Gabe skates his way to national skateboard titles
SKATEBOARDING: It was probably a good thing that Gabe Harrigan didn't know the Australian Skateboarding League Queensland event at Bracken Ridge last weekend was a qualifying event for the national final in March, otherwise the 16-year-old might have psyched himself out.
Thankfully for the McAuley Catholic College student, the judges were impressed with his arsenal of tricks and skating style and he finished third in the under-16 division, booking his ticket to the final at the Riverslide Skate Park in Melbourne next month.
Gabe said he went to the Queensland competition to have some fun without too many expectations.
"I always rock up to competitions to have some fun, I didn't take it too seriously because that's a good way to psych yourself out," he said.
"I went into the first heat pretty happy and open and I skated well, which gave me some confidence and really kicked things off, it all came naturally from there.
"I played it safe with tricks I knew how to do well and the judges were impressed."
After discovering the event he was about to take part in could give him the chance to skate on the national stage, Gabe said he had to take a moment to compose himself.
"It was a great feeling to come third, I didn't know it was a qualifying event for the national final," he said.
"I knew if I did well I could qualify for another competition but I didn't know it was for the Australian Skateboarding League national final, so when I heard that I was a bit shocked and it scared me a bit but I kept a smile on my face and just got stuck in."
For as long as Gabe can remember there's always been a skateboard in his house but his interest in the sport has increased over the past five years.
"Skating has always been my little escape, coming down to the Grafton skate park to get away from everything, but I'm starting to take it a bit more seriously now," he said.
"It's amazing that something I enjoy doing can take me places, it's really opened my eyes to the opportunities out there.
"I came home and it all kind of hit me that it's serious now, so I want to try and skate my hardest and take it a lot more seriously, skate as much as possible to practice tricks and learn new ones and hopefully go well in Melbourne.
"It's an opportunity I want to make the most of."
Gabe headed up to Bracken Ridge with his good mate and fellow McAuley Catholic College student Jesse McNaught,
Check out Jesse shredding the park during the Queensland event: