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PAWGED OUT: The Hambone Crew in NZ

Intro and words by Mike V, additional words and photos by the Hambone crew (film photos by Jack Griffiths)

The genesis of this piece was completely natural. Browsing social media in a rare moment of peace and quiet, I happened upon a delicious image. This image featured what appeared to be approximately 8 spunked out BMX bikers sitting around a table with what appeared to be 'yahoos' and 'yippees' being thrown around willy nilly. The caption gave just enough context to fill me with excitement, but not enough to satisfy my appetite.

What in gods name am I talking about? I'm talkin' 'bout the homies from Newcastle hopping on a plane to shoot over to New Zealand to ride bikes and make memories. The photo in question was a mere moment from a week or so long period and boy did it pull me in, I realised straight away that I wanted to know more about their time together. With a couple messages exchanged, the boys were welcoming to the idea of a LUXBMX Journal piece and off we went. 

For more context, 'the homies' are a collection of fellas (originally) from Newcastle who go by the crew of 'Hambone Chronicles', born from a desire to strip back the complexities of life into a simple formula, ride bikes - have fun. Having hung out a number of times at various BMX events around the country and stopping in to see each other when road trips permit, these guys live their motto and are a living reminder of why BMX rules. 

It's road trip time baby and thanks to the Hambone crew, we're lucky enough to join the boys as they traverse the south island in search of gold, PAWGs (Phat Ass White Girls), bowls and good times. Strap in and enjoy the ride!

A familiar sight on a roadtrip, the boys loading up the van

Hambone if they were a band. Perhaps playing a modern blend of shoegaze and hardcore, akin to Deafheaven. Just a hunch


As above mentioned, most of these specimens are originally from Newcastle, however dispersion is now in effect - which I might add is rather impressive in that the crew are still as driven as ever and still making BMX projects happen even with distance chipping away at their foundation. In fact, this is indeed the basis for the trip with Jack Griffiths (AKA 'Jock') having taken up residence in Queenstown, then being the platform for a road trip to take shape. Shortly after, Brock (AKA 'Brick') joined him in pursuit of change after living the Newcastle lifestyle for long enough.

Bit going on here, the team minus Jack/Jock

As Brick notes:

"Jock had come over for a winter season in 2022 and was going back to do another last year and was gonna stick around for a summer so I thought hell yeah, I’m gonna go to Queenstown for a year. The stars aligned and a room popped up at Jocks place, so now we live together and ride Gorge Road just about everyday. Missing the other homies and Bar Beach bowl big time though."

Joining these two are the concrete piles of Hambone, the blood, sweat and tears, the absolute girthed out backbone, drum roll:

  • 'Jenk' AKA Jye Blackman - forearms the size of popeyes, this kid is JENKED out. 

  • 'Ant' AKA Hayden Callan - a man with simple pleasures, including being called 'Ant' or 'Tony'. 

  • 'Krink' AKA Chris Conway - a real ass dude who you'll need to spend more time with to experience the 'Krink' and/or 'Krinklewits'. 

  • 'Mac' AKA Max Compton - a clean ass mother F'er whether it be pumping a bowl or crip walking 15 beers deep. 

Lastly, to tie the dish together and give it that proper punch, the boys were joined by a couple blow-ins who now find themselves on the coveted pro-team, being Kyle Ralston (AKA 'Karl') from Perth who is currently touring around the country in his van and last but not least, James Pease (AKA 'Jimmah') who for unknown reasons somehow made his way on this trip and continues to blow me away with both his riding and his whereabouts. 

What a vibe. Lit boys being lit. From left to right, Ant, Krink, Brick, Jock, Jimmah, Mac, Jenk & Karl


Buoyed by the existing Hambone presence in New Zealand, the moon was perfectly aligned to motivate these young bucks to form a plan and then execute that badboy. 

Now let me tell you, organising 8 bikers to agree on a plan and have their schedules align, let alone a plan that involves flying international, is a difficult task. In my experience, you require at least one person (if not two) to have a mammoth reserve of horn and toe, you know the stuff which fuels a 'go-getter' type attitude perhaps accompanied by a hint of carelessness. However you phrase it, it's not as easy as it might seem. I was then interested to know how these boys made the trip happen and then what the loose plan was upon arrival. 

