Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tasmanian Scene Report

It's been a long time overdue for the tight scene down in Tasmania. It was great to catch up with a few of the fellas so big thanks to Matthew Wootton & Chris Letchford for getting this piece together & out there!

My name is Matthew Wootton or (Wooto) for short and have been riding since I was about 15 years old (now 26) but went cold turkey for about four years in the middle of that due to the love of bodyboarding and a bit of travelling. I was born in Adelaide but moved to Tas when I was five and grew up in a small country town with about three or four riders. Now reside in Launceston, I didn't get seriously into flat until about five years ago when Twaff pulled me up at video ezy and saw I had a semi flat bike . After hookin up with him, Lenny and Dame I haven't looked back. As for what makes me tick Id have to say travelling, bodyboarding, mates, Coopers Pale Ale, My Girlfriend Brogan and of course Flatland!

Chris "Lenny" Letchford gives the down low on the scene...

It's well known that the overall BMX scene in Tasmania is strong. How does flatland compare to all this?

Flatland is already well known to be an individual sport, but in the land of Tas there is only a small handful of us here, compared to other disciplines its harder for young people to start probably because its not he cool thing to do or the difficulty and dedication or a bit of both.

How is the relationship between flatland & the other BMX disciplines?

The whole BMX community in Tas is still real close regardless if you are a dirt, street, park or a flatlander rider, we often have sessions down the park just to get some other riders involved and to take some interest in the other side of bmx, there is a few guys down there learning some basic moves like hang fives so they can link up some park riding and make it a bit more tech. But there are still some people who just don’t understand it all, I (Lenny) got teased for having pegs on my bike ha ha and been called an old school rider and shit like that but all you can do is just laugh it off.

Would you consider Tassie one big scene or made up of many smaller ones?

Up until maybe 10 years ago BMX was just one scene: everyone rode flat, jumped the local jumps, rode some vert and terrorised security guards with riding something somewhere you shouldn’t be. At the moment I think it’s made up of a few little scenes. There are the guys that are hardcore/dedicated to riding street/park and absolutely rip it up and don’t give a shit what anyone think and just love to ride, then there are the guys on the most expensive bikes with least skills. Then there is the older guys who rip by doin' there own thang, Then there are us the flatlanders who keep to their own little car park in suburbia hiding from the publics eye rarely seen.
Who are the key riders/players in the scenes?

In my eyes everyone is playing there part in maintaining BMX for the future and hopefully being role models for the next generation of rippers.

Considering Tasmania is somewhat separated from the rest of Australia to a degree, do you feel this has some impact on the local scenes?

In my experience I have seen a lot of people come in and out of the riding scene but there has only been a few who really take it to that next level, I think that isolation is a big key with companies not wanting to invest any money into riders that live on an island, therefore these riders aren’t getting pushed hard enough to meet there potential.

Tell us a little about your video project? When can we expect to see it?
The Camera has been put down for a while at the moment and I (Matt Wootton) have just been focusing on riding and getting new tricks down but It should be all finished by Christmas time. The Vid is really all about getting not just the Tassie scene out there, but hopefully Flatland in general because there are not many (pretty much no) young riders paying any attention to this side of BMX. Apart from that we do want to show off a bit of this beautiful state we reside in because it has heaps to offer and check out if anyone is up for a holiday down south.

Where would you like to see flatland going in Tasmania?
I’d like to see a new generation of younger guys take it on and help push the scene to that next level, and to realise that it is actually sillier than it looks and more frustrating, but that’s why we love it

How would you go about getting the flatland scene to that point?

Just hanging out down the local skate park encourages some of the younger guys to start trying some easy tricks which is a good start, whether they keep practising more and more tricks is up to them, I’d like to try and organise a jam/comp here at some stage very soon and get some of the mainland crew over for a visit to our island. It would definitely open some of the younger guy’s eyes.

Any final words or thanks?
I’d like to thank mongoose for my first bike, diamond back for my second and Haro for my 3rd 4th 5th 6th and so on and my wife for loving smashed up shins. I’d also like to thank the support from our local bike shop in the past and to High Roller BMX just for being the one and only soul BMX shop in a Tassie. And thanks to flatlandfuel for having parts at our fingertips. Also like to thank Back bone BMX, Colony BMX, Freestyle Now and all the other kind hearted companies that have noticed flatland in the past few years, Cheers to ya all, Peace!

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