8 April, 2021
Gordy's not board after 4000km
HE could hardly have chosen a hotter time to skateboard 4000 kilometres all the way from Melbourne to Cairns, but that is what Tom Drury, aka Gordy Fruito, has done in the name of charity.
Gordy, a nickname the Broken Hill resident prefers to go by, will arrive at Gilligan’s Cairns at 2pm today, Friday April 9, for a well-earned beer after four months of skateboarding.
He believes it is the longest geographical distance anyone has covered while skateboarding solo without a support team.
Carrying nothing but a backpack, eating from roadhouses and staying in local pubs, the self-funded skater covered around 70 kilometres every day through blistering heat and pouring rain and said he had the time of his life.
“I’ve never travelled the East Coast of Australia before and it’s been absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Rather than take the most direct route between Melbourne and Cairns, Gordy said he took back roads when possible, to learn more about the areas he passed through and find smoother roads with less traffic.
“I have always liked doing adventurous stuff – I was originally going to skateboard Kathmandu (in Nepal) to Vientiane but COVID ended that, so I did this instead,” he said.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself and met a lot of interesting characters along the way.
“I’m paying for the trip expenses myself, but I’ve had complete strangers put me up in their houses, cook for me, provide drinks and donations – they’ve been so generous.
“I’ve also had messages from people saying that I’ve inspired them to keep on pushing through whatever it is that they are going through which is great – I didn’t expect that.”
Gordy said other than working as a labourer, he had never done endurance training and wasn’t into fitness before taking on the extreme physical challenge.
“I haven’t lost any weight during the trip, because I eat roadhouse food and I always have a beer with the locals, but my legs are rock hard now,” he said.
With 4,582 Instagram followers watching his adventures, Gordy has smashed his fundraising target of $25,000.
The money will be used to help non-profit organisation Make Life Skate Life construct the first ever public skatepark in Laos.
Gordy said he had worked throughout South East Asia including Laos as a tour guide, English teacher and in community development for several years.
“In Laos, being a poor country with a communist government, there was no way a skatepark was going to be built by the government and there is nowhere safe for people to skate there, so they have to use the streets, temples and car parks,” he said.
When Laos’ borders re-open Gordy will donate his time along with other volunteers to build the skatepark, and all money raised will go towards materials such as concrete, as well as bathrooms and skateboarding lessons and programs for local youth.
To find out more about his journey visit Gordy Aboard on Facebook or Instagram, or to donate look up ‘skateboarding for Laos’ on www.gofundme.com
NOTE: Some parts of this story were supplied by Bundaberg Now.