Spreading skateboard gospel
By TONY WHITE
TO the beat of blaring skate music, a team of American professional skateboard riders thrilled an enthusiastic crowd of 200-plus at the Fisher Park skate arena yesterday.
The visiting troupe from the Pro 88 Footwear team performed a series of radical front side nose blunts, 360 degree flips, kick and heel flips, backside and front side sess slides and jumps to the delight of cheering youths and interested onlookers.
During the two-hour session between 4pm and 6pm, there were plenty of thrills and spills as the professional skateboard riders went through a dazzling array of tricks.
And wide-eyed kids swamped the concrete skateboard arena stars seeking autographs.
Organisers were also inundated during several giveaway promotions.
Grafton is the third stop on the six-city national tour that also takes in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Port Macquarie.
The visiting troupe consists of JT Aultz, Corey Duffel, Kristin Svitak, Adrian Mallorey, 'Hop,' Joel Webb and Peter Hewitt.
Many of them feature in genre skate films and compete on the lucrative American and European skateboard circuits.
Daniel Bailey, from local sponsors of the tour Mackelly's said having skateboarders of the troupe's calibre was a 'rare opportunity'.
"It's extremely rare to see skaters of this calibre in Grafton," Bailey said.
"Skateboarding is huge worldwide and locally there are probably 20-25 hard core skate boarders and probably upwards of 100 regulars and it's growing.
"More and more kids are buying skateboards.
"Everyone is having fun out here.
"The kids have been really impressed."
Koala Skateboard team manager Joel Webb, who has been skateboarding for 14 years, said: "These guys (the troupe) are all in the top bracket of professionals in America and they're all good blokes too.
"Skateboarding is hugely popular world wide. The team has just come back from a European tour and we're having a ball here in Australia."
Webb, 31, a former professional skate boarder, said he's been nicknamed 'gramps' due to his age.