Anthony Marr Interview

On May 9th 2010, Slalom Australia launched its new national ranking system, crowning Anthony Marr as Australia's top ranked skaters within its shores. Time to find out more about the Melbourne born & bred skater...

Anthony MarrHow old are you and how long have you been skating?

I'm currently 18, and I've been skating since I was around 6! There was a rink around the corner (and still there today) and I regularly attend whenever I can. It was not until I was about 15 when I tried to take on some disciplines, namely roller hockey!

How much of that time has been spent doing Slalom?

Hmm... As of this month (May 2010), I've spent nearly 17 months doing Slalom. While it may seem like a long time, I was doing my last year of high school so I couldn't spend much time practicing because studying was obviously any student's priority. *cough*~

You live and skate in Melbourne. What was it that first inspired you to have a go at slalom?

2 years ago, I don't think I even knew the sport existed until a friend pestered me into watching some skating videos she stumbled across. It was the videos of Chen Chen and John Stanning, and after 10 minutes of watching others, I knew I wanted to try it.

It was the fateful day of 2008's Christmas Eve, a group of skaters and I met up at a basketball court and attempted slalom for the first time! I used my Bauer hockey skates which wasn't very good especially when I tried to do crisscross, while the other skaters was already doing double crazy (stroll) and crazy!

Anthony MarrAre you in any skating teams or clubs?

I'm a member of the small crew, "Freestyle Revolution" which consists of the 5 skaters who skated on Christmas Eve 08. ;D

It's not really a team or club, but it's just our group of friends who skated with each other ever since.

What do you do when you're not skating?

Nowadays, all I do is go to University, play games such as Super Street Fighter IV competitively and of course transcribing or writing music for my violin. - Oh! And how can I forget; watching slalom videos late at night and whilst discussing them with John Stanning!

You recently took part in Australia's second 'World Series' competition. How did it go for you? How did it compare to the first one that was held in November '09?

I had such a great time skating with soo many people! It was loads of fun, and in the end I resulted in a nerve-racking 2nd (I thought I'd place around 4th). The competition level was very close in every battle I was in, but the careful thought of what tricks I had to do, and the (small) confidence I had in my abilities paid off in the end. It was a great feeling to place 2nd and I even felt like I won! (because beating John Stanning is like trying to slay a Black Reaper) *PUN INTENDED*.

Comparing this recent competition to the one held in November; I'd have to say it's very close! I had the same fear and uncertainty on both occasions! Hopefully by attending more competitions in the future, I can become more confident. haha!

What part of your skating are you working on the most at the moment? And what tricks?

Definitely my style, and keeping my hands where I want them! It's very frustrating to watch my own skating on videos, only to see my arms are flying everywhere! Watching many other skaters, they keep their arms very still and calm when mine are like an octopus ">.> I'm not working on any particular tricks at the moment, but I really want to improve my tech so that it's more smooth watchable ahaha~

If anything, I'll sometimes randomly try and attempt a heel special or a heel seven in hopes of executing it correctly. So far I have managed to do a heel seven through 3 cones twice! (But no one was watching >.>)

If you could press a button and magically possess one trick, which one would you choose?

Good question! Definitely the External Heel Seven. I have only seen Kim Sung Jin and Wang Heng do such a monstrosity of a trick on videos, but it's more confronting when local, John Stanning does it whilst practicing in front of me!

If only one of those buttons existed!! ><"

In the recent May 9th competition in Melbourne, you came second to John Stanning. Can you tell us what was it like going up against such a big name in Australian slalom, and what influence he has had on your own slalom skating?

It wasn't the first time I had to go against him (had an informal battle against him on Easter), and skating along side of him is such an awesome feeling! The feeling itself can't be described, but it helped me try to show everything I have in that last round, and giving the audience something interesting to watch. There was almost no hope in defeating him though, yet he's pretty modest and always talking about how I might be able to win (fat chance!).

In terms of influence, he has impacted a lot in my skating, offering tips and advice whenever he can (just like a mentor!). He has taught me soo much in the past year, so I want to meet his expectations as soon as possible so that I can be a worthy opponent in the future.

Anthony MarrHow often do you practice and is it always in one place? or do you practice wheeling style tricks in a different place?

Smooth surfaces is very hard to come by in Australia, while smooth surfaces we can slalom in Australia where no security guards will scram us is even harder! There's only 4 places that I can think of; My local rink, my driveway, Southbank and the infamous Melbourne Museum.

Melbourne Museum is the best practice place by far in terms of ground quality, but I occasionally practice down at the local rink.

My wheeling tricks are definitely some of which I practice in the rink, because it's much less painful to fall on a rink's floor than hard cold concrete. ><"

Oh and did I mention? I LOVE WHEELINGS!

What has been the highlight of your skating life so far?

Definitely meeting new people and making many new friends! The skating community is great, and the networking shared between skaters on Facebook and other mediums is pretty awesome. I remember when I used to play Tennis - little did I bother try to meet fellow club members or make friends. I guess you can say it's the skating atmosphere!

How do you prepare for a competition, and do you suffer with competition nerves?

AHAH! Funny you should ask that, yes I do get competition nerves, but so do everyone else! And what's wrong with suffering from a bit of nerves? It gets you pretty pumped in the end! (for me anyway!)

Preparing for a competition... I wish~! The recent comp I participated in, I was fortunate enough to have a full weekend workshop (with Naomi Grigg) directly prior to the comp, so I had ample of time to skate; otherwise, I'll just come early and practice on the cones. I usually make the combos on the top of my head, right before each of my 30 second run in response to what the other skaters does.

Skating the week prior to the comp is also pretty common for me as well, just to get into the zone and refresh and refine some tricks I want to strut at the comp.

Looking forward, what are your skating plans in 2010, and what competitions would you like to attend?

This is my second year of slalom skating, as such I would LOVE to go to Korea and attend Chuncheon and maybe and hopefully Jeonju. If I'm lucky and my exam doesn't clash, I'll definitely go and attend!

As well as competing, I really want to improve my skating overall, and as mentioned above, my style. I feel that my style and (lack of) smoothness drags me down to what I can really achieve so I will especially work on that.

I also plan on trying to expand the amount of slalom skaters here in Australia, with only 15 skaters participating on the recent comp, I know many more potential slalom skaters are out there, and so we'll definitely try and get the message out there one way or the other!

Thanks for your time - is there anything else that you would like to add?

Hmm... I think that's about it, I really look forward on the development in the sport, and I'm really sure I'll stick with Slalom skating for life!

Shout out to Tiffany for introducing me to slalom in the first place, and John Stanning for mentoring me and my skating from day 1. Oh! And how can I forget Naomi =P

Thank you heaps!