WITH five double passes up for grabs to the TILT Extreme Sports Film Festival, Tim Morgan had a look at the extreme sports culture you may not know about in Australia.
It doesn’t take long for a newcomer to this city to realise that Melburnians are serious about their sport.
If you have ever caught a train from Richmond into the city and managed to pull yourself away from playing Candy Crush you will see the train flanked by great sporting venues such as the MCG, AAMI Park and Rod Laver Arena.
Over time these arenas have been sewn into the Australian fabric, bearing witness to some of Australia’s most culturally significant events.
In 1956, the MCG hosted the first ever summer Olympics in the southern hemisphere and in 1970 more than 120,000 people came through the gates to watch the 1970 VFL Grand Final.
36 years later, cricketer Shane Warne became the first Australian to take 700 test wickets on Boxing Day.
Yet, tennis, AFL, and cricket are just a part of Melbourne’s diverse sporting culture, so much so that we decided to look at the extreme sports Australian’s also love to embrace.
There is nothing more stereotypical that an Australian revelling in the surf and sun.
While Melbourne’s weather is predictably unpredictable and you’re more likely to catch an infection than a wave in the Yarra River, you won’t have to travel to Bondi Beach or up to the Gold Coast to surf.
Melbourne is surrounded by beautiful beaches in all directions for those willing to drive. At any time of year, you will find surfers at Jan Juc, Phillip Island or Ocean Grove usually in a wetsuit during the winter months.
Victoria’s most famous beach is arguably Bells, which plays host to the Rip Curl Pro competition every Easter.
The sport has also produced arguably Australia’s greatest ever female athlete – seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley.
Surf and snow are hardly two words that go together and are why I wouldn’t blame you for thinking Australia doesn’t have a strong snow sport culture.
For a long time, Melbournians only talked about snow season to explain why people weren’t attending Melbourne Demon AFL games – it was assumed Melbourne supporters had all gone skiing at one of Victoria’s many resorts like Mount Buller or Mount Hotham.
It all changed in 2002 when Alyssa Camplin won the nation’s first ever Winter Olympics gold medal and Steven Bradbury provided Australia with its most memorable victory.
Trailing for the entirety of the Men’s 100m short track speed skating, Bradbury cruised to victory when all his competitors fell mere meters from the finish line.
The act of winning from an improbable position is now simply known as “doing a Bradbury.”
Since 2002 in Turin, Australia has won three more Winter Olympic gold medals slowly establishing its relevance in the mind of Australians.
From skate videos to Jake Brown’s epic X-Game wipe-out, Australians have grinded and kick-flipped their way into the skating elite.
The search for the perfect rail or ledge is well and truly alive in Melbourne with many skaters searching the city’s CBD for a new place to skate.
The most well know spot is Riverslide skate park on Alexandra parade in the heart of the city but Melbourne has much more to offer for keen and ambitious skaters.
Check out Shane Mathewson’s Zoo York clip above to see how many locations you recognise.
Keen to learn more about Australia’s extreme sports scene? Meld Magazine are giving away tickets to the TILT Extreme Sports Film Festival which will be screening at Jam Factory (500 Chapel St, South Yarra).
The festival is running a different sport-themed night everyday between November 11 and 15 and Meld has a double pass to give away to each night. For your chance to win, simply enter the competition below. Winners will be able to see only one of the five films. Competition closes midday on Tuesday November, 5.
For more ticketing information or to learn more about the TILT Extreme Sports Film Festival, visit the film festival’s official website.