Dominican Republic: Do What You Love
Photos by Cathy Cat & Gab Sobrino
Since I was a baby I’ve heard my momma and pappa say that we must do what we love. Chase our dreams. It’s never easy to reach your goal, but every second of hard work and dedication you invest at some point is totally worth it. With that in my mind, I’ve been doing a lot of enjoyable things like ballet, surfing, photography and of course: SKATEBOARDING. Nothing like skateboarding…
I’m from a beautiful Caribbean island called Dominican Republic, where I started longboarding almost three years ago, in January, motivated by my valuable friends Miguel Cabreja and Ry Irizarry. These guys have been killing it since the very first day and invited me to join them. With their care, support, and instruction I dedicated myself to grow in this sport.
Since I started longboarding I’ve been privileged with the support of brands who have been stepping beyond my expectations. I started traveling with my wood and racing with only one goal: DO & ENJOY WHAT I LOVE.
To get better and better everytime, we started practicing our slides in our city, Santo Domingo, whichÂ doesn’t have that many skateable hills. One of our first spots was “Los Rios”, a beautiful residential area near to our National Botanical Garden, the place where we started our downhill scene.
Really quickly that spot became our hill of preference to practice every afternoon and sometimes till very late at night. The place is full of wealthy old people in their big fancy cars, which hated to see us skating their area. One day we were too many, “too many young criminals playing with skateboards” according to one old lady resident of the area. That was funny.
The next day we went skating and less than ten minutes later the cops appeared, asking us to leave the hill, because the lady called to report the sound of sliding thane, which was “abusive” for them.
We wanted to show the neighbors what the sport is, so we asked for a chance to do it, and some days later we, “Quisqueyanos Del Patio” (name of our Dominican crew) had a meeting with all the residents and the representative of the area; with photos, videos, and examples we showed them how beautiful this sport is and how good it could have become to the area.
Anyways… We were totally banned, hahaha!
After some time searching for the perfect hill, we figured out that the city was not what we really wanted.
With the desire of going faster every time, we decided to take advantage of all the gifts we got simply because we are from an island.
We started roadtripping from east to north, north to south, in the search of that feeling we all love: the adrenaline of fast skateboards.
Soon we found how much the Dominican Republic has to offer; we have some of the world’s top Caribbean beaches, an incomparable island vibe, energy that will make you fall in love, and of course BIG MOUNTAIN ROADS for us to shred, that delighted us with their perfection. Let me show you some flavor.
La Antena:Â Recently found by some locals, it’s located 30 minutes from home in a town called San Cristobal and, oh my god, what a place! To get to the spot you go all the way to the top of the mountain that at some point is no longer residential and has nothing more than a big power antenna that produces the electricity for the people that reside down there.
The view is epic! It’s a very very narrow hill with three tight hairpins and eighteen turns that make you droll when you go thru them hitting around 85 km/hr. And if you think three hairpins is not enough, let me tell you the best part; two times a day one car goes uphill to go work at the antenna. I’m not kidding: ONE CAR. You’ll be surprised if you spot more than two in one day full of downhill runs.
El GuaiGui:Â One hour from home we have this VERY FAST run located in La Vega, up north, which is a pretty sexy paved hill that slides smoothly to big wide steep turns that remind you to focus on your skateboarding and not on the perfect mountain view.
El Paraiso: Located in beautiful Puerto Plata, in the North Coast of the DR is a residential area that has brand new pavement and perfect palm trees. It’s full of steep and fast little hills to freeride and we hope it stays empty for a long time, ’cause no houses are built yet.
Named “El Paraiso” by my big homie Chris Rey, who called it like this after a sick session we had with the locals. He is still trippin on this place! I’m pretty sure there’s no other name to give to this little piece of skateboarding paradise !
La Lomota:Â A more active spot, full of motorbikes and pickup trucks coming down and uphill all day transporting locals, and fresh avocados and mangoes through its 22 curves. We have to be very careful skateboarding this hill (as any other, of course).
What makes this hill special is the hospitality that the locals offer us, it’s like no other place I’ve been before. So many kind and humble people stoked on our sport! So supportive and motivated to see downhill skateboarding grow in their area.
We had a race there a few weeks ago in August, hosted by one of the skate homies !
Having the road closed made me realize how blessed we are to have the support of the city council, our families, our skate homies, the brands that sent us swag for prizes and of course, the sweet locals that dedicated full time to help us have an awesome event. I raced to take first place in the Ladies Division, which was a magnificent experience!
1) Cesar Pucheu (DR)
2) Miguel Cabreja (DR)
3) Jose “El Loko” (PR)
1) Pam Diaz (DR)
2) Catherine Goico (DR)
3) Arline Barrot (DR)
1) Bori Montero (DR)
2) Erick Estrella (DR)
3) Richard Rodriguez (DR)
Our scene is small compared to some other places, but the stoke of all different levels getting together, traveling throughout the island, searching for the perfect hill, skating close, going harder every time, caring about each other, supporting with what we know and willing to learn more everyday… that shit is priceless bro.
WE OUT HEA!
Playing fast skateboards!
Pam is supported by