Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior. Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) Matt and Luke Filippi and Rainer Scheu ready for action.
Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior. Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) Matt and Luke Filippi and Rainer Scheu ready for action. Warren Lynam

Pa's backyard Ninjas set to light up television screens

WHAT started as a backyard project has turned into a calling for Ian Newland.

Known as Pa Rambo, the 65-year-old grandfather is the unofficial leader of the Sunny Coast Ninjas, a group of athletes who train together weekly on his purpose-built Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course in Buderim.

Last year Newland and his training buddy Matt Filippi both made it on to the second season of the hit reality show. Now at least six Ninja hopefuls train together each week on his ever-expanding course.

"It's great having a bunch of people. It gets me out of the garage and workshop to do a bit more training,” Ian told the Daily. "We all push each other and I've got young people there to try to keep up with.

"There are plenty of times Pa's the only one who gets across, but it goes both ways. That's why they train here. I'm not their coach or anything; we just help each other.”

Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior. Rainer Scheu, Matt and Luke Filippi and Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) ready for action.
Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior. Rainer Scheu, Matt and Luke Filippi and Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) ready for action. Warren Lynam

Four members of the Coast crew have made the cut for this year's season. Out of 8000 applicants, only 200 were selected for the first round.

"Pa has sculpted me into the ninja I am today,” Matt said. "If I didn't have Pa and his obstacle course then I wouldn't be half as good as I am now.”

Matt is keen to not only do better than his semi-final run last year, he's also motivated to beat his brother Luke who is appearing on the show for the first time.

Dubbed the 'Surfing Twinjas', the identical twins are extremely close - living just a few streets away from each other in Warana - and competitive.

"I'd never really watched the show before when Matt said he'd applied for it,” Luke said. "He was telling me to apply for the next year but I was like 'I can't be bothered. I'm too busy with work'. But then once I saw him on the show it got me pretty motivated and I started training.

"At the start I thought it was a lot easier than what it looks, but when I started training with them I knew I had my work cut out for me. It requires a lot of upper body strength and explosive power... it's a good excuse to train and keep fit.”

Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior.Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) Matt and Luke Filippi and Rainer Scheu ready for action.
Sunny Coasters competing in the new season of Australian Ninja Warrior.Pa Rambo (real name Ian Newland) Matt and Luke Filippi and Rainer Scheu ready for action. Warren Lynam

Buderim filmmaker Rainer Scheu rounds out the group. The 23-year-old, who has a background in dance, martial arts and callisthenics, was looking for a new challenge when he heard about Pa's obstacle course.

"There's not much around to train on for Ninja stuff specifically, so I sent him a message - I didn't know him at all - and he said 'You should come over',” Rainer said.

"He is a legend. He used to be a camera man as well, so we hit it off over that and I've been training with him for a year.

"The cool thing about it is it's an umbrella for a whole range of physical disciplines and skills.”

The Mountain Creek High School graduate, who is nicknamed Rain Man, is sure to turn heads in his signature tights.

"I train in tights all the time, whether I'm climbing or Ninja training,” he said. "I love a good pair of glam tights, which may have something to do with my dance background. They're the most comfortable things to wear.”

Season three of Australian Ninja Warrior premieres next Monday, July 8 at 7.30pm on Nine.