Fijian Bowl Destoryer
Pictures by Andrew Fawcett
‘I find skateboarding therapeutic and meditative. I would love to one day represent Fiji on another stage. Skate the Olympics and represent the beautiful Fiji.’
Hi Eloni. You played rugby league professionally in Australia and in France and also played for the Fiji National Rugby League Team. You also appear in Australian Ninja Warrior, act and model while also having a day job which is garbage collector for the council. From what I know, this does not even cover it all. You will even donate your brain once you run out of batteries. Is there anything you have not done yet?
Cola Vina! Thanks for having me! There is still much that I have not done on this Earth. I will try my best to do as much of it as I can! A kickflip being one of my next endeavors!
Indeed. You also have skateboarding under your belt too. When did you start and what triggered it?
I rollerbladed as a teen and actually snapped off a half a tooth as a 6 year old. A skatepark was built close to my house now so I thought it would be rude not to learn. I just want to also clarify that I started out on a jumbo scooter too. I hate myself for it now looking back and I said never again. I am a proud learner skater! I try to explain to my kids who are also avid little shredders, where we are at in our skating we have almost broken through the beginner phase. It is so fun trying to link new tricks together and getting to enjoy the process with my wife Mel and our kids.
How far do you want to go with your skateboarding?
I find skateboarding therapeutic and meditative. I would love to one day represent Fiji on another stage. Skate the Olympics and represent the beautiful Fiji.
What trick is on your ultimate wish list?
Anything aerial. I am currently learning early grabs and aiming to get it up and over the coping of my local 10ft bowl by Christmas. We are lucky in our park we have a great community and myself and the other rad dad crew all have our goals to get by Christmas. I would ultimately love to get a 900 paying homage to the goat Tony Hawk.
While you were born and raised in Australia, you played international rugby league for Fiji. How close is your relationship with your father’s country?
I was very lucky in a Rugby League career to represent such a beautiful country. I knew I was pretty plastic in how Fijian I was and I must admit it is rather intimidating walking into a team in a country you barely know and speaking pretty much none of the language. But someone early on in the piece pulled me aside and said, “Brother, you have got the Fijian blood in you. No matter how much, we are all Fijian”. As a child I was always Fijian biased and watched with fixated eyes on every Fijian player that I could find. I wanted so badly to represent Viti. Every haka of the All Blacks I watched as a child I wanted nothing more than to face that front on and beat them. I dreamed of nothing more than donning a Fijian jersey. And every time I fly back to Viti my eyes well up knowing that I was lucky enough to represent that great place and hope some kid in a village draws hope from my journey to one day do the same. I love Fiji!
‘Fiji has so much untapped potential in athletic ability. The skateboarding world won’t know what hits them when they get the first wave if Fijian skaters roll through.’
A couple of very enthusiastic Fijian skateboarders came together as ‘Fiji Skateboarding’ to inspire and empower the locals through skateboarding. With your wealth of experience in doing different things and dealing with your own challenges, what piece of advice would you give them? Know your mission – then do everything in your power to make it happen. It will be uncomfortable but so worth it. Every rep will count along the way. Embrace them and push through them.
I personally believe Fiji needs a proper skate park for the skateboard community to grow and flourish and achieve all the goals Fiji Skateboarding are setting themselves.
I think the world needs more and what better place to start than in Nadi. Close to resorts, close to cloudbreak – perfect location. Fiji has so much untapped potential in athletic ability. The skateboarding world won’t know what hits them when they get the first wave if Fijian skaters roll through. The bonus to having kids start skating early is that it greatly adds to the ability of the vestibular system, The bodies balance system. Just imagine how good at Rugby we will be once adding in the additional skate skill.
Last question. If you can interview anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
If not Tony Hawk then Rupeni Caucaunibuca without a doubt. He was my biggest idol as a kid. The way he just weaved through sides with sheer speed. I made a promise to myself thatI would one day represent Fiji when his 2003 world cup side went down to Scotland. Funnily enough I debuted for the Roosters on that same ground that that game was played on nearly 13 years later. I have actually spoken one or two words to him over the phone whilst living in france. Not sure as it ended abruptly. I would just like to thank him for inspiring someone to be better. Thank you sir!
The skateboarding world won’t know what hits them when they get the first wave if Fijian skaters roll through.