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Supporting Skateboarding and Beginner Skaters.

With the ongoing effects of the pandemic, we have all seen how important it is to buy local.  This coupled with the ever growing popularity of skateboarding has led to this rant *ahem* opinion piece. 

Over the past few months I have been engaging with stakeholders within the industry, discussing how we are going to see more non-skater companies capitalize on the popularity of skating to make a quick buck while the gettin's good. At the moment we have a bunch of overseas distributors starting to sell into New Zealand, but not putting anything back into our local skate scene.  Rebel Sports has been selling skateboards for a while and today an advertisement popped up on my social media for Number One Shoes - they also sell skateboards now.  I don’t blame them, both are massive companies and can see there is money to be made, but as skaters we need to ensure stores like this get the smallest amount of market share possible.

You might think I should stop my ranting, companies like the Warehouse for example, have always sold skateboards, how is this different?  The average skateboard on the Warehouse website costs $25 and in the description tells you the weight limit (60kg).  One should know they are buying a toy.  And if you are just buying a toy, then cheap Warehouse board all the way.  At Rebel Sport the skateboards cost $150 and are described as "...the perfect set-up for the skatepark..." At Number One Shoes the boards are $119 and the description begins “From beginners to pros, adults to kids…”  If you don’t know skateboards you might think that’s all good.  Maybe it is good, I’m not here to review skateboards, I’m here to tell you why you need to support local skate specific stores more.

Again, you might think that it’s not a big deal because it’s only a few options of completes, but perhaps Rebel Sport or Number One Shoes’ foray into skateboards goes really well and they decide to start stocking decks, trucks and wheels.  Are they going to train their staff so they can advise on the best equipment for the different styles? Or on how to grip a board?  Picture this, a 10-year-old child and their parent buying a skateboard and the child is super excited and talking about how they live on a hill and can’t wait to get home and bomb it.  A Number One Shoes salesperson probably smiles and thinks ‘that’s cute’ and offers no advice.  The Salesperson at a local skater owned-and-operated shop may offer to tighten up the trucks, give the kid some tips and also suggest the appropriate safety gear to the parent. You can’t “train" this knowledge into generic shop staff. With core skate shops come staff that skate; staff that have known the feeling of bombing your first hill, making your first drop in,  landing your first kickflip, and they actually want to pass on that stoke to this child.

Knowledge aside, who’s giving back to skateboarding?  When you hand over your hard-earned money, think about what else you're getting beside skate gear.  Does this business have sponsored riders? Does this business support local competitions and other skateboarding events?  Does this business employ skateboarders, giving members of our community jobs?  The more you spend at skater owned-and-operated stores, the more money these stores have to give back to skateboarding.   If you think this doesn’t apply to you because you already shop at your local, this isn’t enough anymore.  If you care about skateboarding then it’s in all our interests to protect the reputation and progression of it in Aotearoa.  We need to reach those skaters who haven’t even started yet, who are looking at their first board, who are looking at getting the first board for their kid.  We need to make sure they get the right set-ups and advice from someone who knows what they are talking about from the get go.  Spread the word now to your friends and family that if anyone is thinking about getting a skateboard for the first time, they are welcome to message you for advice so you can point them in the right direction.

At the end of last year my nephew was turning 5, it was time (IMO) he ditched the scooter and got a skateboard.  I could have just bought one and sent it to him, but I waited until he flew down to Ōtautahi so I could take him in to choose his own.  Because getting your first skateboard should be a goddamn magical experience and I wanted him to feel it; looking at all the decks on the wall, marvelling at the shapes, artwork and brand styles, examining all the trucks and wheels under the counter, flipping through the sticker books... you just don’t get these memories from a generic chain store with a token skateboard rack.

To use the now infamous quote from Tony Hawk when asked about skateboarding in the Olympics “They need us more than we need them”.  We don’t need stores that aren’t giving back to skateboarding.  We don’t need them at all.  But local skater owned-and-operated stores need us.  Where you spend your hard earned cash matters.  Support skate shops, support skateboarding.

