Held at an extremely iconic facility in South Africa known as the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked professional skateboarding competition went down with remarkable energy and intensity among the contest skateboarders. This is a huge skateboarding contest in the context of the international skateboarding community, and gives the South African skateboarding professionals the chance to compete under the far reaching spotlight of the Red Bull competition sponsorship. The 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition was not the first iteration of this awesome skateboarding contest, but rather the 2016 edition represents the fourth go-around for the Unlocked event. The 2016 Red Bull Unlocked event was somewhat different than the last three iterations of this contest, for a couple of reasons.
One of the ways in which it was different this time around when it was held on December 18th, 2016 was that it marked a shift from the old theme involving the “unlocking” of a usually forbidden or off-limits skate venue, and changed into a new meaning of the “unlocked” phrasing. This year’s Red Bull Unlocked competition revolved around the theme of each skateboarder unlocking their deepest creativity with regard to their skateboarding abilities, as the format for the 2016 version is such that each skater is tasked with building the best possible line that they can muster.
Line-based skateboarding competitions like the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked contest function in such a way as to afford each rider the ability to execute singular, isolated combination lines that involve multiple grinds, flip-tricks, transitions, and any other maneuvers a competitor can include into their single line. These combination lines are taken comprehensively in terms of the way they are scored, with each skateboarder’s lines evaluated as whole and not broken down into each individual trick that composed the line. This kind of skateboarding contest is one of the most fun to watch competition formats out there, mostly because each skateboarder has to go all out to make sure they pack as much heat into one line, so it creates a really spectacular format that fans simply love to watch.
At the outset of the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition there was a field of skateboarders totaling 62 riders, making the initial field fairly large relatively speaking. With South African communities like Cape Town, Durban, Jozi, and others all offering up representatives to skate in the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition, this was an awesome end-of-year skate contest that showcased a skateboarding scene that many people around the world would not have otherwise been exposed to. The South African skateboarders competing at this event brought a lot to the table, and they brought a unique skating style that reflects the distinct communities and themes of the South African lifestyle.
Whereas some skateboarding competitions are quite rigidly structured and scored, the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked event was more like witnessing skateboarding as an art form; truly untethered, utterly creative, and offering in-the-moment improvisation and innovation. Due to the reality that many skateboarding fans likely did not yet hear of this contest, the final results, ranking, and summary of the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skate competition will be presented here now.
1st Place – Dlamini Dlamini:
Exhibiting amazing creativity and improvisational ability on his skateboard, Durban, South Africa native Dlamini Dlamini was able to secure the first place victory at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skateboarding competition. When interviewed after his first place win, Dlamini was quoted as saying basically that the competition was very impressive at this event, and it was tough for him to outperform them. At the same time, he also discussed his feeling that the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition represented an awesome showcase for South African elite skateboarding.
Dlamini also discussed in his post-victory interview that he felt as though this competition was one of the most fun contests he had performed in, mainly because he knew and was friends with many of his fellow competitors in the event, making it a very happy, friendly event that was filled with “fun with good vibes”, to quote Dlamini Dlamini. He also went on to say, when discussing his actual performance at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition, that he was very challenged by the fast-paced line format of the event. Dlamini felt that he was not able to plan his line out in any capacity, but rather he was forced to think quickly on his feet and respond in real time to any challenges during his line.
In this way, according to Dlamini, the line format forces the rider to treat skateboarding as a kind of art form, where creativity and innovation are critical if a competitor wants to perform well. Taking first place at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition definitely represents a massive boost to Dlamini Dlamini’s skateboarding career, and has given him a level of exposure and advertising that likely would not have been possibly without the attachment of a colossal international sponsor like Red Bull.
In this way, it is clear that Red Bull is doing some really awesome things for the international extreme sports communities, lending a platform and exposure to regions and places that otherwise would likely not enter the international spotlight. Hopefully this first place win will help to catapult Dlamini Dlamini into a higher level of skateboarding competition, and we can see him compete in some more high profile events.
2nd Place – Gavin “Moses” Adams:
Bearing a nickname which is reflective of the Moses Mabhida Stadium venue where the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition was held in part, Gavin “Moses” Adams managed to skate his way into the second place runner-up finish at this momentous South African skateboarding contest. Gavin “Moses” was one of the most fun to watch competitors at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked event, offering high spirits and good natured support and sportsmanship to his fellow South African competitors.
