Torndirrup National Park lies a 15-minute drive from Albany and features tourist magnets such as Frenchman’s Bay, The Blowholes, The Gap and The Natural Bridge. The breathtaking cliff formations of the area are made from unfathomably old rock. The youngest of which is a 1160-million-year-old granite! This was formed from molten rock resulting from the collision of the Australian and Antarctic Plates! Eventually the ways of the sea wore a hole in one section of the coast creating The Natural Bridge. An amazing place to visit, one where you feel the pure hearty power of mother nature, but no… it isn’t a skate spot.
I personally remember the first time we all visited the area and being terrified because Kye Stanley walked out over The Natural Bridge. The wind was so wild it felt like he could have been tossed like a piece of spring pollen into the ocean. I would often be in that position with Kye, where he was off on some climbing mission and I would be making parental noises of concern from somewhere much safer. I was particularly spooked the day that Kye climbed out there but there is no way I expected to be there a dozen years later, heart in my throat watching some one skate it.
Towards the end of 2007 a group of us descended on Albany in what came known as the Whale Song Tour. It was pretty much an unofficial 4 Skate Co trip. The van was a motley crew featuring units such as Yuta Tanaka, Harry Clark, Mike Martin, Brett Margaritis, Keegan Walker, Will Ackerman, Ben Mclachlan, Luke Thompson, Josh Roberts and an always-enthusiastic Nick Boserio. Pretty sure first up we had a demo at the New Albany Park that soon turned into a quest for the most obscure fly out. As with all Albany skate trips we also visited the legendary Snake Run. It was great to see the era’s new gen taking to the crusty beast’s vert section with the likes of frontside tailslides (Yuta), Five-O fakies (Clark) and Hurricanes (Boserio). Of course Brett was there showing the young guns the ropes. Post snake run and we went off towards Torndirrup National Park. Some of the crew were yet to see this part of the coastline so we set off with our tourist goggles flipped on and with hope off finding a kicker on the walkway. Not so much expecting anyone to skate a rock on a natural bridge.
The path was fun to skate, there were a few kickers here and there and may the odd rock wallie to lob off. We had a look at the gap, but unfortunately no one tightrope walked that day. We then meandered over to The Natural Bridge. To my dismay Nick began staring down a rock. Staring down a rock in that way that he seemed to be somewhat keen to skate it.
“To my dismay Nick began staring down a rock. Staring down a rock in that way that he seemed to be somewhat keen to skate it.”
Luke Thompson climbed down into a cave-like part of the rugged cliff to get an angle. It really was quite horrifying. Not only did Nick have to somehow navigate his way down to the rock with enough speed to nose manual on its undulating surface. He had to pick the correct pop point and then after somehow getting enough height; he had to even out his balance across the concaved beast. On the odd attempt he would whip out and his board would tumble down to the rocks below. Clatter. Splash. Harry was on board rescue duties. Then there was Luke, in the cave, I was almost as worried for him as I was Nick. The waves were crashing at his feet and if a big one came through at least his Nikon was a goner. After twenty or so harrowing attempts Nick approached with the right speed, popped high enough and balanced his beak just long enough to traverse the top of the rock. He nollied out and took the glory ride as long has he possibly could without taking a one way trip to Antartica. We coerced Luke out of the cave and head back to the vehicle.
*The Luke Thompson pic just missed out on being in the last ever issue of Slap as the Gallery image. Instead it was the gallery in the first ever online issue of Slap. Which has now disappeared from the net.