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Tony Hawk skateboards with Zulu children on their home turf

Tony Hawk grinds the ramp at Indigo Youth Movement.

Fresh from his stint as a TV commentator for the X Games, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk flew to South Africa, then ventured to the outskirts of Durban and discovered a skate park in what seems the most unlikeliest of places for such a facility: a Zulu village.

“I can’t believe what I am seeing here in this community,"  he said. "It is one of the most amazing skateboard sites I have ever been to. The experience of seeing these young people from disadvantaged backgrounds is something that will stay with me forever."

Hawk is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy and was on hand for the launch of a partnership with Indigo Youth Movement, as part of a larger project to help young people in rural communities develop life skills and confidence through skateboarding.

The program also affords opportunities to learn English and math, and interaction with more advantaged young people in the area. Dallas Oberholzer who created the project eight years ago with an initial focus on promoting cultural diversity. "Having a legend like Tony Hawk land on site is further acknowledgment that we have created an alluring play place," Olberholzer said.

"With this momentum we are strengthened in our commitment to creating an awesome learning platform for all to enjoy, Oberholzer said. "As all skateboarders are connected, Tony Hawk has already impacted our lives; his accomplishments give wings to our dreams."

Hawk is an inspirational figure, to be sure. Hopefully the kids picked up a few new tricks.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Tony Hawk grinds the ramp at Indigo Youth Movement. Credit: Patrick Royal / Laureus 

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Comments (7)

Well done Dallas! Myself, Sean Mann and the late David Holloway (the V-town crew) enjoyed skating with Dallas in the 80's/90's and to see him still at it and doing things like this makes me proud!.

Andrew, you probably won't see this but if you do here's some tips. Skate fast, skate smooth, feel your board and the cement under your wheels and move like you and the board are one, that's the trick, be smooth. But the most important thing is to HAVE FUN, skate the way that you enjoy most. If you want to do tricks keep practicing and they'll come, you'll get them.

my name is andrew i am 9 yers old i need help doing skills i no how to skat but dont no how to do skills i need your addvise plz thank you

But you see that is the problem with big name US sports and athletes these days. Take a look at this Laureus organization Tony is with, they go all over the place and do all sorts of charity stuff. The problem? While there are some other Americans on there and some big names, you find that they tend to come from INDIVIDUAL sports, while the Europeans and others come from all sorts of sports individual and team. One can surmise from this that the big name US team athletes, especially of the last generation or two are just out for themselves and don't care about giving anything back. The funny thing of course is that a big name European soccer player or car driver will be swamped everywhere he goes in the world outside the US, while the majority of big name US team athletes may be swamped in the US, but could not get a cup of coffee anywhere else in the world

It was so great to have Tony in South Africa. Thank you for visiting our beautiful country and making a difference in the lives of so many children here in Durban. I got to shake his hand at the Gateway Skate Park and loved the demonstration.

Put people like this guy, in these parts of the world, doing these sorts of things with the kids, and they'll have my respect. There are other much more important things needed, obviously, but this is better than exporting Coca Cola, McDonalds, or exploitive corporations. This is where you'll get a better understanding between groups of different peoples.

Why cant we have more athletes like this ? Its a shame that we pay baseball, football, and basketball players ridiculous salaries so they can go roid up and rarely ever give anything back to the kids or their communities (Unless forced to?) maybe we should start taking notice of the good things that skaters do (Google - "Make A Wish" benefit Houston Skatepark) rather than taking them at face value and making judgement calls on a books cover rather than taking the time to find out what's on the inside ! GO TONY !!!!!!!!!!


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