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    Hopkin Skate Blog — Newtons Playground

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    Ethan Lau was killing it

    Ethan Lau was killing it

    That was Matt Corder's comment today on the Newtons Playground 2008 video on the Hopkin Vimeo channel. I have been wanting to do an article on my favourite moments from Newtons 2008-2013. Mainly because ASRA is not going back to Bathurst anytime soon. They are not saying never, just it is unlikely with the current Council arrangement. The next Australian World Cup will likely be 2015 and in Wollongong. I'm not going to do the top ten moments now, and it might not appear on the blog, it might be published elsewhere. However, the legend of Ethan Lau of 2008 is definitely in my top ten. For our overseas readers, let me paint the picture. Bathurst is in country NSW. During the week, Mt Panorama is quiet. Just locals going about their business and a few wannabe racers having a crack. Mt Panorama is an unusual mountain. It is a world class race track, built on a mountain and on a public road. This means anytime, outside of a race day, Joe Average can drive the track and pretend they are racing. It is heavy patroled by the police and monitored by the locals who live there. That's right, the mountain has 8 residents. Mainly farmers, a few have fruit orchards. Why Mt Panorama is iconic in the Australian skateboard community is everyone dreams of bombing the big hill. We all grew up watching racing on the mountain. And a few of our crew grew up bombing the mountain illegally and telling tales to inspire everyone. Rob McWhinnie grew up in Bathurst. Basement Skate owner Robbo went to University at the bottom of the hill. There are many other tie ins, such as Fitzy, who was instrumental in Newtons being successful in 2008. So Mt Panorama Bathurst can be a dry, hot, lonely place. Especially if you are part of the ASRA crew hay baling. In 2008 there were too many haybales (over 6000!! We used 750 in 2017), who knew what was going to happen, ASRA just didn't want to kill anyone, so everything got haybaled! On Conrod straight, no one around, a few guys pulling haybales off a truck and a Hawaiian appears out of nowhere, eating fruit. WTF. Where did you come from? It was Ethan Lau. Proclaiming Bathurst was one of his favorite places in the world. He had the mountain to bomb, it was quiet, there was fruit everywhere to eat. Nirvana! Had he been here all week sleeping the the orchard? Farmers are the same all over the world. They find someone in their orchard, they are going to shoot first and ask questions later. So the ASRA crew had to give Ethan some guidelines, such as no bombing the hill until it gets officially closed tomorrow...wear some shoes...don't get shot by a farmer. There might be some embellishment there, but it doesn't matter. We created the Ethan legend that year, and we told groms everywhere. This Hawaiian walked out of an orchard on Conrod Straight carrying a Sector 9 longboard you could buy at any surf shop, and he nearly won Newtons!! I don't know how many Aussies have been inspired by that story, but it is one of my most favorite memories of Newtons. Even in 2008, Sector 9 was "we make fun". Have you watched the Newtons 2008 TV show? Grab a peach from the orchard, chill out for half an hour and enjoy.

    Newton's 2008 Video Feature

    Articles I forgot to do in 2010 part 1

    Looking back on 2010, there was a lot of stuff I did not get around to do. There are even more articles I started but never posted. Some get deleted because I have second thoughts or it is old news that everyone knows. There is a bunch of articles that in draft form, never completed but ready to go. Looking at them, they are really good, and I'm going publish them over the next week. So here are the misfits, the forgotten stories of 2010. This article dates back to October 2009!!! Api Ihaia and I did a deal on some Orangatang wheels. I'd give him some wheels for an article on the Hopkin Skate Blog. The idea was we were about to start shipping to New Zealand, so I wanted a local story or article to launch the service. In typical Hopshop fashion, we got busy and forgot to publish the article but we did launch the NZ service. Api Ihaia (remember this is 18 months old) and Dunedin downhill 2009 kia ora! Hi, I'm Api Ihaia, I'm 18 years of age and I have been longboarding for about a year and a half. I started longboarding as a way to get to the beach when I did not have a car. my mate gave me his Loaded Pintail to use and that board is the reason I love downhill and sliding. I live on a wee hill with a couple of good corners and a straight so every day on the way to the beach I would try and start higher and higher up the hill until I could go from my house. Skating this hill most days opened up my eyes to other hills around Dunedin. I started taking this board every where and hitting bigger hills and going faster so I was clearly hooked at this point. Another mate from a local skate shop saw I was bombing hills so he gave me a dvd of people doing downhill and sliding around corners. I had to learn this but I thought sliding was impossible, it wasnt until one day I was out skating and the road was wet, I tried a 180 in the rain and my board did it then it pulled back to normal and there was my first pendulum. Once I got that down I learnt a bunch of slides and variations, like colemans, 360s, stand up 180s and some switch slides. with the addition of my new deck I got from Hopkin Racing, my Rayne Killswitch, and Aera Trucks I got from K-Rimes (yeah I know my set up is the same a k rimes, its perfect if you wanted to know) the hills I can attempt now, well the sky is the limit. I just need to improve my riding to keep up with my board. I'm from Dunedin. Dunedin is a city with a population of 125,000, of which 20,000 are students. a big number of these students have longboards to ride around campus and are usually looked upon as kooks by the local skateboarders and people in the city. You can skate around uni on any given day and see these students with boards such as evo's just getting used to commute around uni.... these boards are never getting to see any hill action in there life! The longboarders at uni are not all kooks though, I have meet a few that I ride with regularly and I have introduced them to sliding and we go out for sessions so they can develop their skills and eventually shred the gnar. Most of Dunedin's hill roads are chipseal so crashing is not nice but I figure the more I ride these types of roads, the more it will force me to not crash and my riding should become better on smooth roads. The best roads in Dunedin are chipseal and are steep with windy corners so they can get quite technical, the chipseal can get greasy occasionally and the corners usually have gravel on the edges so they are a good challenge. It is my goal to skate all of them, as long as I can, always improving my riding so I can dominate these roads. In Dunedin, we have a crew of riders, we are yet to come up with a name but it will be an epic one haha. There is about 30 of us in Dunedin that longboard. we cover all disciplines, most of us slide, a few of us dance and I'm am trying to persuade everybody into taking up downhill but that is easier said than done. We all try and promote longboarding so that the community have a positive view on what we do and also make sure we all have fun so when people (other longboarders) see what we do they'll want to join. The police don't hassle us very often and when they do they just warn us about being safe, I have had some good and bad run ins with the police, my favourite one was when I first started they asked if we could stop skating this hill because traffic was at its peak, my mate said why should we and the policeman said "I'll make a deal, if i clock your speed you can't skate here for the rest of the day" we said yes and we all got around 55kph so all parties were happy. The policeman seemed stoked and said I didn't realise you could go that fast. That was when we first started so our speeds are faster now. There is four of us coming to Newtons (2009 World Championships) to represent for the Land of the Long White Cloud, so hopefully we can beat a bunch of you guys. I cant wait until Newtons, where I can develop my riding further, my goal is to do well, but even if I don't I know my riding will get better and I will get to meet riders from everywhere around the world that share my enthusiasm for the sport I love. Hop's note: Api competed at Newtons 2009. He placed 60th overall. He drew K-rimes in his first qualifying race, K-rimes won that heat, Api came 4th, I can not remember how the race went down, I think Api crashed in the Esses. K-rimes when on to win Newtons and claim his first World Championship crown. Api update: He now lives in Wellington, in a skatehouse. We'll get an update later this week.