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South African Carpenter Turning Skateboards into Sunglasses

Skateboarding in South Africa may be historically overshadowed by surfing, especially in a town like Durban, also known as “Surf City.” But for Dave De Witt, it was no contest. “It was colorful and it was wild and it was something completely different,” he tells CNN, reminiscing about growing up in Durban in the 1980s and attending local skate competitions. “When I saw skateboarding I was just like, ‘that’s what I want to do.'” Though his local skatepark shut down in 1991, De Witt never lost his passion for the sport. As he grew older he became skilled as a carpenter, and even started building skate ramps on the side. Then in 2012, a chance opportunity presented itself when a pair of his sunglasses broke; like any skilled handyman, he set out to fix them himself — using the wood from an old skateboard deck. The repaired shades weren’t the prettiest, De Witt says, but they were functional. People took notice, and “Sk8shades” was born.