Friday, January 7, 2011

Skateboarding in South Africa: Maloofs are making it happen

Skateboarding in South Africa is brought to you
by the Maloof Skateboarding Global Initiative.

Skateboarding in Afghanistan might sound odd. Yet today, skateboarding is flourishing in that war-torn country, giving children there new life in a place called Skateistan, featured here not long ago. 

Now comes a similar story from South Africa called "Skateboarding for Hope."

The Maloof Skateboarding Global Initiative in December kicked off a 10-month tour and outreach program across the Provinces of South Africa, which will culminate in the first Maloof Money Cup World Skateboarding Championships in Kimberley, South Africa, Sept. 20-Oct. 2, 2011.

First, the World Cup. Next, the Maloof Money Cup. South Africa couldn't be happier.

"The skatepark and vert ramp the Maloofs are building for this contest and donating to our community is a significant contribution that will encourage the development of our youth, by providing them with a healthy, affordable recreational activity," H. Hazel Jenkins, premier of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa, said in a released statement. 

"Having a world-class street course and vert ramp in Kimberley will also put South Africa on the map as a premier destination for skateboarders from around the world."

That's exactly what the Maloofs had in mind. Well, the first part, anyway, about encouraging the youth.

If the Maloof name rings a bell, it should. It is the same Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings.

But while the NBA Kings might be wallowing in last place, the Kings of Skateboarding are winning big time in the hearts of kids in South Africa. 

The December kickoff was to include visits to 17 Northern Cape towns over a two-week period, with pro demos, and skateboarding clinics and contests. Leg 2 of the tour will continue in February, beginning in Cape Town. Throughout the tour, underpriviledged youths will receive free shoes and skateboards.

From Maloof Skateboarding: "The goal is to provide a positive activity in which kids and youth can participate, keeping them off the streets, away from crime and inspiring a new generation of skateboarders, all while giving back to each community it touches."

No doubt, the Maloofs are making a difference. Today, South Africa. Tomorrow, the world. At least that's the goal. Joe Maloof has said they could "realistically have three to four contests outside the U.S. in 2012." How cool would that be?

In a post at ESPN Action Sports, Maloof talked about the impact of skateboarding in South Africa:
"We're already starting to make a difference in South Africa with our clinics and gear donations, but also on a personal level with the youth there.

"There's this great kid -- a 6-year-old boy -- he's amazing on a skateboard. All of the people in his village have started calling him "Maloof." He's been homeless and we're making sure we take care of him, making sure he gets an education and we're supporting his skateboarding so he has opportunities in life that he wouldn't otherwise have."
In 2010, the Maloof Money Cup presented by Vans held events in Orange County, Calif., and Queens, New York, where a world-class skatepark was built and donated to the community. It'll be interesting to see how far the skateboarding Maloofs go with this.

Skateboarding and the Maloofs? Go figure.

For more details, visit Maloof Skateboarding.

Thanks for ESPN Action Sports for the tip!

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  1. This is wonderful. I'd love to see also an understanding that by way of skateboard education, as well as teaching to switch push, kids world wide will come to realize that lifelong commuting is possible over daily distances of 2-6 k with great ease.

  2. I totally agree, Central Park LongBoarder!


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