Catching up with Dean Marais

Interview by Luke Jackson / Photos by Marcel De Andrade / Sequence by Rieyaad Saban


How old are you?


What’s your current occupation?

I’m a real estate photographer.

Where do you currently reside?

Kempton Park, Johannesburg.

Describe the current skate scene on the east side of JHB?

At the moment it’s mellow with a few dudes skating and keeping the good times rolling, there’s not much else going on. We’re a lot of really great friends rolling together.

Fs board jhb
Frontside Boardslide in JHB

Who do you usually roll with mostly?

Michel Joubert, Marcel De Andrade and Ashton Banwell.

When the Festival Mall park was around it was a hub for skating on the East Rand, do most of the guys who used to roll there still keep at it or have you seen a lot of guys move away from skating?

Ah man a lot of dudes stopped, I haven’t seen many people stay on the board. It’s kind of shitty, but a skatepark shouldn’t be the only thing keeping you skating.

Fs shuv West rand
Switch front shuv on the West Rand

How big a role does Skate World play in your area?

Yeah well for me Skate World has been a home for the last 14 years, it’s played a big part of who I am. I’ve seen lots of things come and go for that place. But it plays a huge part for the guys around here, it’s all we really have to skate if we’re not skating street.

There have been threats to close the space, what is all the controversy about and can you give us a brief history of the spot?

Yeah I’ve heard that so many times, but I don’t think anything will happen… until it happens. For a few years they’ve been saying it, but nothing really ever comes to light. The place has been around for ages, I was friends with the people that used to live there for years, once they moved out the place became open to everyone. A few homeless people live there, they keep to themselves though, they clean the park from time to time, other than that the place is really fun and it’s free. I grew up skating there as a kid so I guess it’s played a big role in my life.

We’ve heard stories recently about the cops harassing guys there, what’s that all about?

Dude for real, Anthony de Mendonca and I got pulled over everywhere we went at one stage. They grew to know our faces from the park and every now and then they surprise you with a search of your bags and clothing. They are really rude, Edenvale cops suck and I don’t trust any of them.

Bk side smith midrand
Backside smith in Midrand

You’ve been visiting PE quite a bit recently, what’s your connection to the windy city?

Yeah I love that place, my mom and brother recently moved there to be closer to the rest of my family that stay there so I’ve been making more efforts to see my family. I guess I’ll be going there a lot from now on, it’s really an amazing place to visit, but it’s my second home.

Who do you usually roll with when you’re down there?

The KBS crew they really rad people and I dig their vibes man, friendly people and very accommodating.

Nollie backtail backside flip out in PE

Can you give us a link to 5 of your favourite parts to watch that motivate you to go out and roll?

You also film and have been working on a part with the young ripper Ashton Banwell, when is that part likely to drop?

That kid is seriously good, if he keeps pushing on then he’s only going to get way better. I’m not too sure when we will drop it, I think we’re just filming as much as we can until we feel that we are ready. I’m stoked to be putting something together for him and Grizzly cubs.

Are you working on video projects with anybody else at present?

Not really, my homies and I are just filming and skating. I’m working on something else for myself at the moment, but no dates there either, I’ll just drop something whenever I feel I’m ready.

bs 180 kempton Park
Backside 180 in Kempton Park

Do you have any sponsors currently?

No, nothing for the last year and a half. I prefer skating for myself, it’s more rewarding.

Tell us about shooting these pics with Marcel De Andrade, were you on a mission to shoot a feature or were you just on random sessions together?

Yeah man I wanted to shoot something for Session, but I also didn’t want to rush things. I skate and do things while we go filming, but I don’t like pressure. But yeah it’s been fun, we both have lots of ideas and just go out and see what we can do.

fakie Ollie pta
Fakie Ollie in Pretoria

Have you got any final words to end this off?

Enjoy the moments and experience life, also thanks to my homies and everyone who’s been supportive in the last 2 years, you know who you are and I appreciate all of you.

Here’s a reminder of Dean’s most recent video part: