Surf the Earth: Getting down and dirty with SA Mountain Boarding Champion Quisto Van Greunen aka Quisto136
It’s 10 am, as I enter a busy Saturday market in Hout Bay, Cape Town. SA mountain boarding champ Quisto136 (aka Quisto Van Greenman, a.k.a. Quisto Van Greunen), is sipping a beer as he waits to meet me. He offers me one, but I decline (though it didn’t seem like a bad idea, and I might have relented if he had insisted). Quisto is the man behind the annual Dirty Dayz South African Mountain Boarding Champs, which he has been running – and pretty much winning – since 2007. He’s in the Mother City to scope locations for the next Dirty Dayz event, scheduled for early 2023.
Words by bluntEd. Photos courtesy Quisto136.
Quisto, 37, first saw mountainboarding in an old blunt mag back in the late 90s and instantly knew this was the sport for him. By his own admission, while many of his friends were skateboarders, he pretty much sucked at it. So he got himself a mountainboard, practised, got good – and travelled the world surfing the dirt. Then he started putting on comps and became the mountain boarding man in SA.
Quisto reckons there is nowhere to skate where he comes from – the small town of Hazyview, deep in the bundu, just south of the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, where street spots are min and skaters hack to ride. So much so that Quisto – who runs a local backpackers – built a small concrete mini ramp in his house.
“Skate parks are tough to ride on a mountain board, the transitions are a bit short for the longer board but it was still shit loads of fun. I think if I put those street tires on, it would be a lot easier to flow around the park. Can’t wait for the next skate park session, it makes you think very differently about your lines and tricks you want to create.”
But Quisto always feels the need to bust large, and with endless steep crags around him, he always knew he was in mountain boarders’ paradise.
Dirt tracks, repurposed mountain bike trails, grass banks, rocky slopes, gravel roads, pine covered forests, natural gaps, metal kickers, SA mountain boarders hit it all – and hit it hard. And no one in SA hits it harder than Quisto, who launches far and high on his alternative craft, and will bomb any slope like a true demon of the dust.
Stoked to be in Cape Town, Quisto was looking for somewhere to host the next Dirty Dayz event and after riding several potential locations, including Tokai Forest, he reckons he found the ideal location, a dirt track nestled in the winelands near Stellenbosch.
The next day, Quisto hooked up with blunt and sessioned our local skate park at Eyethu in Hout Bay. After years of skating off and on – with a beat up board bad enough to win any worst board in the park contest – he stepped into his mountainboard bindings and cruised the skate park.
Wide, broad and built on an incline, Eyethu skate park has several high speed lines, more than ample for Quisto to pick an obstacle and huck an air or grind a ledge, with a few skate-style pushes for speed.
Several stalefishes over the small hip, backside melons and alley oops over the big hip, method transfer disasters to dirt off the side of the park, a 50-50 down the flat to inclined hubba ledge – and a few hard slams – he was sweating and stoked.
And so ends the tale of blunt mag’s meeting Quisto, having an all time session with him and his skater mate Brad (who rips) at Hout Bay.
Well, it actually finished with a beer. Or three. Schweet.
Q&A with Quisto136, South African Mountain Boarding Champion
blunt: Where did you first see mountain boarding? What did you think of it?
Quisto136: The first time I saw a mountain board was in a blunt mag from the late 1990’s and even though one of the dudes in the article broke his arm, I still thought it would be perfect for where I lived, which had loads of dirt downhills.
Where has mountainboarding taken you? What memories stand out?
Mountain boarding has taken me all over South Africa, from filming adverts in Cape Town, riding demos at Splashy Fen in KZN, to road tripping the Drakensberg looking for free riding spots. And in 2015 was privileged enough to go to Stuttgart in Germany for the mountain boarding world champs, which was epic!
What terrain do you like to ride the most?
Definitely the dirt is by far my favourite terrain to ride, like dirt jumps, free ride or a good flowing mountain bike track can be a lot of fun.
“Loads of people I meet think mountain boarding is super dangerous, but really it’s all about the terrain you’re riding. If you’re riding on a grassy hill then it’s really one of the easiest board sports anyone can try, but if you’re bombing down the side of a mountain then you’re looking for kak.”
What’s the difference between riding grass, gravel, kickers etc?
Well, loads of people I meet think mountain boarding is super dangerous, but really it’s all about the terrain you’re riding. If you’re riding on a grassy hill then it’s really one of the easiest board sports anyone can try, but if you’re bombing down the side of a mountain then you’re looking for kak. But for those looking to get into the sport I’d say choose a slight grassy hill to start learning on and once you’ve nailed a power slide, then slowly start looking for other terrain to ride. And that’s the rad thing about mountain boarding, you really can ride everywhere.
