South Africa has a growing skateboarding population with very few skateparks to cater for all these skateboarders in different parts of the country. Over the past few years the government has done the bare minimum to attend to the needs of skateboarders which is evident in some of the badly built skateparks in the country like the skatepark in in Horwood’s Farm Park, Edenvale, where the obstacles built make no sense and can’t possibly be made for skateboarders, or Empire Skate Park situated in Milpark, Johannesburg, where rails go straight into transition. Such skateparks really show the mismanagement of of tax payers’ money because, well, the government clearly does not care enough to contact the necessary people to build proper facilities.
This leaves the skate community with two major problems:
1. Not having enough skateparks
2. Having poorly built skateparks
Luckily, a few skateparks have been built by private companies. YBF Skatepark (by Spyda Ramps) in Johannesburg, Sandton, and Battery Park (by DHK Architects) at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, are parks that show the elegance of design and planning.
That being said, having weak skateboarding facilities really adds to the style and creativity of South African skateboarders. Sure it makes it harder for skateboarding to progress as a “sport” in the country but at the same time, it adds to South African skate culture. Skateboarders end up spending more time in the streets which gives the culture exposure and really highlights how raw the sport actually is. Their skill and aesthetic is recognised and accepted as a sub-culture of street culture which has paid off in recent years, with events centered around skateboarding such as House of Vans and other events like Capsule and Back to the City that incorporate skateboarding elements.
Many DIY parks have been formed as well due to the lack of skateparks which have proven to be great fun and places where people make bonds that can ultimately last forever. Spots such as Drill Hall in Johannesburg CBD and Skateworld in Edenvale are DIY spots that have proved to be nothing but fun and good vibes. Just being in the environment and seeing the crazy tricks that go down at these spots really shows you the creativity and tenacity of South African skateboarders.
In a nutshell, skateboarding in South Africa is nothing less than fun. With the culture expanding by the year, it only makes sense that in the coming years more money will be invested into it and experienced architects will be given the task of building appropriate facilities.