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/
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!
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/
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!
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/
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