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october 2005 articles

monday 3rd october

I have finally moved out from the Fern Lodge - the backpackers that has been our residence since arriving in Wanaka.

I have moved in with CJ, Bea & Tim up on the hillside, 5 minutes walk from town centre, nicely warm and spacious with a little more privacy. Andy is still at Fern, looking at accommodation options.

On the subject of Andy - he has been featured on Sky Sports! Freeze TV is an action sports program, and an episode focussing on winter sports towns in NZ showed a clip of Andy pulling a huge 720 in the Wanaka skatepark. Full marks to the lad - top promotion value for the sport. Respect...

I had my first game of Frisbee Golf in 7 years when I visited the picturesque area of Glendhu Bay!

On the way to Treble Cone, the bay plays host to a colourful community of gypsy-style motorised caravans, each hand built and unique.

Andy and I spent a day doing a photo-shoot on the rock wall-ride I found up Cardrona a few weeks ago...

We spent a couple of hours creating a snow quarterpipe, and the rest of the afternoon riding the rock slab - starting with Rock-fakies, moving up to 180 on-180 off's.

A great day - loads of fun, and some great footage on a very unusual feature not often encountered.

I had been looking to go back to Arrowtown with a few friends and session the skatepark for a day, so organised a few cars to drive over the crown range. The collective included friends Ben and Alex (Tassie lads from the Alexandra skate trip a couple of months ago), Tomu - a maori friend and excellent skater - and Red Rock bar manager Nick, with Greg filming.

Tomu was going HUGE, transferring out the bowl to a flatbank, while Ben Alex and I sessioned the 15ft rail, and Nick was cruising the bowl. We were just warming up, having been there not 2 hours - when it started to rain. Bigtime.

How typical is that? So much sun that all the snow has melted away - the day we decide to use the sunshine, it rains...

Treble Cone officially closed yesterday, upholding the tradition of dressing up and specially creating an artificial 20ft pond to hold the "Slush Cup". This involved flying down from the top of the slope, gathering maximum speed in order to skim across the water and reach the other side!

Having not enough speed, imperfect balance, or an incorrect trim angle of the board resulted in the rider falling into the icy water - not a desireable option! Failure to ride out standing was also not an option in front of the 100-strong crowd - landing on your bum just looks poor!

The 3rd rider to successfully cross, I managed 2 perfect runs before trying something a little more inventive to please the crowd - on my last run I attempted a backflip, and wound up ditching inverted! COLD!...but the crowd loved it!

Finally - our good friend Gordi left us yesterday. We saw him off, but were sad to see him go.

Some of the lads will be hooking up with him in Oz, before he returns to Scotland. Go for it fella - good on ya!

Sleep tight people, don't let the bedbugs bite...

tuesday 18th october

The season has ended, Cardrona and Snow Park have closed for another 7 months until 2006.

Unfortunately I missed the last few days due to a sudden attack of appendicitis, which resulted in me being taken to Dunstan Hospital (just next to the Clyde Reservoir), where I was diagnosed as having a perforated appendix. In one of the most painful journeys of my life, I was driven 3.5 hours to Dunedin hospital where my appendix was removed.

They performed open surgery, meaning that they cut through the stomach muscles, cut out the appendix (an extension of the stomach) and cleaned out the infected pus.

Cutting through the stomach muscles (a measure necessitated by the need for immediate attention) means I can't skate or snowboard for at least another 6 weeks - the time I return to the UK. This has brought an effective end to my participation in "the Tour", leaving me to focus on the video documentation of the trip so far...

About a week after returning from Dunedin Hospital, UK streetboarder Paul Nash and his girlfriend Emma arrived in Wanaka after a few days in Queenstown. Received them with an indoor BBQ; Andy Garrett and his girlfriend Jen came round, as did my Tassie friends Ben, Liz and Alex - a thoroughly pleasant evening!

Paul skated Wanaka skatepark, but neither Andy nor I could skate with him...

Although my recent operation prevented me skating, we did go hiking to Diamond Lake one day - a reed-lined lake just at the foot of Treble Cone.

Paul and Emma finally left to travel north backup the south island, eventually working their way back to Auckland to return the van and head onwards to Oz. Good luck guys, hope it meets your expectations..!

Lastly, my Tasmanian friends Ben, Liz (Bens girlfriend) and Alex left Wanaka yesterday, heading back to Christchurch via Dunedin, where they will fly back to Tasmania.

Have had many good times with Ben, Alex, Tim and the rest of the Tassie lot, so it is sad to see them go - but hopefully we will all meet back up next year for the 2006 season...

So y'all, I leave you for a spot of R&R - back soon..!