A Poolside Perspective

Vans BOWL-A-RAMA Bondi 2014

Vans BOWL-A-RAMA Bondi 2014: A Poolside Perspective

Words and photos: Brad Hocking

Josh Rodriguez gets inverted

Huge airs, inverts, high speed carves, lengthy grinds, teenagers dominating the pros and fifty year olds still pushing the limits in the masters. These are just some of the things that make Vans BOWL-A-RAMA Bondi the epic spectacle that thousands travel to Bondi for each year.

For the past few years I have sat at home watching the live stream and highlight videos of the contest, but this year I had the privilege of working with the BOARDWORLD team throughout the week-long event. This was a bit of a dream come true for me. Not only was I there for the 10th birthday of the event, but it was also the first time skateboarding legend Tony Hawk had attended.

Tony Hawk whips a frontside blunt in practice 

Come Thursday morning it was great to see the likes of Tony, Mike McGill and Steve Caballero in practice. These guys can really ride a bowl with style, and age doesn't seem to have affected them at all. To top it all off, I was given the opportunity to interview Tony Hawk and spend the day with him and his family at Taronga Zoo.

Meeting one of your childhood heroes has the potential to be a bit of a letdown, but this was not the case. Tony is such a cool guy. He’s very down to earth and hearing him talk about his career was simply awesome. You can check out a video of the BOARDWORLD crew hanging out with Tony here. After seeing the level of skating from the masters during their warm up days, there was a definite feeling of excitement for what was to come.

Tony hanging out with some locals at Taronga Zoo

Fast forward to Saturday. The weather was perfect, the crowd was growing, and there was a feeling of electricity building in the air. The lines to get in stretched down the beach promenade, and as the grandstands filled up the skaters began their warm ups and started their heats. The real action had begun.

Being poolside was a special experience. Sitting just a few feet away from the lip of the bowl as some of the world’s best skaters threw down a plethora of incredible tricks really had me speechless. Sometimes I couldn't help but cheer as loud as possible and turn to give the closest skater or photographer a high five. Being surrounded by grandstands filled to the brim with stoked fans, standing shoulder to shoulder with guys that were in video games that most of us played growing up, and being able to witness such high standards of skateboarding combined for a very humbling experience.

Raney Beres was one of the underrated rippers at the event

When it came to the finals everyone was super hyped. The pool deck was a frenzy as everyone began throwing down their best tricks and really chasing the win. Tony Hawk took out the masters with a solid variety of tricks ranging from the McTwist to a multitude of inverts and grinds on the coping. Steve Caballero styled his signature Caballerial like no other and even busted a kickflip indy in his final run, while the likes of Nicky Guerrero hit the lip at unbelievable speeds. Then there were the pros. These guys can skate. Bucky Lasek and young gun Cory Juneau had some of the most tweaked out grabs I’ve ever seen. Pedro Barros was shooting higher than ever out of the bowl, going trick-for-trick with Alex Sorgente and Felipe Foguinho. I’m still trying to figure out how Pedro rolled away from some of his tricks and straight into others. He really took bowl skating to another level and thoroughly deserved his victory.

Pedro Barros claimed victory yet again. Boneless around the deep-end corner. 

I was truly left in awe after witnessing the event that is Vans BOWL-A-RAMA Bondi. Do yourself a favour and get down there next year and be a part of the action. You won’t regret it!

Tony Hawk blew away the competition in the masters division

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