Hi there, my name is Andréa Katzeff, born and bred within the Mother City, Cape Town (South Africa). At the tender age of ten I was in a gruesome go-karting accident where my hair got caught in the axel of a go-cart and ripped most of my scalp off. I do not remember feeling any pain however, I know that at the time I did experience a lot of pain but it subsided from the shock.
I lost just over half of the blood in my body and suffered a minor back injury due to the snapping back of my neck as the axel ripped at my hair. I spent a full month in hospital as well as an extra six months in and out. I underwent 23 operations which mainly consisted of skin grafts and neuron repair, as most of my veins and arteries were tangled, ripped and severed. The doctors managed to do an incredible job at grafting skin from my buttocks to my head. Unfortunately my body rejected the re-graft of what was left of my original scalp as the arteries and veins were far too damaged. Because I have no scalp and no hair follicles I have to wear what is known as a ‘hair system’. It’s similar to a wig but just a lot more complex in that it’s molded, measured and designed specifically for me. I could be rocking a 70’s fro, or simply strutting about in wavy brunette locks.
That being said, I am now 20 years old and an avid longboarder.
I have always been passionate about skateboarding, since I was about 8 years of age. I have endured many bails, falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, roasties and concussions but absolutely NOTHING will keep me off of my longboard. Even when I was recovering in hospital my mother would bring me surf and skate magazines to keep me entertained. It’s a true passion of mine which will never fade. It’s something I do to keep active, healthy and fit as well as to socialize with others and to meet new people. Longboarding has helped me stay a positive person and kept me from stooping into the deep dark hole of negativity. It’s something that constantly excites me and never fails to leave me with a stoked grin across my face. Nothing quite beats the adrenaline rush of plummeting down a hill at however many km/h and punting out a stylish slide only to come back into a tuck, gain more speed and nail the same slide at the upcoming bend.
I plan to start racing in the new year, I have even managed to hook myself up with a customized pair of leathers from a local company, Gaztexte. I have been generously given equipment from another local company, Peg, who provide as a mini-sponsorship until I start racing/dominating in racing. Hopefully I will be travelling the world, meeting incredible people and skating with the best of the best whilst living the dream of becoming a professional rider.
My advice to any other skaters out there, just keep on keeping on.