Billabong Australia (Sunday, April 15th, 2012): Murwillumbah’s Blake Harris (Melbourne based) has topped a field of 32 Australian street-skateboarding specialists to claim Stop #1 on the SbA (Skateboarding Australia) Pro/Am Invitational Tour – Billabong’s City Squared presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone - held at Queensbridge Square on Melbourne’s Southbank on the weekend.
The custom built obstacle was daunting to say the least. Riders had to negotiate a purpose-built ‘gap to ledge’ feature that could be attacked from several approaches, mixing creativity and burly raw street skateboarding. The build was inspired by Melbourne’s urban street spots - combining two hubba’s either side of the gap to bank with a box in the middle which resembled a sub electrical box at 1.8 meters high.
“It was good, I’m pretty happy, it’s been a good day. This thing (the obstacle) is deadly, the hubbas were pretty nice, but the box was pretty dangerous, I’m glad to be walking away. I got smashed earlier on a normal nose blunt, but apart from that I’m okay, everyone was shredding… good times. I’m definitely happy, this was definitely one of the top competition wins I’ve had,” Harris said after his win.
Reigning SbA Tour Champion, Tommy Fynn (Brisbane, Qld) finished second, a repeat of his result in the same event in 2011.
“I came second last year, second again, it’s crazy. I can’t believe it. I love this place. It’s awesome. At first I was like whoa, cause the set-up is quite gnarly and I didn’t know how it was going to work out. Everything looked so big but as you got used to it you could start doing things and a lot of tricks run through your mind and I was like, ‘I’ll try this, I’ll try that,’ and it worked out,” said Fynn.
“It seems like every time this contest comes round every year, everyone gets better and better and it progresses, that’s what it’s all about. I love skating because it’s about progression and I like to feed off the other people and work to better myself. That’s what I’m all about. Man, everyone skated so good,” added Fynn.
SbA Head Judge, Morgan Campbell, was blown away by the standard of skating throughout the day.
“The final had to be one of the fiercest finals I’ve ever seen. Put it this way, I’ve never run out of space on a judging form before. The frequency of ‘makes’ was off the charts. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast and now I’ve got a scrambled brain. It was really tough to judge, but in the end it was a unanimous decision,” explained Campbell.
An Xperia Sony Smartphone was up for grabs for best trick, but the variety and degree of difficulty of all the candidates made it impossible for the judging panel to determine an individual winner. So the best trick category was abandoned and the Xperia was given to Harris as an additional first place bonus prize.
Highlights included Tommy Fynn for his first try backside nose blunt slide; Marty Girotto for his smiles and lines including his fakie five-0 down the hubba; and Kieren Reilly, who did a back of hubba jam into the bank; plus the consistency and gnarl factor of eventual City Squared champion Harris.
Injury wise, nothing too serious occurred, but there were a few tense moments. Reece Warren felt his hip pop out during a slam mid-final. It slowed him up momentarily, but he gathered himself and skated through to the conclusion. And Melbourne based Mitch Robertom’s hit his head on the ground after a failed frontside blunt down the hubba. To everyone’s relief, Mitch was okay and he shook it off and went on to eventually claim eigth place overall.
Wollongong’s Sam Giles had a chance at a historic three-peat City Squared hattrick, but on the day, couldn’t land the tricks he needed.
“I’m a little bit bummed, I arrived a few days early to try and relax and prepare for the comp. I was hoping to do a bit better than I did. I’m still happy to be able to watch all those guys kill it in the final though. It was just amazing to watch all the guys skate. It was good,” said Giles.
In addition to the competition, spectators at the Billabong City Squared had the chance to get involved and create their very own skateboard deck. Xperia Sony Smartphones and Sony’s range of Alpha interchangeable lens cameras were available for loan throughout the event with members of the public given access to exclusive shooting platforms to put their photography skills to the test.
The top ten photographers on the day as judged by the Sony and Billabong teams will have their winning shot transformed into a work of art on their very own skate deck. To check the winning entries visit the Sony Facebook page at facebook.com/sonyaustralia from Wednesday, 18th April onwards.
As Stop #1 on the 2012 SbA Pro/Am Invitational Tour the top 19 place getters receive points towards the Australian Championship title which will be decided after Stop #2 and #3. Also, the same top 19 from the City Squared receive automatic qualification into Stop #2, to be held at Shocklands in Melbourne in July.
The eventual winner of the Australian Championship will receive an additional prize of $5,000.
Final Results: Billabong City Squared presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone
Queensbridge Square, Southbank, Melbourne
1st Blake Harris (Murwillumbah, NSW) $4,000, Sony iPod Speaker Dock + a Sony TX5 Water Proof Camera
2nd Tommy Fynn (Brisbane, Qld) $2,500, Sony WX30 Cyber-Shot Camera + Sony Headphones
3rd Reece Warren (Eden, NSW) $1,500 & Sony Bloggie and Headphones
4th Marty Girotto (Wollongong, NSW) $800
5th Sam Winter (Sunshine Coast, Qld) $500
6th Tim Williams (Melbourne, Vic) $300
7th Dennis Durrant (Brisbane, Qld) $200
8th Mitch Robertom (Melbourne, Vic) $200
9th Pat Dandy (Gold Coast, Qld)
10th Kieran Reilly (Kempsey, NSW)
Crowd Giveaways - W570 Cyber-Shot Camera + Sony Bloggie. Yeew!