In South African culture, a laaitie is described in general as someone who is younger than oneself or compared to oneself as younger in experience or intellectual ability. (More on that word here). The Kimberlaaities Tour was a youth cross-country skate trip that went down on 3-9 July, 2014. KDC’s skatepark staff was given the difficult task of selecting five Kimberley skaters to travel South Africa for the trip of a lifetime. All of these kids have been at the skatepark since day one. All rippers and awesome kids in their own right, the Kimberlaaities each have something unique to bring to the table. Here’s a short description and introduction to the members of the Kimberlaaities Tour.
Stay tuned for more content from the tour to drop within the next week!
15 year old Theo Setsetse is a skate rat, through and through. Originally from Gabarone, Botswana, Theo immigrated to Kimberley in 2012 for boarding school with the skatepark as his main motivation behind the move. Theo has gained recognition for his incredibly smooth style and deep bag of flatground tricks. Ask anyone in Kimberley who is most feared in a game of skate, and more than likely, Theo is the guy. Only speaking when spoken to, Theo lets his skating do the talking.
Brad Balie is one of those kids who is good at anything he does, from what we’ve observed. Whether it be soccer, hockey, cricket, etc, Brad can probably do it, and way better than you. At 13 years old, Brad has made a name for himself in Kimberley as one of the top skaters and has even gained recognition from around the country, including support from the illustrious 20SK8 crew. Brad is always winning almost every local contest in Kimberley, and his true skill was put to the test on this trip as he was finally taken to the streets.
Will Meleng has an equal chance of becoming a comedian as he does a professional skateboarder. He is one of those kids who just loves to make his friends laugh, and succeeds 100% of the time. Will’s humorous personality also reflects in his skating. In an environment where competition is taken seriously, Will is genuinely having fun on his skateboard. He really has that thing figured out. Will busted his ankle on the first day of the trip, but still ended up being the tour MVP. Will just turned 14 years old on this trip, and I’m sure we can expect much more ripping and comedy from Will in the future.
Darren Joseph is definitely the big brother type kid of the crew. At 15 years old, Darren has a level-headed attitude and only speaks when he has something nice to say. Darren has slowly crept up as one of Kimberley’s most ripping, and his bag of tricks that will leave you scratching your head. Darren is here to stay in the SA skate scene, and we reckon he will one day be involved in the industry in some capacity.
Alec Balie makes up the second half of the Balie brothers. You can find 14 year old Alec at the skatepark working on his flatground skills, and most of the time in the finals of a game of skate contest at the Kumba Skate Plaza. Alec is also a skate rat who can’t stop talking about skating. His love for skating will take him far and we can definitely see him involved in the SA skateboarding industry in the future.
Erwin Lyon, originally from Kuruman in the Northern Cape, was brought to Kimberley last year to assist with the daily activities at the Kumba Skate Plaza as a result of his love for skateboarding and ability to harness the talent of the local Kuruman skaters. Erwin Lyon turned 23 on the Kimberlaaities Tour in PE and was stoked to explore his country for the first time. Always down to surround himself with skateboarding, it’s rad to see Erwin make his presence known in the South African skateboarding realm and develop his skills.
Martin Kotze was originally brought on the Kimberlaaities Tour as a photographer, but ended up tagging along as one of the crew as his camera malfunctioned on the first day of the trip. An avid cat lover, Martin runs local Kimberley clothing brand, Act of Boredom, and is one of the greater creative minds of the area. Marty is always bribing the kids with gear for landing tricks and stokes them out with the concept of getting sponsored. An instigator in his own right, Marty was a great addition to the tour with his ability to relate and mess around with the laaities. Oh, and he rips!
We’ve got more from the Kimberlaaities Tour dropping soon. Stay tuned for more photos and videos from the trip!
Words and photos: Chinner