Sk8r Boarding 4,000km Through Australia

Adventure Travel
Tom Drury. Photo: Leah Szanto

The 28-year-old Australian, Tom Drury, is skateboarding from Melbourne to Cairns to raise money for a skate park in Laos.

Tom Drury (who goes by the name Gordy) is about as Aussie as you get. The laidback Drury feels at home in the outdoors and enjoys the simple things in life. While working and living in Laos, he noticed that skateboarding was increasingly popular but there were few places to do it safely. He hatched a plan to raise funds for Laos’s first-ever skate park. So he quit his job, created a fundraiser, and started skating 4,000km along the entire East Coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns to throw attention on his Laotian project. The distance is further than from London to Moscow.

“I’m just a massive believer in skateboarding,” he said. “It’s been a huge vice in my life.”

Tom Drury’s simple kit includes a melodica. Photo: @gordy.aboard

Before this, the longest Drury had skateboarded was 115km in a single day from Broken Hill to Menindee in New South Wales last year. This trip faces a lot more challenges, including traffic. His route includes one of Australia’s busiest highways.

Drury spends about 10 hours a day on his skateboard and covers an average of 70km. True to style, his day pack includes a melodica. He contends with trucks, fast cars, motorbikes, and the odd giant python. He rides a combination of narrow, rocky roads and highways, but while he considers himself “lucky to be alive” because of the traffic, it’s the heat that bothers him most.

Tom Drury has under 500km left to Cairns.

The farther north he travels, the hotter it has become. He’s normally traveling under the beating sun in 35˚C. At one point, he needed to bang on the door of a farmhouse, hoping they’d let him refill his empty water containers (which of course they did).

Drury considers acts like these — the kindness of strangers — as the biggest joy of the journey. He’s been offered meals, accommodation, and plenty of smiles.

He rides a standard skateboard with slightly larger wheels and he goes through approximately one pair of shoes every two weeks.

The road heading north along the East Coast is Australia’s most popular tourist route. It includes the Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road, surf breaks, and entry to Whitsunday Islands. Pre-COVID, the route attracted almost 4.5 million visitors annually.

Drury began last December and has traveled more than 3,500km. He currently has less than 500km left — about a week — and is more than three-quarters the way toward his monetary goal.

Tom Drury is also raising money for Laos’s first skate park.

When asked the first thing he will do when he reaches Cairns, the Aussie replied, “Well, I’m throwing a massive, massive party.”

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About the Author

Chasing Dreams Travel

Alex Myall

After 22 years in the exercise industry, offset by long-haul adventures around the world, Alex Myall found a better option a few years ago and has never looked back. She took a diploma in travel journalism, backed it up with travel industry certificates, then launched Chasing Dreams Travel NZ, her own travel agency.

Now she combines her love of writing and world travel with running her business from her home on the spectacular South Coast of Wellington, New Zealand, while simultaneously being mum to a gorgeous baby girl. She maintains a “life’s too short to do things by halves” attitude.

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