When traveling to somewhere literally on the other side of the globe, making sure everything works out everywhere you go and that everyone has what they need requires heaps of planning. It was only Jeff and my second time to the land “Down Under” but it was both Steffen Vollert’s and Patrick Wieland’s Aussie Baptism. We had 12 days to run up and down the east coast, from Brisbane up to Mackay and back down to Sydney. Here’s a few numbers of what was planned; 5 airports, 3 cable parks, 3 days of Wake Park World Series contests, 2 demo days, 2 rental cars, 1 boat ride, 2 terabytes worth of footage, 32 884 Km flown, approximately over 3 000 cable laps, many beverages, many new friends, 4 dudes and 1 RED camera. All that to bring the joy of riding Slingshot boards to our Aussie friends and documenting our riding along the way.
Bli Bli Cable, meat pies, Australia zoo, Windsor’s, demo day, and a morning boat ride at Harley’s
As we touch ground at Brisbane airport Jeff, Pat and I were beat. We were jet lagged on barely any sleep but the fresh air of the beginning of a new story was energizing. As we made our way to Bli Bli Wake Park we were all excited to hit the water and meet up with our favourite German, Steffen. He had been down under for a few days before us and had been hanging out with local shredder Mitch Langfield. We were greeted by Des Dougherty and the entire crew as we hit the water to loosen up from sitting on planes for so long. Even Pat hit the water to press around the park and was all smiles. The after shred beer tasted great as we headed to the Windsor residence as he lives only a few minutes drive away from his local park. His mother Leigh was waiting for us with a warm welcome; comfy beds, plenty of beer and massive amounts of delicious food. James was on his way back from Philippines and was going to meet up the next day. Planning to get as much good footage as possible on this trip we took to the water early morning and kept at it for a couple hours before the park opened to the public. For lunch, Mitch took us to one of the famous pie shops of the area where we stuffed our faces with some Aussie delicacies; we then headed off to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. All sorts of cool and crazy species were there, many that we had not seen before. We got to attend a croc show as well as a tiger show; obviously we couldn’t pass by the roos and koalas without petting them and snapping a few photos. As we got back home to the Windsor’s, James was there with a couple of his friends that had not seen him in a while. “Nek” day we learned that James had gotten pneumonia while staying in the Philippines and was going to take a few days off before the World Series stop in Mackay which we flew out to the following day. Before leaving for the airport, we headed south to the Gold Coast to take a boat set with Oz’s finest, Harley Clifford where we each took a set, even Steffen who impressed with a couple of Frontside and Switch Frontside spins. We wanted him to take a digger so we suggested he hits the wake toe side, needles to say, we got what we wanted.
Mackay, Wake Park World Series, mining town, parties, weather, and Watkins
Flying into Mackay was beautiful, we came down right over the coastline. As we headed to the new cable park, Mr. Windsor was telling us a little about the city is economy and how mining is supporting it in a major way. Driving into the park we realized the complex was very similar to golf resorts where houses surround the course, except it is around a sick brand new cable park. At the park we got to catch up and take a few laps with the rest of the riders that were going to take part in the event. We obviously went out that night and see what Mackay was all about. “Nek” morning we took it to the water and continued our filming quest, adapting to this park was a lot of fun because of the different rails that were being set up. Getting to catch up with wake legend Daniel Watkins from m Pro Wake shop was a lot of fun, it reminded everyone why DW is fun to hang out with. The contest went well, but unfortunately for our friends that put on the event, Mother Nature didn’t hold up her end of the bargain. Finals had to be cut short and the after party had to start early. The next day we headed to the airport to see if we could convince the airline to get out early, we let our main man Jeff handled it and was able to charm them with his twin kid photos and stories. Jeff had managed to buy an extra day of riding/filming at Penrith Cable Park as we left the unfortunate weather of Mackay.
