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Bowl-A-Rama Back At Bondi, Bigger And Better Than Ever

By Dan Hutton on January 26, 2012 in

Skateboarding may have been around since the 1950s, but these days skaters are actually able to make a living from it. Returning to our very own shores at Bondi Beach for its eighth consecutive year, Vans Bowl-A-Rama is the biggest professional skating competition in the Southern Hemisphere, and this year the stakes get even higher.

Kicking off on February 22 and going out with a bang with the main comp on February 25, Bowl-A-Rama is free to the public and growing fast, attracting crowds over 5000 strong. This year, the prize pool for the winners totals $80,000, a 25% increase on last year’s offering and the biggest prize purse so far in the history of the event. What makes Bowl-A-Rama exceptional is that the event is no for profit, with all money raised though sponsorship going into the prize pool for the successful skaters. This enables pro skaters to create a career solely based on their passion.

Among the competitors is occasional local resident Corbin Harris, who has spent many an hour down at the Bondi bowl. Harris told The Beast that competitions like this are a step in the right direction for skateboarding.

“You need something for people to see, and see where people are at. It’s good for Australian skateboarding and skateboarding in general.”

Harris said that for him, the best part of Bowl-A-Rama is skating on a virtual home ground with the iconic Bondi Beach as the backdrop, even though he admits it doesn’t give him any advantage in the competition.

The serial multi-tasker is not only a professional skater, he’s also a television presenter, author, and designer of a range for Element Skateboarding. On top of all this, Harris is excitedly preparing for the SDS launch of his two new signature boards through Element, which is to be held in the week leading up to Bowl-A-Rama.

“I’ve been waiting since I was about twelve for this,” he said.

The prize pool is not the only thing that’s getting bigger and better this year. The line-up of contestants is also stronger than ever.

“It’s a huge and heavy hitting contest,” said Harris. “I’m lucky to be in the contest skating with those guys. I’m just stoked to be doing that.”

As well as home grown competitors including Harris and Renton Miller, Bowl-A-Rama will play host to skaters from all over the world, including former winners Pedro Barros (who is still only 16 years old) and Steve Caballero, who will both defend their respective titles.

According to Harris, they are the two that spectators should watch out for.

“Every time I see Pedro he looks stronger and he looks more competitive. He seems like he’s growing into a bit more of a man,” Harris said. “And Steve’s pretty good on that skateboard. He’s got it down. He spends a lot of time on that board and everything is sort of calculated as well, which is awesome.”

Vans Bowl-A-Rama is the biggest week of skateboarding festivities in Australia. Featuring skating, art shows (including ever popular Tic Taco exhibition at Beach Burrito Co), music and parties, there is pretty much something for everyone.

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