Words By Bjorn Johnston
Photos Mark Barber
It was early December 2012 when we, the Australian KR3W team, decided to go on our first trip. There really wasn’t much time left for us then was there? “Us,” meaning you and I—humans. Remember the Mayan calendar thing? So with the end of the world looming over our heads, we thought we should probably get in at least one trip with the new Australian KR3W—our first and last trip if the Mayan’s got their way.
Summer was upon us in Australia so it was the perfect time to get everyone together and go on a little road trip. Gabriel Summers (speaking of summer), Dean Parsons, and Ben James were in the mix, plus a couple of new recruits in the form of The Bay’s Alex Lawton, and Justice Reid, a fresh off the boat Kiwi (now residing in Melbourne). All the boys flew into Sydney, and we descended on the city, suburbs, and surrounding towns. The following is a visual diary of our little apocalyptic adventure.
Bjorn Johnston. Crooked grind. Penrith, NSW.
This is me, writing about me. I don’t find it easy to write about myself, but I can tell you about the scenario at this spot. I’m grinding a rail over a creek and, as you can imagine, falling off was not an option. I managed to stay dry, but as this wasn’t a first try make, my board took a little swim before I landed it. I’m a picky bastard and wasn’t happy with the first make, so I ended up losing my board in the drink a second time, but managed to come away happy with the make.
Dean Parsons. Backside 180 nose grind. Wollongong, NSW.
Dean is one smooth dude. Look how he handles backside 180 nose grinding ledges where the drop is taller than he is. He chills! If you look closely, you’ll see he has his hand up against his lips while he looks down at his board pondering, “Hmmm, should I take this one home? Yeah, why not?”
Dean Parsons. Switch heel flip. Randwick, NSW.
This switch heel was put down on the last day of the trip. Everyone was tired, sore, and a little worn out. Didn’t phase Dean, though. Security was breathing down his neck, but he just went for it. Luckily he chose to go down the gap, because if he was going up, he was heading straight into a speed trap! Dean Parsons doesn’t slow down for anything.
Alex Lawton. Frontside nose slide. North Sydney, NSW.
This was Alex’s first KR3W trip and this was the first spot on the first night of the tour. With no half-stepping, Alex got off on the right foot and sailed smoothly through this tall, frontside nose slide. A good start with much more to come from Alex.
Gabriel Summers. Frontside board slide. Castle Hill, NSW.
Gabriel, or Gabbers as he’s widely known, is a man in desperate need of a four-leaf clover, a rabbit foot, or any kind of lucky charm. He’s a great guy and he means well, but that little thing called luck never seems to be on his side. He had arrived on the trip nursing a back injury, but managed to skate his way through it. At one point, he attempted what would have been one of the gnarliest tricks to go down on the trip, we all thought it was in the bag, but his dreams were crushed by the local street sweeper, which washed away not only his run-up, but also every piece of ground at the entire spot. Next up was this front board. We had been managing to avoid the rain all day and as we were finishing up at this rail, Gabbers went for the front board. Maybe fate would have given him a break just this once? Not likely! Halfway through trying to make this, the skies opened up and dumped rain, thunder, and lightning on poor old Gabbers. You can actually see the rain in this photo and in the footage as he rolls away.
Ben James. Frontside shove it. Sydney, NSW.
Benny, more affectionately known as Backwards Ben or Blackout Benny, is an animal. There is a monster of a 12-set across the road from this over-rail, and one particular morning he turned up bright-eyed and bushytailed in the city claiming a switch frontside flip down it. Filmers were ready and after a few warm-ups down the famous Martin Place pit, he headed over to give it a go. It’s always been a bust, and security came out instantly. Benny decided to go for it and ended up nailing it first try! One shot, one kill! He felt that wasn’t enough for his morning, so he headed across the road and proceeded to front shove over this rail too. Again, he nailed it, and thus he was free to spend his Saturday evening as Blackout Benny. If you’re wondering where that footage is, he’s saving it to unleash at a later date.
Justice Reid. Switch varial heel flip. Sydney Olympic Park, NSW.
Juzzy Cuzzy! Another new recruit to the Australian KR3W, at only 17 Justice packed up and told his parents he was moving from his native New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia. It’s looking like it was the right decision. It wasn’t until after Juzzy was rolling away from this switch varial heel that we discovered that none other than the late great Lewis Marnell had already done it a few years prior it. I’m sure Lewis would have been more than happy with Justice’s technique. RIP Lewis.
Alex Lawton. Switch tail slide, switch heel flip out. Wollongong, NSW.
Another hit from the ‘Gong! Alex may be a calm and collected young lad, but that doesn’t mean he won’t flip out on occasion. Switch tail slide, switch heel out. (Yes, I know the pun was lame. Good thing his trick wasn’t.)
Bjorn Johnston. Nollie 180 switch crooked grind. Wollongong, NSW.
Damn, I have to write about myself again. This time I don’t have any interesting background story to the trick. In fact I don’t think there’s much to say at all. I guess the green courts look cool. I could tell you it’s in Wollongong, and that Wollongong is the third largest city in the state of New South Wales and the name is an Aboriginal word that means “seas of the south.” All that doesn’t really say much about this nollie 180 switch crooked grind, though, does it?