As Jenk recalls:

"We had a rough plan in place before we got over there. Fly into Queenstown, get the van, quick lap of the island and back to Queenstown to fly home. We knew we were heading to Christchurch at some point, there was a couple other skateparks around that we wanted to ride, and we had free accomodation for a night up near Greymouth thanks to the boys housemate 'Gee'. Other than that, the trip was pretty open and the only time restraint was getting the van back on time. The original plan was to loop the island clockwise, but some shitty weather when we arrived made us hit it oppo."

You know what, driving in separate cars while out missioning is such a poor choice. Being in a van with your mates driving a highway in a foreign land, that's living

So with the NZ connection in place and the subsequent local contacts, the boys were primed to get an authentic experience of one of the most beautiful places on earth. Given that most of the crew had already been prior (other than Karl), there was likely a sense of familiarity. Nonetheless, as Jenk explains, their impressions of the joint were in high esteem:

"I think having a small population on the South Island makes for generally really nice people. Like the whole island has small town vibes which is always mad. Obviously the natural beauty is something else too. We didn’t really go out of our way to see the sights but jeez did we see some anyway. Last days of the trip there was definitely chatter about not going home, and it was at least semi serious."

While most would be across the kiwi cliches, there were some new learns from this project, as told by the excitable Krink:

"Man honestly, how about the fuckin' sheep and the bloody gold! I had no idea how many sheep were on that bloody island. Imagine being a sheep on the South Island of NZ, how cool. And the fucking gold! I had no idea that I’d come home wealthier but less healthier than I was before. And those rivers are sick and rivers and mountains and rivers and more mountains and a couple more sheep, some deer and some cattle and yeah that’s NZ in a nutshell."

After legitimately finding gold (or thereabouts), the attraction to NZ must have been at an all time high. That is without even having touched on the biking, which again, is ripe for the picking in this country. 

Couple campin' spots in the glorious New Zealand countryside


So as Jenk touched on, the plan was to take a lap around the South Island in search of parks, a hint of street and some cool places to stay. From the perspective of the crew, it would seem as though the trip paid off in dividends in terms of finding interesting and unique skateparks.

As Jenk regales:

"Couple hours in the van out of Queenstown and we pull up at Alexandra Skatepark. The excitement of embarking on the road trip meant a few beers had been drunk in the back seats, coupled with a howling gale made for some interesting riding. The most notable feature of this park was a bowl, about 5-6ft deep and shaped exactly like an ice cream container. You know like the Coles brand ice cream that comes in the square tub. A sight to behold for sure.

Next stop was Dunedin. Thomas Burns/Railway skatepark was sick. The bowl there was like 4ft and steep, with a timber extension at one end. The other end of the park had an open bowl with some nice big hips going in and out. Lots of trains being run on those bad boys. Fitting for a park along the railway line. 

The other end of Dunedin held something pretty special. Up in the hills, looking over the city, sits Mornington Skatepark. We found out that it was called 'Blood Bucket Bowl'. Seriously, go and check out the instagram @bloodbucketbowldunedin to get a look at this thing. The earliest photo I saw was from 1982, so this thing has been around and it rides just like you'd imagine. Big, steep, lumpy, scary as all fuck. Respect to anyone who has had a proper crack at this thing.

It's worth mentioning that riding street in Dunedin is pretty sweet. Home to the steepest street in the world, there is no shortage of mad hill bombs and we found a couple cool spots too. Into Christchurch and we rode Thompson skatepark. Big old bowl that was pretty sick. Then obviously into town and rode Washington. That place is kind of the dream. Mac described it simply as 'perfect'."

