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Olympians shine bright at national skateboard tournament


In a captivating showdown, two Olympians, Boipelo Awuah from Kimberley and Johannesburg’s own Brandon Valjalo, reaffirmed their status as skateboarding icons by securing top honours in the women’s and men’s divisions, respectively.

Seen from left are the female winners of the 2023 Street Lines Skate Tournament: Natalie Bramley, Boipelo Awuah and Caitey Karagiannidis. Picture: Supplied, Grant Mclachlan

THE THIRD instalment of the highly-anticipated Street Lines Skate Tournament unfolded this past Saturday, marking the end of September. Proudly presented by LW Mag and powered by Dragon Energy Drink in collaboration with Dickies, Garmin, and GoPro, this thrilling event took place at Pretoria’s renowned Thrashers Skatepark.

In a captivating showdown, two Olympians, Boipelo Awuah from Kimberley and Johannesburg’s own Brandon Valjalo, reaffirmed their status as skateboarding icons by securing top honours in the women’s and men’s divisions, respectively.

Seventy accomplished skateboarders, comprising 20 women and 50 men, gathered at Thrashers Skatepark from various corners of Africa to test their skills. Under ideal weather conditions, these athletes navigated intense qualifying rounds, all striving to accumulate enough points to earn a coveted spot in the finals. This year’s competition reached unprecedented heights as skaters showcased their skills for a piece of the impressive R50,000 prize purse, cutting-edge Garmin Instinct 2X smartwatches, and stylish Dickies apparel.

Qualifying rounds featured each skater executing two heart-pounding 45-second runs, with the highest-scoring run considered. The finals raised the stakes, with each participant delivering two 45-second runs and four Best Trick attempts. Judges scrutinised each performance, evaluating factors like consistency, difficulty, style, and creative use of the park to determine the top contenders advancing to the finals.

In the women’s division, the defending Street Lines champion, Boipelo Awuah, secured victory for the third consecutive time. Her masterful park utilisation, coupled with unwavering consistency and technical tricks, set her apart. The battle for second place unfolded fiercely between Natalie Bramley, also from Kimberley, and the remarkable Caitey Karagiannidis from Johannesburg, who impressed all with her remarkable progress over the past year.

Ultimately, Bramley claimed second place, while Karagiannidis rounded off the podium in third, showcasing women’s skateboarding talent remarkably.

Following 10 exhilarating heats of qualifying rounds in the men’s division, the final 15 skaters took centre stage. Moses Adams, the defending 2022 Street Lines champion from Cape Town, demonstrated superb form throughout the day. However, a few uncharacteristic mistakes in his final runs pushed him out of contention for the top spot.

Adams did secure a commendable third-place finish, bolstered by decent scoring in best trick attempts. Thalente Biyela, also from Cape Town, electrified the crowd with high-impact runs and an awe-inspiring 360-air best trick over the box jump, earning himself second place.

Making his return to competition after a stint overseas, Brandon Valjalo, competing in Street Lines for the first time, clinched the overall victory with flawless runs teeming with technical finesse.

The day concluded with a thrilling Best Trick jam, where a multitude of skaters showcased their skills during a 20-minute jam session down the stair set featuring rails and hubbas.

Amidst the chaos, Kyle Keshwa emerged triumphant with a backside 270 frontside lipslide, earning him the Best Trick title and a coveted GoPro Hero 11 Mini.

Ryan van der Spuy, the mastermind behind Street Lines, expressed his admiration for the event’s evolution, stating, “Street Lines continues to grow from strength to strength, and I was hugely impressed not only with the calibre of skaters competing this year but also the progression. This event is for skaters, for skateboarding, and our focus is to grow and push the development of this amazing sport in our country.

“A heartfelt thank you goes out to all involved, the competing athletes, and our event partners for making the 2023 edition the success it was. We can’t wait to see what 2024 holds.”

2023 Street Lines Skate Tournament Results:


Boipelo Awuah: 28.00

Natalie Bramley: 26.50

Caitey Karagiannidis, 25.00

Janine Louw, 21.00

Thabiso Mashiyakgomo, 10.00

Thato Moet: 4.50

Lindi Jane, 3.00


Brandon Valjalo: 46.80

Thalente Biyela: 45.20

Moses Adams, 41.20

Kyle Keshwa: 35.00

Ashton Banwell: 34.50

Terrence Khumalo: 32.80

Karl van Antwerp, 32.30

Marcelino Rodrigues: 31.70

Siye Matshalilange: 31.50

Jean-Marc Johannes, 31.30

Devandre Galant, 30.30

Byron Rhoda, 25.00

Ashwyne Dames, 21.00

Shongani Mhlongo: 9.70

Henjinaldo Saaiman: 9.30

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