Skateboarder, photographer and owner of Alpha Longboards, Kent Lingeveldt lives for the sound of polyurethane wheels scraping tar. Skateboarding is his passion, and it is his love for the lifestyle that has informed his life path. CTE.com chats to him about his longboards, and the skating scene in Cape Town.
How did Alpha Longboards start?
Alpha Longboards started in 2000. To be more competitive in the downhill skateboard racing scene, I needed to skate on a longer board and couldn’t afford the imported brands available at the time. That’s how it all started. I went to a hardware store and bought a cheap piece of off-cut plywood and cut out my first board. Some of my mates were in the same financial position and also needed longer boards, so I started playing around with concave and fiberglassing and they ordered some for themselves. I can safely say that Alpha Longboards are now skated on every continent around the world.
Tell us a bit about your company…
‘Alpha’, meaning the beginning, represents the beginning of a new stage of life, the beginning of attaining a goal, the beginning of seeing the world and your life in a new way, and more importantly, opening yourself up to a culture that has always had expression of freedom at its core. I see Alpha as a representation of an alternative to a ‘set out’ life. It shows that you can make a living from what you love and take it as far as you can dream it.
What differentiates your longboards from others?
With regards to board shapes and design, my boards are not that different to others out there. Where I am unique, along with a few other board companies around the world, is that we custom-shape specifically for the client, all the way down to the artwork. I work with a handful of notable local artists; Khaya Witbooi, Atang Tshikare, Nardstar, Mr Fuzzy Slippers and Kaylin Carollisen, to name a few. All this adds to the custom board process.
Where in Cape Town are you based?
How has the business grown since you started?
For the first decade of the 2000s there was almost no scene in Cape Town, which made the start of Alpha Longboards a tough struggle. There was never anything else I was going to do for ‘work’, so I kept at it. The worldwide longboard boom has seen Alpha grow, and because I have been there from day one, my reputation and brand was established already. I was able to move to a bigger workshop (that I share with close friend and furniture-maker Cameron Barnes), and with this I’m able to increase my productivity and experiment, as well as have a small showroom and store for clients.
Describe the skating culture of Cape Town.
People are starting to skate on everything – street, longboard, ramp. With more skateparks popping up around the wider Cape Town area, there is a growth not only in numbers, but also in quality of street skating.
There’re a handful of awesome local street-deck companies like Funisu and Plankie holding down the local scene and helping to grow it, with social media platforms like Africa Skate spreading the stoke online and the Cape Flats skate crew 20SK8 promoting positivity through skateboarding. All in all, the scene is growing and in good hands across the board (excuse the pun), and we can only go up and up from here.
Photography and video Rory Keohane/HSMimages.co.za