(Pictured below is my nephew Hugo, getting his first skateboard at Embassy in Ōtautahi)

Welly Ramp Riot 4

The fourth Welly Ramp Riot happened over the weekend, and to be honest, with the Wellington weather being notoriously fickle, we were surprised it took four years before the organisers had to contend with rain.  And rain it did, giving a two-hour delay and throwing doubt on whether the competition would happen.  Although the sun never made it out, the rain did stop long enough for the competition to go ahead, so massive thanks to the Wellington Skateboarding Association for having faith and continuing when it would have been so easy to just pack up and go home.

What really stood out about this Welly Ramp Riot, was the groms.  We met two ten-year-olds we had never seen skate before, who absolutely killed it - Scarlett from Te Puke and Aaliyah from Napier.  Scarlett wowed the judges and went home with second place in the women’s mini.   Aaliyah entered the vert opens and dropped in first try, despite never skating a vert before.  Zeyden from Wanaka (14) won the under 16 mini  and then took out first place in the open vert.  And although Myles from Wellington (16) isn’t technically a grom anymore, he deserves a special mention.  He was the under 16 winner in 2020, but had to step it up to compete with the men this year. Myles came away with a hard-earned  second place on the mini. 

Check out Manual Magazine for some photos of the vert division and keep an eye on Wellington Skateboarding Association for the video edit coming soon!


Women's Mini Ramp                                                                                                                 Under 16 Mini Ramp

1. Krysta Ashwell                                                                                                                        1. Zedyn Fellows
2. Scarlett Gray                                                                                                                            2. Flea Griffin
3. Gala Baumfield                                                                                                                       3. Jake Harris

Men's Mini Ramp                                                                                                                    Vert Opens

1. Josh Wilson                                                                                                                          1. Zedyn Fellows
2. Myles Caughley                                                                                                                   2. Josh Wilson 
3. Matt Markland                                                                                                                    3. Louis Newman





Thomson Park Bowl Jam 2021
There were many uncertainties going into the Thomson Park Bowl Jam this year.  For the two weeks building up to it, we were watching the 1pm updates to see if we were going to get a covid case in Christchurch that would put us into lockdown,  if the lockdowns would be lifted up North to allow our Auckland skaters to make it, and even if we would have to shut down the competition on the day if more than 100 people showed up to watch and we couldn't manage the crowd.

We are so thankful that it went off without a hitch, and we have to show our appreciation to the New Brighton community who heeded our call not to come down and watch, but stay at home and wait for the video replay.  Without their cooperation, we could not have pulled this off under Level 2 restrictions.  And much love to our friends in Australia and Auckland who weren't allowed to travel, you were missed.
Congratulations to all the people who skated on the day, here are the results from the finals:
1. Zedyn Fellows (Wānaka)   1. Krysta Ashwell (Canterbury)
2. Niwa Shewry (Taranaki)      2. Holly Reynolds (Canterbury)
3. Kyle Monaghan (Canterbury)  3. Evelyn Armstrong (Wānaka)
4. Beau Hanson (Canterbury)     4. Lucie Malpot (Nelson)
5. Isaiah Thornton (Canterbury) 5. Tegen Bishop (Canterbury)
6. Kerehama Milroy (Canterbury)    6. Poppy Epicc (Canterbury)
1. Lochie Barrie (Canterbury)  1. Von Griffin (Manawatū)
2. Flea Griffin (Manawatū) 2. Brendan Mulder (North Canterbury)
3. Dylan Dempsey (Canterbury)  3. Raph Doidge (Canterbury)
4. Winton Ansley (Canterbury)  
5. Max GD (Canterbury)  
6. Connor O'Leary (Canterbury)  
The winners of our sponsored categories were;
Blacklisted Belts Best Slam - Poppy Epicc
44 Ramps Grom of the Day - Cooper Mulder
Pier People's Highest Air - Zedyn Fellows
Thanks again to everyone who made this day happen, our MCs Captain Johnny from S.L.S and George from Cheapskates Skate Skool and our amazing sponsors.  You can catch the full replay on our YouTube channel
The Hangover Classic 2021

When we first started hosting the Thomson Park Bowl Jam in 2018, we didn’t just want to throw a competition, we wanted to cultivate a sense of community and camaraderie for the skaters.  This was the driving force behind the creation of the Hangover Classic.  It was a way for skaters from out of town to meet the local Christchurch crew, get an idea on what the different scenes were like around Aotearoa,  form new friendships, and of course to dust off the Hangovers from the night before.

