Pam tells us all about her tough start in skating, overcoming adversity and the reasons she’s always so stoked, and some curious items she carries with her to skate sessions.
What’s it like there?
It’s warm, full of colours and good vibes. I’ve been living here since I was born and when I travel outside of my island I realize how lucky I am.
When did you start longboarding?
I started longboarding in January 2011. I used to visit my friends to take pictures of them longboarding, it did not take long to fall in love.
How long have you been doing it?
Since I was 4 years old with my dad’s camera, he used to have a sick Polaroid. I used to take it when he was out working. I began photography professionally when I was 18 years old.
When I got out of high school, I started working for a local magazine dedicated to photography events of teenagers, after that I started as a Magazine Photographer for a newspaper.
How did you fall in love with the longboard?
I used to surf. One day I went to the North Shore with some of my friends, we crossed by a brand new road and a friend asked us to stop the car, he wanted to bomb the hill. I had to take pictures of that, I was impressed! So, that day, when I got back home, he let me borrow the board for a while, and I started practicing. After more than ten ass rashes here I am.
Do you still surf?
Sadly not. But I know I’m going to start again someday. Now I’d rather dedicate my time to longboarding and get better at it.
What is the longboard scene like in Santo Dominigo?
AWESOME! We started as five or six riders. Now we are more than 50, and we skate every day. The crew is growing super fast. We’ve been organizing events and races to show people that we have different styles and ages, and that everybody can join us. The plan is working! We don’t have big hills in the city, but we’ve got short and fun hills in the neighborhood to practice our freeriding.
We have riders from different parts of the island (North, East) and almost every weekend we get together to bomb a hill super fast somewhere outside the city.
What is the crew called?
Quisqueyanos D’el Patio!
What does that mean?
“Quisqueya” is what the Dominican Republic used to be called, so, people from “Quisqueya” were called “Quisqueyanos.”
“Del Patio” in English is “the courtyard”. My friend Ry created the group with that name on Facebook. We were only 10 or 15 members, it was nothing special, but now the name has a real meaning for us. We have started inviting riders from other parts of the island and now we are a big family.
How is the crew organised?
Ry is the creator, it’s just a group of friends with same interests. It is not an organization.
Is Ry the guy who lent you his board?
No, but he is the one who invited me to take pictures of him longboarding. The guys who started teaching me were Miguel and Diego, other brothers. I really love these boys. Miguel is a beautiful person, super focused on longboarding, with a clean style. An awesome brother.
What was your first board?
A Tan Tien deck that I bought from my friend Manuel. A few weeks later another friend Pocho gave me a set of fresh Randals! Those were amazing days! I had the Tan Tien for 5 or 6 months and after that, in a slide jam (Jacagua Extreme Downhill 2011) I won a complete Arbor Assault, I sold it two days after and I bought the Rayne Isis. I’ve still got it, like a trophy.
Still riding the Isis?
No, now I’m a team rider for Comet Skateboards and I ride my favorite board ever: Comet Grease Hammer. I LOVE that board, fits perfectly, it’s light and super maneuverable.
What disciplines do the people on the island practice?
Freeride and Downhill. When we stay in the city we can only freeride our short hills, but we also try to travel inside the island every weekend, trying to find new hills or just directly to one of our favourites.
What’s the scene like in the rest of the country?
It’s almost the same thing, we are a big family that make plans to spend the weekend together and skate all day, have fun.
Are there crews in other cities?
Yes, there are 3 other crews, “Punta Cana Longboarding Crew”, “Rueda Loco POP” and “Los Mulateros Crew” but we are all part of Quisqueyanos.
How was last season for you?
What you mean with last season? We have an endless summer, it’s ALWAYS SUMMER. I had the chance to skate with James Kelly and Louis Pilloni, I was dreaming about that day. Also I made a great friendship with Ishtar Backlund, who came to visit and stay with me for a few weeks.
Are there any national jams/competitions?
Yes ! Last year we had our first competitions, we had the visit of the beautiful Marisa Nuñez, and some Puerto Rican Friends (Jose Guzmán from Rayne and Jomar Guzmán from Sector 9) for a downhill race and slide jam called “Jacagua Extreme Downhill”, and my friends are working to do that this year again, August 4th. 3 months after that we received James Kelly and Louis Pilloni for a race called “Cap Cana Downhill” supported by big brands and local shops. This year my friends started organizing outlaw races every month. Last week we had our first outlaw, and it was RAD.
