Perth, Western Australia is bracing itself for an invasion to the extreme, with 110 of the world’s best international and Australian action sports athletes set to arrive for the international 2005 Gravity Games H2O, presented by Vodafone.
The free event boasts an impressive line-up of world-elite wakeboarders, kiteboarders, racers, skaters and riders, who will decorate Perth’s skies, land and waterways in a breathtaking showcase over four days, from October 6 to 9 at McCallum Park in Victoria Park. In 2004, the event attracted more than 40,000 spectators.
The world’s top-ranked competitors from the United States, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden, South Africa, China, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia will vie for a share in AUD$170,000 in prize money. They will compete on the Swan River at McCallum Park, Victoria Park, in Wakeboarding and in a new medal contest, Thundercats freestyle power-boating. A Kiteboarding medal event, boasting international sanctioning as part of the Kiteboard Pro World Tour (KPWT) World Cup, will be contested on the Swan River at Sir James Mitchell Park, South Perth.
Non-medal events include demonstrations by renowned Freestyle Moto X riders ‘Mad’ Mike Jones from the US and Australians Matt Schurbring (Qld) and Jeremy ‘Jezza’ Ray (WA), and exhibitions performed on the Southern Hemisphere’s largest vert ramp (20ft high!) in BMX by Spain’s Eduardo Terreros and Australia’s Matt Fairbairn and Tim Wood; in Skate by Sweden’s Jocke Olsson and Australia’s Renton Millar and Trevor Ward; and in Inline by China’s Zhao Baoqiu and Cui Wentao and Spain’s Cesar Mora.
“We have had an overwhelming response from exceptional athletes from around the globe who can’t wait to get to Perth to enjoy the festivities and compete for the title of Gravity Games H2O Champion,” said Sean Nicholls, Managing Director of event organiser Octagon.
“Based on the calibre of the athletes involved this year, spectators can expect to see some of the hottest stunts and fiercest competition ever to hit Australia,” he said.
As a prelude to Gravity Games H2O, across the weekend of October 1 and 2, presenting partner Vodafone will bring action sports to the streets of Perth, with a showcase by top-name skateboarder Corbin Harris, inline skater Toby Heslop and BMX rider Mike Daly at the Vodafone Gravity Games LIVE Site at The Esplanade, Scarborough. Thousands of fans are expected to experience the spectacle, with live demos and athlete signing sessions between 10am and 4pm on both days.
A highlight on day one of Gravity Games H2O (Thursday, October 6 at 10.30am) will be the Vodafone Celebrity Challenge, involving 10 handpicked local celebrities in a Thundercats racing contest that will test their nerves, action skills and need for speed!
Capturing the adrenaline-pumped atmosphere of Gravity Games H2O will be the massive Drug Aware Gravity Village, featuring athlete autograph sessions, a Gravity Challenge competition for local up-and-coming athletes, free local bands, a live radio broadcast, giant screen viewing and vibrant interactive activities such as paintballing, bungey trampoline, bungey run, climbing wall, mechanical surfboard, SpaceBall and more. The Village will be open from 9.30am to 5.30pm daily and entry is free.
On Saturday, October 8, the Gravity Soundwave concert comes alive, with performances by Grinspoon, San Diego’s Unwritten Law and Orange County legends Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger. Gravity Soundwave tickets are just $30, on sale through BOCS on 9484 1133, free call 1800 193 300 (outside metro area), or www.bocsticketing.com.au, 78 Records, Mills Records, Planet Video, Beat Music, Live Clothing, or at the gate (if still available).
The Wakeboarding contest has attracted the majority of the world’s best wakeboarders, set to push their skills to the limit for a share in the AUD$110,000 prize purse.
Among the 24 male and 8 female riders will be Aussie wakeboarders such as current World Wakeboarding Association (WWA) World Series’ champion and three-time Australian Pro Tour champion, Daniel Watkins (Vic / Florida); current US Pro Tour champion, Josh Sanders (NSW); Brett Eisenhauer (NSW / Florida); and former Australasian champion Justin Abbott (Qld), who is making is career comeback at Gravity Games H2O. US superstars include current World No. 1 Andrew Adkison; Gravity Games H2O defending champion and current World No. 3 Trevor Hansen; the stand-out rider of 2005 Danny Harf, and the Bonifay brothers (Parks and Shane), to name a few.
Australian female competitors such as the current national champion Haley Smith (NSW) and Sally Grice (Qld) will test their skills against the best female wakeboarders in the world, including the likes of top-ranked US riders Dallas Friday, Emily Copeland-Durham and Lauren Loe.
Thirty two male kiteboarders and for the first time, 16 females, will put their bodies on Perth’s skyline in their battle for a share in AUD$38,500, as well as valuable competition points and rankings in the KPWT World Cup. Gravity Games H2O marks the first KPWT kiteboarding event in Australia and the first Pacific stop on the World Tour, preceded by rounds one to three in Italy, Turkey and Brazil.
Six Perth-based entrants will represent Western Australia in the Kiteboarding event, including current Australian No. 1 Adam Ratajewski, who was the highest-placed West Aussie at the 2004 Gravity Games H2O. Joining him will be Ryland Blakeney, Jake Gordon and Dale Stanton and in the women’s event, Theresa McKirdy and Jessica Van de Berg.
The local entrants will be up against a fiercely competitive field, including 2004 and current KPWT World Champion Mickael Fernandez, plus fellow Frenchmen Charles Deleau and Antoine Auriol, Stefano Maselli (Italty), Ruben Salvador (Spain), and competitors from New Zealand, New Caledonia, Brazil and across Australia.
Thundercats - New Medal Event
A new medal event added to the 2005 program is Thundercats inflatable boat racing, offering AUD$17,600 in prize money.
The sport originated in South Africa in the 1980s, before taking off in New Zealand and Australia. It is a high-adrenalin action sport, with explosive wave jumping and tight freestyle competition in a 4.1m-long inflatable catamaran-style surf boat. Two-member (pilot and co-pilot) Thundercat racing teams reach speeds of up to 90km/h in as little as three seconds. In surf races, boats are often propelled up to six metres in the air.
Gravity Games H2O will feature Australian Thundercat racing teams Rodney Aitken and Ian O’Sullivan (current NSW state champions); Tim Minos and Thor Robson; Adam Waters and Paul Byrne; and Ben Magree.
Gravity Games H2O, presented by Vodafone, is FREE for spectators. Supporters include presenting partner Vodafone, together with Tourism Western Australia, EventsCorp, Drug Aware, Supra, Coca-Cola, Holiday Inn Burswood, Town of Victoria Park, Kiteboard Pro World Tour, 96fm, X-Press Magazine and Zebra.