Who is Kent Lingeveldt and what is Alpha Longboards?
Kent Lingeveldt, 31, is a skateboarder, photographer and owner of Alpha Longboards. He 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. Kent started out street skating in 1994, in Hanover Park and when he moved to Woodstock a few years later, he discovered the joy of ‘bombing hills’.
He started downhill racing in 1999, at the first Red Bull Downhill Extreme in Cape Town. He is one of only five riders to have competed in all four races.
Alpha – The beginning
Alpha Longboards started in Kent’s garage in 2001. Unable to afford the longboards being sold in shops, he learnt how to make his own. When friends started asking him to make boards for them, he saw a business opportunity and grabbed it. Skateboarders are now riding Alpha in 13 countries on five continents across the world.
In 2006, Swiss rider Beni Weber was the World Cup Series Buttboard Champion on an Alpha Longboards buttboard. South African rider Russell Naude, is currently seated 3rd in the world in buttboard racing, and female rider Nikki Caromba, is the fastest female buttboarder, ranked 16th in the world for buttboard racing – both riding Alpha buttboards.
In 2009, Alpha Longboards launched its Alpha Art Boards Series. Since then it has worked with a number of acclaimed Cape Town artists including Roger Williams, Atang Tshikare, Khaya Witbooi, Govan Basson and Mr Fuzzy Slippers among others.In that same year Kent launched the Alpha Local Legends Series which honours South African heroes – these have included Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Mahatma Ghandi. He is currently working on art boards honouring the late Imam Abdullah Haron and MK (Umkhonto WeSizwe) soldier Ashley Kriel.
The Art of Shaping
What makes an Alpha longboard unique, is that each board that leaves the workshop has been hand cut, shaped, sanded and finished by Kent himself. Each board is also customised for a rider’s particular height, weight and skating style, thus making each board a one-of-a-kind piece. Over 500 boards have been made in the Alpha workshop, in the past 11 years. There are a range of 15 catalogue shapes to choose from, and there is also the option of adapting a shape or designing a new one with Kent.
Lazy Alpha Sundays
On a Sunday afternoon, the once-deserted hills of District Six come alive with screams of laughter, encouragement and the unmistakable song of wheels scraping tar. Riders draw white lines with polyurethane wheels on tar, as they slide and bomb hills. What started as a group of friends skating together has grown into a skating movement, with new riders learning how to slide, race or even simply skate. The Lazy Alpha sessions happen every Sunday -except when a Cape storm rolls in – and riders of all levels are invited.