“The thing that I hated in Barcelona is that nobody would talk to you,” Che said. “They’re all a bunch of pros, filming videos there, skating with their iPods on and not talking to anybody. That sucks. People are too concerned about how they can market themselves to be a professional and stuff like that. It’s turning into a job, and people are losing the passion.” A brilliant look into Cuba’s skate scene by Daniel Oberhaus for Vice Sports. It was high noon on a weekday in June, and I was sweating profusely as I fought my way through the dense, overgrown park that surrounds a massive sporting complex just south of Havana’s Vedado neighborhood. I was searching for Cuba’s only skate park, rumored to be somewhere in the area, but every time I approached someone to ask for directions to the patinodromo, all I got was vague hand gestures in contradictory directions. On the verge of succumbing to the heat and humidity, I heard the telltale clatter of polyurethane wheels on concrete. Pushing through the jungle scrub of palm and Marabou weed, I nearly fell face-first into an empty man-made pond. The patinodromo was in rough shape. Two thirds of it was unusable, covered in standing water and detritus. The remaining third was an amalgam of concrete ramps and benches, metal quarter pipes, pyramids, and a tower ramp. Murals and graffiti—mostly variations on the mantra “patina o muerte” (“skate or die”), a play on Che Guevara’s famous call to […]

New Restrictions Threaten Cuban Skateboarding…

Thanks to Rene Lecour at Amigo Skate Cuba Cuban state media recently announced new customs restrictions on the amount of items allowed in the country through commercial travel. While the government says that the new rule is intended to cut down on a growing black market that undermines recent economic reforms, many fear unintended consequences. For example, the fledging Cuban skateboarding scene relies on skateboards and gear brought in from the outside world. Skaters on the island feel that the new rule may change their way of life. It happened at 23 y G, an intersection in Havana, Cuba. It’s nothing much really. Just a few small benches spread out among scrawny trees that offer scant protection from the sun’s glare. But for one scrawny kid that day some 12 years ago, the humble parcel of land seemed like Eden. At age 13, Fernando Verdecia Maseda finally found some other skaters. Maseda would go on to become one of Cuba’s greatest skaters – but he had to emigrate to Miami to find widespread respect for his skills. Years earlier, Maseda first discovered skateboarding at his next-door neighbor’s house. The enterprising neighbor would let him play a half-hour’s worth of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for 5 Cuban pesos on a well-worn PlayStation. “In the beginning, I thought that Tony Hawk was just a character,” Maseda said through a translator. “But when I saw the real videos in the game of him, then I wanted to go out and do it.” Soon after, […]

Patinas Sin Fronteras En Cuba Trailer
Patinas Sin Fronteras En Cuba

PATINAS SIN FRONTERAS (SKATE WITHOUT BORDERS) Check out this 6 minute trailer by film buff and street artist Spencer Keeton Cunningham. He recently created this while visiting the island of Cuba with the guys from Amigo Skate Cuba. I traveled to Cuba this month with some close friends to donate skateboards to skateboarders on the island. During our stay I shot a film titled “Patinas Sin Fronteras.” The film documents current conditions of skateboarders in Cuba. In Cuba there are no skate shops of any kind and no ways of getting skateboards or any of the necessary equipment needed to skate. The only way for skateboarders to continue to skate in Cuba is if people continue to share boards, wheels, trucks, etc with each other. This is the trailer for the film shot in Cuba. The title of the film translates to “Skate Without Borders” or “You Skate Without Borers” Cinematografía Chris Miller Y Spencer Keeton Cunningham Special Thanks: Amigo Skate Cuba, Rene Lecour, Matt Eversole, Roberto Gomez, George Lorenzo, Anthony Perez, Mike Freeman, Rodney, Jimi, Gordito,Will Sprott, Jose Rojo, Carlos and Jen at ES7, El Che, Jonathon Hexner, and 23 G