adidas is proud to present South and Beyond, a video feature starring the adidas South Africa skate team.
Here is a quick look at the adidas South Africa skate team and their journey over the past 5 years:
The key to supporting any skate scene is to work with local skateboarders in that scene, rather than trying to dictate to them. You need to consult with actual skateboarders in order to understand skateboarding, and that’s exactly what adidas does in South Africa.
Pieter Retief was one of Cape Town’s biggest up-and-coming skateboarders with deep roots embedded in the local scene. He was going on epic skate adventures across Southern Africa, documented in the ‘Via the Back roads’ series, as well as producing features for Session Skateboarding Magazine. adidas saw the potential in Pieter, firstly as a team rider, but as time went on even more than that. Pieter was given the space to craft a local adidas skate program. Pieter handpicked select individuals to represent the brand alongside him.
Dlamini Dlamini is one of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed skateboarders today, both locally and internationally. He’s travelling the world as one of only two South Africans to ever be invited to take part in the prestigious Street League event in Barcelona, Spain and he also regularly spends extended periods in the USA, where he’s been acknowledged by global skate media. He also achieves regular podium finishes in all major local skate events. Dlamini proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you have the determination and skill then you can go anywhere by doing what you love.
Khulu Dlamini form Durban possesses both huge pop and an eye for awkward skate spots that are commonly found on South Africa’s rough streets. His laid back style and easygoing nature make him the life of the party at any given session. Khulu regularly appears in Session Magazine, in which he recently had a full feature and the cover to boot.
Allan Adams is a tech wizard from Cape Town, the rate at which he progresses on a skateboard is astonishing. Allan maintains a heavy social media presence, blowing minds around the country on an almost daily basis. He is proof that the next generation will be better than the last, and adidas is helping to support him in becoming all that he has the potential to be. By recently winning the 2016 ‘Make It Count’ contest and earning a trip to Barcelona, there’s no looking back now. Allan is set to take on the world.
Yann Horowitz, who originally hails from Durban, is a force of nature with immense power and fluid energy on a skateboard. He regularly features in skate magazines across Europe and rarely is there ever an issue of Session where Yann doesn’t make an appearance of some sort. In fact he’s featured on more covers of Session than anybody else. Yann has won numerous local contests, been featured in countless videos and even toured parts of Europe on several occasions, such as Belgium, and France with Familia Skateboards, for whom he recently turned Pro. He also recently received major international coverage with a heavy barrage of footage during a South Africa tour, released on the Thrasher Magazine website. Yann gives 110% every time he steps on a skateboard and his raw ability is awe-inspiring for fellow South Africans.
The team consists of like-minded skateboarders who make up a cohesive collective. That is a crucial point – a collective. Skate teams shouldn’t just be a group of individuals picked at random because they can ride a skateboard, if the individuals mesh well then it becomes a family who motivates one other to make things happen, to keep on progressing.
Supporting skateboarding is not just about your immediate team riders, it’s also about supporting the skate community at large, giving back to the scene and helping to make it grow. adidas has a wider network of individuals that they support. People like Craig Leak, an amazingly technical skateboarder who works full-time but skates whenever he gets a spare moment. Daniel Miltiadou a student from Johannesburg with masterful transition skating ability and Joshua Chisholm, who is regarded to be one of the gnarliest skateboarders in the country.
A key part of growing a local skate program is involving your team riders, working with them on a local level and providing them with opportunities to excel in their own ways. adidas understands the potential of local ambassadors and strives to support them. A big part of this involves local activations and tours, content creation that values local skateboarders and what they have to contribute to local culture. Getting financial support from a skate brand was once just a dream for many skateboarders in South Africa, but today adidas is leading the charge in supporting its key ambassadors. It’s examples like this that differentiate adidas and promote the growth of skateboarding in the country. Kids have something to look up to and aspire towards.
Led by their ambassadors, adidas have been on a real mission to document skateboarding in locations across Southern Africa over the past 5 years. Here is a recap of tour edits from the last few years:
The new adidas force on the scene was first introduced via adidas’ ‘Maputo’ edit, documenting the team’s tour to Mozambique back in 2011. Carefully crafted by skate lens men Adriaan Louw and Sam Clark, it instantly set a new benchmark for local skate video production. Skateboarders couldn’t wait to see more!
