The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New friends, another city and most importantly, two more team members!

The kindness of strangers keeps us going. Sat in the St Kilda district of Melbourne, typing away on my laptop whilst sat at what can only be described as a 'power desk', I continue to wonder at the experiences that await myself and the BoardFree team around the next corner. Barely three weeks ago a complete stranger drove along a South Australian road linking Strathalbyn and Wellington. She passed a slow-moving Holden Jackeroo, laden with stickers promoting a skate journey for charity. Peddling in front of the Jackeroo was a chap on a bike, and just in front of him was a skinnier sole who was pushing along on a bizarre-looking yellow skatebooard. "What the hell is all of this" thought the woman, before a connection between this strange troupe and a television story sometime back began to form. She pulls over, waits until the skateboard draws level and asks him, "Are you the guy who has skateboarded from Western Australia?"
"I am" he smiles, dragging his board to a halt.

Her name is Johanna, her boyfriend's name is Jon, and three weeks after that chance encounter J & J have kindly let the entire team descend on their home. We've had a hard few weeks, physically and emotionally, and a stopover in Melbourne is just what we've needed. Fundraising-wise, it's been tough. City living tends to close off most people and it's always noticably harder to exude donations out of the urban bussle, but the money continues to flow in and it wil continue to do so with the team working this hard.

On Friday night Laura Hatwell flew in to Melbourne airport becoming Boardfree's ninth member. After a baptism of BoardFree fire in which the Glasgow girl from Devon has been well and truly bitten by the bug, she has earned her place on this team after organising the first of many BoardFree splinter journeys and raising half a grand in the process. Her 25 miles from Glasgow to Loch Lomond in September may seem paltry compared to the vastness of BoardFree Australia, but think: this girl started skating because she heard about BoardFree. She got off her arse, got organised, trained herself and did it. Bam and Jay from Barnstable are doing the same with a Devon to Spain BoardFree skate in the planning for next year, but Laura's sheer determination (which will likely see her becoming a part of the boy's Beats Walkin' team next year) earned her a place in Australia. We're glad to have her here.

Team member number ten flew in yesterday morning. Pete Coventry, the other half of Badgerboy Productions who had a small part to play in the filming of BFUK, is another welcome addition - a finishing addition - to a team which has been crying out for more hands since we left the lonely bush and began our roll through heavily populated lands. We now have four more hands to take us through to Brisbane, but more importantly we have two more heads to share the load. BoardFree has a new feel to it now, a new drive.

On a personal note I am carrying more burdens than ever but am dealing with these pressures better day by day. As BoardFree grows the responsibilies increase, but my base intentions for this year's journeys remain the same and each day - as Brisbane comes closer and our fundraising total rises - my hunger to fulfill my self-set obligations to Link, Lowe and Sailability and to every member of my selfless team becomes all-encompassing.

Last night was the best night I've had since I founded BoardFree in my South Wales study back in May 2005. To think that back then I'd been skating for less than two months, then fast-forward 16 months and find myself up on stage alongside Neightbours actor Alan Fletcher who is talking to a crowd of hundreds about my skate across Britain and the continued effort across Australia. Fletch, who plays Dr Karl Kennedy in the Aussie soap, was wearing the BoardFree t-shirt I handed him during a Cardiff gig at the back end of 2005, his genorosity and respect for the project has filled a hole somewhere in all of this. Suddenly, the morning after, the permanent aching in my legs doesn't matter so much. I am ready to push on, to put aside the pain and tears and ulcers and get us all to the east coast having left smiles behind on the faces of those Sailability members who have taken the time to appreciate our efforts on their behalf. We have had many disappointments en route so far - it's to be expected having travelled half way across the world plus another 3800km with such great expectations - but they are totally insignificant beyond the moments themselves, because we believe in what we are doing, we know that we're fighting for good, we know that complete strangers understand that and celebrities with schedules to keep can still clear some space for us because of our journey.

We have learnt from experience now that we can't please everyone - there are always shakes of the head when our buckets are shaken nearby, always those ignorant enough to slag us off in writing without a second thought - but we don't aim to satisfy the masses. All we want to do is what we set out to do and now, with three of five cities down, we'll be skating out of Melbourne this afternoon with a renewed vigour, we will continue to push for change.


  • At 10:07 am, Blogger Elspeth said…

    Good luck on your next leg of the journey, lets hope there is no more snow!

  • At 11:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    We're all hella proud of you!
    Dave, i hope you are looking after yourself bro, not long to go now! Drop me an email when you have time (i know how busy you guys are!), we haven't had a chat in ages!

    and Laura, WE LOVE YOU!
    Laura still manages to amaze me with her enthusiasm and sheer bubbly-ness! We're so unbelivebly glad to have her as our BWE Sister, and glad that she's helping you guys out!

    I'll be at the airport when you guys return, have no fear!

    Take it easy guys, we love you all!!!!


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