Tomorrow South Africa’s premier snowboarding event takes place at Afriski in the Maluti mountains. The resort’s park shapers have been working around the clock to prepare the most varied and challenging snow park in Quiksnow’s 8 year history. Riders have been feeling out both the terrain and their competitors in several warmup contests this season in preparation for the crown jewel event of the season that will get underway with qualifying rounds on August 3 and the finals on August 4. A great winter so far has set the stage for a showdown in epic African snow conditions.
Quiksnow is really two contests in one. While the title of SA National Champion goes to the highest placed South African in each division, the title of Quiksnow champion is open to all comers. On the South African front, favourites Luke Dutton (Hillcrest) will be facing off against Dean van Greunen (Johannesburg) and Marcin Jekot (Umdloti) in the battle for the title of SA champ.
“Taking the win would be great but at the end of the day it’s about having fun. I enjoy competing but the best part about Quiksnow is having a good time on your board with your friends,” says Marcin Jekot, who will be looking to add another notch to his impressive string of titles.
While Marcin’s career has seen him dominate the local competitive scene for the better part of a decade, Luke’s win last year was an announcement that he has arrived and is ready for the torch to be passed, whether it’s being given or taken. It will be a showdown of experience and technical mastery versus youthful abandon, with both riders having the ability and style necessary to top the podium.
Other competitors to watch out for are Dean van Greunen (Edenvale), another young up and comer who can easily claim the title if things go his way, and Rueben Storbeck (Johannesburg) the chief park engineer responsible for building the kickers and rails that make up the Quiksnow course and a dangerous contender in his own right.
In the women’s division Marta Jekot (Cape Town) is ready to defend her title. She has been virtually unstoppable on the slope and is looking to dominate the field once more, riding with the flair and precision that saw her compete on the European tour and had her in line to represent South Africa at the Olympic level (Slopestyle was made an Olympic event in 2011) until injury prematurely ended her opportunity. Brigitte Heeb and Vanessa Jackson (both from Gauteng) hope to be able to give Jekot a run for her money in this year’s event.
“Although Snowboarding is not a mainstream sport in SA, local riders have shown that if you have enough passion and determination you can hold your own and compete with honour on the international stage which is ultimately what any sport should be about. Quiksnow showcases the uniqueness and variety of South African sporting talent,” commented organizer Oliver Schwankhart.
The novelty and experience of working in Africa for a season has attracted many international instructors but the Quiksnow contest has begun to pull its fair share of top competitors too. 2011 champion Jojo Krivec (Slovenia), will return to defend his title against the likes of Stevie Bell, a pro from the US who primarily freerides and has made a name for himself through video as opposed to competitive results. Spectators can expect these international contenders to hold a master class in snowboarding at the highest competitive level.