Updated: Mar 12
It has gone through many incarnations over its 19 years. From humble beginnings to grandstands and corporate sponsors then back to being run by the locals that skate it the most. I like the later. You can mix it with everyone on the deck and if your up for it get in there and have a slash. Like most things though it’s best left to the people who know what they are doing.
There is nothing conceited about this event. It feels like a super heated afternoon session with a added bonus of a big crowd and cash being given out for tricks. The boys at the helm of making it happen, Conz and Jim Fowley, are man of the people. VIP sections are set up for the locals and even cupcakes are given out. Another stallwart is Mike D who has been the voice and the beacon of stoke for the jam since the first time I’ve gone. They dont call time if your getting close to something, they want you to fucking pull it! It also gets you stoked when the contest directors get in the bowl and tear it up themselves.
They also give back. A raffle was organised for Ryan Bacyznski, who we tragically lost last year. To raise funds for a mural that is set to be done in Wollongong. Ryan was very close to the Canberra crew and they had felt the pain of losing a good man too soon. The Wollongong and Canberra crews have always had a close connection but after that gesture i think we will be even closer. Thank you gentlemen for your generosity and for keeping a true representation of skateboarding going every year. Chinski would of been stoked on this years event.
After the longest grind jam that kicked off the day, and was won by Ethan Copland grinding 1/4 + of the bowl, it was time for channel huck. This is always heated and would be a nightmare to judge.
When it was all said and done Nixon Osborne's gap to hand plant took it out. Flying upside down over that thing whilst going headfirst towards the coping is pure insanity. He did it pretty much smiling though.
If flying over that chasm wasn't enough to freak the punters out, the powers to be dragged out the Grind Projects extension. It was 1 1/2 high and curved to fit the bowl but with coping protruding out each end threatening to impale any poor soul that misjudged it. If that wasn't enough Conz was used as ballast to keep it steady and also yell out what moves he wanted to see. It was like a medieval tourture device but for skateboarders.
Carving that thing deserved a god damn medal it was that sketchy. When all was said and done it was George Richards stand up backside nose grind that got the nod. Which he did relatively easy that i think it shocked even him.
To finish up the day was an all out Jam to determine who was Lord of the bowl this year. The last couple of Bowl Jams RJ had been the victor by ripping all day and doing marathon runs with either a banger at the start or closing. It looked like it would be the same this year till two upstarts in their mid teens turned it up to 11.
Kieran was doing tech lines that were getting harder and with more tricks added every time he dropped in. Its insane how consistent he was flip tricks in that bowl.
Ethan would go faster and higher the more the crowd cheered him on. It was like a mini Hosoi was putting on a clinic. He fed off the home crowd and took out a well deserved Lord of the Bowl. Transitions across the globe should be scared of what these guys will do in the future.
As the shenanigans were winding down Father son duo Barry and Lennon Strachan negotiated the madness with a doubles line. Couldn’t think of a better way to end a epic day. It was like a official passing of the torch to the next generation of Bowl Jammers.
The higher ups also bestowed Barry with a legend award for turning up to every Belco since it’s inception.
Thanks to Conz and Jim and everyone else involved that made it such a memorable Belco Bowl Jam. See you next year for the 20th anniversary, it’s going to be a big one.