Skateboarding is back in vogue this summer. Our contributor, Shiffa, has just had her first amateur skating experience in Potchefstroom of all places! Here’s what she has to say.

I’m in a weird head space, I did not get any sleep last night, I’ve been celebrating! I’ve just wrapped up my performance in a play called Ubu & The Secrecy Bill commissioned for the Clover Aardklop Festival. I’ve been working towards this project for the last month, spending the bulk of the last 4 weeks dedicated mostly to this play, for one, it’s my first professional gig, and also, it’s a highly relevant piece of theatre – that’s another entry for another day. I just want to reflect on what’s happened in the last few hours, at about 2am this morning, a drunken me decided to try my hand at skateboarding, Bunny, a technical member of our crew has always been this gentle presence, throughout the process of Ubu and most of our limited social interactions revolve around his newly acquired passion, skateboarding.

Bunny got on the board like 3 months ago, but now this guy skates around like he’s been doing it from an awkward teen phase. He’s not showy-offy at all, he’s just so at ease with his board, comfortable, he uses it to get around literally all the time, even to run casual errands during our rehearsals, I think that’s cool. I like Bunny.

So after lots of wine and brandewyn & coke (Afrikaans delicacy) and the best possible end to an equally joyous and strenuous process, Bunny finally hears my half serious and mildly flirty pleas for a skating session. We get back from jumping up and down, sitting in circles at club Snowflake – a semi-coolish place that’s wasted on the people of Potchefstroom – to grab Bunny and his mates board and conquer the tiny hill that lay outside our place.

Scared shitless and no doubt incredibly irritating to Bunny, I try so many times but cannot move more than a metre at a go without squealing and jumping off. I’m drunk, but not enough to think I’m invincible. I know very well that I lost my core a bout 2 months ago from lack of gym. Poor Bunny maintains his cool, he’s thoughtful, even brought a coke bottle filled with water in case we thirst on the mission. Pep talk number six million and patient, kind Bunny finally decides to go down the baby hill without me.

Now I, alone in the dark begin to psych myself up, I want to try this thing, one of my besties Ann is into skating now, it seems to be on the rise back in The Cape – I’ve seen a good handful of hipsters skating around in the last month, its only a matter of time before errebodys doing it! So bloody hell why not.

Because I’m tired of rationalising, because daylight is creeping in, because I’m feeling like I’ve let Bunny down a little and I love but hate but love but hate being the weak girl, I step on that board. Feet parallel, right foot in front. I wriggle my belly to get some motion and remember to lean forward to change direction, no doubt looking like a fool but fuck me, I’m doing it! I’m skating, aweh!

I don’t get very far before things get too speedy and as if the board, – a magic carpet – is pulled right form under me! I bail. Like a fool and not very far from where I started, I fall onto my back, and the board slides away. Eina! I can’t breathe, this was so stupid. I’m a bit angry with myself and oddly a tiny bit upset with Bunny – he’s done nothing wrong technically, (pun because he’s a tech crew member) I can’t help it.

Seconds pass and the pain, while its still there and stinging isn’t nearly as bad as before. Now I’ve experienced the worst. The combination of pain and embarrassment that comes with falling and getting injured, it feels like rejection. I’m hurt but I’m not dead.

The board disappears. We search for what feels like ages before finding it. Time is running out. It will be proper morning soon and we’re leaving, I haven’t even packed. With this in mind, I get back on the board to try again, several times, without Bunny; he’s busy getting his fix on another more interesting slope – total addict. I slide off; I fall, again and again, and get back on again! It’s a liberating feeling when you do it right, each time I get a few meters further down the hill making more progress going a little bit faster, liking it loving it!

Suns up! Shuttles have arrived to pick us up and its time to dash and pack!

I walk away with a scabbed knee, sore back and elbows, oh and a dash on my jaw – God forbid! Not the money maker – laddered tights and a not epic but certainly not mundane lived experience that I actually won’t forget… I mean I’ve got self-diagnosed ADD but all I can think about is Bunny, the board and a random baby hill in Potchefstroom that has my a shard of my skin on it.

I might just take up skating and there are many reasons why I should; Bunny’s given me an open invite to visit him in Stellenbosch, my bestie is into it, so we can keep each other company on the slopes, I still haven’t got my licence, I could get around with a board, I can foresee this skating thing trending soon, yeah and it would be nice to be a quirky black girl on a board in Cape Town, besides, it’s always a skill that I can list I have when I get casted in the next role.

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