Saturday, May 21 2011 was predicted to be the end of the world. And for 15 of the country's best amateur skateboarders, skating for survival was the order of the day, the ultimate fantasy to be crowned Australia's best manual rider.
It was an intense final, I really didn't think I'd have it at all - Dean Palmer
Melbourne's Southern Cross Station played host to the Red Bull Manny Mania National Final, with the top three manual skaters from Qualifiers held in NSW, SA, WA, QLD and VIC converging on the tiled terrain for their chance to head to New York City for the Red Bull Manny Mania World Final and a shot at taking down a plethora of the world's best pro skaters.
The moves were manic and the atmosphere electric as Sydney's Dean Palmer, shredded his heats and semi-final for a showdown with Jack Crook, Severin Von Ow and Eugene Stewart in the final.
Pro skater Shane Azar called the shots on the mic as the skaters battled to pull off the raddest maneuvers on two wheels - think a manual into a front-side kickflip into a switch, nose manual. In layman's terms, that's a two-wheeled mono into a tricky flip thing over a jump and landed with a reverse mono on the front two wheels. Get it? No? Then check out the highlight clip at http://www.redbull.com.au/mannymania
Despite some impressive efforts from his talented competitors, Palmer was on a level of his own and won over the thriving crowd and judges to add the 2011 golden skateboard trophy to his mantle piece. Better yet, he now heads to New York for the second time in as many years - and he's got some unfinished business after finishing runner-up in the 2010 World Final.
"It's ridiculous. Insane. I didn't think this could happen again," said Palmer, covered in champagne and in more disbelief than if he'd woken up next to Scarlet Johansson. "I came down here with my friend Pete and to have my friends here, cheering me on... it's amazing!
"I've just been having fun with it. It was an intense final, I really didn't think I'd have it at all. Sam killed it and Jack was messed up. It's pretty shocking. It's unbelievable, seriously."
As well as some pretty cool trophies, all four finalists took home some seriously awesome prize packs from Skullcandy, G-Shock and Vans. Aussie skate pro and host Shane Azar said he was still in disbelief at the quality of the final from four unknown amateurs from the far reaches of Australia. "Red Bull Manny Mania is just such a good series because it brings so much to skateboarding and so much to this style of skateboarding, as there is nothing else like this in Australia," Azar said.
Palmer will be one of 34 competitors from as many countries to compete in the World Final in New York City on 20 August 2011. The winner from the World Final will get to mix it with the world's best in the Manny Mania World Pro event on 21 August 2011.