Skateboarder, photographer and longboard shaper Kent Lingeveldt says skating gave him a sense of freedom while growing up. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Skateboarder and longboard shaper Kent Lingeveldt has shown that the South African skating scene can compete against the best in the world.

In a world of no brakes, extreme downhills and reaching speeds of about 100km/h, downhill or longboarding is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Growing up in Mitchells Plain, Lingeveldt has become synonymous with street culture and the art of longboarding not only in South Africa but internationally.

Now the owner of Alpha Longboards, he was the first black African to be one of the top 10 skaters in the world and started competing competitively in 1999, representing not only South Africa but more specifically his community in Mitchells Plain.

“If you came from the Cape Flats you didn’t have much money for a bicycle, let alone a skateboard.

"Yet it gave me a sense of freedom, a means of transport and a confidence that would later shape my skateboarding career. Today I want to inspire kids from the Cape Flats and allow them the freedom to become a success, regardless of the odds,” said Lingeveldt.

“I spend many hours on my boards and each time I pick up subtle changes that would make the board perform better or allow me to go faster.

"It’s a process of becoming one with the board, not a mass-produced item that all perform exactly the same,” he said.

Lingeveldt shapes his boards from either South African pine or the invasive black wood and says that working with wood is tricky at times.

Lingeveldt explains that skating is a form of expression, and street culture is a story of South Africa. I want people to be reminded of the purity of skating, our history and how far we have come.

“There wasn’t much internet in the late 1990s and early 2000 when I first started on the idea of making boards.

"I had to find out from boat builders how they bend wood, from surfboard manufacturers on how to shape boards and from many others on how to work with fibreglass.

“I still learn every day and I think that’s what keeps me ahead all the time. Craftsmanship is about a story - about where it’s from, who made it, the drive and passion, and the experience that you have as a consumer of that hand-crafted item.”

With the collaboration series by Three Ships Whisky, focusing on exceptional South Africans, Lingeveldt has crafted a product from wood similar to how the range of the world award-winning whisky is made at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington.

Lingeveldt’s creative spirit and hard work fits in perfectly with the collaboration series of Three Ships Whisky featuring a number of inspirational and tenacious South Africans digitally.

The “Made Exceptional, Made Here” campaign visually portrays the story of Three Ships Whisky’s success coming from a country that in the traditional sense was never destined to make whisky and to celebrate those South Africans who, with a sense of pride, had the courage to do things differently.

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