“The bigger the hill the better.”
At the tender age of 16, an impressionable Dec’io Lourenc’o saw a group of kids skating down Glen Road. The boys were the SPUs, a skateboarding crew from Sea Point, and like any teenager, Dec’io wanted a piece of the action. That’s when he got his first set of wheels, and by the end of the month he was skating the notoriously steep Glen Road. It was 2004, and Dec’io has been cheating death and annoying drivers ever since.
We recently posted two videos of Lourenc’o skating down Glen Road and Kloof Nek Road , but those were only two of the four hill skates of that day’s filming. The video above is hot off the editing desk, and features the Dal Road skate from that day.
Dec’io films his runs in partnership with videographer and skating enthusiast, Andrew Roux, with whom Dec’io says he has formed a “beautiful relationship”.
In the days since his run down Kloof Nek road in Cape Town, the danger of Lourenc’o’s actions have become a national talking point. 2oceansvibe caught up with Dec’io over the phone, to clarify his views on his sport.
What do you say to people who claim you’re endangering your life, and the lives of motorists?
Um, I think people who dont understand are not fully aware of my capabilities. It is a misunderstanding. Me and my fellow skaters know how to control our boards. Them not knowing is what causes them to think I’m endangering others. If they were to realise my capabilities they would understand.
I am a professional downhill skater, and have been training for very long, so falling is not in my head. I feel safe in that moment. I can understand other people who don’t understand the sport. I am totally in control, and with control comes safety.
How do you keep safe when skating down hill?
Protective gear, and also being aware of other cars and other drivers. I wont alow myself to get in a situation where I dont have enough space between a car. I am always prepared. Only in competitions do I push myself. The video [link] is quite a chilled run. I was skating within limitations.
How does Andrew film you, is he in a car?
Yes, but he is also a skateboarder too. What we’re going to do next is a video of me skating with a cyclist, to help people to realise and see that there’s no difference between a cyclist and a skateboard.
Have you ever gotten in trouble with the city for your skating?
No, when I’ve skated before an officer has told me to get off the road. So I said okay officer, can I skate on pavement? No? Okay officer. When he leaves, I just skate gain. Some guys are really nice, and some are old school and they cant understand it.
Why should skateboarders have the right to use public roads?
Because we’re just like a bike. If they have a right, why cant we?
It’s a mode of transport.
We skate in the street, we don’t skate parks. If they wanted to make a big enough area for us to skate, they’d have to tar table mountain. We create exactly the same level of danger that a cyclist does, no more.
Lourenc’o plans to keep skating intense hills and capture them on video, while continuing his final year of studies in Art Direction at Red & Yellow. He’s hoping to land a job at a local ad agency next year. Keep your eyes on YouTube because more videos are coming.
The obvious question is, why not go pro?
Dec’io cites Red Bull’s decision to pull sponsorship for the sport in 2004 as a major reason for why the sport isn’t a viable career option – despite the abundance of skateable hills around the Cape.
Since 2004, Dec’io says that the number of downhill skaters in Cape Town has increased from a paltry 30, to 130 present day. As the popularity of the sport grows, and the viability of it as a televised spectacle becomes more obvious, brands might be clamouring to get a piece of the action in the near future.
Will Dec’io be there? Let’s hope so.
TUNE IN to the Just Josie show on 2oceansvibe Radio tomorrow to hear a live interview with Dec’io Lourenc’o.
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