The abovementioned Blood Bucket Bowl in Dunedin

Mac on the left, appropriate NZ roadtrip attire. On the right, proof of street riding, the hills of NZ would do well to weed out the fakes

A feature amongst the suite of skateparks was Greymouth which sits on the west coast about 2/3 of the way up the southern island, home to a large bowl and a killer hip. From the mouth of Krink:

"Honestly the feeling of smacking that lip at Greymouth hip like wapow! Then you’re like ohhhhhh shit I’m goin' a bit loopy or dead sailoring the shit outta this. But that’s got nothing to do with the hip itself I don’t think. Jimmah was feeding us herbs while we fixed our mates (Luke) van who lives in Queenstown as it shit the diff up there. Next minute, the drive belt tensioner had fallen off and Jock had a 7 hour drive in the thing. Anyway, ramblin' now but Jimmah and I played mechanic and made out for a bit then got into it. Most important part of all was ridin' some transition. Hip was the favourite, rest of the park was pretty fun, bowl scary but give it some time and warm her up and she'll be good to you."

Karl ciggie gaze, backed with a mellow dubs on a lovely looking square rail

Jimmah with an absolutely huge curved wall, of limited height. Boy must have been seriously pinned to make it round this one

Anyway, as most of you biker scum would know, roadtrips aren't really about riding bikes, they're about the bits in between, the filler. Be it driving down a lonely highway, stopping to eat balls of grease at a truck stop, late night tales around the fire or simply waking up next to your mates after an unbelievably satisfying day knowing there are a bunch more to come. I was keen to get a feel for these types of moments, Hambone style. 


Being on the road with a bunch of mates is also a proper test of solidarity. If you can handle close proximity, a range of emotions and testing situations for at least a week, you know you're friendships are strong and your character, resilient. Imagine yourself in the following scenarios and how you might react. 

I'll let Ant take this one as he struggles through an 80km trip with the van on empty, with Karl in the drivers seat:

"I was bussin' for a piss but the stress of a passenger telling the driver you need to piss after 45mins of driving is fucked and I couldn’t tell him, anyway I held on until finally I had to let it slip but Karl said the classic 'if I turn the van off it won’t restart, back up and ya shoulda pissed before we got in' or something rather. I replied 'fuck you Karl you shoulda filled the van up' and then I grabbed a 750ml gato bottle and filled the dog up, looked at Brick and said 'hand me that bottle son I need another one quick!' Brick looked at me with a blank stare, I could tell he was in fucking pawg-dale again off with the pawg fairy’s so I yelled at him. Anyway I busted out 2 bottles of piss whilst Karl drove the van on empty over mountains. Big advocate for the bottle move."

The exact moment of torturous abstinence as abovementioned, well done Ant. Featuring to the right we have Brick catching flies

I would have made that boy stop for sure, so props to you. Perhaps more antagonistically, again involving our man Ant, is a different scenario in which young Jimmah finds himself pushed to the edge.

Through the eyes of Brick and Jenk:

"The night Jim couldn’t sleep due to lack of the medicinal and then Tony shot him with the gel gun in the morning was pretty funny and was also hot watching them wrestle on the ground next to my bed.

For context, Jim had bought a little plastic gun that shoots gel balls, just as fun you can imagine in a van full of targets. Anyway, we get to Christchurch, get ourselves a mansion of an Airbnb and settle into an evening of drinking. Eventually everyone is asleep in their respective beds. Except Jim. Jim can’t sleep. Instead he’s up all night washing clothes, having his share of showers and going down to the shops to get breakfast to cook for everyone. Just as everyone is starting to wake, Jim tries to sleep one last time. He can feel his eyes getting heavy, he’s almost there, and then Tony fucking unloads onto him with the gel gun, totally unaware he hadn’t slept a wink all night. After a little wrestle I think he saw the fun in it."

This was also on the back of young Jimmah missioning around town in his sleepless haze, almost getting in a stink with a turbo'd up kiwi lady. As Mac and Jenk explain further:

"As for the lady, we’d just rode past her and who she was with. We’re chomping through the streets of Christchurch heading back to the Airbnb, and as we rode past, we were singing Palmdale by Afroman, the trip anthem if you will. I reckon 100m up the road maybe, we’re fucking around, Jim looks back at me laughing, and as he’s facing back he runs into this flexi bollard things. Dude got fucking bodied. It was horrible to watch. The lady walks up and starts mocking him. So rightfully he told her to fuck off, or something along those lines. I think she thought our singing was some shit aimed at her and her group. Either way, maybe check to see if the dude is okay first.

