Durban (South Africa) – South Africa’s skateboarding elite will descend on eThekwini this weekend to compete as Red Bull Unlocked returns to People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium on 18 December from 10.30am.
Having started in the same location in 2013, Red Bull Unlocked has travelled to both Johannesburg and Cape Town, but has now wound its way back to the original venue on the east coast. It will be here that 30 of the top skateboarders from each of the previous editions will compete for top honours.
Designed by South African extreme sporting legend, Dave De Witt, this year’s course has been created to play to the imagination.
“There will be a lot more ramps and obstacles in this edition, encouraging skaters to unlock more talent and really giving spectators a treat,” said De Witt, himself a skating stalwart. “The course will run from the stadium down the stairs to People’s Park with about 10 or 12 ramps throughout and at least two obstacles for each set of stairs.”
The format has four to five skaters going against each other in 10-minute jam sessions with the top two from each heat advancing to the next round until the final. Contestants will have to bring their absolute best on the day with judges – Luke Jackson of Session Magazine, Brendan Body of The Shred Skateboard Park and Session Magazine as well as Riaan Van Biljoen of the NSA – keeping an eagle-eye on their technique, creativity and overall use of the course.
Brendan Body will bring some 30-odd years of skating experience to the Red Bull Unlocked ‘head judge’ position.
“Judges will be looking for elements such as style, creativity, and technicality,” explained Body. “But it’s important to get the right balance. A skater might have the burliness but isn’t technical enough or there is great technical skill, but just not enough style.”
“When I started Sessions in 2002, there were a handful of guys involved in skateboarding at this level,” he said. “There has been massive growth in skateboarding, especially with youngsters, which is really great because it’s a positive focus that encourages such camaraderie. It’s fantastic to see events, such as Red Bull Unlocked, not only displaying South African talent, but also encouraging others to get involved. Really, who wouldn’t want to skate?”
And to heat up the contest, three-time winner Gavin ‘Moses’ Adams, will be returning to the competition.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s event with organisers promising even more obstacles which means more tricks,” said the Cape Town resident. “Unfortunately, I injured my tailbone a few weeks back after slipping off a rail, but I should be ready in time for the contest.”
An avid skateboarder from the age of nine, 25-year-old Adams has experienced his fair share of injuries including breaking his left arm on four separate occasions, fracturing his knee and rolling his ankle, but this hasn’t slowed down the thrill-seeker.
“Nothing will keep me from skateboarding!” he laughed.