The Hangover Classic is a low-key miniramp competition at Yeah Gnar HQ, followed by a BBQ.  Originally this was an adults only event, however with all the uncertainties of skate events this season with Covid restrictions, we decided to open it up to some Groms this year if accompanied by a parent.  

There is cash for the top 5, however what everyone is really doing it for is to have their name on the coveted Hangover Classic trophy next to previous winners, Stefan Robin and Tom Mitchell.  This makes the intensity grow throughout the jam until the snaking gets real and somebody inevitably tries the roof drop in.  We had a lot of firsts this year - it was the first time we had a parent/child team enter with Griff and Flea from Palmerston North.  Made especially awesome when 12 year old Flea kicked his Dad out of contention in the semis.  We had our first best trick with Duckewe donating a deck, which went to Zedyn Fellows for a boneless off the roof - an NBD at Yeah Gnar HQ!   And our first Under 16 winner, with the trophy going home with Niwa Shewry to Taranaki.

It was a great way to finish off an amazing weekend.  Thank you to everyone who came along and supported us, we hope we can do it again next year!  If you want to see some of the action, there is some footage on our YouTube channel

Final Results:

1st - Niwa Shewry (Oakura)

2nd - Luke Child (Christchurch)

3rd - Willy Bartlett (Dorset)

4th - Flea Griffin (Palmerston North)

5th - Troy Newton (Christchurch)

Duckewe Best Trick - Zedyn Fellows (Wānaka)

Covid Alert Level update for Thomson Park Bowl Jam
If you watched today's post-cabinet announcement, you will be aware that Christchurch is in Covid Alert Level 2 for the Thomson Park Bowl Jam this Saturday, October 23.  This means that the event will look very different to previous years and we have created this post to give you all the information you need to know in one place.

This is the beginning of the skateboarding competition season and to date there have already been three competitions postponed indefinitely.  With the uncertainty of the times ahead, we believe it is important to still run The Thomson Park Bowl Jam, even while we are at Level 2 restrictions, for the New Zealand skateboarding community.

Covid Alert Level 2 means we have a limit of 100 people who can attend at any one time, and people must socially distance themselves one metre from anyone they do not know.  While masks are not mandatory, we encourage their use while not skating and there will be free masks and hand sanitizer available to everyone in attendance on the day.

The free Learn to Skate and BBQ have been removed from the schedule.  However, we love our New Brighton community and will be hosting another event late November/early December with our buddies at Cheapskates Skate Skool, to ensure the local kids and supporters do not miss out on what is usually a favorite part of the Thomson Park Bowl Jam.  Follow Yeah Gnar NZ or Skate Skool on social media for information on when this will happen.

Finally,  we have used the budget we usually set aside for seating, to employ a production company to film the entire event and create an edit that will go on YouTube for everyone who isn't able to attend in person.  If you would love to see the action, but it isn't important for you to see it live, please stay at home and watch the competition when it goes online.  It will be available within a week and will even include replays!
If you are coming down on Saturday, please be aware that if the area is at capacity, you may need to wait below the bowl area before given access.  

It has been incredibly strange organising an event with the goal of having the smallest crowd possible in attendance, and as this is the first skateboarding competition being held under Alert Level 2, restrictions,  we couldn't ask our peers for advice.  We also have to acknowledge our buddies in Auckland, Waikato and Northland. Without the hard work you have all been putting in, the Thomson Park Bowl Jam wouldn't even be happening, so we thank and salute you, and hope we get to skate together again real soon.
Thomson Park Bowl Jam is back
Yeah Gnar NZ are excited to once again be hosting the South Island's biggest skateboarding event, The Thomson Park Bowl Jam. We may have bowed out to Covid in 2020, but we have made the call to forge ahead this year and have faith we will be able to kick off the NZ competition season with a bang!
There are five divisions and $10,000 in product and cash prizes up for grabs and entry is open to all who want to give it a go. As with all competitions we sponsor, the prize pool will be equal for Men's and Women's division.
We will also be running a free Learn to Skate session for the community between 11am - 1pm, thanks to our Buddies at Skate Skool. All skateboards and safety gear provided.
And as always, we wouldn't let the spectators go hungry, so there is a free sausage sizzle between 12:30 - 1:30.
Skater registration will be live early next week, so keep an eye on our website for details.
This event is proudly sponsored by:
Backyard 3D
Pier People
Thunder Trucks
Arcadia Retro Arcade
Blacklisted Belts
Cheapskates Skate Skool
Duckewe Brand
Skateboarding New Zealand
Skinnies Sungel
Kerikeri Vert Jam 2019

The New Zealand skateboarding competition season has well and truly kicked off, following the success of last weekends Kerikeri Vert Jam.

This was the second year the competition has been hosted by the legendary Dave Crabb and one of the most exciting things about it was being able to see the progression the skaters have made from last years jam, particularly in the Groms and Women's divisions.

Skaters came from as far Kaeo in the North and Wanaka in the South, and the age difference between the youngest and oldest was 40 odd years, so this really was an event for everyone.

We were particularly proud of team member Krysta, who broke her leg on the Kerikeri ramp in warm up for last years competition. Krysta faced her fears head on and skated into first place in the women's division.

You can watch some of the epic skating that went down on the link below. https://www.facebook.com/getaheadmedia/videos/773949069714130/

New Zealand National Vert competition in Wanaka.

It was our absolute honour and privilege to have been invited to attend the New Zealand National Vert competition in Wanaka this year.

Not only is the Wanaka vert a thing of beauty to behold, the scenic view of the mountains from the deck of this gnarly beast is arguably one of the most beautiful views from a skate spot in the world.

The event was put together by the Wanaka Community in a display of what it truly means to be part of small town New Zealand, with a very special thank you going to the Fellows whanau who opened up their home to the New Zealand skateboarding community.

When we heard that there would be camping next to the vert, Yeah Gnar NZ hired a motor-home and headed south with team member Raph, who was to spend the day with the difficult job of judging the competition. Krysta, who had the difficult job of skating in the competition. And a gaggle of supporters who had the easy job of cheering from the sidelines.

We could not have been more proud of our skater Krysta, who was skating vert for the first time since she broke her leg in the warm ups at the Kerikeri Vert competition at the end of last year. She overcame her fears and skated like a boss, coming away with second place, with the winner of the national title going to Rhya Henare of Taupo.

There is a lot of history behind the Wanaka ramp, which you can watch about in the short film "Fourteen Foot Journey" on Amazon. Check out the trailer below!

Bowlzilla, Wellington 2019

Yeah Gnar NZ was proud to be a major sponsor again this year for Bowlzilla, the national park skating competition in Wellington, and we were all really excited about the competition this year.

We took up two of our skaters - Krysta who was only a month back skating from a major injury, and Tylre who was competing in his first ever nationals. Plus after the nail-biting finals of Mangawhai, we knew the national title for all divisions was going to be hard won. I

f you have ever spent time in Wellington, you will know that the weather forecast is never completely reliable. Unfortunately it rained, but with the determination of the Bowlzilla crew, constantly drying out the bowl with leaf blowers and bags of towels, they managed to get the Men's open division done in the bowl.

Despite the rain delays, everybody was amping and didn't want to see the skating end which is when Wellington based skateboarding-themed art gallery, Manky Chops, stepped up and kept the skating going. They offered up their gallery, which conveniently has a mini ramp inside, to finish the competition for the Masters, Womens and under 16. And just like that, the New Zealand skate community showed how versatile we are and Bowlzilla became Minizilla! The crowd loved the fact they were out of the rain and the skaters had pent up energy from the rain delays and were ready to throw down.

Between the sweat from the skaters and the rain from outside, the humidity inside Manky Chops HQ was off the charts, but everyone was just thankful the weather hadn't put an end to the epic skating. Full results of the day can be found on the Bowlzilla website https://www.bowlzilla.net/

The 8th Annual Mangawhai Bowl Jam

Despite the Mangawhai Bowl Jam being known as one of the best competitions in New Zealand, not one of our Canterbury based team had ever made the journey - which meant we were frothing with excitement about getting up there for this epic event.

Due to injury, we only had one Yeah Gnar skater, Tylre, entering this competition, but as always we took a crew to support and learn from one of the New Zealand's longest running skateboarding competitions. I know we say this every competition we go to - but seriously, this event was simply the best and lived up to the hype! They had the best bowl skaters in New Zealand throwing down, and the Mangawhai bowl....arguably the best pool styled bowl in the entire country.

It was a hot day, which was OK because the township of Mangawhai has a beautiful estuary you can swim in and cool down. We don't know what took us so long to finally check out this competition, but we can assure you, we are hooked and will be there loyally every year from here on out! And if you are reading this and have never been, just check out the highlights below.

If that level of skating doesn't make you want to be there, we don't know what will!

Oakura Beach Bowl Jam

Having never been to the surfing haven that is Oakura, Taranaki, we thought we may as well take the journey and check it out. At first we found it really challenging to find accommodation for the Yeah Gnar team and couldn't figure out why. 

Apparently the band Toto were playing in New Plymouth the same weekend, which somehow turned into "Africa" being the theme song of that road trip. We showed up in Oakura not knowing what to expect having never been there or seen many Taranaki skaters in action. First of all, their seaside skate-park is a dream. A mini-ramp that has a tranny to die for and the bowl...the bowl is so smooth and has lines for days. We finally got to see local Niwa Shewry for the first time ever, and seriously, if you don't know this young man you need to follow him on instragram @niwaskates now. The skater and spectator turn out was massive, and the Yeah Gnar team joined forces with the Henare whanau to run the groms competition, before the Taranaki Skateboarding Association took over for the opens. We were left in awe at the depth of talent in the Taranaki skateboarding scene and can't wait to go back! A special shout out to the Oakura Boardriders Club for putting on an epic event. They have been supporting surfing and skating in Oakura since way back, and you can find more information about them on their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/OakuraBoardriders/

Kerikeri presents the 1st Annual Vert Jam

When we heard there was going to be a Vert competition, our team unanimously decided we had to get on board with that. You hear the saying "Vert is Dead" a lot in skateboarding circles, but our belief is that no form of skateboarding is dead if there are people still passionate about it.

And that is how we became sponsors of Kerikeri's First Annual Vert Jam. Only three of our team ventured up for this one, mainly because being South Island based, we had heard horror stories about the humidity that happens that far North.

Not knowing what to expect from the ramp, or Kerikeri itself, we cautiously ventured out the day before the competition for a skate, where we found the best Vert skaters in New Zealand warming up and ready to throw down.

Unfortunately on the day, Yeah Gnar skater Krysta, broke her leg in two places which took her out of contention for the win. However, she did make it back for the finals and despite being on crutches was cheering for the boys louder then anyone. It was a beautiful day, with beautiful people, and we feel like nobody will be saying vert is dead after this competition.

In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if this has sparked a resurgence of more vert competition to come. A special thanks to Dave Crabb, a total legend of New Zealand skateboarding, who put this competition on for both the skateboarding, and Kerikeri community. If you would like to check out a small snippet of the calibre of skating at the competition you can on the link below; https://www.facebook.com/DaRollwilder/videos/vb.1004341034/10214265325999439/?type=3

Girls Skate NZ Showcase
When Girls Skate NZ first contacted us about their ladies only Skateboarding showcase, we knew it was something we wanted to attend. So we rented a large house in Auckland for the weekend and went through our roller-dex to contact all the competitive women skaters we know, offering free accommodation to help support the cause. We are pretty stoked to say that after the weekend, we have added many new women skaters to our network. It takes a lot of faith to put on a skateboarding event in the middle of winter, but the team at Girls Skate NZ were not afraid of the challenge. With a turn out of 20 participants, they may now hold the record for the most female competitors at a single skateboarding competition in New Zealand. The competition was supposed to include a street and bowl division, unfortunately the rain made it uncertain that both could be done so the decision was made to put everything into the bowl. Once the warm ups started, it quickly became clear that there was a lot of talent and the podium finish could be anyones. The supportive and friendly vibe around the bowl was just the perfect catalyst needed that saw many of the ladies pulling off new tricks for the first time, and despite some epic slams, people were walking away with a smile at the end of the day. We sincerely hope that this becomes an annual event! If you are Auckland based, and have a girl interested in skateboarding, you can get in touch with the team for more information at [email protected] and follow them on Instagram @girlsskatenz Final results: Opens 1st - Krysta Ashwell (Christchurch) 2nd - Oskana Lines (Florida) 3rd - Tanja Swanepoel (Auckland) Under 18 1st - Ela Huia (Auckland) 2nd - Billie Morrison (Auckland) 3rd - Sasha Brett (Auckland) Lil' Groms Alani (Auckland)
Yeah Gnar NZ in California
To achieve our goals of getting New Zealand skateboarding on the map, we need to make sure people are aware of New Zealand skateboarding around the map. And I will admit that this didn't start as an easy task, considering the majority of people we met in the USA didn't even know where New Zealand was. ("Oh, so you are from Australia", is something we heard several times a day). Obviously we took our skateboards with us, however it wasn't all skating, we were also there to educate ourselves further in the skateboarding industry to ensure we are supporting Kiwi skaters and encouraging the growth of skateboarding in a way that is consistent with Industry standards. It was a busy trip that included conferences with the International Association of Skateboard Committee, learning more about our history at the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, observing how professional competitions are run at the Vans Pool Party and talking to every skater, parent and coach we could find about what direction they think the International Skate Scene is heading. The whole trip was amazing, and we learnt so much that I envision the rest of the year will be going back through all of the research accumulated and figuring out how we can combine what have learnt, to our plans for Yeah Gnar's future. Other then the educational and research component of our trip, we also got to tick off some bucket list items. We skated the Combi Bowl, watched Vans Pool Party in person, got cuddles from Rodney Mullen and had a beer with Mike McGill. This trip we only took three of the team, however I feel like more of us will be making the next trip for the next conference. If you haven't had the chance to watch the Pool Party yet, The entire compeition is streaming on You Tube, which you can check out on the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXAeHIQcibs
Bowlzilla, Wellington 2018
What started as a cold and windy day in New Zealand’s capital, ended with sunshine all around at the national championship, Bowlzilla, last weekend. It was in the stands trying to fight off the cold Wellington wind, that Yeah Gnar members Da Roll and Adam, were given an idea that would make everyone warm with fuzzies. While watching the Women’s division, their friend mentioned they had just brought a T-shirt off an Australian company named Yeah Girl. In an effort to make Bowlzilla an equality-in-skateboarding event in Australia, Yeah Girl were selling T-shirts with all profit going to the Women’s prize purse. With International Women’s Day a few days prior, the struggle of gender equality still being a real issue and of course, the age-old Australia vs New Zealand rivalry, DaRoll and Adam decided to ensure the Aussies wouldn’t beat us to the punch. In the middle of the competition, they found a Bowlzilla organiser and offered a donation that would equal the prize purse for men and women. Just like that, a moment in New Zealand skateboarding history was made with Aotearoa’s first ever equality-in-Skateboarding competition. Leaving a shocked looking Bowlzilla Crew to process what they had just helped make happen, it was back to the stands to watch the finals. Luckily the wind had gone down, the sun had come up and the smiles all around made it an epic way to end the day. Yeah Gnar NZ are super proud to have been part of this moment, and of course we need to acknowledge this wouldn’t have happened without the wheels Yeah Girl set in motion, Bowlzilla for putting on the event and ALL the skaters who shredded their hearts out. We tip our helmets to you all. Even without the knowledge of equal prize money, there was a record number of women who entered, and seeing the talent in warm up, the crowd could tell the competition was going to be tight. With three runs each, and the best run counting, the women were not holding back. The crowd went wild when Krysta Ashwell pulled out a clean 50-50 in the middle section of the bowl, which was immediately answered by Rhya Henare. Tanja Swanepoel entered the bowl on her next run with a 50-50 roll in followed by what was arguably the most beautiful flow of carving on display over all the divisions on the day. Krysta answered by stepping her 50-50 up to the deep end and throwing in a backside air to her final run. When it came time for prize giving, we knew the scores would be close. So when it came down to the final two, Krysta and Tanja, the Yeah Gnar team were on the side-lines literally biting our nails. We are so incredibly proud to say that our team member, Krysta, was the one who came home with the National Title, however there is zero doubt in our minds that the competition is going to be even tougher next year. As the women involved in skateboarding continue to raise the bar, this competition is only going to grow and flourish in the future. A massive shout out to all the skaters of this weekend, full results can be found on the Bowlzilla website here http://www.bowlzilla.net/
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