The double page photo of Chris Eacott 50-50ing the MCG Ledge published in 2004.
Words:: Paul Colby :: All Photos: Liam Kaska ::
For me there are a number of monumental moments in Australian Snowboarding history, and one of those moments was when I opened a magazine back in 2004.
Now most budding riders first published shot is a single page photo on an average park kicker or jib, not a well known landmark such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which doesn’t even get snow. The photo above of Chris Eacott hitting not only such a public spot in Melbourne, but the fact that it was a legit ledge even by today’s standards was unthinkable at the time.
This story all came about because of the Chris Eacott interview that was posted up here last month; in it we talked about this ledge, and the fact it was Eacott’s first published photo. It has taken us a while to actually track the photo down, and unless you haves saved an original copy of the magazine, these images are some of the few that exist today. I believe the original negatives were lost somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne years ago, believe it or not, loosing negatives was a pretty common problem in the days of film.
The good old film days you say? No one was checking their style on a LCD screen and trying the trick again. You can understand when we asked Liam Kaska the photographer about the photo, why he describes being more stressed about getting the shot than Eacott was about hitting the ledge. So take a walk down memory lane with us and read what Liam has to say about that photo and how it was a step forward in Australian snowboarding.
The never before published photo of the actual set up. As you can see, a legitimate in run, no super-booter ride-on jump here.
Words by Photographer Liam Kaska.
Chris hit that ledge in Melbourne in 2004, we were 19, both studying, and I guess he used to look at the ledge everyday on the train to Uni.
I remember thinking there was a good chance we would end up at the hospital that night, not because Eacott was shit or anything, but rather because the ledge had consequences and was of decent size, especially back then. I’m pretty sure it would still be considered a heavy ledge to hit today. Anyway, Chris had just spent the summer hitting rails in Salt Lake and was keen to grab some snow and find some things to shoot around Melbourne. Chris seemed pretty relaxed before we headed out around 3am, me, I was a nervous wreck.
I knew he would do it and the thought of messing up the shot was freaking me out. We concentrated on making the in-run good and the run out of snow for the landing, you can see in the shot the tiniest patch of snow at the bottom. I am pretty sure Chris got it on his 3rd go. I thought he had killed himself on his second attempt, from memory he hooked up and literally rag dolled down the second stair set. I’m not sure if he wanted to bail on that side, but that bin at the bottom was in a real shit spot so there was no real exit point. He got pissed off, ran back up the stairs and got it straight after. We were all pretty pumped.
I was stoked to see I hadn’t messed up the shot when we picked up the film from the lab the next day.
I know I speak for Chris as well when I say I don’t think we would bother hitting anything again where it doesn’t snow, it’s a hell of a lot easier and fun rolling up to a spot where there is snow on the ground already. Looking back, we had nothing better to do and no one else in Australia was really doing it, they were good times. We would of gone out 7 or 8 different nights to other spots, its funny that we didn’t get kicked out hitting that ledge at the MCG but got kicked out some of the more hidden spots on other missions. If you have seen the location of the ledge, you would agree that what’s almost as impressive as Chris getting that shot is that no security or cops came.
I shot the photo on a Hasselblad 501CM with a 80mm lens. I think the film was Fuji Provia. For the lighting I was using a Broncolor Mobil Strobe and a small Metz flash.