Slam invited us all to the pub to have a beer or ten and celebrate. Lewis Marnell came in Top Dog this year and it would be safe to say that there was not a soul in attendance who didn't see it coming or feel it was well deserved.
After many years of orbit shining as a bright young talent, Mr Lewis Marnell's star made its long awaited ascent into the skateboarding stratosphere last year when he went pro for Almost. This achievement, along with many others secured his place as the undeniable dux of the Australian Skate Class of 2007.
The Slam Magazine Australian Skater of the Year Awards have been running for five years and operate under a very egalitarian voting system which reflects both the public's and the inner sanctum's opinions. In the first instance readers are asked to vote for a favourite skater or for the skater they feel has achieved most highly during the given year. The hundreds of reader responses are then counted and collated and the list of contenders is whittled down to just 20 names. These top 20 skaters are then invited to ballot amongst themselves and cast a vote for who of the finalists they believe has progressed most impressively. This system aims, and succeeds in reflecting both the wider skating community's feelings as well as the localized opinions of the lads themselves without inviting any industry heads to play funny buggers or favourites while pushing their own agenda. Very good.
With all of the paper work out of the way the only thing left to do was chuck a party, announce the victor, dish out some dough, some free drinks and have Lewie participate in enough congratulatory knuckles to make his fists bleed.
Slam was right on top of that and got together with Red Bull, Jagermeister and Toohey's to host the festivities and give everyone a chance to celebrate and reflect on a very tumultuous yet remarkable year in Australian skating. The stage was set for a blinding evening with 3 pretty young things awaiting guests at the door to dispense free jager-bombs and beers. The glitterati of the skating world had turned out in force with a strong American contingent in attendance owing to the Slaughter at the Opera comp which happened 2 days later. Countless 'true blue' teens clad in flannel were there for fun and seemed only moments away from pouring beer on their own heads before collapsing to the ground even in the very early stages of the party. Things got loose pretty quickly mainly because the male to female ratio was somewhere in the region of 300 to 1. Henceforth an unnecessary amount of back slapping, hand shaking and drink sculling continued.
The whole operation was brought down to earth at about 11.30 when a moving tribute to the late, great Shane Cross was projected for all to see. Matt Hooker and Greg 'Gutsy' Mitchell had prepared a video which was originally viewed by close family and friends at Shane's funeral last year. It seemed appropriate coming up to the first anniversary of his death that Skating took a moment to remember a boy who left an amazing legacy. As the projection got underway the room erupted, chanting his name and waiving the peace symbol he was so fond of with arms extended. Home movies and childhood photos gave way to an impressive skate section all of which were met with tears, accolades and a whole lotta love. The awards ceremony followed shortly there after and with an already emotional, excited and drunken crowd Lewie was declared this years winner. During the madness someone grabbed the mic to announce "This award is for Shane Cross, in fact from now on every fucking award is for Shane Cross" To which the crowd responded passionately in agreeance. It was clear that Shane still holds a strong place in many hearts, with such affection and nostalgia being expressed by all.
The crowd was showing the peace sign for Shane Cross.
Lewis's win was met with raucous applause as he was hoisted up on to Anthony Mapstone's shoulders for an inordinately long moment of victory, claiming a $5000 cheque complete with rasta trimming.
It was at this point that the crowd began to disperse and to carry on with hysterical hysterics scattering itself over Oxford Street to get some more drinks and find out where the fuck all the chicks were at.
Tacky would like to thank Slam for inviting us to their party, congratulate Lewis on his stellar efforts in the past 12 months and wish him every success in the future. Big ups to all the contenders; including Jake Duncombe, Dennis Durrant, Jake Brown and Shane Cross (posthumous) who were the runners up in respective standings. Go off Australia, we can't wait to see what or who you've got up your sleeve for next year.
Full photo gallery from the party will be up online tomorrow!