Skateboarding across South Africa
By Denise Dick
A Poland native’s hobby is taking him across the globe.
Mike Koroczynsky, 23, a 2007 graduate of Poland Seminary High School and a 2012 Kent State University graduate, has spent the last several months in Kimberly, South Africa, promoting skateboarding.
“My main job is to manage the skateboard park and hosting events at the skateboard park and throughout South Africa,” said Koroczynsky, who earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at Kent.
He works at the Maloof Money Cup South Africa Skate Park, a new facility near an old diamond mine.
The mine was believed to be the largest hand-dug excavation in the world when it closed in 1914, according to the company’s website.
The Maloof Money Cup South Africa — there are other Maloof Money Cup events across the U.S. — is a skateboarding competition.
The Maloof Money Cup was founded by Joe Maloof, owner of the Sacramento Kings of the NBA as well as the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, the website says.
Adrienne Maloof, one of the stars of the Bravo series, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” is also part of the company.
The facility was the site of the World Skateboarding Championships last fall.
While the sport has been popular in the United States for many years, it’s just catching on in South Africa.
“It’s really blowing up in South Africa,” Koroczynsky said. “It’s getting quite big there.”
One event, Skateboarding for Hope, gives out skateboards to underprivileged children.
As many children in that country don’t have a lot, they’re appreciative, maybe more so than young people in the U.S., he said.
“We have paved roads everywhere and places to skateboard,” the Kent grad said. “They have to drive 80 kilometers to get to a skate shop and they don’t have paved roads.”
Koroczynsky has been skateboarding for about 11 years and teaches South African children, some of whom have never been on a skateboard before, how to do it.
He’s unsure of where his career will lead but enjoys what he’s doing now.
“It’s easily the best thing I’ve ever done so far,” Koroczynsky said. “It’s going to be hard to top.”