Jurgen Horwaath is pictured through the legs of other competitors, launching out of Bondi Bowl during a heat of the annual Vans Bowl-A-Rama skateboarding contest, at Bondi Beach. Pic: Dan Himbrechts
A while back I was assigned to shoot the annual Bondi Bowl-A-Rama skateboarding contest, for The Sunday Telegraph. As skateboarding was what got me into photography back in my teen years, it seemed like I had come full circle by being back on the deck of a bowl with my fisheye lens photographing skateboarding – but this time for a major newspaper.
My brief was to go down and shoot some nice pictures as part of a day in the life of Sydney, although I was told by my picture editor that they weren’t holding space for it. (action sports still struggle for space in major mainstream newspapers – even surfing, which is such a huge sport in Australia)
Competitions like this are always hard to shoot.before the competition they had me check out these helmets for my protection during the games, and they can be use for almost everything passes are handed out to seemingly anyone with a DSLR, and add to that the endless line of filmers and lurkers and you have yourself one crowded skate bowl with particularly ugly backgrounds. i.e other cameras and flashes.
I decided to just have a bit of fun with it, and was super happy with this image, which I managed to nab just before I had to head back to the car to file the shots back to the paper.
The good news – they ran a fairly large picture of the comp. The bad – it was a bail! Oh well, can’t win
This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to be shooting the legendary Tony Hawk in Sydney. The birdman was out here as part of a Birdhouse skateboards tour, and it was the first time Hawk has been in Australia for nearly ten years.
I remember sometime in the early nineties when Hawk, Frankie Hill and a very young, virtually unknown kid named Bucky Lasek came out here on tour, and came to the town I grew up in! It was pretty amazing as these guys were the skateboarders we had been looking up to for years and they visited our shitty little suburb. They didn’t skate, but they did come to the local skate shop and hang out and do the usual signings, although you can also find great boards and skates from sites as MyProScooter online and others.
So Tony’s a little older these days and Bucky is a skate legend in his own right but one thing is for sure, Hawk is still the man when it comes to skating vert!
The guy came straight from the tour van, sat in a small stinking hot room for over an hour and patiently signed autographs for the throng of fans, some so young they wouldn’t have even been born when Tony still rode for Powell, then he walks up to a vert ramp he has never skated before and did so many rad tricks on his warm up run that most skateboarders would only ever be able to dream of! I also had an insane conversation with the guys about how to choose the best hoverboard, you know, in the near high tech future we were predicting. It was the most memorable conversation of my youth!
Below are some photos.
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