Skateboarding for Hope in South Africa

New skateboarding enthusiasts learning to drop in at one of the Skateboarding for Hope Tour stops in South Africa. Courtesy of the Maloof Money Cup

In anticipation of expanding their skateboard contest series internationally, and building up to their first event to be held outside the United States, the Maloof brothers, founders of the Maloof Money Cup, have kicked off the "Skateboarding for Hope Tour" in South Africa.

The 10-month tour across the country seeks to promote skateboarding as a healthy and positive alternative to kids whose lives may drift toward criminal activity. It kicked off in early December with an event that included a skateboarding demonstration, instructional clinics for local youth and a giveaway of skate product. It continued with stops in 17 South African cities, and the second leg of the tour begins in February in Cape Town.

The tour will culminate in Kimberley, South Africa with the Maloof Money Cup World Skateboarding Championships being held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Joe Maloof, founder of Maloof Skateboarding and owner of the Sacramento Kings basketball team and Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, says he's already seen positive impacts of skating in South Africa first-hand. "I think the Maloof Skateboarding Global Initiative has already been a tremendous success. We're already starting to make a difference in South Africa with our clinics and gear donations, but also on a personal level with the youth there.

There's this great kid -- a 6-year-old boy -- he's amazing on a skateboard. All of the people in his village have started calling him "Maloof." He's been homeless and we're making sure we take care of him, making sure he gets an education and we're supporting his skateboarding so he has opportunities in life that he wouldn't otherwise have."