Film catalogue


Australia / 2001 / Urban - Skateboard

Digital HD / Documentary / English / 113 mins

Rights Enquiry

“History, by definition, is a dead issue. The past is the past and the future is sometime else. Skateboarding dwells in the present.” – JOHN SMYTHE

From sidewalk surfing in the swinging sixties to the free-for-all urban anarchy of today, the underground evolution of Australian skating over the past half century has been one of most fascinating progressions in living history. Emerging from the inventive handiwork of coastal dwellers on Sydney’s northern beaches, the humble Australian skateboard found its first commercial embodiment under the namesake of 1964 World Surfing Champion, Midget Farrelly. Even since, the monster that is Australian skateboarding has waged a wild and unpredictable war in search of its own unique identity. With the introduction of urethane wheels in the mid seventies, the tic-tacs and cut-backs of the promenade gave way to a plague of gymnastics-based freestyle madness. Handstands and nose-wheelies were the order of the day in an era that celebrated the professional feats of Russ Howell, Stacy Peralta and Australia’s own Coca-Cola skate team. As the craze gripped the country, the call of a sport desperately in search of itself was heralded by an entirely new breed of advocates. An alternative, harder-edged image personified by the Dogtowners of Santa Monica saw a wave of Australian wide-boarders emerge from suburban banks in preparation for the imminent vertical revolution. By the turn of the decade every skateable pool, pipe and drain had been infiltrated by a reinvented Brotherhood of urban guerrillas. Fighting isolation and public derision, anthems by the Sex Pistols and Devo blared forth from skateboarding strongholds across the nation. The dawn of the eighties saw the closure of private skate facilities everywhere, leaving only the most committed of diehards sticking to their guns. Gains were made in the area of recruitment as a move underground saw an injection of new shredders from the punk element. Leaving no other available recourse, the survivors rallied behind the construction of their own vertical terrain, and by the decade’s mid-point backyard half-pipes proliferated the urban landscape. Spirits were revitalised with sight of the first touring pros in a decade. Led by veteran Allen Losi, a squadron of skate legends including Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Chris Miller, Mark Gonzales, Jeff Phillips and Gater Rogowski hit our shores. Inspired mee-wees across the land ascended the ranks with Kiwis Lee Ralph and Gregor Rankine assuming a mentoring role. As Australian skating hit fever pitch, world-class performances were achieved by Gary Valentine, Adam Luxford and Jason Ellis. But alas, an influx of fairweather wannabes was destined to have an equal and opposite reaction, and in the shadow of the 1990s, the volcano erupted. Massive casualties were recorded, with the interior factions finding a common enemy in the universally unpalatable Rollerblader. Street skating’s rise to prominence during this confused era saw the birth of big jeans, small wheels and lollipop-stick decks. Ironically, such diversions spurred a reunification of the Brotherhood as both vertical and street styles became hybrids of one another. With the onset of mass corporatism mid-decade, the competitive achievements of vert dogs Tas & Ben Pappas and mind-boggling stunt mastery of street rats like Andrew Currie, Matt Mumford, Chad Bartie & Dustin Dollin kept the local brigade on the cutting edge. These new heroes now ensure that the war will continue to wage – all safe in the knowledge that skateboarding will never die…

Featured Skaters
Dustin Dollin
Matt Mumford
Tony Hawk
Tas Pappas
Chad Bartie
Ben Pappas
Jason Ellis
Brett Magaritis
Renton Millar
Andrew Currie
Lee Ralph
Gregor Rankine
Stephen Hill
Jon McGrath
Peter Hill
Midget Farrelly Sid Tapia
Gary Valentine
Adam Luxford
Robbie Bain
Steve Gourlay
Harry Truscott
John Findlay
Mick Mulhall
Adrian Jones
Simon Reynolds Wedge Francis
John Tesoriero
Sally Clarke
John Law
David Hill
Ted Bainbridge


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