Skating in Cape Town

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By Naomi Hastings:

Skateboarding is alive and thriving in Cape Town, South Africa. I have had the awesome chance to go skating in this city on two occasions – in September 2015 and December 2014 – and get to know the incredible people that make the skate scene there so amazing.

As soon as I returned there in September, I was skating through the city streets, in the direction of the store where my friend David worked, Baseline, an independent skate store established in 1998. David showed me all the locally produced boards, clothes and shoes – many of which I would go on to meet the designers and owners of. He also gave me a stack of Session magazines and AV Skateboarding DVDs – the two main media sources on South African skateboarding. It was also cool to see that Baseline stocked shoes from a Melbourne-based company.

The Mill Street skate park in Cape Town’s city centre was a place where I got to know many other talented skaters, such as the “local celebrity” Gavin ‘Moses’ Adams, a skater sponsored by DC and Red Bull, who was actually also well-known by some of some of my skate buddies here in Australia.

Another popular spot is Salesians – a trade school turned skate park, with DIY ramps, quarters and ledges set up on the basketball courts. There was a great sense of fun and community at this spot. On one occasion, skaters were seeing how many of them could Ollie over a rolling car tyre one after the other.

Many skaters in and around Cape Town have grip tape with ‘20Sk8’ printed on it.  20Sk8 is a skate group set up by Cape Flats local skater Shuaib Philander to support other young local skaters and keep them away from the influences of violence and corruption. Recently, student film-makers created a documentary about 20Sk8, titled “Jas Boude”, which also explored themes of racial tensions.

The natural features of Cape Town and its surrounding areas add to the enjoyment of skating here. Being at the base of one of the new 7 natural wonders, on the coast and filled with many winery regions, make Cape Town  a very picturesque place with plenty of unique skating terrain.

The university town Stellenbosch, a short drive outside of the city, was also a great place to go skating. Getting to know the local skaters here was terrific – they guided me to the cool street spots and taught me some Afrikaans slang.

I have found skateboarding in South Africa to be an unexpectedly exciting experience. There is a lot of opportunity and development underway over there and the skate culture is strong and supportive. I would love to go back.

Both of my trips to South Africa were courtesy of The Academy of Western Sydney University. In 2015 I went there for a short course in partnership with Stellenbosch University and in 2014 I went as a representative at the Talloires Network Leadership Conference.

 

naomi and skaters in south africa

Naomi Hastings

Chair, Parramatta Student Campus Council

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