Backyard training facilities, back-to-back 540s and chasing the Olympic dream. Life is never dull for Wānaka’s Zedyn Fellows.

I recently relocated to Wānaka temporarily, where I found myself living down the road from the biggest vert ramp in the country. I ran daily to avoid a dad bod and would pass the ramp regularly on my trips. I often saw Zedyn Fellows ripping back-to-back 540s in his backyard well before midday.

After a few stops to take a breather, I eventually brought my camera down, and he was more than keen to shoot any trick I yelled out. I was blown away at how quickly he could learn something new. All it took was a moment of figuring out the physics, and a few attempts later, he added it to the bag. With a mere 15 years on this planet, Zedyn has achieved more than most, and he’s only getting started.

While being so young, talented, and ambitious, he is also surprisingly calm and collected — he’s focused on growing his skills and knowledge. Remember his name because I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands on an Olympic podium in the future, forcing New Zealand to throw millions into future parks and programmes. I thank you in advance, Zedyn. That is, if you choose the Southern Cross over the Rising Sun.

Zedyn Fellows, backside boneless, Wanaka, New Zealand, Photo by Beach Thurlow.

If it wasn’t high enough already. Boneless.

How’s it, bro?
Yeah, it’s good. I just woke up and jumped in the sauna.

Nice. How have you been? Staying busy?
I’ve just been skating and back at school.

You’ve recently been up in the North Island, right?
Yeah, in Mangawhai, Kerikeri and Wellington.

Were you chasing all the bowl comps?
Yeah, all the comps, and then I came home and got COVID. It wasn’t too bad, though. I got rid of it in three days.

How did you go with the comp scene up there?
I got 4th in Mangawhai, 1st in Kerikeri, and 2nd in Wellington.

Are you stoked about that?
I was in the Men’s Open for all of them, so it was pretty sick.

Was that your first time competing with the big dogs?
Yeah, in the bowl comps.

How did you get into vert skating without much of a big scene in Wānaka?
There is pretty much nothing [vert-wise] in the South Island. There is a documentary on how we got our ramp. It pretty much goes through how Wayne Pretty had the chance to get an old vert ramp from one of the Big Day Out shows. He went through with it, so we ended up with a 14ft vert ramp in the backyard. Then we put it up, and I started skating it.

So Wayne and your dad invested in this mega structure without knowing you would use it? What was his motivation to spend all that time and money on it?
He didn’t know I was gonna skate vert at all, but a lot of people in the community wanted it, they all helped to build it, and they wanted to skate it but had nowhere to put it, so yeah, it ended up on our property.

That’s epic. You might’ve become a street skater if your dad put a perfect seven-stair Hubba down your driveway.
[Laughs] Probably.

What do you think of vert skating in general?
Is it dead? Is it making a comeback?
It’s on the come-up. There are a few more vert comps popping up overseas. A lot more vert skaters are getting more recognised.

“Every time I skate street,
I end up hurting myself”

Zedyn Fellow, backside boneless, Wanaka, New Zealand, Photo by Beach Thurlow.

Boneless on the ledge. The closest it gets to street skating.

How does New Zealand compare to overseas?
The NZ vert and bowl scenes are getting bigger with all the comps we have. There are not as many vert comps overseas as here — there are a lot more park events. There seem to be a lot of vert skaters, though. They’re all where the ramps comps are.

Do you plan to chase the overseas comps and step it up against the International skaters?
I planned to go to the Houston vert comp last year but never made it there. I still went to America but stayed in California instead and skated there. We stayed in Huntington Beach and skated at Vans skatepark most days, and we went down to San Diego for a few days and skated all the parks down there. I got to skate Tony Hawk’s ramp, which was crazy!

Did you get to skate with The Birdman himself?
No, he wasn’t there.

How’s the sweat in the sauna right now?
It’s getting pretty hot.

Zedyn Fellows, Japan air, Wanaka, New Zealand, Photo by Beach Thurlow.

Japan Air, for New Zealand.

The Olympics are coming up. Do you have plans to make it there?
Well, the Sharjah qualifiers just passed, so I missed that. I think Argentina has another event, but it’s too soon [for me], so I might aim for the 2028 Olympics in LA.

I mean, you’re still very young. You’ve probably got 3-4 more Olympics ahead of you that you can qualify for.
Yeah, I’ll try to get to those. That’d be sick.

My little grom’ just spewed all over me.

Typical. [Laughs] If you get to go to the Olympics, what flag are you representing?
New Zealand.

Do you get twice the chance of making it to the Olympics because you can also represent Japan?
The Japanese kids are pretty crazy. I don’t think there’s a chance I’d be sliding in there.

Fair enough. So you’re off to the States again. What are your plans for your next trip?
So the plan is to fly into LA and road trip across to Texas. I want to go to Banger in the Hanger in Houston. Phew, it’s 55 degrees in here now.

Woah! I think I’d rather have it spew on me. [Laughs] What’s the skate scene like in Wānaka now?
All the street skaters moved to Northlake, so I skate the park by myself or session the vert ramp.

Yeah, you’re not into the little street plaza set-up?
Every time I skate street, I end up hurting myself.

How are your kickflips?
They’re terrible. I’m a heel flip dude. My kickflips are like 1 in 3 on a good day. I’m not quite as good as my friends, so it’s hard to keep up with them. I can backflip. And I can do a 720 sometimes.

Oh well, you can go show them up at the park. I’ll let you sweat off your sweat, and we’ll talk soon. Any shout-outs?
I’d like to thank my sponsors, Vans, Skullcandy, Huffer, Cheapskates Wānaka, Strangelife, Step-up Dist (Ace and Bones) and my parents for helping me get to where I am now.

Follow Zedyn on Instagram @zedynfellows