Over the weekend, dozens of skaters, scooter riders and BMX riders from the Queanbeyan, the ACT, and regional NSW took to the bowls of the Goulburn Skatepark to compete in the city’s first Australian Skateboarding League (ASL) NSW qualifiers.
The event ran from 11.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday and 2.00pm to 6.00pm on Sunday, and was well attended by both local and visiting competitors, although event organiser and YMCA National Events and Program Manager, Nick Buskens, said that the majority came from either Sydney or the ACT.
“It’s our first crack at doing it in Goulburn,” Buskens said.
“Most of our riders were from Canberra way and some were from Sydney, so it’d be great to get the locals a bit more involved next time.
Saturday was the lower-key of the two days, which saw all of the scootering and BMX competitions take place across two age divisions – 14 and Under and 15 and Over. There was also a preliminary skateboarding competition for skaters in the 12 and Under and 16 and Under divisions.
Sunday was the day for the serious skateboarders to compete for a place in the ASL National Final, which is set to be held in Melbourne from March 8 to March 9 next year.
Events such as the one in Goulburn do important work in increasing the awareness of competitive pathways into the sport.
“Because there’s no clubs to measure [the popularity of the sport], and because it’s fringe, we just don’t have the systems to promote that,” Buskens said.
“If I wanna participate in something, how do I do that with a group? There’s nothing that exists there, it’s very solo.”
He added that it was important that the sport retain its passion-driven fanbase, which is key to its dedicated following and overall image among young, individualistic supporters.
“We want to kind of embrace that [culture],” Buskens said.
“If you’re a kid, you skate because you don’t want to have a uniform or have someone whistle at you or turn up to training on Wednesday nights.
“You just want to do it when you want to do it.”
The winner of the open age skateboarding competition on Sunday was Brett Gallagher, with a score of 70. Leo Colless was the runner-up.
There are four qualifying competitions left in the ASL before the national finals on March 8 and March 9.
The first is in Bateau Bay, NSW, on January 19, the second is in Kangaroo Bay, Tasmania, on February 2, the third is in Adelaide on February 16, and the fourth is in Frankston, Melbourne, on February 23.