On Sunday the 18th of February, 52 Ninjas from all over Australia flocked to The Compound Training for their annual Compound Ninja Event. Clem Vertigan and Allyson Manley has organised an epic event with a scale yet to be seen outside of the Ninja Warrior TV series. This was a 3 stage course with tough time limits culminating in a jaw-dropping stage 3 course floating on pontoons over the water of The Compound’s dam.
At 10am sharp the course briefing began and Clem outlined the requirements of Stage 1:
Participants had 2 minutes to get through the following:
- Quad Steps
- UFO slider
- Unstable monkey bars
- Around cargo net
- Mace Alley
- Ring Toss
- Balance Rail
- Warped Wall
Ninja’s who completed the course in under 2 minutes would move on to Stage 2. A great addition to this years competition was that regardless of performance, every ninja would receive 3 runs throughout the day in total. This meant that everyone had a chance to redeem themselves from early mistakes and try to beat Stage 1 or attempt Stage 2 and get experience performing in front of a crowd.
In the initial runs of Stage 1, it seemed that the dismount from the UFO slider was the real Ninja killer taking out over 20% of the days competitors including one of the biggest shocks of the day Jaze Dubois. After the UFO slider it seemed that time was the greatest obstacle for the Ninja’s with the 2 minute time limit leading to some incredibly close calls.
Stage 1 Highlights from The Compound Ninja
After everyone had tackled Stage 1, the second competition runs were beginning after a short break. All 23 ninja’s who cleared Stage 1 would tackle Stage 2, while everyone else would get a second attempt of Stage 1.
Stage 2 consisted of the following obstacles to be completed within 2 minutes 30 seconds:
- Quad Steps
- Ring slider with drops
- Unstable laches
- Double salmon ladder
- Nunchucks to unstable bridge
- Cannonball alley (Blobby’s Revenge)
- Rolling log
- Warped wall
The caliber of ninja in Stage 2 was clearly high when the ninja killer of this stage was Blobby all the way near the end of Cannonball alley. Blobby ended the jouney of the top 3 Ninja’s at last years Compound Ninja and this year he took out 6 competitors. After all the runs were over only 3 ninjas defeated the grueling Stage 2. With Compound regulars Dan Mason and Ashlin Herbert leading the pack and Queensland favourite Ryan ‘the Baninja’ Brooke getting the most value possible out of his trip.
Highlights from Stage 2
One of the amazing things about this competition was that during this second wave of ninja runs, everyone ran in the exact same order and ninja’s who failed on Stage 1 simply ran stage 1 again. Almost every single ninja either improved or finished Stage 1 on their second attempt (myself included) and the whole crowd really got behind them all.
After the second wave of runs was completed, everyone other than the final 3 had one last attempt to defeat either Stage 1 or 2 before the final showdown on Stage 3 occurred. As soon as these runs finished the whole crowd rushed down to the dam to surround one of the most unique Ninja structures currently in Australia (if not the world).
Stage 3 had no time limit and involved the following obstacles on a floating rig over the dam:
- Rope traverse to the rig.
- Fatchuck alley
- I-beam gap
- Cliffhanger/rock wall
All of these obstacles are incredibly difficult on their own, but when the added dimension of a floating pontoon leading to increased instability, it takes it all to a whole new level. Ryan Brooke was the first to attempt this course and was sadly taken out early by a fatchuck. Dan Mason was up next and made it all the way to the I-Beam gap, but sadly couldn’t make the transition cleanly and ended up in the water. Lastly, Ashlin Herbert went in making the fatchucks look trivial, he then went on to nail the I-Beam gap by smartly using his long legs to transfer his weight to the other side. In one of the biggest shocks of the day however, in reaching for the dismount Ashlin’s toes dipped into the water and he was eliminated and became the last man standing for the event.
With the formal event all wrapped up it was time to present the podium for the day and celebrate the top 3 men and women of the event.
For the men the top three were:
- Ashlin Herbert
- Dan Mason
- Ryan Brooke
For the women the top three were:
It was great to see such a strong field of women in this competition as well as so many strong ninjas travelling from interstate.
A massive thank you to all of the volunteers who helped run the event as smoothly as it did, as well as Clem and Allyson once again for making it all possible. The Compound Ninja series starts again next month and it’s going to be great to see how many new amazing feats get accomplished this year.
All photos by Gorak Photo