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?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Riding the Great Ocean Road: heading to Melbourne and leaving behind tension

Writing in the early morning from possibly the quaintest town we've passed through on this journey, Apollo Bay is glorious in its simple sweep of a blue bay surrounded by a comforting wall of green rolling hills. Saying all of that, the rain is falling heavily this morning, echoing the poor conditions we’ve faced for much of the last week. Victoria, for all of its beauty, has given us a wet greeting, reminding us all of home as we left a dry South Australia – our transitory residence for a month and a half – behind.

Almost immediately we had new troubles to deal with. Since our enforced rest in Adelaide team squabbles had broken out, often leading to lengthy and it has to be said, immature silences. The mental support I’d received from the team in the first weeks – something so vital to the continued success of this project – had all but vanished. I was sick to death of everyone, and I dare say everyone else was sick to death of everyone else. Something had to change, so I woke up on that first morning in Victoria and packed a rucksack, telling the team to sit down together and sort out their differences, think about why they applied for their positions and whether that initial enthusiasm still applies, and ultimately decide what they needed to do in order to regain some social decorum. In the meantime, I told them, I’d skate on. It would be harder and it would take me longer, of course, but I’m getting to Brisbane whether they are with me or not.

So I left.

It rained hard, the wind was fiercely gusting in my face and enormous log trucks roared around tight bends blowing me off balance and leaving me drenched in thick spray. Progress was slow and the 5 kilometer markers I was so used to became menacing, they passed all to infrequently and Portland, 70km away when I set off from Nelson, seemed untouchable. In the late morning I was remonstrating with myself, running every incident from the past weeks through and through, thrashing my arms about as I skated and screaming into the lonely pine forests which lined the road. From behind came two familiar beeps of a horn. Cheech sped past, followed closely by George and Kylie. For the first time this journey I saw my three vehicles travelling in convey ahead as I skated. They pulled over one by one and everyone piled out, converging on the roadside as I wearily pushed closer. With rainwater dripping down my nose everyone put their arms around me in silence. I couldn’t help but whisper, “The roads are shit around here.” A knowing chuckle came from all sides. Kate read me a poem out loud, It was called Don’t Quit. The team led me to Kylie and we all crammed inside. Kate spoke, “We’ve all been talking, telling each other what was bothering us and getting everything out in the open, but then we went around and told everyone what we loved about each other, and the only person we haven’t done this to is you.” So they did, one by one the team told me what they loved about me, Dan called me an inside-out armadillo, Si referenced me to part of a cheesecake (I think I was the dish the cake was on), it was obvious that things we going to be ok and I cried in Kate’s arms as the rain fell outside and I shivered away the efforts of the morning.

Since then things have been better. The team are dealing with one-on-one issues head on without needing me to step in. Everyone is back on it, playing each day out with enthusiasm, raising money like never before and helping me cover ground that was inconceivably far away at the beginning of this escapade. We’ve flown over the 10,000 pound mark and are now closing in on 11,000, still a long way to go until the big 50k but all signs are positive, not least because we’re now rolling towards Melbourne and some very populated areas.

So, at the end of a tumultuous first week in Victoria I’m happy to report that the dust has settled, we’re pushing on towards 4000km and, just as I finish off this blog the sun is pushing through the clouds, hopefully leaning towards some good weather this afternoon as I push along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal road in the world. The 45km between Apollo Bay and Lorne winds and dips and climbs and winds some more, keep your eyes on the photo gallery to see some of the most breathtaking scenery ever skated. Rolling on towards Brisbane with renewed vigour and only a couple of blisters!


  • At 1:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Dave, sometimes the biggest challenges come from within ourselves and our ability to be honest with others. You are all doing a tremendous job and as I read this latest blog I can only say well done to you and your TEAM - for taking the step to confront your feelings. Never lose sight of the bigger picture. If the poem was the one I'm think of - "When things go wrong, as they sometimes will. When the road you're trudging seems all uphill..."
    Truer words were never written. Keep the faith and keep on trucking, stay safe and God Bless.

  • At 7:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Four days and you can add another little person to your roster. I'm so excited/nervous and am desperately trying to shift this head cold before I give it to you all! This morning I said goodbye to my pardner - "Please look after the Gremlin" I am requested to ask. It all begins now. Well, after I've had a Lemsip.

  • At 11:03 am, Blogger Bam Bam said…

    Yeah, i'm gonna have to agree with Skodie! Please look after our Lozzy! We need her back in one piece!

    I'm glad you all sorted it out, you did exactly what i would have done in that situation. Stroll on dude! Not far to go now!

    Peace and Love as always bro,

    Bam Bam

  • At 2:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations, TEAM. You are SO impressive!

  • At 12:35 am, Blogger RipSkater said…

    Hi Dave. It was great to meet you yesterday in Queenscliff (just near Point Lonsdale) and your team's enthusiasm was really impressive. Keep up the fantastic work, folks.
    - RipSkater

  • At 9:56 am, Blogger Broken Left Leg said…

    Hi Dave and Team,
    Great to meet you guys in torquay the other day. Made a donation and asked my readers to chip in as an apology for our horrendous weather.
    Heard you on Red Symons's show. Good luck with all future interveiws with him!
    Happy Skating.
    Gippsland is a bit dull if you stay on the main road, but you should love the south coast of NSW.
    Thanks again for brightening my day>

  • At 9:49 am, Blogger Elspeth said…

    Hi, I heard you on Triple J earlier this evening, When you do the Sydney to Brisbane run if you come through Swansea pop in for a cuppa you will be more than welcome, its especially nice to hear an accent from home! I was born in Wales and lived in the UK till 4 years ago, what you are doing is amazing, Good Luck with it all :)


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