When I first watched the official video of the Hot Heels race, I set an objective to attend it.
Thanks to Original Skateboards’ help, that dream became true last December.
I was very excited to fly to South Africa and see that country, and also to see the end of the season live, where much would be decided.
The first person I saw in Africa was a steezy Viking, I couldn’t believe it: Adam was sitting on a bench, waiting for another big Viking, Erik Lundberg. After a short wait, Benjamin and Josh picked me up from the Cape town airport. After 24 hours of flying, I was tired, but I was so stoked to be there that the energy came immediately.
Benjamin, Josh and Graham took me around Cape Town. It is an incredible place, with a strong sense of nature, so many places to skate, I was freaking stoked!
Finally, we skated some runs in a posh neighbourhood, more stoke. We met some groms that demonstrated the big level of the South Africans.
Good sleep that night. The next day we met up with Patrick, Tamara and some locals to travel to the track, 3 hours driving from Cape town. Landscapes were changing all the time.
At the track, there were many good meetings with old friends, a lot of internationals were there: Bekks, Dalua, TB, Felipe Malaga, P-Swiss, Tamara. Registration and freeriding all day!
The track was really narrow, 70-80 km/h, technical, with a long straight part at the bottom. You can not realise how beautiful it is, lenses are not able to describe it. It’s crazy how the weather conditions changed the track. With head wind: drafting was very important and made the riding difficult, especially the bottom section. With tail wind, we had to be careful to not get too fast in the big left (Lloyd’s left, Lloyd McPherson was a local rider that unfourtunely lost his life years ago in that turn), and the big right after the lake, (Baboons right, named this because usually baboons hang out there).
After the first day of freeriding, we went to the camp zone. That was one of the best camp zones I’ve ever seen. It was around 3km from the track, but it was great because the zone had bungalows with camping spots, and services close to it. It was sick to have all the riders in the same place hanging out together, good vibes, fun times.
Second day was qualy day in the morning and freeriding in the afternoon. Riders got more confident on the road, I was talking with some organizers and they didn’t expect that the participation would be that high. I couldn’t believe the south african scene, and especially the groms… too many groms man! Almost the same as open riders. I was stoked, one of the facts that prove that longboarding is growing everywhere.
Also I met some of the local riders, Ricky, Gabi, Ramon, Dweza, Anton and more. Rad crew, they love longboard like we do. And the level is awesome, safe riders!
Third day was freeriding in the morning and repercharge in the afternoon, more fun and some crashes, but nothing big. I think repercharge is one of the good changes that the IGSA made this year, more riding, more hits, everyone got the chance to learn how to race, so I think it is positive.
Fourth day, was race day. Lots of local spectators went to the track to see all the riders racing. Open had to wait for Junior 1, Junior 2, Womens and Steet luge and Buttboard. There were a lot of groms, and some of them had crashes so it took some time to start open class.
The results of the finals: Junior 2 Quin Finoicho and Jonas Ritcher battled hard for the first position. Quin was first, Ritcher second followed by Camden Lategan and Murray Du Preez.
The women’s final was a reflection of the fact that European girls’ are rocking it hard. Bekks was favorite, but nobody could write off Tamara Prader, Annie Lindenmaier and the local Gabi were at the finals too.
Bekks was first, Tamara 2nd, Gabi 3th and 4th Annie Lindenmaier.
After waiting a while, Open went through. A lot of things could happen, you could feel a little tension between the international riders, there was a lot to decide, and all of them wanted to win more points to gain positions in the rankings.
I was excited, my first heat was with Graham, a local and Bekks, it was so good to ride with these guys. I crashed, as always, but I was still so stoked to be there. I skated over my limits and I learned a lot.
Semifinals were like this – Patrick, Dalua, Radek, Raoul. Patrick and Dalua were both vying to be world series’ champ. Patrick crashed in Lloyds left, he was to close to Douglas, and there was no space to pass. Dalua and Radek went to the final, Raul 3rd. Patrick lost the possibility to be first in the World Cup series.
Tongue, Felipe, Adam and Wester was the second semifinal. Unfortunately Felipe Malga from Peru crashed in Lloyds left pretty bad and lost consciousness. Alex Tonge was behind him and almost passed him, but his reaction was fast. Immediately he stopped and ran to where felipe was to see if he was okay. The ambulance took him to the hospital. Adam and Wester went straight to the final.
At the bottom, after a riders meeting, and with another ambulance on the track, the riders decided to continue the race, and go ahead to the finals.
The final was clean, no crashes. Dalua, was first and consolidated his position as IGSA World Series Champion of 2012. Kyle was second, and my friend Adam was 3rd. Radek was 4th.
The great ambience that we breathed those days was a little bit ruined by the big crash of Felipe, but people were still stoked. It is hard to explain to someone that doesn’t skate how we skaters feel in that moment, it doesn’t matter if you know him, we are a family, wherever you are from. We know that we do something dangerous, but we keep doing it because we love it.
The prize ceremony was pretty emotional, there was a big memory for Lloyd, and also for Felipe and all the riders that lost their life doing what we love. My friend Benjamin gave a really touching talk to commemorate Lloyd McPherson, big vibes. The organizers gave a present to Lloyd’s father, everyone was so emotional. I was pretty touched, it had been an awesome trip, with a sweet and sour flavour.
After the conclusion of the event I started realising the good work the organizers did. I have to say no representative of the IGSA was there, and it is true there was a lot of waiting time, but that is usual.
For me, it was the best organisation of an IGSA race I had ever seen, and I really want to thank you SAGRA, all my friends in South Africa, especially Benjamin and Josh, and the rest, Tb, Bekks, Annie, Alph, Adam, Erik, Graham and Kyle.
South Africa – See you next year.
PS: FELIPE STILL NEEDS OUR HELP, CHECK THIS LINK TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN ASSIST HIM AND HIS FAMILY.