What you probably didn’t know was that he was far from home, walking alone on an epic journey of discovery that took him from Melbourne to Cairns, a 4,000-kilometer route on just four small wheels.
When he left in late October, Drury had no idea what would be possible. When asked on his Instagram page “Gordy Aboard” where he was going, he simply replied: “As high up as possible!”
But it soon became a daring attempt to traverse almost the entire side of a continent, an arduous but inspiring journey motivated by the global pandemic and the seemingly endless blockade.
Drury’s Instagram page shows his early forays into the outback from his hometown of Broken Hill, New South Wales, and eventually gathered the courage to take his board a step further.
“I’m from rural Australia and I’ve never seen anything on the coast. It’s all a new experience for me,” he said.
‘This is so stupid!’
Friends and family were initially skeptical of his early ambitions and – for a short time – he thought they were right.
“I think the first time I told them I was going to skate to Cairns it was like ‘Whatever’. But when I started this trip on the third day I was like, ‘This is so stupid!’ was exhausted and my body was broken. ”
But with the encouragement of loved ones back home, Drury found the determination to move on.
Drury was no stranger to hard work. He was an off-site diamond drill in his hometown, working 1,400 m below the surface of the earth. Among the many jobs he had, it was the hardest physical job he has ever faced.
“Hard and dirty, in very hot conditions,” he said. “I knew if I could work there 12 hours a day, I could run in the sun 12 hours a day!”
Seeing his skateboarding challenge as just another job proved psychologically important to Drury.
“I knew it would take me a couple of weeks to get used to it. After that, I’ll get into the rhythm and that’s what happened. Then I thought, ‘Holy shit, I’ll be able to do this!'”
In a WhatsApp exchange with Drury on the track, he cataloged some of the occupational dangers of a transcontinental skateboarder: “Fallen off twice. Heavy chafing three times. Kicking four deadly snakes. Crashed five times against the police. Nearly six heat stroke.”
He ran between 50 and 100 kilometers every day. He was once on his board for 15 hours when he covered 115 km.
“The traffic on the highways was very tough here,” says Drury. “We just have a lot of double-trailer trucks whizzing past me. And I kept my eyes on the road looking for rocks, sticks, snakes and traffic.”
“Idiot on a skateboard”
Some of the riders he encountered called the police and called Druray an “idiot on a skateboard”. Then he had to talk his way out of trouble.
“I would just ask them for money for a fundraiser and they would leave me alone,” he chuckled as he shares this life hack: “If you ever need someone who will ever leave you alone, ask them for money and them will go!” “”
He changed the wheels and bearings of his board several times, wearing half a dozen pairs of trainers, sometimes as many as on the slopes of Australia’s Eastern Highland Range.
He has won many new admirers for his good-natured tenacity and has been interviewed by journalists from Germany, Norway, Iceland and Dubai.
“I would be bored if the road was flat all the way. When I started the trip I hated hills, but now I’ve always loved them more because it gives me a break from the board. And then, you know, me I love flying down the hills with my music! I have so much fun doing it. “
While he elaborates on the more challenging aspects of the trip, he makes no attempt to gloss over the intense heat of the Australian summer, which could easily have prevented it.
Drury estimates that the average temperature during his trip was around 33 degrees Celsius, or 91 degrees Fahrenheit. But on the stretch between Gin Gin and Miriam Vale in Queensland, the temperature was much higher.
“It’s really hot, it was dry and the sun just screamed at me. My body was just shaking badly and I thought if I couldn’t find a shadow I would get into trouble. I’m in the middle of nowhere.”
Drury’s Instagram post for the day in early March reveals the real feelings he was feeling.
“I felt sick, my body and mind were so stressed that I burst into tears. I lay down on the grass and sipped water, wondering what to do and if I should continue.”
He went on, however, reaching his destination bloodshot eyes and remembering the feeling of triumph as he reached his destination: “At the end of this day, this beer has never been sweeter!”
Notably, Drury says his 100kg body is basically the same as it was when he started his challenge – he blames beer and his poor diet for the lack of weight loss.
He’s noticed a noticeable difference in his looks, however – he believes one leg is now bigger than the other while boasting “the best tan in Australia”.
“We live in fear”
Drury’s experiences have been detailed on his Instagram page and the sights and sounds of his travels are featured in a presentation of the kaleidoscopic wonder. Much of it is small-town curiosity mixed with breathtaking views and the myriad of strangers he met along the way. He has stayed with many of them and now regards them as friends.
“We live in fear, not just of people but of the elements,” he said. “My mental health has never been better since I started this journey. I feel so clear and I feel so in contact with nature and with people in general.
“I blew everyone when I got up here on my skateboard. [so] I will never tell myself again that I can never do anything again. “
In a year when skateboarding first became an Olympic sport, Drury made his own contribution to the growth and expansion of the sport on a global scale.
He raised money to help build the first skate park in Laos. Its GoFundMe page explains that Laos is the only country in Southeast Asia without one.
A week before his arrival in Cairns, the original target of Australian $ 25,000 (US $ 19,000) had already been achieved. Additional donations are gravy and support classes and maintenance.
Even so, Drury admits he was homesick and can’t wait for life to return to normal. He plans to return to Broken Hill in search of a new job, and while he will never attempt anything like his marathon skateboard trek again, he would definitely recommend the experience to anyone.
He believes he’s the first to ever skateboard this far north in Australia, but doesn’t think that’s a record because others have skied greater distances in other places, but he’s not worried about sightseeing put.
“I’m not going to be in the Guinness World Record Book,” he remarked. “To be honest. I don’t really care about my name in the book.”
He says he doesn’t even want the skateboard he’s been wearing before, stating, “I have no real attachment to things in general.”
But he’ll always keep memories for a lifetime, not least for this small-town Australian skater: “I definitely have the street credo in the world of skating, so I’m pretty happy about it!”