Read the Manualby AD Henderson, images Craig Kolesky / 10.06.2011
Rain. Bitter, irritating Cape Town rain. I swear it will be the death of me. Do you know how hard it is to find a good undercover spot to skate when it’s raining? It’s a damn impossibility. There are but two indoor skateparks in the region, which, if you’re more inclined to rolling streets and sidewalks, is not really a consolation. It’s like instant coffee instead of filter, it’ll do but it’s just… underwhelming. They are however, reliably dry. And that’s a characteristic that comes in handy when you want to hold a major skate competition right around the time the Cape weather gods decide to unleash wetness on everything. Well that’s what last weekend when Red Bull hosted the Cape Town leg of their internationally renowned skate gig, Manny Mania.
Brainchild of skateboarder Joey Brezinski, Red Bull Manny Mania is a skate competition where the only tricks counted are combinations of manuals. To those unfamiliar with the term, a manual is like pulling “wheelie” on a skateboard. Being one of the most talented manual skaters, Mr Brezinski got Red Bull to back an international competition of skateboard tech mastery. Qualifying rounds are held around each country, then a final to decide the top Manny Maniacs who go on to the international finals in New York. Control is what it comes down to, combined with a bit of luck and a dash of practice. While the competition ultimately aims to crown a champion, through it’s all inclusive format, it successfully manages to bring skateboarders together and focusses attention on the more low-key technical aspects, and brings the underdogs out of the global skate-woodwork.
Saturday saw Cape Town’s most talented skateboarders jamming together at The Shed skatepark in Stellenbosch. The Red Bull van was pulled inside, blaring the tunes; new obstacles had been built by Woodies Ramps and the park had been resurfaced by RampinZA. Despite the shitty weather, the surrounding boxes and ramps were packed with spectators and the skaters were getting in what warm ups they could before the heats began. The first round began with 25 odd skaters split into 5/4 man heats. Their best scores tallying up to decide the who goes through to the finals.
It turned out to be a fun jam, with all the heats having some friends skating together, trying to get their tricks down in the allocated 5 minutes. The judging was handled by skateboarders Adrian Day, Puddy Zwennis and Brendon Body. As the final tricks were laid down it was a close but not so close decision. Gavin “Moses” Adams, Cape Town’s wunderkind, skated super fast and super smooth, but first place went to Lakia SA’s new rider Keiran Mans as he displayed his experience and general enjoyment for all things manual by consistently landing his manny to grind combinations and flip in flip out varieties. The new kid, Zuhandre Ysle was by far the crowd favourite as his natural ease and big bag of tricks secured him third in the event.
All 3 finalists now head up to Joburg for the SA final at the end of June, and Cape Town is hoping one of them will be flying over to the Big Apple to go do South African skating some justice on the international stage.
All images © Craig Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar