Bowlzilla’s Back!

It’s ba-ack. Bowlzilla Gold Coast is rolling into its second year and getting everyone together for the largest gathering by skaters for skaters in Australia.

Bowlzilla brings the world to the Gold Coast and takes the Gold Coast to the world through music, celebrating and skating. It’s a showcase of the most dynamic and fastest growing discipline in skating; park and bowl. Following the success of last year, organiser Chad Ford is looking to make even more of a splash at this year’s event, and celebrate the end of the summer with a skate-fest like no other. Natalie O’Driscoll fired off a few questions to him in the lead up.

What did you learn from your first year of BOWLZILLA? 

I learned how passionate Gold Coast City Council and its community are about championing youth, skateboarding, the arts and their communities and industries. That is incredibly inspirational and gives a solid base to build on each year in developing a skateboarding and arts based festival like BOWLZILLA Gold Coast. I believe the wider community that came to be part of the celebrations learned that there is no age in skateboarding. With a 12 year old kid – Keegan Palmer, taking out the Open Division like a seasoned professional three times his age and Brasher skating in the Masters in his 50s showing that age is a theory rather than a reality, they learned about the Peter Pan complex of skateboarding.

Tell us how this year’s event will be bigger or better! 

This year we have more competitors coming from further afield in Australia and also overseas. We have the Tic Taco art show on at Beach Burrito Company in Coolangatta on the Thursday night, Friday night Yeah Girl and Fiik Skateboards are putting on a great barbecue to show all our travellers what Gold Coast hospitality is all about and on Saturday night after the competition Beach Burrito Company are hosting us all again for an awesome end of festival celebration. For the fans that cannot travel to the Gold Coast we have a live webcast, the TV show is going out to an international audience of more than 640million homes and live updates via all our social media channels.

How has the face of skating in Australia changed over the last five years, or even ten years? 

There was a growing and fantastic female skateboarding community based around street skating in the late 90s and early 00s and then it seemed to disappear. Over the last couple of years there is a new and stronger female skating scene that is developing and a lot of that is in the parks and bowls. It is really awesome to see and we’re doing our bit to foster it with the incredible support of Yeah Girl. So thankfully now the face of skating in Australia now is more representative of the wider community. The competitive side of skating has really been taken up with a lot of energy from the younger riders, which we’re obviously part of. The Masters who shaped what skateboarding is over the last 40 years and really blazed the path are still there and are probably the happiest kids at any session or competition, which is great because it shows everyone that you can skate for the rest of your life if you embrace the fun side of it and use things like the BOWLZILLA Gold Coast competition as a community celebration rather than a sporting event. So the real change is really the growth in the community and wider appreciation of the culture, all things we love at BOWLZILLA.

What is transition skating? 

Park, transition, vert and bowl skating are all parts of the same which is skateboarding on transition which is another name for a curved wall which is what they are all made up of. The original inspiration for these designs comes from trying to emulate the walls of old swimming pools (with rounder walls) and storm water drains. If you haven’t yet, you should rush to watch the Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary about why this is and how important it is to skateboarding. The reason skaters are drawn to this type of skating is because it has a flow and energy to it that is very similar to surfing a wave but takes it a few steps further with its possibilities of floating in the air, being able to take the same path over to push yourself further and generate far more speed than you can find in most other pursuits.

Why is it important to nurture and support young skaters? 

Skateboarding is an open community. There aren’t many other communities that can say that. Nurturing and supporting young skaters within skating has never been so much about developing their abilities as much as it has been about making them feel part of something and good about themselves which then enables them to develop their skills at their pace and in their own unique way. That is why all skaters have differences in their approach and the more unique ones are often rewarded with professional careers in skateboarding. The importance is in giving them a community and allowing them to flourish.

Bowlzilla will hit the coast 16 – 18 March 2017 at Elanora Skate Park.

IMAGE (c) John Dickenson

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