Cover photo by Zai Nube
Tropical climate, sky blue beaches and lots of oil! Venezuela, home of the highest waterfall on earth and also home of some of the most talented skateboarders. Since I started boarding, I have had the chance to meet, skate and learn from what I consider some of the most original and soulful riders around. The growth and evolution of the sport have spread and increased very quickly worldwide; however, this time I would like to focus on what is happening in Venezuela regarding this growth and I would also like to dedicate part of this story to the female scene and how female longboarders in Venezuela have overcome the “male dominated” aspect of skateboarding which is gradually becoming history.
Venezuela’s longboarders are characterized by the variety disciplines practiced and the trick styles. These come as a result of improvements on roads in recent years as well as new skateparks built such as San Diego Skatepark, Caricuao skatepark, Millennium skatepark and Dudeland skatepark. These spots have helped many skaters hone their skills and develop their individual styles. It’s very common to see riders shredding the bowl with a 40’’ board in the morning and charging the local hills after the sun goes down.
Throughout the years I have had the chance to skate with a lot of these Venezuelan riders, and I can say that they skate with pure love. Whenever possible, they just grab their boards, and even if its only for 5 minutes, they go out and skate. I certainly believe this diligence as well as the increase in the amount of national events going has resulted in massive growth of our sport. Among the events, I organize an annual Slide Jam called “Bustin Freestyle Sessions,” and one thing I have noticed every year is that the amount of riders competing is increasing rapidly. The first year (2009) we began organizing this event we had about 35 riders competing, Last year we had 60 registered! This is great for the longboarding community and serves as motivation for up and coming longboarders to join in future contests and skate events.
Recently a small group of Venezuelan riders and myself had the chance to compete in South America to represent Venezuela in countries like Colombia (Festival de la Bajada 2011: Ramon Gregorio 2nd place, Richard Marin 4th place, Karla Meier Female 1st place slide), Chile (Slide Afuego: Victor Gonzales 4th place, Robinson Amundaray 4th place FS, Anto VLM female 5th place slide) and Peru (Tarma downhill: Micku Murgolo 3rd place). We’ve been doing work (having a lot of fun)!
Thanks to the input of the worldwide longboarding community, Venezuelan riders have obtained greater skill than ever before and consequently the integration of more riders and more disciplines. Downhill racing has become Venezuela’s latest passion among the longboarding community. During the past 2 years, it has flourished, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. There are a few National events in Bocono (Trujillo), Caracas (Dist Federal), and Barquisimeto (Lara) during the year that are dedicated to those who love high speed.
The growth and progression has had a great impact in the female scene as well. There is a noticeable amount of girls riding, and there are more every day! In Venezuela, many times, when I go sesh at the park or the hill I see almost the same amount of girls skating as boys. Besides the great amount of ladies, there is a ton of talent developing! These ladies skate hard with a lot of gracefulness and flow which is another reason why the gender gap in skateboarding is steadily shrinking in Venezuela.
Hopefully, this progress in our community will inspire more male and female skateboard enthusiast during the coming years. I especially encourage all the girls that longboard or want to hop on a board to try it and always put your heart in it because it will become part of who you are.
Photos by Irvin Diaz
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