It was clear from watching Moses perform that he was completely comfortably and in the zone while executing his complex lines, obviously thriving off of the many friends and fellow riders who were participating in the event alongside him. Gavin Adams is a South African skateboarder who comes from Cape Town, and he was definitely representing Cape Town in a big way at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked contest. The South African skateboarding scene is an awesome and good-natured outlet for high level, elite skateboarding, and the many constituent communities in the area all seem to get along for the benefit of furthering their skateboarding abilities.
This great skateboarding community operates in stark contrast to some of the other big international skateboarding hubs, in the sense that other skate communities can sometimes have a much more competitive and territorial aspect to them, where riders stake out claims to certain spots and will not allow people from surrounding communities to use those spots. That kind of exclusive skate community is nothing like South Africa, and Gavin “Moses” Adams is a perfect example of the benevolent and open-minded themes that prevail there.
Contending with the extreme South African heat seemed to be no great challenge for the consummate pro Gavin Adams, who was able to prevail and take second place in spite of any and all adversity that was in his path. Like the first place winner Dlamini Dlamini, we can only hope that Gavin “Moses” Adams also receives a big boost to his career as a result of this great runner-up finish at the high profile 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skateboarding competition.
3rd Place – Brandon Valjalo:
Taking third place and rounding out the podium at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skateboarding competition at Moses Mabhida Stadium in South Africa, Brandon Valjalo had an outstanding performance at this year’s “Unlocked” event. Brandon was really fun to watch at this event, executing some really complex flip tricks within his lines, and also clearing some really impressive gaps within the progression of his lines. Although he did not perform well enough to win the entire event, he certainly demonstrated a very high level of skill and was able to respond to the improvisational dynamic of the contest in an effective way.
Brandon Valjalo comes from the South African community known as Jozi, and like many of the other competitors at this event, he was certainly interested in representing his own community in a positive light. He definitely achieved that goal via his performance, and even though there were a couple hiccups in some of his lines, he had some of the most impressive lines out of anyone in the entire 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competitive field.
That is why he was able to secure the third place podium spot out of a staggeringly large field of around 62 skateboarders that all collectively started out at the beginning stages of the contest. The theme of spontaneity was certainly alive and well in Brandon Valjalo’s line building strategies at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition, and watching him ride was especially fun because it was obvious that he was responding so quickly to the different obstacles and park features in play, for the purpose of stringing together some really artistic combinations.
Brandon Valjalo made his hometown of Jozi in South Africa quite proud at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skateboarding competition, who were part of the large crowd of fans who showed up to cheer on the skaters at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and People’s Park skate complex. Taking third place means that Valjalo made the podium, and this should help him tremendously in terms of publicizing his emerging skating career.
4th Place – Braxton Haine:
Finishing out the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked skateboarding competition in South Africa in the fourth place spot, Braxton Haine was one of the crowd favorites at the event, due in large part to his charging speed and intensity that he builds into his lines. Braxton is the type of skateboarder that actually thrives off of higher speeds moving into various different kinds of lines, unlike some riders that prefer to move a bit slower to achieve a greater precision and accuracy with their aim, tempo, and rhythm during lines.
Skateboarding fans who showed up to see an intense and exciting display at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition were treated to an awesome sight when Braxton Haine hit the course with his aggressive riding style. Although he might lack a little bit of nuance in his trick repertoire, he more than makes up for it with an incredible level of heart and fearlessness while skating. In skateboarding, hesitation can be an absolute killer when it comes to disrupting a line or second guessing a trick.
For that reason, it takes 100% commitment in terms of sticking complicated lines and combos like the ones seen at the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked contest. That’s where Braxton Haine has the strongest element of his skateboarding game, in the ability to ignore second guessing or hesitation during his tricks and combo lines and just improvise fluidly and without too many errors. Just as some of the other competitors were from cities like Jozi, Cape Town, and others were represented at this Red Bull sponsored skate contest, Braxton Haine was representing his own hometown of Durban.
In this way two of the highest ranked contest finishers represented Durban, South Africa, given that first place winner Dlamini Dlamini was also skating out of Durban. All in all, the 2016 Red Bull Unlocked competition was a super fun skateboarding competition, and hopefully a precursor to a growing trend of many more unique skate competitions internationally. Braxton Haine was yet one more local South African skateboarder whose career will fortunately see a major boost as a result from his high ranked finish at the fourth annual Red Bull Unlocked contest.