Early Saturday morning, which looked more like Saturday night thanks to a dark and ominous sky, the Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise crew rolled into the Red Bull Manny Mania event site to set up for their live weather crosses. An angry rain pelted the asphalt as the trucks we unloading - was it a mistake to invite a weather guy to an outdoor event? An omen or the cruelest of ironies? Had we so angered the weather gods that our punishment for such rebellion was to be a downpour of biblical proportions?
A lot of diligent practicing and constant, strenuous training. Seriously – I train in a warehouse!
It seemed our fate was set, but the troops went it to battle armed and ready, and the results were an overwhelming triumph not unlike the warriors at the Battle of Marathon. Here's how the day unfolded:
Twenty-two year old Woronora, NSW skater Dean Palmer blitzed a field of the best amateur manual skaters in Australia to win the Red Bull Manny Mania national final at Darling Harbour, Sydney. Unaffected by the rain, Dean and the other 29 Aussie manny maniacs wowed the spectators with their heel, kick and three-sixty flips.
Palmer will now represent Australia in the Red Bull Manny Mania World Final in New York City on 21 August. He will compete against international finalists drawn from 25 countries across six continents.
One of skating’s most technically challenging tricks, a ‘manual’ is balancing on either the front or back two wheels of the board alone. The world’s foremost ‘manny’ exponents add variations by sliding, grinding or flipping the board into or out of ‘manual’ stance.
“Dean’s tricks were the hardest – by far,” said commentator and pro skater Bjørn Johnston. “His style was smooth and effortless, so he looks good on the board, and every time he landed a trick he manualed cleanly. He was perfectly balanced every time, and he did lots of tricks all over the place – he used every obstacle on the entire course.”
“I was very nervous at times, and otherwise I didn’t really think about it and just had fun with my friends just having a skate,” said Palmer. “I’ll be really happy to represent Australia in New York, and I’ll try my hardest, definitely.”
“I’ve been skating for 10 years,” he said. “It’s been an effort. A lot of diligent practicing and constant, strenuous training. Seriously – I train in a warehouse!”
About Red Bull Manny Mania:
Red Bull Manny Mania is a global search for the world's most skilled amateur manual skaters. Qualifiers and national finals are taking place in 25 countries, including Australia for the first time in the history of the event, across six continents and the winner from each national final earns a spot at the Red Bull Manny Mania World Final which will be held in New York City.
A total of 14 Australian qualifiers where held in NSW, QLD, VIC, SA & WA and the top two finishers from each qualifier earned a spot in the national final which is taking place this Saturday 29 May at Palm Grove, Darling Harbour . The winner from the Aussie national final will win an all-expense paid trip to compete in the World Final taking place on 21 August. At stake for the amateur world finalist is a spot in the Red Bull Manny Mania Pro event, skating against the manual masters.
Boasting some of the best professional skateboarders in both the contest and video scene, the Red Bull Manny Mania Pro event has become part of the legendary Skateboard Weekend in NYC and has brought such greats to the city as Eric Koston and Chad Muska and manual experts like Joey Brezinski and Brandon Beibel.