“Remember not to brake,” says a friend before he accelerates innocently down the Cool Runnings Toboggan course in Durbanville.

As per instruction, this inexperienced tobogganist leans into the first turn with surprising ease.
“This isn’t so difficult,” laughs the rookie as he foolishly tempts fate.
He shoots through the second turn at 30km/h, but he is convinced that he is about to break the sound barrier.
When he reaches 40km/h it almost feels like he’s travelling back in time it’s so quick.
He might have applied the brakes a couple of times, but he nonetheless feels like he just set a land speed record.
His friend, who started 10 seconds before him, just shook his head while he waited patiently at the bottom for the tardy tobogganist.

Almost anyone can toboggan at their own pace, but the real rush comes from pushing the envelope.
This sport usually requires a snowy slope and a sleigh, but in snowless South Africa a stainless steel course is sufficient.
Cool Runnings is, in fact, the only toboggan course in Africa.
Some of the staff have been working there since it opened in 2007, so if anyone knows how to navigate through the bobsled-like course, it’s them.

TygerBurger discovered that most of the 20-odd staff members race against the clock when the customers leave at the end of the day.
They are a colourful bunch of individuals who constantly try to better their personal best times.

Richard Mupoperi has been there for four years and says he has gone down the track “a million times”.
“I still enjoy it! Each time it feels like something new,” he states.
Richard’s personal best is one minute five seconds, which is two seconds slower than rival Arnold Hatinawedu’s record.
“Arnold and Allen are my main competition. Those guys go really fast!”

Kyle Fortuin agrees with Richard: “Yes. The best is definitely Arnold. He has the stomach!”
Apparently weight is a tobogganist’s friend.

Arnold laughs shyly when he hears the others say that he’s the quickest.
“Momentum is important, but one should also lean forward and resist the urge to brake,” continues Arnold.
Richard, Kyle, Arnold have all had bruising experiences in their pursuit of perfection, so it was not surprising when Tawanda

Bundu and Michael Pietersen also recounted their own close encounters.
Michael is apparently the “King of Crashes”.
He explains with analytical certainty, “It obviously depends on how you land, but you must remember that you’re sliding, so you must continue your slide when you fall off. Keep your arms and legs close to your body!”

Owner Frank Unger says they get 400 000 visitors and probably see 1,5 million rides annually.
“Now that there is 300 percent more shade for the people they can really enjoy the experience,” he says before concluding that their main aim is to give customers value for their money – whether it’s serving food or appeasing adrenaline junkies.

It is a sport for both beginners and professionals, so make a point of testing your mettle on the metal track if you can spare R30.
In the immortal words of William Shacklespeare: “Toboggan or not toboggan – that is the question.”

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

Advertisements