Lindy Taverner

SA nutters 'most hardcore'

2011-07-21 10:12
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

SA athletes are making a name for themselves as some of the most hardcore athletes in the world.

Legendary SA FMX champ, Nick De Wit is one of the planet’s top extreme sport athletes, having no fear or limits and terrifyingly pushing every boundary possible in freestyle motocross.

He became the first African to compete in the Red Bull X-Fighters, achieving fifth in the world rankings and fourth in two separate World Cup events and securing a fourth place in X Games Best Trick in Dubai.

De Wit and his personal selection of the best riders in SA are travelling all around the country over the next few weeks to enthral us with their insane, acrobatic FMX moves at the Red Bull X-Fighters Jams.

This event also travels around the globe following the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighter World Tour finishing in Oz in September.

Another extreme South African nutter, Pierre Carter is a seriously hardcore guy with a love for hard rock ‘n roll. He is currently taking part in one of the world’s toughest adventure races where competitors run, hike and paraglide 864km over the highest mountains in the Alps!

This epic race is the Red Bull X-Alps 2011 and takes anything from 10 to 14 days... if you even finish and can be tracked live on the official website. Only 30 international adventure racing athletes have qualified, with Carter representing South Africa. They will cross peaks and valleys in Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland and finish on the coast in Monaco.

Pierre has the manic energy, talent and fearless attitude needed to attempt an adventure race of this magnitude, and this time he aims to finish in the top 10. He is a humorous guy with complete passion and focus on what he does, and believes, “Live big and in the right now”.

Carter has extensive trail running, mountaineering and paragliding experience. A former SA paragliding champion with Springbok colours, he also earned provincial colours for cross-country running. He can withstand enormous physical pain and has a high, possibly nonexistent fear threshold.

Carter’s second in the X-Alps, Wits engineer James Braid, believes that the combination of his nutcase attitude and exceptional physical fitness qualify him for extreme adventure racing.

He has never had a truly bad experience, and doesn’t count breaking a hip after a paragliding crash, breaking a wrist on a climbing fall, his paraglider collapsing a number of times or abseiling down a cliff on risky gear at night in the Drakensberg!

He dreamed up a plan to be the first person in the world to climb the highest peaks on every continent and fly off the top of them. Photojournalist Schwankhart has joined him on this quest, called “Seven Summits Seven Flights”. They have successfully climbed and flown off Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia so far, and are going to attempt Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya in September.

I’ve been following the Billabong Pro at J-Bay with much anticipation. There hasn’t been much action, but there was the unfortunate Round 2 elimination of SA wildcards Shaun Payne, Sean Holmes and Shaun Joubert (note all the same names... weird). This leaves Jordy Smith and Travis Logie as the only South Africans remaining in the event. They will face each other in Round 3, hopefully in the next day or two, if the waves allow.

Smith is the defending Billabong Pro J-Bay champion and posted the highest single wave and heat tally scores of the event to date in his opening heat on Friday.

There are expectations of bigger surf for the upcoming weekend, and Jordy deserves the full support of his compatriots to once again achieve world domination.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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