My name is Kevin Cazal I live in Mauritius island but I’m from Réunion island I’m the guy who brought Skateboarders from Réunion and Mauritius to Kimberley Diamond Cup the past two years. Last year we won the African Street Skateboarding World Cup.
First the context of skateboarding here in the Indian Ocean.
There are three main skateboarding territories; Madagacscar, Mauritius and Réunion island. There are skateboarders in those three islands. The level of skating it’s relate to the level of infrastructure.
Reunion island is a special island in the Indian Ocean because it is a french island, that means we are politically, economically and socially depends on France. The impact in the skateboarding scene on this island is that we got definitely one of greatest skatepark in the Indian Ocean and maybe in all the region of Africa because we have the financial aids of France and because France already has a strong skateboarding scene with guy like Aurelien Giraud, Adrien Bullard or one of the most known Bastien Salabanzi who inspire us in our skateboarding.
The fact is Réunion island is not in Europe but because we are not independent we are considered as French in the whole world.
I started skateboarding when I was a kid like 12 years ago, I’m 25 now. When I first get in touch with skateboarding I don’t know why I was convinced that someday skateboarding will be recognized in the whole world and that people like me will be able to work in the skateboarding world.
Since 2011 I left Réunion island to make my post graduate school in Mauritius Island. When I arrived in Mauritius, a woman from South Africa open the first skatepark here in Mauritius. It was like destiny. Because I stop skating from 2008 to 2010 because of high school and a girl 😂 true story 😕 but when I saw this new skatepark in Mauritius I was like “Man you must go back on your board”.
I restart skating and I met a lot of skateboarders here in Mauritius it amaze me first because the level was not so good so it was like nobody to challenge and so just skate for fun 😊 I talk like this because in Réunion island we love competition it’s like man if you can’t do a hard flip or tre flip over ten stairs you don’t have the respect of skateboarders.
In Réunion sure we skate because we love skateboarding but we want the same shit as the European or American skateboarders it means sponsors and money for skating. What I have developed in those past two years is skateboarding exchanges between Mauritius and Réunion island. In 2014 the South African woman who is called Melody talk to me about the opportunity of coming to South Africa to attend the KDC World Cup.
After I saw what was Kimberly diamond Cup I knew that this competition could be a real good experience for riders who live in the Indian Ocean and also a great opportunity to get contacts or exposure in the whole world.
So in 2014 we were a group of 6 riders, 4 guys from Réunion (Damien Philippe, Lawrence Ravail, Laurent Gence, and I) a guy from Mauritius (Eric Kircher) and a guy from France (Vincent milou) the first year we directly did the World Cup and we attended a first good result Vincent and Lawrence arrived 19th and 17th (they both won 1500 US dollars). It was really unexpected and I think that this first year was like a test for us all the guys was like a bit skating only for themself represent nothing.
After the first year every body goes back to his reality skating in his town etc.. In 2015 and I talk with them and told them that yeah for sure they can win alone or we can win as a group. So the second year we went to KDC with the objective of winning something big as a group I didn’t t want someone in the group bright more than an other one. We skate well sure but guess what European or American skate better than us this is what I told them. Nobody in our region can be pro if we want it we have to leave here and go to Europe or USA.
But I told them I have a vision and Africa can be a good opportunity for us to be known by the whole world of skateboarding but we have to do something different and amazing. We didn’t know first that we will not as the 2014 edition attend the pro contest directly. Just for the story when we were at the registration near to the main gate they told us that we can’t do the pro contest because it is reserve this year for pro the first reaction of the group was shit we are here for that and we can’t do it wtf !
Somebody told us about African Street Skateboarding World Cup first. I was thinking in myself and I told them ok guys we are here to skate and give our best, the bordr who was in charge of the inscription for pro contest told us that the first 3 guys in the African contest will win their place to attend the pro contest. We were 5 skaters I didn’t skate this time because I took the place of manager this year and so I was in charge of everything. Their first reaction was they didn’t want to do the Africans because they didn’t consider themself as Africans for the reasons I explain to you firstly and they were like a bit scared of hurting themself for nothing because they weren’t prepare for that contest.
For me it wasn’t a problem I told them we are here for two reasons shocked the skateboarding world scene and get the light on us to say to rest of the world HEY WE EXIST AND WE CAN SKATE !! and the second reason was the money. Yeah we spent a lot of money in the flight tickets etc we didn’t have sponsors or nothing who paid us flight ticket and stuff as we need to improve ourself. Then the plan was clear in my mind we have to win the African to get in the pro contest ! fortunately for us there was some cash to win in Africans. I said fortunately because all of us (Damien,Thierry, Laurent and I) had a limited budget for the trip because of our social and economic situation. We put all our money in the flight tickets and in the transport we rent to come from joburg to kimberly and go back to joburg after the week at KDC.
But unfortunately during the pro contest after all the agitation and definitly the overconfidence that this victory produce in the group we totally made a bad performance during the pro contest. I salut only the performance of Thierry Finet who did his best and arrived 39th. Remember this the point of view of a team manager and a guy who really hope that someday as soon as possible we will have pro riders from Indian Ocean, Africa and also Asia (southern part of the globe) who will represent us in the biggest competition of skateboarding worldwide and who will inspire the new generation in the right way.
We want to live from our passion and cross the world with a skateboard and as a team.
-Kevin Cazal,Team Manager.
Salute friends. Keep going on with your project I really enjoy it…