It was a warm and sunny day on Sydney's Northern beaches, perfect weather to hold the first freestyle skateboard event of it's kind. It was the day of Jacko's Freestyle Birthday Jam. Skaters from as far as QLD made the trek to part-take in one of the radest events in Australian Skateboarding history.
The day would see crew travel around the northern beaches to several skate spots that included a steep smooth road for sliding, a tight hairpin corner, a step and windy lefty-righty corner set, and a very mellow cruise hill for busting out the carves and launching off a kicker.
The day was all about style. Skaters got 3 runs at each spot and were judged on the way they rode their skateboard, and scored higher for the amount of style and steeze they produced from each run. The event was also themed in a retro/old skool theme and encouraged skaters to dress up in funky out-fits to earn extra points. Each skater had the chance to change their costume between each spot to mix it up and had the chance to earn a potential 25 extra points to add to their total score.
Adam Yates was pulling some fast no-hand slides all day
The first spot drew out everyone's skills on a steep slope, with riders busting out big stand-up slides and throwing down hard carves trying to impress the judges. A lot of the locals came out to check out the action and before we knew it there were more than 30 people lining the street watching all the action. Even the local police came down to check it out, thank god one of the officers actually owned a longboard, she thought the event was rad!
The major stand-out for spot 1 was Brazilian Carlos Arena, throwing down sharp slides and huge no-comply tricks, with the occasional 1-foot slide here and there. Other rippers such as Gabe, Alex, Steve and Yate-dawg were also showing off their stand-up style with fast speed-checks and smooth 180 slides.
Luca Coleman was oozing with style, on the skateboard and with the outfit
After everyone had their 3 runs, we moved the event to the next spot, a nice smooth slope into a steep right hand hairpin corner. It was unfortunate that there happened to be an open-house inspection on that particular street so dealing with the traffic was hectic, and we ended up giving each rider only 2 runs each. However this did not stop everyone from shredding the appropriate amount of gnar. Everyone was flairing with style, with most riders throwing down fast slides into the corner and taking it switch. Young grom Kelly got in the mix and even rode up the gutter and on onto the grass before coming back onto the road and sliding into the corner. Steve Daddow kept the crowd cheering with his sharp yet smooth speed-checks and 'in-corner' 360s and was the stand-out rider for this corner jam.
Trav Horsfall was consistently busting out cool slides
The jam then moved onto the next spot, which turned out to be the gnarliest spot of the day. It was a steep left hand corner into a fast right hand corner, with a surface less than average to allow for hectic sliding and plenty of carnage. By this time everyone was super stoked and were all ripping it to shreds. This spot saw plenty of creativity with crew busting early grabs off the footpath into the first corner, taking runs switch and even cutting the right-hander entirely by riding through the grass! There was a lot of improvement in the riding of the newer skaters, with the younger guys hitting it hard and fast, and even some of the regular crew showing off their smooth surfy style. It was a tough call to say who was shredding the hardest here but both Gabe and BenBro were taking both corners super fast yet super smooth, with speed-checks looking like they could do them in their sleep and 180 slides like they have always ridden goofy-foot.
Brazilian slider Carlos Arena impressed the judges right from the start with smooth air-tricks and stand-up slides
After a quick lunch break we all moved onto the final spot, we originally had planed 5 spots but time was against us and it was time to wrap it up with a mellow hill for people to get their z-boy style happening and go for the big air from the kicker that was set up on the hill. This spot saw most skaters getting low and stylish with sick carves, a few cross steps and a couple of power slides. Luca Coleman started off the 'big air' comp by early grabbing off the kicker over Shaddow. Steve then stepped up and battled him for a few bonus points to see who could get the biggest air. Luca could not quite get as far as steve could, with young-gun kelly also having a few attempts.
Kelly and Adam Yates after a battle for a free set of wheels (in the pool)
The skating was then finished, and the crew convoyed back to Jacko's house for a BBQ and several beers before handing out the prizes for the day. Tanya got the prize for the best crash and earned herself a safety-gear set including pads, gloves and a helmet from Early Skateboard. Alex Martin got the award for best costume and was awarded an Arift deck from Early Skateboards.
There was only one man who could be awarded the title of style master, and it had to be Steve Daddow. He scored high points consistantly throughout the day by linking up smooth slides and carves in each run, and kept the judges happy with innovative and stylish runs. Placing in 2nd was Alex Martin who was riding solid all day, throwing down fast stand-up slides and rocking out in switch-stance. His vast range of costumes throughout the day earned him lots of points and put his total score up towards the top of the list. 3rd place was Gabe, who had also stepped up his free-riding skills and was looking super layed-back and going fast all day.
Other stand-outs for the day were Trav, who was rocking the safari suit and throwing down some cool looking speed checks, BenBro with the funky fisherman hat surfing the road like he normally does, and also Manchild with the rad mohawk helmet action.
Well done to everyone who came to participate in the first Freestyle Birthday Jam, everyone showed lots of style and congrats to everyone, you are all winners!
Big thanks go out to sponsors Rayne Longboards, Orangatang Wheels, Hopkin Skate and Early Skateboards for donating awesome prizes to hand out to the crew.
The winners: Gabe, Steve and Alex. Smiles all round
1. Steve Daddow 'Dad-Bro'
2. Alex Martin
3. Gabriel Gwynne 'Grommet'
4. Adam Yates 'Yate-Dawg'
5. Carlos Arena
6. Luca Coleman
7. Cody Tisdale 'Shaddow'
8. Ben Hay 'BenBro'
9. Matt Ryan 'Manchild'
Photos by Michael White
Words by Jackson Shapiera