We have been making an effort on meeting some of the raddest extreme athletes in the country and bringing their story to life for you guys to enjoy. It has mainly been Freestyle BMX riders thus far, as we have a few friends ripping it up in this country. This time around, we managed to have a chat to one of the coolest guys you will ever meet, Charl “Skippy” Steyn. He is a Mpumalanga born gent who has some mad skills on a skateboard, being in the industry for many many years. He has been featured in many local skateboard magazines and is well loved by his peers. Take a look at the interview we did with Skippy…
Charl “Skippy” Steyn
• Give us a little bit of background on how you got started in skateboarding?
Well, me and my brother stayed in a small town in Mpumalanga where there wasn’t any skateboarders at the time. My brother got a board from my sister’s boyfriend which stayed in another town , so my brother and his friend started cruising around and he tried to get me to skate with them. I never wanted to skate at first until that bug bit me. That was a good 15years ago and I have never enjoyed it more…
• What have been some of your influences and inspirations to keep pushing yourself to progress over the years?
My brother inspired and pushed me a lot to try new things and just enjoy it as much as possible and not to expect more from skateboarding than just skateboarding and the fun that goes with it. Then also on the other hand, all my friends I have skated with. The ones I have lost and the ones that are still among us. It is always fun to land something new after struggeling for hours on end. Skateboarding is just what it is, nothing more and nothing less. I guess it’s just for the love of it…
• In your opinion, how is skateboarding progressing in South Africa and what do you think needs to happen for it to become even better?
Skateboarding is most definitely growing in the country, but only in certain parts of the country which isn’t always a good thing. Nowadays everybody wants a piece of the pie but no one really wants to put in a bit of effort to make it better for the next generation of skateboarders. Just thing about the now and what they can reap from it. Everbody must work together and think about what you are gonna leave behind for the younger homies to work with! Keep it simple and keep it pure.
• What type of skater do you consider yourself as?
I have always tried to skate a bit of everything, from transition, stairs, rails to ledges. I guess that is the thing with skateboarding in SA. You can’t really choose what type of skateboarder you gonna be cause the things to skate are limited, so you have to skate what you get.
• Who were your favourite skaters growing up? Who are they now?
At a young age it was Christi Wiehann, Alan Marola, Joe Steyn ,Loyd ,Sherwin Brussow (internationally), Geoff Rowly, Jamie Thomas, Chad Fernandez, Andrew Reynolds. Nowadays its; Christ Wiehann, Alan Marola, JP du Preez (RIP), Jansen van Staden, Joubert van Staden, Nico van der Werf, Hartmut Martin, Deon Fourie, Juan Smit, Yann Horowitz, Mosey, all the Dlamini’s, Simon Stiptich, Brett Shaw, Leon Bester, Dylan Vaughn, Unit (Craig Leak)….
• How did you get the name Skippy?
All my life I have had nicknames and when I moved to Pretoria this friend of my brother couldn’t remember my nickname at the time so he just called me Skippy and it just stuck. I prefer it over the old one though….hahahaha
• What is your best trick and what is one trick you are still dying to do?
I don’t really have a “best trick”. There are a few tricks that I am super stocked on getting lately like, backsmith to backtail bigspin out, halfcab feeble to back smith grinds , frontside bluntslide 270 flip out, also with a bigspinflip out. I love transitions lately and I would love to do kickflip frontside tailslides on tranny. Oh and I would love to do fakie 5-0 bigspinflip out.
• To date, what has been your best achievement as a skater?
I’m super amped that my body is holding up the way it is, and that I have so many good people to skate with.
• Being involved in the game for many years, is there any specific people you would like to thank for where you are today?
So many…..All the homies, with them skateboarding wouldn’t have been the same. Joubastard, Jansen, JP, Werries, Deon, Nico, Harties, Pienaar, Collins, Jules, Thys Lotter totter, Pieter Retief, Ian, Stu. The biggest G Marcel Maassen, My brother Joe for getting me involved in skateboarding, all my sponsors; Volcom South Africa, Plankie skateboards, Mud Buddies Griptape, Emerica shoes, Jamie O’Brian and Jonothan Channingal and al die honde van slaapstad my family for the support. My Moeder and my ladyfriend (Shawe van Jaarsveld) for keeping up with all my crap.
•Where would you like to be in 5 years, regarding skateboarding?
Building new things all the way for the younger kids to skate and for all the other skateboarders. Just trying to stay on my board and have as much fun as possible…
• What message do you have for any kid wanting to take skateboarding seriously?
Don’t take it too seriously. Just have fun. Don’t worry about sponsors, Just worry about landing on those bolts! The rest will follow!
• Where can people follow you?
• Lastly, if you could sesh with any 3 skaters in the world, who would that be with?
Andrew Reynolds , JP du Preez and Kenny Anderson
-Photography by Werner Lamprecht