If it wasn't for skateboarding I would've been part of something negative
My name is Verdon Chad Ambraal. I´m 19 years of age and I´m from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I mostly go skateboarding with friends during my free time but on some other days when the weather isn´t holding up well, I stay indoors and repair computers for pocket money. I started skateboarding during a time when I was trying to find something to belong to. I wasn´t that talented in kicking a ball or being around other kids who did these sports I could never succeed in. Then this one day came when I received my first skateboard, it had plastic wheels and a deck that was barely concave but I loved riding down the hills with it anyway! The feeling of riding was enjoyable. The fun part was that I was the only kid that could skate in my neighborhood, I was only 11 years old. I landed my first Ollie on grass. It´s crazy how that small ollie blew my mind!! From then, I´ll skate down the street and ollie over stones and that helped better my ollies. Kickflips are my favorite. I like filming lines because I enjoy the flow and its breathe taking and so fun.
Whats your thoughts on South Africa skateboarding?
I think South Africa is one of the continent´s big skate scene and has so much potential skateboarders but I also believe that its not the end of it. The skate scene here is growing rapidly but most skateboarders are just missing attention and get demotivated because there´s not as much in Port Elizabeth as in other cities such as Cape Town. Most of us wish to have more opportunities and attention in South Africa, not that we skating for fame, there´s more to skateboarding than that. This is so we get the right amount of motivation to go out and hit the streets and have as much fun as possible on our skateboards.
You´re one of the most prominent members of Kings Beach Skate Crew. What´s King Beach Skate Crew?
Kings Beach Skate crew started at Kings beach Skate Park. It´s the only park in Port Elizabeth and it´s the only place where all of the skateboarders will meet up to skate and film. The skateboarders, began to see each other so much that it drew them closer and they started skating the streets and made cool videos of each other that they started calling each other family. It is a crew that is always there for each other, through skateboarding and personal life. Kings Beach Skate crew is the only great thing I´m part of in South Africa. I stay quite far from the park, it´s about 10- 15 km.
How did you get on KBSC?
It´s through one of my good friends. On that day I was skating and saw this man following me with his camera and since that day I´d get filmed by him. He´s the one who put together the whole KBSC. He´s @rsaban_11 on Instagram.
Have you ever been featured in a video part?
Yes, I was featured in one of KBSC´s biggest video part called Out Lands.
That part was Lit! Have you ever skated a contest?
Yes, I skated quite a few skate contest. Most of them were local and others were in Jeffrey Bay at the element skate park. I´m not exactly sure how much contest I skated but its +/- 14. I won a few local ones but never won any in Jeffrey Bay. My last win was one of the biggest in Port Elizabeth. It was by Get Your Shit Together Skateboarding(@gyst_skateboarding) and KBSC(@kingsbeachsk8crew). This is when I became part of the GYST sponsoring program. They help me out with boards and skate shoes and I´m grateful for that.
How would you describe yourself, a video part skater or a contest skater?
I would describe myself as a video part skateboarder and my favorite spot is the Town ledges.
How often do you skate?
I Skate twice a week, because I stay far from the skate park and it´s not easy getting transportation to the park and it isn´t safe skating in my neighborhood because of the gang fights and robbery. What motivates me to skate is to get away from my neighborhood and forget about all the negative and enjoy the skateboarding. Paul Rodriguez is my favorite skateboarder and the whole KBS crew.
What are your thoughts on Africa skateboarding?
There´s so much talent in Africa that the world needs to see and take note of. What will help improve Africa skateboarding is building more skate parks, providing skateboards to those who cannot afford it and more sponsorships and opportunities for Africa Skateboarders so they can be noticed and have the chance to travel the world and meet other fellow Skateboarders.
Do you think skateboarding is a good profession to pursue in Africa?
Yes, I do think so.
What are your thoughts on skateboarding in the Olympics?
Skateboarding in the Olympics would be a good thing because people will start to realize skateboarding is more than playing on a piece of wood but it´s some people´s life and it´s what makes them the type of person they are. Skateboarding deserves more attention because skateboarding is the one thing that saves us from the negativity in our communities. If it saved me, it can save many others.
Whats a perfect day like for you and anything you´d like to say that wasn´t asked?
My perfect day is no wind, no rain and not too hot, just sunny with clouds. Skateboarding helped me deal with pain, it´s something which I can use to express myself and it´s the one thing that has made me a better person. If it wasn´t for skateboarding I would´ve been part of something else that would have a negative impact on my life. Photo Credits @rsaban_11