High-res version

Remember the pictures of New Orleans post-Katrina by Jamie-James Medina we posted a month ago? Medina visited Soweto, South Africa’s largest ghetto, in 2007 to document the underground sport of train surfing. I remember reading about kids in Brazil practicing the sport in an early issue of the excellent Colors magazine, but apparently they’ve been doing it in South Africa for some time too. Medina writes that

“like skateboarding there are tricks that have variables and surfers with distinct individual styles/…/move[s] where one rides a top a train and grabs one of the high tension wires that power the train. If this move is done effectively it results in wild sparks flying out of the ends of the cable and little harm to the individual performing it. Like all moves, when it is done improperly, it results in death.”

You can see some of Medina’s pictures of the death-defying train surfers below:

“Train surfers balance on top of the train.”

“‘Baptista’ and ‘Tabs’ race to catch a train before it leaves the station.”

“‘Baptista’ cools off by an open door on his way home.”

“A surfer balances on top of a moving train.”

See all the photos in the Soweto Surfing series here.