The next trip the adidas crew embarked on was to the city of Durban in 2012, in honour of team rider Yann Horowitz, who was a new addition at the time and who hails from the city. Again Adriaan Louw was behind the lens, this time with the help of Leon Bester. This is another inspiring local edit that has become the first reference for anyone travelling to the city.
In mid 2013 skateboarders were treated to yet another amazing local story from adidas, again courtesy of Adriaan Louw and Leon Bester. The crew headed to Port Elizabeth to document the city, exposing a plethora of amazing new spots, previously undocumented in the wider local scene.
In December 2014 the guys headed to Namibia, with a few decent leads but unsure of exactly what they would find out in the desert, the crew ventured out to see what they could discover. What they returned home with is probably their most powerful visual story to date. Adriaan Louw and Leon Bester have given local adidas Skateboarding edits their own unique flavor. Namibia was arguably their best yet. The edit gained traction far beyond South Africa’s borders and even inspired two international skate trips to visit the country in 2015.
Most recently in 2015 the crew headed to Johannesburg and spent a few days cruising the streets together, paying tribute to the newest team rider Allan and officially welcoming him to the family.
It’s an all skateboarder affair on the road with the adidas skate crew, videographers Adriaan Louw and Leon Bester are also life-long skateboarders. Adriaan’s vast video portfolio runs much deeper than just skateboarding, but he got his initial love for the camera from growing up filming skateboarding on the streets of Cape Town. Over the past 5 years he has worked closely with Pieter Retief to create adidas South Africa’s unique and distinctive skate video style, not only filming on all the trips but most importantly he also handles the editing. Leon Bester has been there alongside him making sure every angle of life on the road is covered, both on and off the board. These guys have raised the bar for local skate video production.
Similarly, photographers Sam Clark and Wayne Reiche have been there to document everything that goes on from a photography perspective. The whole crew is one big family on the road, a group of friends skateboarding and exploring what lies around the next corner.
The skate shop plays a pivotal role in any skate scene, they are more than just places where products are sold. Skate stores are meeting places where skateboarders go to watch the latest videos, see what new developments are happening in their city and where skateboarders can coexist freely with their peers.
adidas segmented their relationship with local store Baseline Skate Shop as a key core retailer by introducing a new event, an initiative that has since grown into a highlight on the annual local skate events calendar. ‘Battle of the Benches’ began in 2012, making use of two benches outside the store that local skateboarders hung out on whenever they visited. Pieter came up with the idea to invite local skateboarders from around the city, divide them into two teams, give each team a filmer and a bench, and let the team loose onto the streets to see who could produce the best skate edit. The winning team to receive heaps of adidas goods for their efforts. The public was encouraged to vote for their favourite edit online and the team with the most votes took home the goods.
In 2013 the event was even bigger, as more skateboarders from around the city got involved.
The events were an instant hit, each year getting bigger with more participation. Local skateboarders were asking how they could get an invite to participate in the next battle. In 2014 the battle took on a Skate Copa theme, linking back to adidas’ global Skate Copa initiatives around the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a football-styled battle ensued at Cape Town’s Civic Centre.
Due to high demand, in 2015 the event was opened up to everybody, it took on a betting theme where participants battled each other trick-for-trick in the hope of winning adidas credit in the store.
The latest installment in 2016 took on an ‘Away Days’ theme, in line with adidas’ new global skate video. Clues to the format of the event were dropped in special envelopes that were presented to each attendee of the South African ‘Away Days’ film premiere at a packed to capacity Labia Theatre in central Cape Town. It was a full day of challenges to complete across the city of Cape Town for each team and a race to the finish. Only one team could take it, and that was the first team back home to Baseline with their bench in hand.
The relationship between adidas and Baseline goes much further than simply events and shoes on the shelf. The crew is organically linked, a family of sorts. Today Baseline and adidas share 5 mutual affiliated riders.
The adidas South Africa skate team collectively represents the best of local skateboarding today, across all terrain. Progression over the past 5 years has been immense and there are no signs of slowing down now. Who knows where we’ll be in the next 5 years, but the future certainly looks bright. adidas have laid the pathway and inspired a generation of local skateboarders to progress even further.