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/