Penrith, free ride, dorms, Blue Mountains, morning rides, Hooters, McDonalds, demo day, and a Sydney excursion
Rental car packed with suitcases and boardbags strapped on the roof, we headed west of Sydney towards our next destination. Seems as if the rain had followed us, but this time it was even coming down inside of the car because it would run down the straps into the car and onto everyone’s lap. Our first stop was Hooters, food wasn’t great, service wasn’t great, but the waitress’ stories were quite funny as she told us about her dancing episode in Thailand this one time she was drunk. When we got to Cables Wake Park Penrith we put all of our stuff into one of the dorms and “shot gunned” a bed before checking out the local mall and movie theatre. Sunshine or not, we took the water early every morning to get the quality footage we needed to finish the .AU video we had came to film. After being together for just under 2 weeks, Patrick’s early morning pushiness to motivate us was starting to be a little much for our sore and tired bodies, some sparks flickered from the friction but there isn’t a good trip without a little bit of drama. After another dinner at Hooters and 3 mornings in a row at Macca’s, Steffen and I realized our American friends must have started missing home and their fast food. There were 2 scheduled field trips; the Blue Mountains and the city of Sydney. The Blue Mountains were a beautiful sight, we took the time take some photos and clips but Jeff wins the award of nicest tourist as he suggested taking a photo every group that came to enjoy the view. The walk down the skinny and rocky stairway to the “3 sisters” part of the mountain was quite funny as everyone came up huffing and puffing. Our friend and stellar photographer Brett Hemmings rode and shot some photos a few of the mornings of good light. During one of the afternoons we took the train to Sydney Harbour, we walked through the city and saw some great landmarks such as the Opera House and the Hollow Bridge. It was fun to embrace the fact that we were tourists with cameras trying to find the best angles for selfies.
By the time we left the park at Penrith, we had ridden both parks “heaps” and even taken a set on the 2-tower park so we could his their massive 1/4 pipe. After 14 days of traveling, our bodies were beat, but our cameras and minds were filled with great souvenirs of Slingshot’s first step into the land down under.
A Layman’s Guide to Aussie Slang
“Too easy” – An Australians response to almost every question, story, or statement.
“Legend” – A popular way for Australians to refer to friends.
“Arvo” – Afternoon
“Bastard” – A term of endearment
“Dunnie” – Toilet or outhouse
“Heaps” – A lot
“Esky – A portable cooler
“Capsicums” – Green or red bell peppers
“Whinge” – To whine or complain incessantly
“Whoop whoop” – The middle of nowhere
“Bottle O” – Liquor Store
“No worries” – You’re welcome
“Footy” – Aussie Rules Football
“Chunder” – Vomit, throw up or puke
“Barbie” – Barbeque
“Ripper” – Great, awesome, terrific
“Macca’s” – McDonalds
Australia Wiki: Random and Weird Facts About The Land Down Under
– Australia was founded by English Convicts referred to as “Pommies”, which stands for Prisoners of Mother England (POME).
– Australia is home to 20 of the top 25 deadliest snakes in the world.
– Australia has the world’s largest population of wild single hump camels.
– There are more than 100 million sheep in Australia, yet only 20 million people.
– The Australian Alps, or Snowy Mountains as they are also known, receive more snow than Switzerland.
– The Great Barrier Reef is the largest organic construction on earth.
– Australia has the lowest population density in the world at two people per square kilometer.
– 39, 999,983: the number of kangaroos we didn’t see while visiting Australia. The estimated 17 we did see were trapped in Steve Irwin’s Australia zoo.
– Kangaroo is Aborginee for, “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
– The Aum Shinrikyo cult of Japan, famous for their 1995 Sarin gas attacks on Tokyo’s commuters, may have detonated a nuclear bomb in the Australian outback on May 28, 1993. Seismic and geological tests remain inconclusive.
– Drop Bears are a mythical creature Australian’s tell tourists about to keep them on their toes and a constant search for something that doesn’t exist.
– In 1954, Bob Hawke was immortalized by theGuinness Book of Records for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Bob later became the Prime Minister of Australia.