I got bit by a lion in Africa

Ok, fine, it was a BABY lion…but it still stung pretty good and left an awesome bruise!

So why was I in Africa? I was there with our client World Skateboarding Grand Prix, the leading global skate events management company, which runs the Skateboarding World Championships that were held in 2014 at the Kimberley Diamond Cup in the former diamond-mining town of Kimberley, South Africa (Phew! That was a long sentence…)

It was my third visit to South Africa, but it was the first time I was able to visit the townships and interact with the local kids at the skate clinics we hosted. It was an incredible experience to witness how something as simple as a board with four wheels can positively affect so many lives. World Skateboarding added a women’s event to the championships this year and some of the top female skateboarders –Elissa Steamer, Lacey Baker, Alexis Sablone, Kat Williams, Marisa Dal Santo and Alana Smith — visited two townships outside Kimberley  to give skate clinics to the local kids.  Hundreds of kids flocked to the dirt lot where we set up a makeshift skate park and it was incredible to see how many young girls quickly jumped on the boards and showed no fear.

For the first time, 37 countries had skaters represented in the world championships and I got the chance to meet some of the best from around the world:  Nassim Guammaz from the Netherlands, Tommy Fynn from Australia, Tom Knox from the UK, and of course Nyjah Huston from the US (I actually met Nyjah for the first time back in 2009 at the Maloof Money Cup in Orange County when he was 14 years old and had long dreadlocks — I’ll never forget him tearing up when he placed second to Chris Cole after coming back from behind and ending the contest with a PERFECT run. He has come a long, long way since then) — there were so many rad skaters there that you don’t see every day.  And superstar rapper/mogul Lil Jon was on hand to perform at the closing night concert, featuring the biggest bands from South Africa and an incredible fireworks show. It was hands-down the best skate contest I’ve personally ever seen. We’re really excited to have such an incredible client in World Skateboarding Grand Prix, and we admire their commitment to make a difference in the lives of youth around the world. We can’t wait for 2015 — we’ve got some exciting announcements we’ll be making soon, so stay tuned!!!!!

Check out the photo gallery below to see some photos from the trip.

The culprit. I named him “Bitey.”