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, January 02, 2007

Here we go again...

The new year started with a bang. The BoardFree team stood side by side within a calm Rushcutters Bay crowd, staring wide eyed as the fireworks jumped from Sydney Harbour Bridge directly ahead and leapt up from the top of the centre's high rises slightly to our left, dancing flashes of colour reflecting off the water and glass walls surrounding the harbour, smoke filling the air as over 100,000 firecrackers were released to celebrate the Bridge's 75th anniversary. Earlier, Simon led the team in what was possibly the most atrocious conga Sydney had ever seen. The genius plan involving ten of us joining the line for the toilet, only to break off chanting the famous "da da da Da, Da DA" when we reached the front of the queue, never quite materialised. So, we gathered courage, in Si's case it was certainly Dutch, clutched each other's waists and staggered most ungloriously into the dark. One thing came of the conga, which Si insisted on calling "The Congo" all night. As the line of unchoreographed pommies became increasingly smaller (it really was a rubbish conga) a familiar face and head of curly black hair appeared, saying "I saw these people dancing and thought, I recognise them!" It was Dee Farrer, she who back in late 2005 became the first ever applicant for a BoardFree support team position. She hoped to be the team snapper - a void eventually filled by Holls, of course - but for various reasons the application was withdrawn. Still, to see her here in Sydney - a complete surprise for all of us - it really hit home just how much has happened since all this began. To put it all in perspective, when Dee applied the support team was just going to be four people strong, and we were all going to live in one van! So 2006 was over, and just as quickly 2007 began. I, being the elder statesman of the team, decided to retire soon after. My lack of staying power during late night social occasions is now part of the programme, at 27 years old my legs ache after I walk across a room and I vanished to bed only after Si drunkenly wrapped a long arm around my shoulders and came up with an inventive metaphor for BoardFree. "Dave," he stumbled, "you are Jack...."he paused, raising his free arm high into the air (I couldn't help but stare at the sloshing plastic cup at the end of it) to really drive home the point, " are Jack..." he repeated, breathed in deeply, and then, only when the drunken pause got to the stage where it really was just a drunken pause, he let the punchline go...."and BoardFree, my friend, is the beanstalk. It started off as a little seed...." he paused one final time, he loves a ramble does Si, and finished predictably... "and it just continues to grow, higher and higher, higher and higher, higher and high......." We walked off, because it was going to take a while. Funnily enough, the first text I received the next morning was from Holly. It read something along the lines of 'For some reason nobody knows where Simon is this morning.' It later transpired he slept on Bondi Beach and went for an impromptu early morning swim upon waking up in what, with reflection, is possibly the coolest place to spend the first night of the year.

One last day of non-BoardFree left. My first New Year’s Day in Australia began lazily, had a productive internet-related middle and ended with a truly Australian soundtrack. Luna Park was the venue: I skated there from Rushcutters Bay, through Wooloomooloo, past The Rocks, over the Harbour Bridge with the Opera House sat down below like a proud mother. This was the first time I’d seen Sydney’s icons close up before and I couldn’t help thinking to myself, ‘the year has started well’ as I rolled down the other side of the bridge, dodging the occasional pedestrian and getting my legs slowly back into skating mood.

In North Sydney I had a quick drink with Sally Thurwell and her husband David. Sally runs the Alumni Department back home at Swansea University and was the instigator of the Dare Dave ‘Bouncy Ball’ challenge – possibly the most bizarre thing to happen on the Nullarbor Plain last year! After we parted company I made my way down to Luna Park, met up with Kate, Becs, Bev and Laura and screamed our heads off on some fairground rides before ducking into the Big Top to see Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd, who filled the Park’s arena with the music that took me across Australia. Xavier and his guitar tech Jamez have been supporters of BoardFree since the early days (take a look at and although I’d hooked up with Jamez last year in London’s Hyde Park this was the first time I’d met Xavier. He sat stageside cross-legged at whilst Ash Grunwald ripped his guitar to shreds, shook my hand and shook his head, uttering something like “you’re some kind of beast, man,” which I think was a compliment. “How’re the legs?” he asked, peering over.
“Ready to finish,” I smiled, flexing the calf.

Ash, dreadlocks gathering on broad shoulders, came off stage and picked up Elsa with amazement. “This is some board, can I have a go?”
“Go for it,” I nodded, and he rolled backwards and forwards, separated from a hushed crowd by a large black curtain. It was a pleasure to meet him, he was truly blown away by the whole thing and after the show tucked a BoardFree leaflet into his pocket, glancing at Elsa one last time and saying “I have to read up on all of this.”
The chance to roll onto the stage as Xavier talked about the project was lost when a crowd invasion took the clock down. Slightly disappointed, I sat on my board just meters from Xavier mesmerised by his manipulation of three didges, guitars, drums, symbols… This man’s music was in my ears on the Nullarbor, in Adelaide just before I had that accident with a signpost, on the Great Ocean Road as the rain poured, and it stayed with me that night as I rushed with the girls to the train station amidst a torrent of water falling from the sky. In the heart of the summer, Australia was getting the rain it really needed. Good signs for the year ahead.


  • At 3:45 pm, Blogger Bam Bam said…

    ah man, what an excellent read. I'm sat at work getting funny looks from my spontaneous laughing fit! Picturing Si saying " are Jack..." nearly killed! Just writing it then made me laugh!

    It's good to hear you had a good new year, not long now bro and you'll be back in sunny England!

    And also this has to be said...

    Man, you met Xavier Rudd, he is one of my all time idols! That guy has inspired me so much over the last couple of years, admitedly he hasn't inspired me to do somehting crazy, like skate across Europe, but he's up there with you and the team!
    Nicely done dude,

    ROCK ON!


  • At 4:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…



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