New Timber with Slingshot Australia.
Riders from every corner of the country came to Victoria to visit the Rennie Farm and shred one of the sickest locations in Australia. Oli and Sam Rennie, who are full time farmers on the boarder of Victoria and NSW, have managed to make the middle of nowhere a utopia for Wakeboarding.
Between the iconic dead forest Lake Mulwala, and their private cable park in the back yard, there couldn’t have been a better choice for the Slingshot Australia team to gather for a weekend.
Words : Alex Graydon
On top of running the farm, the boys spent the previous week busting their asses to get everything tuned up and ready for the party to arrive. Pretty smart because once you fill a house with Wakeboarders the production level goes down about one thousand percent, but fun levels go up at least fifty percent. So it works out. Slowly and steadily more and more riders rocked up with boards and beers in hand. Talking shit and giving out abuse seems to be tradition for this type of get together. It’s effective; everyone just stays so happy because they’re just blowing off steam the whole time. A cheeky celebration at the Cable Park was had while a couple of riders tested the new features in the park. The classic Aussie barbeque was fired up for snags and white bread, and that’s Thursday done.
Friday morning rolls in and the house is littered with sleeping bodies. Between that and the smell, the place had a College share house kind of feel. Thank God for coffee and Vegemite, two key ingredients to get people on their feet and out the door. Lake Mulwala is the target today, and go figure, the biggest fishing tournament of the year is on. The team meeting at the pub was just a spectacle for bogans with sweet tinnies. Sam Singleton rolls in with his brand new Malibu and the team is definitely standing out amongst the army of fisherman. Still waiting for the chase boat and the videographer (James Tyrell), everyone hops in for a quick warm up set. Even the man behind the camera, Chris O’Shea, got a quick shred in, which everyone who got to see claimed that it might have been the best part of the weekend. He’s pretty damn good if you didn’t already know. While ripping down the Murray River, playing music and throwing a big wake, there was no shortage of death stares and fist shakes. No worries, we haven’t done anything wrong, the bad blood between Fishermen and Wakeboarders is just what nature intended. It wasn’t until someone talked James Windsor into taking a couple of passes at a wooden sea wall with a grass bank that things escalated quickly. A meter high Ollie and a decent amount of time on the turf, everyone in the boat was loving it. The Fisherman that were camped out right where the boat was turning around loved it a little less. Luckily Sammy Singleton was on the job to carefully delegate this conflict using some of his favorite words in his vocabulary. The two parted ways just in time for the chase boat to show up as well as Tyrell. Getting straight into it, the Amongst the Sticks boys absolutely killed it. A mixture of tech and style from the Rennie brothers and Jacob Hore and Singleton just going as big as possible every time they hit the wake, they fully own the attention of everyone around.
Sitting at the mouth of the river where it feeds Lake Mulwala, the sun’s going down and the sky is starting to change colors. The dead forest is turning eerie and opportunity for a photo is at its prime. When the backdrop looks this good, everything you do looks that much better. The boy’s lace up one more time and send themselves into the wake holding nothing back. This has to be the pinnacle of the weekend, if not the month or the year. Prime location with a sick sunset and some of the best people you know, truly what Wakeboarding is all about. Everything is perfect and then oh shit, the boat’s out of gas! Thankfully there’s a chase boat to pull us into the boat ramp, which is just an easy trek navigating through a forest on a moonless night. Jacob Hore is at the helm and he’s an expert at this. An hour and some beers later the team finally gets in and sets up camp at Jacob’s house, which is literally at the boat ramp. This gives everyone enough time to set up their spot to pass out, after indulging is some well-deserved snags and white bread. Good end to a killer day, that’s one for the books.
“This was definitely a good sign of how strong the Wakeboard scene in Australia is, and the direction it’s headed.”
Waking up Saturday morning by the river, you can smell two stroke in the air. It’s cold and the motivation levels are not high, but the Rennie boys are farmers and don’t know how to sleep in. They have the boats gassed up and in the water before anyones alarm can go off. The only movement on the lake is from fisherman casting lines and shaking their fists. Aside from the temperature the conditions are prime and the boys are back at it. Matt Pearce came to play bringing some tech to the game and Sam Rennie was on fire. Singleton and Hore just manage to send it to the flats set after set without feeling any kind of soreness or discomfort in their legs. Which is a total phenomenon for the fact that most people would be in pieces after just one set going as big as they do. At every opportunity Singleton would take a double up and charge into it as hard as possible, for this reason, and probably a few other reason the nickname “Moondog” has stuck to him. Not the worst nickname amongst the team when you consider Sam Rennie’s nickname, “Ratman”. There’s definitely an art to coming up with nicknames and making them stick, and these boys are professionals. With everyone dishing out abuse to each other the nicknames just came natural, which kept everyone pretty grounded and kept it all fun and lighthearted. Pretty important when you’re stuck with each other for a long period of time. If someone starts taking it too seriously then it becomes less fun for everyone.
The boys packed up the boats and made a fast break to coffee and food. It had been a busy morning with no time for breakfast so everyone was on the verge of being “hangry”. Bellies full and bodies’ caffeinated everyone headed back to the farm to spend the rest of the day at the cable. After a few modifications to the motor and a couple of cold beverages from the VB vending machine the boys some how acquired, it was time to get into some riding. The lake itself is only about half a meter deep in most places. This makes it a dream for building and moving rails. Falling headfirst however, isn’t as fun as it usually is. Luckily the muddy bottom is pretty soft so the most that happens is you come up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger ready to take on Predator. Lined up on the bank the boys took turns doing one pass down and back before swinging in and sliding back up on the grass to pass the handle to the next rider. Pushing each other to try new things and collaborating ideas between turns, this is what progression should look like. No one’s taking serious measures to train for the big event, it’s just a group of friends having a really good time and trying to come together as a team to make something sick. Christian Robinson who flew all the way from Perth brought some west coast style despite his recent back injury. There’s always such a big difference in watching someone in a video and watching someone in person, and there was noticeable difference on his take of riding that was nothing short of refreshing. In and out of the water Christian has an attitude that keeps people amping. Always good to have a clown on board to keep spirits high.
It’s getting dark but the party’s not over, flashes are out and everyone’s still trying to get photos. The vast open fields give the backdrop a bit of a boost at last light, allowing for one last window of opportunity. That is until the carrier slams into the tower. That’s Wakeboarding done for the day, but the parties still not over. Back at the farmhouse friends from all over have gathered bringing cartons of beer and good intensions. Meeting new people, telling jokes, playing pool, drinks and of course snags and white bread; this is a true Australian party. No plans of getting up at sunrise so the boys tied one on. Some saw the sunrise anyway.
Last day of filming and as it happens its windy and overcast. Standard weather patterns when trying to film a video or shoot a photo. The boys got up and made the most of it anyway. Collect the eggs, feed the cows and repair the damages to the cable from the day before; those who had survived the night put all their efforts into getting clips for the video. Sending themselves into rails as hard as possible it was an even better session than any prior. After several hours everyone felt pretty satisfied with what had been accomplished and was ready to pack it up. The ones who stayed up all night woke up in time to get a few photos around the farm and say adios to those who had to make the long trip home. Though chaotic at times, the Slingshot Australia Team pulled together really well. There wasn’t a person who was singled out and everyone brought something to the table. This was definitely a good sign of how strong the Wakeboard scene in Australia is, and the direction it’s headed. Good people like the Amongst the Sticks crew were happy to go way out of their way in order to accommodate people they barely know and make sure they have a sick time. Those who came to stay did everything they could to pull their weight and make this trip as successful as possible. In the end everyone had a good time and there was an overall feeling of success.