New Zealand's Biggest Skate Event Had Gritty Beginnings
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New Zealand's Biggest Skate Event Had Gritty Beginnings

It started with a few mates and a box of energy drinks. Seven years on, still got the grit.
February 1, 2018, 5:14am

VICELAND is throwing the official after party for the 7th Annual Mangawhai Bowl Jam on Saturday. To find out how to get in, head over here.

Mangawhai is a tiny beachside community with a world-class bowl and one day soon, if Jesse Peters has his way, an international skate event. The Mangawhai Bowl Jam is moving in the right direction. The 28-year-old kicked it off with some mates and a box of energy drinks seven years ago with “no intention of it being a big thing”. This Saturday Jesse’s likely to double the population of Mangawhai with a crowd of a couple of thousand expected to watch gutsy amateurs and Kiwi pros lured back from the Australian scene. “What it’s become now is a platform for skateboarding to compete at a top level,” Jesse told VICE. “It’s a stepping stone.”

Last year’s champion Bowman Hansen is back, as is his friend and second-place winner, Shaun Boucher. “There’s crazy rivalry between them,” says Jesse. “Every year the skating gets better. It’s all about providing a platform for guys who really want to push themselves.” Jesse, who is mc-ing the event, will jump off the mic to compete. “I find I do my best skating there. It gets the adrenaline going.”

It’s the masters 40-plus section that Jesse is looking forward to in particular featuring ex-pros Dave Crabb and Andrew Morrison who skated in the States in the 90s with the likes of Tony Hawk. “We struggle to keep up with them,” says Jesse. “Having those guys as part of it brings an awesome part of history. They really paved the way for skateboarding in New Zealand.”

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Someone’s sure to get hurt—“it’s part of the gnarliness of skating”, says Jesse—but ultimately it’s all about progress—for the skaters, and the event.

“I’m addicted to the progression,” says Jesse. “You need to have that next person there who’s better than you, otherwise you don’t progress.”

The Vans Mangawhai Bowl Jam is on Saturday at Mangawhai Skate Park from 10.30 AM. Check out these photos from last year, and remember to rsvp to our VICELAND after party here.

Dan Kelcher

Andrew Morrison

Remus Henare

Shaun Boucher