DOWNHILL longboarding is taking South Africa by storm – and Nelson Mandela Bay has ensured it claims its space on the skating scene by offering its most iconic location up as the site for a major festival next weekend.
The second edition of the MBDA Donkin Downhill Dash takes place over the Easter weekend and promises to be a carnival of cool moves, awesome skating, music, longboarding, a skate park, BMX jumps, public art, good food and more, say organisers.
“Bring your mom, your board and your dog and anything on wheels and come skate in the MBDA Donkin Downhill Dash 2013,” said Jacques Nel of Numb City Productions, joint organisers of the event with Downhill Eastern Cape (DEC). “This year the event will take place over two days at the Donkin Reserve in Central and it’s all about chilling out, watching the incredible skills of our city’s skaters – as well as top skaters from around the country – framed by the iconic Donkin Reserve and all the stunning public art on Route 67.
“We are working hard to ensure this year’s event improves on the last, offering a cash purse for the skaters and a host of entertainment and activities for the spectators to enjoy. The Downhill Donkin Dash is a family event and aims to incorporate other extreme sports such as freestyle skateboarding and a development skate clinic as fringe activities for both spectators and enthusiasts interested in these sports. Spectators are encouraged to bring picnics and enjoy the exciting skating and artistic offerings,” said Nel.
The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) has endorsed the event after last year’s success. “Sites are just spaces without people. While we are hard at work changing the face of the inner city, the real inspiration comes from people’s acceptance and use of the spaces, which turns them into something meaningful,” said Dorelle Sapere, MBDA Planning and Development Manager.
“Our organisation likes to approach marketing in an unusual fashion and supporting the social engagement work Numb City Productions and Downhill Eastern Cape are doing in the Central area not only ensures that the work we do is showcased in a unique way, but also supports the growth of youth and urban culture.”
The second MBDA Donkin Downhill Dash event aims to create a safe and controlled environment for downhill skateboarding to become an accessible and formal sporting industry in Nelson Mandela Bay, as well as showcasing the city’s incredible arts and tourism offering, say organisers.
The time-trial event will see skaters racing against one another in an attempt to better each other's time along the Donkin's Voting Queue Path.
The development of the path – a multimedia artwork that represents the line of voters queuing for the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994 and symbolic crosses littering the path representing people’s votes – has seen growing interest around the Donkin, particularly by longboard skaters and a group calling themselves Downhill Eastern Cape (DEC).
The small group of downhill, longboard skateboarders have been enjoying the gentle slopes and challenging curves of the snaking path from the lighthouse to the bottom of the Donkin Reserve at Chapel Street. Their aim is to have fun, enjoy and engage with their city and build friendships with like-minded sportspeople.
They are set apart from the street skateboarders in the sense that they do not use rails, curbs, walls or staircases to perform their sporting art. Downhill skateboarding is essentially the art of navigating graciously around corners and tight bends at higher speeds while sticking to the road surface.
“The Donkin feels like our home. It’s safe and beautiful – we couldn’t ask for a better space to practice this urban sport,” said Renier van Staden of DEC.
“Following the success of last year’s event, we have taken the first steps to growing the Donkin Downhill Dash into a skating festival that celebrates this stunning public space, our inner city and a sport which is growing year-on-year through its engagement with urban spaces.
“The Donkin has really become a playground for young and old and through this event we hope to change perceptions, expose people to the art of downhill and also just having fun in our city.”
This year’s instalment also features an open race where members of the public can take to the path on any vehicle that has wheels. “The fun run is open and any human-powered craft or vehicle can enter. A winner will be determined at the judge’s discretion. It may be for the fastest time, best craft entered, best dressed, most elaborate accident and so on. Entrance fee for this event is R30 and consists of one ‘fun’ run only,” added Nel. Entrants are requested to wear helmets.
Nel also said the purse for the event will likely attract longboarders from around the Eastern and Western Cape and also further afield. First prize is R1 500, second R1000 and third R500, all sponsored by Sector 9. The value of other prizes amounts to over R10 000 and includes skating gear, wheels, knee pads, products and merchandise from Sector 9, Bos Ice Tea and Indi Skate.
The competition consists of three classes – open, ladies and groms – as well as the “Anything on Wheels” Fun Run. The open and ladies classes are open to all contestants over the age of 16 and will consist of three heats. The best 20 times will be entered into the final run. Skaters go down the course one at a time and will have three heats to log a best time that will be entered into the final. The groms class is for any contestants under the age of 16.
Skaters need to register on www.numbcity.co.za for the event and pay on the day a fee of R150 – which includes lunch for both days, an official t-shirt and entry.
The event takes place on March 30 and 31 on the Donkin Reserve. Day one features the heats leg of the competition, and on day two is the main occasion where skaters will vie for the top prizes and status as king of the Donkin. A full line-up of Redbull deejays will entertain the crowds and on Sunday, The Brothers, Hey Bang Dead and Cottonfields will entertain the crowds. Spectators can attend for free. If inclement weather is expected on either day, the event will be collapsed into one day, but announcements to that effect will be made in the media.
The MBDA Donkin Downhill Dash is sponsored by: MBDA, Sector 9, Bos Ice Tea, NMMU, Element, Nzoe Projects, Ibis Engineering Merchants, Indi Skate, The Brothers, Green Leaf Café and La Boca. Watch the promotional video at: https://vimeo.com/62255969
For more information, contact Jacques Nel at email@example.com or on 074 195 9169.
Media, please register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org