Man I would be cactus the next day if I didn’t sleep. Jim stacked mad clips the next day though. He’s just built different I guess."

Built different indeed. 

Jimmah handling business, probably after a night of zero sleep and debauchery

Lil' Jimmah sitting bowlside and another curved wallride, this time a super attractive version


Speaking of built differently, I tend to think that BMX attracts a certain type of person, one who actively seeks to discover, understand and celebrate the substance that binds. No not that kind of substance, I'm talking about the kind that fuels a passion without a return on investment, you're driven to do it because you believe in it and because it feels right and true.

To come back down to earth here, I'm talking about the essence of what brought these dudes together in the first place and the same thing that continues to, i.e. the substance. You don't need accolades, you don't make bank, it can otherwise seem insignificant - even silly or mature. Nonetheless, there is a reason behind the attraction to this thing, to finding yourself in a state of blissful cognisance without ill intentions or having to overthink it. 

Anyway, it might be less profound to others, simply something that feels good and which you can take it or leave it!

Sponno'd van an' that, Brick, Jim, Jenk

Whatever the case with the Hambone boys, they certainly aren't making bank, there is a gaping hole where the ego would otherwise be and a sheer lack of accolades, well that's not entirely true! So despite a seemingly limited output (if you form a view based off of social media), the boys are building a real sick energy which has not gone unnoticed in the BMX world. 

To this point, Jenk adds:

"Uploads on socials are coming in few and far between these days but that's just not where the energy is focussed I guess. You might see something on the story once or twice a week, a skatepark clip or re-sharing something cool one of the homies has done. Maybe some drunken antics if you're lucky. There definitely isn't anyone saying 'we haven't posted for a week, we need to upload some content', nothing like that. 

There are a bunch of us that still have the passion for it, so when someone throws out an idea to do something there is usually more than a couple of people who want to help see it come to life. I guess that's where social media has it's benefits. We can organise jams and sell t-shirts and what not through the Instagram. It makes it pretty straightforward. There's also the group chat aspect. The Hambone group chat is an all day everyday kinda situation. Can be hard to keep up but it keeps everyone close and in the loop."

Jenk & Mac date night

Left we have Jimmah and his large armed lady friend and on the right, Brick eyyyying. A bit of fun on the road type shit

Brick goes on to further explain the Hambone spirit and what the crew have up their sleeves:

"To me, Hambone is a bunch of my closest homies and I who share the same love for riding bikes & having fun. Which is exactly why we did this trip. We’re a bit spread out at the moment, but I can’t wait for another trip like this. The flame is very much still alive for me, we have a full length coming out pretty soon, which is hell exciting, keep your eyes peeled for details on the premiere. Once that’s out I’m keen to keep filming and doing trips for the next thing, whatever that may be. But I can assure you it will be Hambone as. I also think having guys like Jonny Mac, Jimmah and so many legendary dudes within the Australian scene backing us and what we’re about is incredible, it just puts more fuel on the fire to keep doing it. Mad shout out to anyone who has bought a shirt, showed up to a jam or ever screamed out Hambone."

Had this post been active earlier, I would have got the exclusive on the Hambone full-length and premiere - which is now set for Friday May the 10th at the Lass O'Gowrie hotel in Newcastle. 

And that's a wrap on the Hambone tour of the south island of New Zealand, proper world shaking stuff. 

Can't thank the entire crew enough for their contributions to making this happen. As I said, it was basically a nosy request which started this off and here we are with a full blown trip report and a set of badass photos to boot. 

If you would like to support the boys in what they do, why not give them a follow, get down to a jam, hit up their premiere, buy a t-shirt, say a g'day and most importantly, have fun riding your bike. You can even buy a 'zine, including an up and coming one, but they will come and go with haste so don't be a slug. 

For a sliver of biking visuals from the trip, you can sus a bunch of clips of Jimmah in this S&M bike check video, including the above curved wall as well as that crazy playground quarter to quarter gap. The boys assure me a trip video will soon make its way online, look out for that.