Saturday June 4 did not look like a fun day to go skating. Clouds covered the horizon and an incessant drizzle of rain pushed along by a stiff Cape wind made the prospect of being outdoors highly unappetising. Fortunately, the first South African Qualifier for Red Bull Manny Mania was in a park blessed with a roof at Son Skate in Stellenbosch.
The event started off as a mellow affair with people drifting in ones and twos onto the scene, trying out the setup and rearranging the obstacles for optimum enjoyment. Once the competitors were satisfied with the layout and the judges had everyone in their heats they got rolling.
The mood gradually turned from laid back to focused and intense. The format is a four minute jam session between a few skaters at a time, and each entrant skates in two heats. It sounds chilled, but with only your highest scoring heat counting and the top 10 scores going through to a final, four minutes is fairly short time to lay down a handful of tricks and show off your skill and versatility.
The cream most definitely rose to the top. The guys that went through to the final had plenty of tricks in their bag, making use of all the obstacles and making sure they covered all their bases. Flip, shuv, switch, rotations, nollies, grinds and nose manuals in every conceivable combination.
Ultimately the judging panel of Puddy Zwennis, Adrian Day and Brendan Body picked the guys that showed flair and style without sacrificing technicality or consistency, and gave Moses Adams, Zuhandre Ysalie and Keiran Mans all expenses paid tickets to the final in Johannesburg at the end of the month.
The contest moves to J-Bay for the second leg this weekend, where another three guys will move one step closer to heading to New York to compete against the best the world has to offer.
Follow all the action live on Twitter by looking for the #MannyManiaZA hashtag.
Words by Dorin Bambus
Photos by Kolesky.Nixon/Lexar