The Underground Skateboard Scene In Havana | Arriba Cuba


Skateboarding in Cuba
is fighting. It’s survival, innovation and creativity. It’s about trying to skate with what’s available. It’s a sport that
makes you feel free. I get an adrenaline rush when I try a new trick. Even at 4am,
it looks like he’s skating because he continues
jumps in his dreams. It’s amazing to see how far this board with
four wheels has taken us, how it has given us motivation and has helped us grow
as individuals. (ARRIBA CUBA
SKATEBOARDING IN HAVANA) I started like they did in
the ’60s in California taking roller skates
from the ’50s from before the Revolution, and attaching them to a board. The metallic wheels
were very noisy and you’d fall off all the
time, but it was so much fun. That was the spirit
of those times. Cubans are fighters. We make do with what we have. It could take as two or three
weeks to make a board and it would last 30 minutes. It was crazy,
but fun nonetheless. Buying a pro skateboard in Cuba
is still impossible, there are no skate shops. These are things we need, now. We have to wait for someone to
bring them from outside Cuba. It is very frustrating. We receive donations
from individuals who organise small NGOs in
their countries to collect equipment
and bring it here, or skaters that bring
four or five boards in their luggage covering the overweight baggage
fees themselves and they give them
to us as a gift. Many parents come to me
asking where to buy one, and I have to tell them
I have no idea. It’s sad because skateboarding
opened many doors for me, I wish it could do
the same for these kids. Give them something else to do,
other than video games, or TV. We have mostly built
everything ourselves and it is all in
really bad condition, but slowly, with our money and the help of
foreign friends, we’ve put together a skate
park. When it opened it was
in good condition but then some people would see the iron panels on
and say “I could use this
to fix my car”, “to fix the roof
of my house.” We’ve built this place
ourselves but it’s inadequate. The floor is completely
cracked, it is in disrepair, so we go and skate
on the streets. We skate around monuments and this leads to problems
with the police but this happens because we
have no other place to skate. They think we are bad people, that we are destroying
public property, but it’s not like that, it’s just that skaters interact
with architecture differently and people don’t
understand that. If we had a proper
space for skateboarding we could avoid
skating on the streets. We’d like to represent Cuba
at the Olympic Games. I think it’s incredible, it could be a great opportunity
for some of these kids. The Olympics could be
a door to the next level. Participating at the Olympics, hearing the Cuban anthem and feeling everyone clapping
and watching. That’d be a new way to
show the world the quality of Cuban
skateboarders. The best future for
skateboarding in Cuba would be to have skate shops
where we could buy equipment, and to make it a popular sport. If you want results
you need to support it. If we had support
and better conditions we could become better
skateboarders and we could represent
our country in skateboarding. Because we have great skills, and we’ve fought to achieve
this, without any means. We’ll do whatever it takes
to grow the sport. My dream is to see extreme sports
become official in Cuba. Make a living doing what
I like, creating a school and
teaching kids how to skate. I have many goals
in skateboarding. I would like to see it
recognised as a sport, to watch skateboarding
on national TV, and hear people praising
skaters for their talent. We all want to be here
in our country and make Cuba proud
and an Olympic glory and to see these sports we love become included in the
national sports system. To enjoy new spaces for youth
to practise these sports, that’s basically it. And I think we are
headed in that direction. I just hope it doesn’t
take much longer.

16 thoughts on “The Underground Skateboard Scene In Havana | Arriba Cuba”

  1. Very good, Keep it up! One step at a time. What you are doing is not just about skateboard, it's a scene too ect.

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