Vans Australia – Stomping Grounds

The Vans team takes on the crowded Australian summer.

For the month of February, Vans sent nearly all of its teamriders out to Australia to film for its upcoming video. Split up into two waves of skate assault were the older guys (the veteran pros) and the younger guys (the thirsty ams and rookie pros). Stacked up for mission number one: Steve Caballero, Omar Hassan, Dan Drehobl, Ethan Fowler, Tony Trujillo, Dustin Dollin, and young buck Johnny Layton (who got thrown in with the lions to pay his dues and learn some respect). Wasting no time on sight-seeing or tourism, no autograph signings and a wolf-pack appetite for straight-up rippin’, most of the days got spent banging down the back door of some of the heaviest spots in Oz. But right when you figured you had ’em picked, vert dogs were jumping on rails, rail chompers were eating brick trannies, and the whole situation got turned upside down.

OPENER – Omar Hassan 50-50

He had it dialed, and then he got piled. Omar handled this curved 50 in a matter of tries. Then with Dollin egging him on, he tried to take it to 180 out and got served, legs over the head and rib cage straight to the bar. He reached for his hat while he was still upside down on his neck-Omar is tough as nails.

2nd sp. – Ethan Ollie and Drehobl seq.

Two guys who have no problem with spots that are impossibly steep and hard to deal with: (here) Ethan shoulder checked the wall in this drain after dumping into this near-vertical drain ollie in Canberra. (Left) Check the feet in frame ten. God only knows how Drehobl makes the unreal look like he’s falling off a couch and back into bed at Coburg Skatepark in Melbourne.

3rd sp. – Tony Trujillo backside nb.

It’s 100 degrees in the shade at Point Cook near Corio, and there’re more flies than in a dead dog’s eye, but the only thing worth getting heated over might be this backside noseblunt on the skinny extension. Tony Trujillo … stylish? Yeah, just a little bit.

4th sp. – Steve Caballero f/s invert

Crusty, mean, old, and damn hard to skate: That’s why they keep coming to Australia-for the sheer physical challenge. Peter Hewitt went to it, and so did Neil Blender back in the day, but Cab’s frontal in the flatless pit at Kambah is definitely one for the ages.

5th sp. – Drehobl drop in (main) + Omar fastplant to fakie

Take these guys anywhere and they’re gonna have at it-that’s what being a professional skater is all about. Omar snaps a tricky fastplant to fakie in the whippy bowl at Coburg, and Drehobl does what only Drehobl can do. He had to use a piece of griptape to run up the back of the cradle at Rye and then came down with so much speed that he ollied right out of the park.

6th sp. – Johnny Layton f/s ollie

Back in 1989, these steep brick banks at Erindale were one of the most heavily skated spots in Australia, but back then Johnny Layton was only four years old. Take sixteen years off this snappy frontside ollie and it still stands out from the pack-J-Lay not showing his age.

7th sp. – Dustin seq. + Tony T. b/s boneless.

Skating at Corio is the only way you’ll ever really know how gnarly it is. But if you take a look at this backside boneless, you can guess that Tony Trujillo didn’t have too many problems with the place.

Dustin turns a skatepark into a street spot and back into a skatepark again. Point Cook-and this time it’s a gap ollie to 50-50. He says he went to fakie by accident.

8th sp. – Dustin over crooks

Some guys have just got it like that: When he wasn’t playing skate-spot navigator, barbecue host, reverse motivational speaker, or flexing his curbside business degree, Dustin went extra over crooks on this beauty of a curveball in Melbourne.