A sport with addictivity.
Standing at over six feet tall, 27-year-old Charl Jensel wears a broad smile and an afro hairstyle. Five minutes into our conversation, he’s grinning, cracking jokes and appearing to be content and motivated by the sport he loves. “When you set foot on a skateboard you want to do something”, he enthuses. “You see an amazing trick and you want to do it yourself. That creates goals in you, man. You get addicted to it and there’s no going back to your old life”. The old life Charl speaks about was tough. He grew up in Cape Flats in South Africa’s Western Cape and, like many of the youngsters around him, staying in school was a struggle. He found himself mixing with the wrong crowd, dropping out of education and falling into trouble.
“In my community today, kids drop out of school like nothing you could imagine”, he says. “Drugs and gangs rule the streets. They’re the most dominant role models encouraging kids to do negative things”.