What boards do you use? Different ones or different tyre set ups for different terrain?
At the moment I’m riding a Dawid Rzaca Haero deck with MBS hardware and ATB bindings. It’s a rad set up for free style, racing and for the skate park. I also have a larger Tom Kirkman MBS Pro100 which I use for freeriding and the bigger jumps. I’ve got some street tires but haven’t tried them out yet.
How do skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing or mountainbiking etc influence your mountainboarding?
It’s hard to find loads of mountain boarding videos online to provide the stoke on down days, so definitely find inspiration from watching snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing, skating, bmx and fmx.
Any injuries? Riding on dirt is gnarly, helmets and pads and protective gear are mandatory?
I have had a fair share of bails but by far the worst was breaking my back at World Champs trying a double backflip. So now I wear a helmet ha ha.
“Dirty Dayz has been going since 2007 and basically it’s a gathering of dirt boarders, dirtbags and musos, for a two day mountain boarding mestival. Each year has been getting bigger and this year we had over 30 entries, competing in boarder-x, free for all and slopestyle events.”
How was your experience riding a skate park in Hout Bay for the first time? You seemed to take to it pretty naturally? What did you expect?
Skate parks are tough to ride on a mountain board, the transitions are a bit short for the longer board but it was still shit loads of fun. I think if I put those street tires on, it would be a lot easier to flow around the park. Can’t wait for the next skate park session, it makes you think very differently about your lines and tricks you want to create.
Seems like mountainboarding is evolving and getting a bit more coverage overseas lately – also the subject of commercials, tell us about your involvement there?
You can definitely feel a resurgence in the community over the last couple years. Loads of comps, podcasts and videos coming out lately. I’ve been in a couple ads for Nissan and Toyota, which was loads of fun getting to work with some crazy camera operators and stunt drivers. I also stunt coordinated for a reality TV show called The Longest Date, check out episode four if you want a good laugh!
How long has the Dirty Days mountainboarding comp been going on? Tell us a bit how it came to be?
Well, Dirty Dayz has been going since 2007 and basically it’s a gathering of dirt boarders, dirtbags and musos, for a two day mountain boarding mestival. Each year has been getting bigger and this year we had over 30 entries, competing in boarder-x, free for all and slopestyle events. We were able to host a proper national championship, crowning junior, women’s and men’s SA champions. So next year we are looking at bringing one to Cape Town and one to Joburg, so that we can give everyone a chance to join in on the fun and create a Triple Crown format for next year’s SA champs.
How has the sport been received, do you find it hard to get sponsors and recognition for what you do?
It’s been a long, hard road to get sponsors, but the last two years have been very successful as far as getting support for Dirty Dayz, more filming opportunities and just the general growth of the sport. The fact that most people have never seen mountain boarding before makes it a good marketing tool for sponsors and brands to get noticed.
The scene is growing, you mentioned more people coming into it now?
Yeah definitely. The sport is growing and with more juniors getting involved, mountain boarding’s future looks bright, especially in South Africa.
What motivated you to move the event to Cape Town? You reckon you found a spot to hold it next year?
There were a few mountain boarders from Cape Town that couldn’t make it to Mpumalanga for Dirty Dayz this year. So I decided to make it more accessible to those people and Cape Town is definitely a world class alternative sports destination, so bringing Dirty Dayz down to the Mother City just makes sense.
What are your plans for the sport beyond that? To grow the sport in SA, which is an ideal place with all our mountains and dirt terrain?
Well, once the Triple Crown Dirty Dayz events are set up around the country, the next step would be to set up mountain boarding centres where people can come hire boards to ride, get a lesson, progress their skills and have access to purchase boards and gear. Videos are always the easiest way to expose people to the sport and that’s why we try to do at least one mountain boarding filming road trip a year… that and it’s a kak load of fun!
What would you say to anyone wanting to start mountain boarding in SA or get involved?
I’d say come and join us at Dirty Dayz, the community is extremely welcoming. If you’re looking at getting a board the easiest and cheapest way to grab one is to check out Gumtree and second hand sales online, you can find boards at half price. Once you get your board, make sure you have decent protective gear, some fearless friends and go bomb down some hills.
Any shout outs or thanks to give?
I’d like to thank the mountain boarding community in South Africa, and it’s more than just the riders from the 136 Dirtboard crew, but also the people behind the scenes, the artists, the musicians, the track builders, the video cameramen (and women) and the photographers! You know who you are, you guys rock!
For more info email Quisto at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our gallery below for some more pix and YouTube videos of Quisto136 ‘surfing the earth’ and sessioning the Eyethu Skate Park in Hout Bay:
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