Kimberley goes skateboard-crazy and celebrates hugely successful Maloof Money Cup
I’ve never seen anything like it. The fans were absolutely incredible. The people here in South Africa, and Kimberley welcomed us with open arms and we’ve had the time of our lives. - Joe Maloof, creator Maloof Money Cup
Sports-mad South Africa is accustomed to major international events, but the country’s successful foray into extreme pro skateboarding in the Northern Cape diamond city of Kimberley has trumped all expectations.
Kimberley was a proud - and extremely successful – host this past weekend of the skateboarding world championships, the Maloof Money Cup, an event that with its gravity-defying high-speed manoeuvres and street-skating tricks left the city delirious with excitement and completely skate-crazy.
Tens of thousands of newly-converted young and old skateboarding fans thronged the city’s high-tech skate park, many of them having travelled from as far afield as Pretoria and Cape Town for the event. Hotels were sold out all weekend, camp sites were overflowing and city authorities relaxed alcohol laws to allow for all restaurants and bars to stay open throughout the three days of competition, as skateboard fever hit Kimberley. A concert featuring Grammy-award winner Lil Jon and some of South Africa’s top acts such as HHP, Gang of Instrumentals and Kabelo Mabalane added to the carnival atmosphere.
The event’s creator Joe Maloof, owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the famous Palms Hotel and Casino Resort in Las Vegas, rated the competition venue - which he will now leave as a legacy to Kimberley’s young skaters - as the “best skate park in the world”.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. The fans were absolutely incredible. The people here in South Africa, and Kimberley welcomed us with open arms and we’ve had the time of our lives. This is an incredible country and we are excited for the future of skateboarding here and I’m confident we’ll see a champion from South Africa emerge very soon,” an ecstatic Maloof said after his experiment of bringing the event outside US borders for the first time paid off handsomely in the Northern Cape.
And the pro skaters were equally enthusiastic and complimentary about their time in Kimberley.
“This is my first time in South Africa and I’ve had such a great time,” said Gagnon, known affectionately as “PLG” in skating circles. “The people out here are so supportive to vert skating and skateboarding in general. It’s amazing that Maloof is leaving a perfect vert ramp for the kids to learn on. I’m looking forward to coming back out here in the years to come and hopefully have more time to just hang out and see more of this incredible country,” Gagnon added.
Hazel Jenkins, premier of the Northern Cape Province, described the event as a resounding success.
“By hosting this prestigious event, we did not only focus attention on the province as a supreme adventure sports destination, but it was also a great nation-building exercise. This event has really galvanized the people of the Northern Cape to come together and show the world what we can offer. We are extremely proud of what we achieved and I want to thank everyone who helped make this such an inspirational event. To all the competitors, thank you for giving us three days of pure adrenaline and the best skateboarding action this country has ever seen. Thank you to all our visitors over the past couple of weeks and we hope that we’ve provided lasting memories and that you return to our beautiful province soon,” said Jenkins.
South African Tourism was one of the main sponsors of the event and praised the Northern Cape Government for attracting the event to the province and also for staging it so spectacularly well.
“The Maloof Money Cup was clearly a huge success and has brought considerable global exposure from a completely new market to the Northern Cape. The skaters and the Maloof family leave South Africa delighted with their experience, excited to be returning for the next two years and as influential ambassadors for our destination. We would like to congratulate the Northern Cape authorities for the hard work that went into staging the event and commend them on the great success of the Maloof Money Cup,” said Roshene Singh, South African Tourism’s Chief Marketing Officer.
For full results, visit maloofmoneycup.com. To download photos from the finals, go to www.flickr.com/mmcsouthafrica.