Fragments of South American Skateboarding
Since 2001, I’ve been documenting skateboarding in Latin America. Here are a few images of members from the skate families of Uruguay, Chili, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. The portrait is incomplete and doesn’t represent the scenes themselves, but only the little I got to know about them.
We begin the tour with a solid crew called the Daggers, in reference to the bad boys in the 80’s Hollywood skate movie. That’s something peculiar I noticed in Peru : the groups of skaters give themselves a name, which is unrelated to sponsors, although sometimes the crew names become brands. The groups are typically neighbourhood-defined. The Daggers are a mix of sushi, rock, tattoos and ultimate fighting.
Gato Silva, ollie. After trying to shoot photos twice with the crew, during the warmest 4th of July in history the Daggers gave it all and it finally came together. Montevideo, Uruguay. 4th of July, 2010.
Despite the fact that I’ve visited Chile several times, I don’t have many pics that I consider meaningful. It might be because my best Chilean friend is talented photographer Lio Muñoz. During our encounters there might be an unconscious photography truce (heretic or orthodox).
This is the most recent scene I’ve discovered: I’m still exploring it. Just as the giant sidewalks of the La Boca neighbourhood in Buenos Aires explain the gap skating of Diego Bucchierri, the hill topography of Medellin help understand the speed at which paisa David Gonzales skates.
This is the first Latin American scene that I discovered (given that I was raised in Lima I don’t consider Peru as such). Thanks to Buenos Aires warm welcome I felt at home from the first trip (December 2006) and have spent most of my travels ever since visiting the South American skate family.
If Chami represents the formal, Girl-skateboards type skater, Pitu Lopez is the poster boy for the Thrasher, skate-rock posture, a movement housed in the Bond Gallery, Buenos Aires’ tattoo, skate and alternative music hub. Pitu is also a legend, being perhaps the first Latin American skateboarder to have a feature trick on 411 video magazine. Frontside ollie by the river. Buenos Aires, Argentina. January 2007.
I call both Montreal and Lima home (I think of them as one: MontreaLima). That explains the extent this country occupies within my photographic archive. It is also the reason for the variety of cities and skate spots. No photos in the Peruvian Jungle, but the Coast and Sierra are represented.
Julio “Chuyo” Hernandez Palomino is the undisputed Peruvian skate legend. He is known for his empty pocket travels across South America during which he sleeps everywhere from the local’s couches to the public skatepark floor. Oh yeah, he is also a hell of a skateboarder up to this day and was, during the 90s. the reference in terms of the Peruvian skate progress. Backside flip in front of Cine Mirones, in my childhood neighbourhood. Lima, Peru. December 2001.
Ronald Gonzales has been Peru’s big handrail skater for decades. Backside 50-50 in Miraflores before the cops show up and a fist fight burst. Lima, Peru. December 2003.