On the warm, sunny afternoon of October 22nd, 2005, Melbourne traceur Hamish Malcolm was playing tag while training down by the river when he complained of shortness of breath and sat down to take a rest. A few minutes later, for reasons that will never be fully understood, his heart stopped beating and he went into cardiac arrest. Although he was eventually resuscitated and admitted to intensive care, his brain had already lost too much oxygen, and he died four days later, a week shy of his 26th birthday. The global parkour community was greatly saddened by the news of Hamish’s death, and crews all over the world honoured him with a moment of silence at the next jam.
Known by the nickname 'wa5ter', Hamish was an active and well-liked member of the parkour community both online (he was a moderator on the UF forums and active on IRCnet channel #parkour) and in his native England, where he jammed with crews in Nottingham and London. He started practicing parkour in 2003, although his love of climbing things outdoors (trees, walls, bridges, etc.) would have certainly stemmed from his rural childhood in Suffolk. Always looking for new ways and opportunities to expand his skills while having a good time, he made a special trip to Finland to train with some of their crew, and can also be seen in the UK documentary Jump Britain – just look for the guy with the curly hair and the infectious grin selflessly holding the mat while Seb does dozens of takes trying to get the flip/cat combo down.
Although he had moved to Australia only four months prior, where he was studying politics at the University of Melbourne, Hamish quickly became a fixture on the local parkour scene with the same cheerful, friendly manner and dedication to training that had won him so many friends in the UK and Finland. Hamish worked hard on his skills and never gave up on new and challenging moves, but he would pause at any time to patiently help a newbie needing help with the basics. Also known for his sweat-induced ‘snail trails’ (which he was always the first to have a laugh about), his warmth and generosity, his sense of humour, his individualism, his intelligence, and his passionately-held opinions, Hamish was by all accounts a highly valued member of whatever crew he trained with. He is greatly missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to count him as a friend.
The Australian Parkour Association website is lovingly dedicated to Hamish ‘wa5ter’ Malcolm, to keep alive his memory and his dedication to the sport he referred to as ‘the fine art of running away’.
Next time you train, work hard, push yourself, be safe, and above all – have fun. Hamish wouldn't want it any other way.