Riding photos by William Ahlstrand
Check out the full video from the day here:
Having lived in South East Queensland my whole life and ridden Brisbane street for the good majority of my riding years it was only a matter of time before a street jam at some of Brisbane’s iconic spots went down.
Brisbane is home to some incredible spots from Roma streets' curved "hubba" ledge to the Botanical Gardens 14 stair handrail and was the perfect place to pedal around and watch the chaos unfold.
It was late September and the idea of a street jam in Brisbane was something that I had wanted to hold for a while. With Mitch and Ev’s blessing to host it under the LUXBMX banner, I started organising a jam that featured some of Brisbane’s oldest and most ridden spots. As the pieces of the puzzle started falling together I approached a local Seltzer company that was eager to support the jam. Hohly Water is a local seltzer company from Morningside, like most young guys in Brisbane they feel a connection to skate and BMX culture and was keen to get on board and support. Over the coming weeks, we sorted out the rest of the details including a 3d printed gold crown that would become the ultimate prize for the day.
Once we had a major sponsor and a rough idea of spots the next thing was to navigate La Nina, a wet weather system that has been soaking the east coast of Australia this year. After a failed date we rescheduled for the 19th of November and prayed that the rain would hold. Jake Norris arrived in Brisbane to blue skies on the Friday before the jam and we spent the day at the new Logan Village skatepark. Jakes riding is always a pleasure to watch so after a bunch of skatepark clips we headed to the pub for a couple of beers and an early night before an early start the next day.
On the morning of the jam, a few of the boys and I met up at LUX in the morning to brainstorm some final details before heading to Paddington skatepark to meet up with the crew of BMX riders that had braved the heat and come to see the carnage. Jake, Tiny and I arrived at the park at about 9:50 am to 50+ keen riders, eager to get into tho the streets.
After a short warm-up we made the call and headed to the first spot that up until this point was a surprise to all the riders there. A small gap to the second stage kink rail was the first stop, an intimidating but easy spot to ride a few stepped up to the plate and started taking hits. Among Jake Norris’s bar to ice and Sunnay hitting his first gap to rail, Raph really shut down the spot gapping from the road to the rail, all with his signature effortless style.
We rode through some back streets of Milton to the bike path flat ledge and drain wall ride. The wall ride started getting sessioned first, with a constant train of riders giving it a go. Watching a bunch of dudes ride a spot with no real direction for any other reason than fun is sick! As the wallride got hit over and over, Meezy (Mitch Campbell) cleared a path for a little more speed and started taking hits from the gutter bump. It only took him a couple of tries before doing it perfectly for the crowd. We Switched focus to the flat ledge that has been ridden thousands of times since its creation in the mid 2000s. It was the first we got to see the first of a bunch of riders that had travelled to Brisbane for the Jam. Nick Brown, Cale Maddeford, Eli Puritau and Jake Norris among other young dudes whose names have eluded me put on a demo here, however, the guy to keep your eyes on was Raph.
Silently in the background plotting his next move, Raph started sizing up a peg chink off the vertical rail from the ledge. After a few attempts, Raph came from behind some passers-by and iced the ledge, popped up and then gave that rail hell! Everyone seemed to agree at once that the spot was done and it was time to move on.
The mob then moved on through the streets while stopping traffic, to the tune of some good Aussie hip hop, Lazy Grey- I’m From Brisbane seemed like the most appropriate song at this point. The next spot was one of Brisbane's most iconic, scary, good-looking spots. This ledge has years of history from John Comino doing a one-handed x-up, Raph backwards grinding it or Thomas Dunn taming the feeble to over, the Roma street curved ledge is a right of passage for Brisbane-based street riders. With the sun starting to melt some people's energy a few dudes sized up the ledge and got to it. I offered $10 to the first person down it and Mitch Campbell stepped up and after 2 or 3 attempts he managed his way down it. As a few others struggled with the ledge everyone rehydrated and took a breather under the trees before moving across Turbot street to a popular spot in Brisbane's CBD.
The next spot was a bunch of marble and concrete ledges with plenty of options and space to chill out in. The outledge was up first with a crew of dudes taking laps at it, trying to figure out the weird, short run-up. It was rad to see some of the younger dudes get in and have a go here, Will Green was eyeing up the outledge and after seeing a few of the older dudes have a go he handled the pegs with ease before coming back and landing the feeble. Mitch Campbell feeble-hard 360’d the outledge and managed to roll away without hitting a terribly placed light poll at the bottom. We moved 10 metres over and started the up ledge/ down ledge with Jake Norris showing us how easy it can be! Nick Brown and Kyle Sinclair gave the crowd what they wanted and shut down the spot with a bunch of tricks.
After hitting 3 spots it was time to move down towards the river to another one of Brisbane's gems. The eagle street 3 flat 3 stair has been a spot that's featured in multiple videos of local and international BMX riders and Skateboarders. As we arrived at the spot there was a group of decorators putting up a Christmas tree in the foyer of the building however, they didn’t seem to bother about the craziness that was going on out the front. This spot is a little less intimidating and the kids that were there on the ride got involved by jumping the steps. Once again a bunch of tricks among crash’s happened with the highlight being an unnamed man giving the crowd a shoey down the stairs. The best thing about this un-named man was that he did it twice because so many people wanted to see it again. As this session wrapped everyone knew where we were heading next and the chatter about the botanical gardens rail started to become louder.
As we entered the gardens it was obvious something was happening as there were hundreds of police scattered around the gardens. Protesters gathered in the centre of the park and at the top of the stairs to the rail, but after a quick few words and an agreement to disagree we proceeded to grind the handrail.
After filming and handing out money all day I wanted to make sure I got a grind on the famous rail to kick the session off so Raph, Norris and I all took the first lap together. I have been riding with Raph and Jake for years and hitting Botanical with them at that moment felt like a session with my mates, which is what BMX is all about.
The session started to heat up with Raph and Norris taking turns getting the crowd rowdy after each grind. Some of the younger guys started getting toey and before too long Sunnay and Will were up the top along with Declan Ryan and Meezy. Each of the dues hit the rail before Meezy took notice of the outledge. After Meezy’s first feeble Jake started taking laps at the ledge spinning off the feeble and exploding a few times. With each crash, the crowd got more and more excited for him to land it. Next to Ryan landing the switch feeble 360, Jake Norris Nollie double pegged down it, Will Fraser crank flipped out of the rail and Sunnay conquered his first-ever botanical session. Once again Raph showed us all what he had by landing a feeble to snaggle among other deadly grinds.
After the day was done it was time to hand out some Hohly Water seltzers to the top three dudes and crown the first official King OF BNE.
At the start of the day I had talked with my street associate Tiny to keep an eye out for his favourite rider of the day. He came back to me that Raph was the winner, Mikey agreed and so without further a do we announced that Raph was the first official KING of BNE.
A huge thank you to Hohly Water for supporting the jam, providing us with drinks for the day and cash prizes for everyone that shredded.
It’s days like this that keep us stoked on BMX and provides stoke for the younger riders in the scene to ultimately do it all themselves some day.
Until the next one, we hope you enjoy the edit from the day along with 13-plus minutes of raw clips from everything that happened at the 2022 King Of BNE
Check out everything that didn't make the edit in this 13+ minute raw cut from the day.