should do a few spot checks, to shine a light on some of the neglected gems out there.

I’m from a generation that would spend hours at a skatepark that most wouldn’t get out of the car for nowadays. You see, there just wasn’t many parks. Poor quality, limited options. We are so spoilt for choice, particularly in Melbourne. The flaws in some of the older parks are what make them so fun and challenging. The bark of neglected coping, as the rust is gouged back with Indy’s. The cracks to avoid, the lurkers to not make eye contact with and inevitable shittily drawn dicks. Deer Park has all of the above. It is a rad little bowl to get a session going at. Why not make a 3 park day of it with throwing Taylors Hill and Rosehill into the mix? Go check it out and let me know what you reckon.

Gould St, Deer Park, Melbourne, VIC (at the oval near the corner of Station Rd and Neale Rd)

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The punk wall is a cool feature. You can transfer from the kickers behind it. Kane King schlooping into a long no-comply tallslide

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Duncan Ewington with a Joeless One

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Matt had the lines dialed. Back D on the tight line to the pool coping extension

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Matt “Ole Mudguts” noisily feebling the pool coping

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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!

Los Angeles and Vegas.

Our friends and family generously donated to our Honeymoon fund. We had both been slaving away this year and were desperate for some time off.

I guess, after looking through the photos, it appears as though our Honeymoon has been spent at skateparks! I’m not so self centred I promise! It is just were I usually have my camera. I haven’t been taking heaps of photos, it has been really great not having a phone and social media for most of the time.

Some stuff just doesn’t translate, or warrant the breaking of the mood for a picture. The memory of Jo in a summer dress, drinking beers in the gutter of the seedy rock and roll part of Hollywood whilst waiting for a pizza…this is a great memory. The mood would be disrupted by a clumsy iphone happy snap. We have been to some awesome dive bars and divey restaurants, and some quite upmarket ones, but I am not going to snap a photo of our food. You get the idea.

Jo always wants to stay in the grittiest part of West Hollywood. There is always something going down and an eclectic mix, and Jo will strike up a conversation with everyone. Whether you are cashed up or not, everyone is strutting around like a peacock wanting to be noticed. So if that means spending an extra $100k on your Bentley and basically ruining it, or adding unique flair to your bicycle then it is done, and flaunted with equal bravado.

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Jo had always wanted to go to Disneyland, it was really fun. Just switch off all critical thinking for a while and enjoy the machine. The biggest roller coaster was pretty wild

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On one of our long evening walks we decided to drop into a famous but run down comedy club, The Comedy Store on Hollywood. We scored a bunch of Hollywood heads trying out new material. Arseneo Hall did a half hour set, amongst others. We sat in the front row and got picked on a bunch and drank wiskey until the graveyard shift acts started to bomb

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We got free tickets to a recording of Bill Maher’s Real Talk, yep the one with the much talked about Islam rant

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We skated Venice Beach, I’m so glad Jo brought her roller-skates she has been on them a fair bit

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I went shopping, needed more skateboards

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We ventured out to San Pedro, and visited Channel Street DIY. It has been built by volunteers without permission or assistance from the powers that be. It is now legit and protected, and keeps expanding. It is epic, really difficult to skate. It was real hot but I got some.

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There is all this cool stuff on the outside you don’t often see. It is so fun to flow through and try to link up

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Jo on the trigger

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We hit the road for Vegas. We stayed on the strip in New York New York, it has a pool, roller coaster, a fake statue of Liberty and 1000’s of people on pokie machines that look like their life force has been sucked out

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Vegas is trying to shroud it’s ugliness with noises and bright lights. It’s glamour is an illusion to conceal it’s desperation. You don’t see people strutting about like they just won, you just watch the drawn faces of disappointment. Everyone is a team player to keep the illusion rolling, but you only have to scratch the surface to see the cracks forming. The weirdo in me loves it, the irony, the facade.

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The strip sucks, it’s all about Fremont. That’s where the locals party and the tight arses gamble

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Head to toe lemon. All night saxamophone. Ruling

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Obesity in Vegas is at about 90%. People are big, bigger than anywhere I have seen. They had an industrial sized scale on the street and people gathered around in a weigh off. One dude tipped the scale at 377 pounds. I wanted to get a photo but it was not a great idea.

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It’s where washed performers dreams are crushed.

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Workin’ hard for the money

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So hard for it honey

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Jo likes to smoke cigars in Vegas

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We checked out some Roller Derby. It was rad, grass roots and well skilled.

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Big hit

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I was indifferent to shooting guns, this was Jo’s idea. Once inside that range I was pumped. Never having dealt with guns, nothing prepares you for the noise and intensity. I had heaps of fun. Jo had pre arranged zombie targets. We shot a 1911 handgun, a pump action shotgun, a M4 and an AK47.

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Jo always wanted an Elvis wedding, so we jumped into a limo and went to visit the King. It was super fun and everyone was rad. Elvis made us sing and was a giant

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There was a new park built so I went and checked it out. It was massive

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This was my favourite

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You could just cruise around the whole park trying to deal with what obstacle came up next

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Then we hit the road again, headed for Wendover