Skateboarding is alive and well in South Africa, and this past weekend showed us why. Thank you, Thrashers!

Thrashers received a huge upgrade and facelift, repairing old ramps and kickers, restoring the park to its previous masterpiece of skateboarding architecture.

We klapped the road on Saturday morning, Thrashers in our sights. We stopped at the park just before the competition was set to start. I left my board in the car because I’m old and these guys were ripping it up. Well, beer was my liquid skaatsplank for the day. Moenie my blameer nie.

The competition was fierce. Locals were killing it, and even Alan Marola was competing. Dit wil gedoen wees. We checked out the skaters, hitting every single obstacle in their path. The handrail on the stairs had no one scared. Feeble, Smith and Lipslides were on the menu down the rail. I was astonished at some of the tricks – technical was not a problem in Pretoria. Geen kak gevat nie. Even the newly-built funbox-manual-pad was being destroyed by all.

What stood out for me in the competition was Alan’s smooth style, just flowing around the park, as well as Brian oozing finesse as he skated the pyramid. No one was holding back in the immense heat, and beers were consumed mid-run. It was really hard to focus on one skater, as you’re concentrating on his run, and then boom! Someone else lands a trick 🙁

Between the competition, the bands were providing the tunes for the day. Fuzigish, The Tazers and Runaway Nuns were hitting the stage. Good thing too, as the heat would have turned everyone into MeltMan. Striped Horse, Leaky Tap and Mieliepop provided entertainment in the form of beers and Gorillas. Yes, Gorillas were prancing around, skating, or at least trying to, en running amok in the park. I felt so sorry for them considering the sweltering heat in those suits. But it all changed when I took a sip of my second beer. Nie my probleem nie 😉

Next up, we had the Mini Ramp competition. There were loads of skaters ripping it up, catching air and just having a good time, which is what skateboarding is about, having good times met jou tjommies.

I was four beers and a babelas from the previous night deep when I watched the Mini Ramp competition. Puddy flew around, not taking any kak from his previous ramp. Reuben (I hope I am right) with a wrist still in a protective glove, gooi-ing and grinding all over the place. Brian, with his own signature tricks, blew minds and almost destroyed Jay’s face next to the ramp. Marinus was all over, footplants and early airs – wel gedaan, seun! Ruan was all over the place, he skated the ramp like it was in his backyard. This guy does not give a flying fuck if you’re in his way. He will ride right over you. And lastly, Philip. Jinne, bra! Tech overload! I can’t even name half of the tricks he pulled off. It was mal! That fokken fakie-rock-pressure-flip-dingetjie was off the hook! Shaun also nailed it, flowing style with pivots on lockdown!

I had to take a break and cry because I can’t do half of the tricks. We sat down on the grass and proceeded to check out the guy who tried to grind the Anaconda rail. Sommer backside 50-50 ook! It was crazy and he just could not get past the corner. Don’t worry, you are not the first.

The last event of the day was the Keg Jump. I’ve never heard of such an event but was pleasantly surprised to witness it. Kegs were rolled out, skaters were all over the place; all of them rolling up to have a chance to win some Moola. As the kegs multiplied, the participants became less. Guys were falling and sliding to have their shot of glory. In the end, it was Chris and Brian who were the last two skaters left, with more than 11 kegs to jump, the competition was stiff.

Brian held on after jumping what seemed like 45 kegs. He was crowned the winner of the Moola and a Double Ticket to Mieliepop Festival (which is next week) and deservedly so. He put his body on the line… on the kegs?

All in all, it was a great day for skateboarding and Thrashers to show off. It blew minds and made people realise that skateboarding is not on its last legs, it was resurrected even more awesome than ever before.

Well done, Thrashers and Bobbejaan for putting up this event. You are truly a gem in Pretoria!

Our video of the event will be up in the next few days!


All photos by Henry Engelbrecht