“10 years was a surreal milestone for us to hit. What started with just a handful of mates having a jam became New Zealand’s largest skateboarding event with completely packed crowds. It’s unreal.” – Event organiser and skateboarder, Jesse Peters.
COVID scares and closed borders couldn’t stop the 10th year of the Mangawhai Bowl Jam from exceeding all expectations. A beyond-capacity crowd jousted for coveted spots to watch as 62 skaters, aged from seven to 52-years-old, were vying for their piece of concrete cred. The four corners of Aotearoa were well-represented by skaters with a thirst for the grind and the best breed of solidarity the people of our land can provide.
As always, the vibe was infectious, and the stoke was intoxicating. The skaters brought the crowd to the edge of their seats as they laid down all they had with sweat, grit and tears.
Niwa Shewry, backside air. Photo by David Read
14-year-old Niwa Shewry has steadily honed his craft in his Taranaki hometown of Oakura over the past year. He made a profound statement of his arrival with his winning run in this year’s final. Until this moment, it looked like a sure thing that the consistency and effortless style that Bowman Hansen (2nd, Open) has brought to the Mangawhai event year after year were going to reward him once again. After a spine-chilling slam, things gelled for Niwa as he linked up a combination of hair-raising tricks, including a kickflip indy followed by a frontside noseblunt, securing his place at the top of the podium.
Tom Mitchell (3rd), Josh Wilson (4th), Derek de Souza (5th) and Mark Bancroft (6th) sparred with dexterous speed and flamboyancy in final worthy of the Mangawhai Gods.
We say it every year, but this year it has never been more true. The talent rising through the ranks of the Under 16 and Women’s divisions was as potent as ever. The thriving Jake Hunter Harris, at seven-years-old, made frequent appearances amongst and over the tiles. The steadfast power and form of sibling trio Rhya (4th, Women’s), Remus (2nd, Under 16’s) and Rico Henare were unwavering once again.
Krysta Ashwell, frontside grind. Photo by David Read
With Niwa Shewry making confident and technically-proficient strides in the Open, the horizon was clear for Wanaka’s Zedyn Fellows (1st, Under 16’s) to stretch his legs. And that he did, making profound maneuvers above and beyond the crowd, and coming strikingly close to a 540 in the final. Sam Westerkamp and Max Hancock took 3rd and 4th in the Under 16’s showing there’s a steady stream of straight-shooting skaters with talent to burn coming down the pipeline.
Father-daughter combo of Andrew ‘Morri’ Morrison (1st, Masters) and Billie Morrison (2nd, Women’s) showed that family values extend to a well-carved bowl, and then some. Krysta Ashwell and Ella Poynter owned 1st and 2nd (respectively) in the Women’s with sureness.
Alongside Morri in the Master’s, fellow vertical stalwarts Leigh ‘Squeak’ Mackenzie (2nd) and Hamish Stewart (3rd) proved that exuberance is not only a virtue possessed by the young. No signs of slowing down were shown. Hamish Stewart’s blasting drive was worthy of special note.
Hamish Stewart, les twist. Photo by David Read
Chris Curran, president of Skateboarding New Zealand, sang praise as well. “The preparation that went into this event was massive. We are so proud of the community — making it to 10 years is no small feat. With the event being live-streamed on Sky Sports Next, a wider audience could experience the high level of skateboarding the event showcased. We are one of the only countries with the ability to run skateboarding competitions in the current climate, especially with a capacity crowd. This year’s event really put New Zealand on the map.”
We owe much of the success of Mangawhai Bowl Jam to an impeccable facility that was precision-crafted and is cared for wholeheartedly by the MAZ (Mangawhai Activity Zone) volunteers. The location is one of a kind, and the experience is second to none. Skaters and families alike are drawn here in droves every year. Without the tireless efforts of Jesse Peters and his Bowl Jam crew, the event would not have the reputation it has today — 10 years deep, world-class, outstandingly-fun and unforgettable.
Even the veteran organiser, Jesse was overwhelmed by this milestone. “We wanted the bowl jam to celebrate skateboarding and our community, and this year delivered that in spades. It made us proud of New Zealand and our local skateboarding scene. We’re thankful that we got to hold this year’s event, being in a COVID-free country, when everyone else is battling the virus.”
Jake Hunter Harris, frontside air. Photo by David Read
1st – Niwa Shewry
2nd – Bowman Hansen
3rd – Tom Mitchell
4th – Josh Wilson
5th – Derek de Souza
6th – Mark Bancroft
1st – Andrew Morrison
2nd – Leigh Mackenzie
3rd – Hamish Stewart
4th – Stephen Nickolls
5th – Hayden McDermott
6th – Nate Adams
1st – Krysta Ashwell
2nd – Billie Morrison
3rd – Ella Poynter
4th – Rhya Henare
5th – Jessica Ready
6th – Yeva Buttler
1st – Zedyn Fellows
2nd – Remus Henare
3rd – Sam Westerkamp
4th – Max Hancock
5th – Felix Griffin
6th – Monty Graham
Dickies Best Trick
Dan Kelcher (varial invert)
The 10th Annual Vans Mangawhai Bowl Jam 2021 was presented by Backdoor NZ.
Supported by Spitfire Wheels, Bammas Mangawhai, Dickies, Independent trucks, Manual Magazine, Santa Cruz, Skullcandy, Merge 4, Pro & Hop, Otis Eyewear, Sex Wax, Icon Print, Skateboarding New Zealand, Mean Brgr and Canon NZ.
The Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) – Show your support: mangawhaiactivityzone.co.nz/donate-now/
Video filmed and edited by Connor Hill.
Photos by David Read.