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Daily grind of a different kind for skateboarders

Date

Jacqueline Williams

Wild Card competitor Anthony Chicco practises at Belconnen Skate Park ahead of the Wild In The Parks Championship on Saturday 5th of May.

Wild Card competitor Anthony Chicco practises at Belconnen Skate Park ahead of the Wild In The Parks Championship on Saturday 5th of May. Photo: Jay Cronan

Many of us spend our lives wishing we were far from the daily grind, but that's exactly what top-level skateboarders seek out.

It is physically demanding and tough on the body but for those who can perfect the jumps, tricks and turns, the sport brings its own rewards.

Some of Australia's best amateur skateboarders will be making the most of Canberra's new ''world-class'' skating facility in Belconnen this weekend.

Wild Card competitor Anthony Chicco practises at Belconnen Skate Park ahead of the Wild In The Parks Championship on Saturday 5th of May. Click for more photos

Wild In the Parks Championship

Wild Card competitors for the Wild In the Parks Championship strut their stuff at Belconnen Skate Park. The Championship will be held there on the 5th of May. Photo: Jay Cronan

About 50 skaters from Australia and New Zealand will go head-to-head in the final round of the renowned amateur skateboarding competition, Wild in the Parks championship.

It's the first time the event has been held in Canberra. Event organiser Shane Azar said it was being held at the upgraded Belconnen skate park because it was the ''best skate park in Australia''.

''Now that it has been upgraded it is hands down the best skate park in Australia - especially for this competition, which is a street-style skateboarding competition,'' Mr Azar said.

''The obstacles at that skate park cater for this event best.

''The skate park has its own set of stairs and handrails, so skaters need to be able to grind and do tricks down the handrails and stairs and they also have to utilise the ramps and bowls.''

Skaters in the 16 and over division will be competing for a spot in the competition's world final in Austin, Texas, and the chance to win $25,000.

Matt Cheney, 19, from Bungendore, has been given a wildcard for the event. He was recently selected to be part of a national skateboarding video and locals say he has the talent to do well in the competition.

Cheney can be found at the Belconnen skate park most days, if he's not out of town competing. Skateboarder and Wild in the Parks championship host Mat Casey said Cheney would have the home advantage this Saturday.

''He definitely knows the lines and some of the people not from here might struggle,'' Casey said.

But Cheney, who has been skateboarding since he was eight, didn't seem fazed by the pressure to do well.

All he wants to do is have fun.

''I love the feeling of getting away with a trick that you shouldn't have been able to get away with,'' he said.

■ The Wild in the Parks championship starts on Saturday at 10.30am at the Belconnen Skate Park.

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