Written by: Alic Mabie
Photos by: Juan White
Anyone who watched Angies’ Curves when it was being live streamed straight to YouTube last year will know how high that event has raised the bar. It was nothing less than groundbreaking for downhill skateboarders. There has always been a lot of talk about how to get longboarding the level of exposure that it deserves. Angies’ Curves answered with live streaming the race heats on the internet with interactive chat rooms inviting longboarding enthusiasts from around the world to get involved and witness the most talented skateboarders known to mankind race down one of the gnarlyest hills imaginable!
The internet has played a vital role in bringing the sport of longboarding to where it is today. Without the internet and, more specifically, social media, we would only be able to learn from those we session with. In today’s reality we are flooded with videos form talented skaters around the world showing off their tricks. Seeing what other people are doing on their skateboards will open you mind to what you may never have thought was possible. It’s like these videos are the blueprints to bettering your own skateboarding ability.
Beyond the internet we have our international longboarding heroes to thank for visiting South Africa and sharing their knowledge and experience for riding wooden planks with wheels attached. Guys like Scoot Smith (former world champion), Kyle Wester, Liam Morgan and the Lanyachtz crew. Those internationals have a big impact on our scene here. They enhance the abilities of those around them, inspire us to push our boundaries and free our minds from limits to what we thought we were capable of.
Here in Jo’burg, we got off to a good start in 2015 with a big session at Skop. All the regulars were stoked to welcome the 5 beginners who were bombing the hill for the first time. Those newbs learned a hell of a lot in that one session just by exposing themselves to skaters with a bit more experience. They weren’t the only ones testing their abilities that day… the weather slowly started to turn sketchy and before each run we began wondering if it was still dry enough to make it down. On the approach to the first big left hand corner the rain was already building on our visors. With a lump in my throat I was left hoping that our wheels would stick and we’d all make it through safely. We did! By the time we got to the bottom we were overwhelmed by the adrenaline pumping through our veins as we all shared the stoke of the new experience on a hill we have skated so many times before.
Exploration is one of the most beautiful human experiences. It sometimes begins with fear of the unknown but most often ends with an authentic experience that can be hugely rewarding. So get out there and explore! Bomb different hills you thought you couldn’t. Shred your regular spots in a different way or under testing conditions. Try a different style of skateboarding to what you’re accustomed to. Push yourself to land that trick. Whatever happens, make sure there is progression!
The pictures below were taken by Misha Venter at the First of the Year Skop Session 2015: