The Almost, World, And Blind Teams Star In … “Gimme Some Elbow Room!”

Fifteen skateboarders plus one photographer overcome what was thought to be an unproductive equation.

The Almost team just wanted to go on a little tour of the land down under. Maybe they weren’t exactly excited about doing some demos, but absorbing a little New Zealand, and Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, Australia sounded like a good time.

This trip was timed in accordance with the Globe World Cup, as Almost riders Chris Haslam and Ryan Sheckler are on the contest scene—and always at the top. Kill a few birds with one stone, right?

Well, what finally came about was a gathering of all the Dwindle riders before, during, and after the Globe World Cup—sometimes involving as many as fifteen guys trying to take care of business.

Chris and Ryan, along with Greg Lutzka, Cooper Wilt, Enrique Lorenzo, Al Partanen, Chad Bartie, Carlos de Andrade, Jimmy Astleford, Graham Bickerstaff, Mike Peterson, Jake Duncombe (World Australia), Richard Flude (World Australia), Corey Sheppard, Bill Weiss, and James Craig all vied for a spot in front of the lens of the only photographer on the trip: Jaya Bonderov.

The suffocating heat—always over 110 degrees during the day—and being with so many skateboarders might have gotten on their nerves and destroyed them individually, but the plush hotels, the women-to-men ratio (jaw-droppingly gorgeous women), abundant skate spots, and the proximity to nude beaches kept everyone sane in the end.

We’ll let the photos tell the story, along with the words of those who were there.—Eric

Stricker

Chris Haslam • Kickflip To Fakie

“We were leaving a demo in New Zealand, and there was a cop directing traffic, Haslam just took a banana peel and threw it at him and hit him. We had to bone out, driving as fast as we could. Forty miles outside of that city we got pulled over, we were like, ‘Oh my God, this is for a banana peel!’ But it was just because we were speeding.

He threw a banana peel at a cop, though.”—Cooper Wilt

“The demo in Perth was probably the best demo I’ve skated in. They hadn’t had a demo there in like five years, so the kids there were awesome. They were going nuts.

After the demo finished, there was this little track near the park, and you know how the corners on racetracks are inclined? There was grass on the other side of these hips. We all got in the van, and Jaya decided to haul ass around the grass area and launch the van off the side of these things. He launched the van with like five guys in it.

“Everyone was in the van except Corey Sheppard. We were driving around doing doughnuts, and Corey was running after us trying to get in the van. He walked up to one side of this inclined corner, and we were going so fast at this corner we launched over a five-person running track, straight from grass to grass, and Corey was maybe four feet beside us, and the van was about four feet in the air. The kids were f—king psyched on that! That was a good finish for the demo, I think. That was the closer for the tour—everybody was psyched.”—Chris Haslam

Ryan Sheckler • Street Gap Ollie

Ryan Sheckler’s no tourist to Australia. This was his fifth time there. Ryan’s also been to Miami, so the nude beaches of Perth were hardly something new for the little man: “I’ve been going to ’em all the time now when I travel. My mom doesn’t care.” Gap

ollie a few Ryan Shecklers in height and a few more in distance.

Mike Peterson • Backside Lipslide

When it’s hot down under you have two options: skate at night, or do like Mike Peterson does and skate in the morning. Jaya escapes from a morning swim just long enough to capture this backside lip. As for the Jersey barrier, it still is just that, albeit orange, plastic, and thousands of miles away from the Garden State.

Richard Flude • Switch Heelflip

Richard is the quiet, reserved type of kid—maybe because he only sees his American World counterparts once or twice a year. With switch heelflipps like this you don’t really need to talk much anyway.

Jake Duncombe • Pivot To Fakie

“They don’t call him ‘Jake Demonic’ for nothing. He can be a total terror, but he’s a lot better than he used to be. I met him two years ago and thought, ‘Wow, this kid’s just a nightmare.’ He’s grown up a lot and is a pretty cool kid, but he’s still a monster—definitely not afraid to watch some porn and stuff like that. And he’s only like fifteen.

“The kid had a rough life, I guess—he hasn’t been to school since ten years old or

something, but he definitely gives it 110 percent.”—Tom Curran, Team Manager

Cooper Wilt • Frontside Ollie

Besides Chris Haslam, who he often tries to emulate (nice beard!), Ryan

Sheckler’s best buddy among the group is Cooper Wilt. Cooper’s got the super technical ability to flip-to-grind down rails, but it’s the strange spots and the simple tricks he does that are usually the best. Frontside hip ollie with the knowledge that he’s going to have a sanitary place to sleep when he goes to the hotel tonight.