Pictured: a young skater soaks in the crowd at the Australian Skateboarding League final at Riverslide last year.
During what promises to be another spectacular Moomba festival, attendees will be wandering down to Alexandra Gardens to see the most exciting event of the weekend – the Australian Skateboarding League finals.
Run by YMCA Action Sports, the event will showcase the country’s best youth skaters and future Olympians – with the finals starting from 6pm this Saturday 10 March at Riverslide Skatepark. The semi-finals will start from 1pm.
Over the last few months, the Skate Park League’s Grassroots series has uncovered the best talent in the country. Through a series of qualifying events, those who have proving to be the best of the best will now compete for a global ranking and a combined prize pool of $16,000.
One young person who has grown up competing in these competitions is 16-year-old international star Hayley Wilson.
“It can be nerve-wracking, but great fun with big crowds. Some people think skate is just about being at the skate park having fun, but it’s more than that. You learn a trick and you keep wanting more.
“I’ve been doing YMCA skate competitions for eight years, if it wasn’t for these events kids and teens, like myself, wouldn’t keep going,” she said.
Hayley was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Olympic Games team, where skateboarding will be running for the first time. Along with 15-year-old Brad Saunders, they will hopefully be part of the Australia’s first ever national skateboarding team.
YMCA Action Sports Director Nick Quail said the sport was finally getting the recognition it deserves.
“These skaters are seriously talented and determined, they’re the complete opposite to stereotyped “apathetic youth,” he said.
According to Australian Sports Commission, skate will be the second most popular sport in Australia by 2020. YMCA has been helping thousands of young people discover skate since 1996, travelling to 90 locations across the country.
“The national final is the best place to watch Australia’s next generation of skate champions and experience the passion. It’s contagious,” Nick said.
For more information, check out the event page on Facebook here.