Skateboard ramp saga to be screened

Skateboarders and film-makers (from left) Jo Murdie, Nick Fellows and Wayne Pretty are nervously...
Skateboarders and film-makers (from left) Jo Murdie, Nick Fellows and Wayne Pretty are nervously awaiting the screening of their documentary on the Wanaka vert ramp, at the Mountain Film Festival this weekend. Photo: Kerrie Waterworth
A documentary showing the ups and downs faced by a group of Wanaka skateboarders in their quest to build a vert skateboard ramp will be screened at the Wanaka Mountain Film Festival this weekend.

Two years ago, Nick Fellows and Wayne Pretty, of the Wanaka Skate Club, were offered an 11m-wide, 4.3m-high vertical timber ramp, free of charge.

There was only one catch: they had to remove it from Western Springs, in Auckland, where it had sat unused and deteriorating since 2012.

The skateboard enthusiasts had it packed in shipping containers and transported to Mr Fellows' property in Ballantyne Rd where a group of supporters assembled it and documentary maker Jo Murdie filmed it.

''When Nick told me he was going to be building this big ramp in his backyard, I thought what a cool thing to be doing, and suggested we film it,'' Mr Murdie said.

''When I started filming I didn't really have a clear plan of what I was going to do with it, so I just tried to capture everything I could,'' he said.

The 19-minute documentary Fourteen Foot Journey was premiered in March at Wanaka's Rhyme and Reason brewery, where it sold out two sessions, but this weekend will be its first major public Wanaka screening.

Vert skateboarding is an acrobatic sport in which athletes riding a skateboard perform various tricks while airborne.

Earlier this year the New Zealand qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was held at the Wanaka vert ramp and attracted more than 600 spectators and 35 entrants.

Fourteen Foot Journey will be screened in the Wanaka section of the festival at 3.30pm and introduced by Mr Murdie.

Mr Pretty described the film as ''awesome'' and said anyone would find it entertaining, not just skateboarders.

The film has also been submitted to seven other festivals around the world.

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