Who organises these big events?
My friends and I, we just had the idea, asked for support, and made it happen. Also, good to mention, we’ve been supported all the time by two surf shops in the east coast “Billabong Punta Cana” and “CoastRiders Punta Cana”. CoastRiders was the first crew organizing a slide jam here in the country.
How did you get Miss Nunez and the rest of the recognised racers down?
FACEBOOK! I wrote to Marisa one day, inviting her to my country, she said yes and as soon as we got her answer me and my friend Manuel, with the crew from Santiago (www.aboutaboard.com) started working on an event. It was so much fun! It was the same with James and Louis, great boys.
How did you go from cruising around on a tan tien in January to organising races in April?
Isn’t it SICK!? I’ve been surrounded by good and responsible people who really love the sport. At the very first moment it looked crazy.
The year before I started longboarding properly,I broke my jaw whilst I was using a longboard. (This was exactly 1 year between the day I went to the north shore and the day I officially started longboarding in January 2011.) At that time I didn’t know anything about “longboarding”. I used to grab my friend’s board and cruise in the park with them, one day I fell and broke my jaw. I had a blackout; it was awful, I had to spend three months with my mouth closed – that was SAD dude! Then three more months on bed rest. Two months later, January came to me, and I visited my friend Ry, who invited me to take pictures of him “longboarding”. When I went there, I saw him with helmet, gloves, pads, I was like “damn dude you are really covered”. He taught me the importance of all the gear, that’s why I consider January as the month when I started longboarding, even though I had a board under my feet before. You understand me?
I had a really bad 2009, it was so sad, and painful. My mouth was sewn for three months and then I had to go to therapy for three more months. After that I had to go to the dentist every week to fix six teeth.
That’s why I got my friend’s respect, they saw how I was, all the processes, and they saw how I got back to longboarding. Nothing stopped me from doing what I really love. It’s a sad but good message. I am alive and so thankful for every second, I really thought I was gonna die.
I think that’s why things are going so fluidly, that’s why I’m so thankful in life and why I love my family and friends so much. I really had a bad time, and they were always there supporting me and helping me because they knew that after that accident NOTHING was going to stop me.
You’re a soldier. A stoke soldier.
Shh! I’m a girl, that’s all! I’ve always wanted to be like my mom (generally) she is a super strong woman.
What was the toughest thing about 3 months no mouth action?
Hahahahaa ‘no mouth action’ (giggidy). Watching my dentist sewing my mouth. Also, seeing pictures of my friends having a good time while I was in bed. I really wanted to surf, and go out and talk and EAT! I love food more than people dude. It was hard to see other people biting food. I really wanted to eat a baconator, that was sad.
How did you survive without bacon?
I have no idea dude, I was counting the days for that baconator. But the counting took more than what I thought. I spent three months with soups, juices, milk, ice cream shakes, chicken and brocolli broth. I don’t eat chicken anymore.
Was it tough the first day you got back on your board?
That day my heart was going to explode from happiness, it was kind of awkward because I had the memory right in my face, but it was worth it.
What gave you strength to want to ride again?
People. People were saying bad stuff about the sport, that I was crazy doing that, that it was wrong, that Longboarding was not for girls. I don’t know why I kept on skating, I really don’t know, I guess I really love doing what I feel, and I knew that a crash was not going to stop me. Come on! I was only trying a board! There are a lot of people who really want to try a lot of different stuff, but fear stops them. I didn’t want to be one of them.
My first 4 months, I used to leave my board in my friend’s house because I was continuing without my family knowing. One day I went to a skate tour that my friend from “laislaent.com” organized. CoastRiders (the surf shop) had a slide jam, that day I joined the slide jam. It was for boys only but I convinced the staff to make a girls division although I was the only girl who really wanted to participate. I convinced my friend Cinthia to participate and that day I won!
I was so happy and stoked that I called my dad crying and said “DAD, I know you don’t wanna know this, but, I’ve been skating for four months now and I came for this competition and I won first place! You see?? I CAN DO IT!!!” I made him feel proud, that was awesome.
Just like that scene in Thrashin’ when the valley kid won the downhill race!
I know! I’m just Pam, a girl who really likes to go and chase what she wants. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t: but I GO FOR IT. I’d rather try and fail than never try.
Do you have more girls skating now?
YES!! I started the Longboard Girls Crew Dominican Republic, as an ambassador. We were only three girls for that moment, now you can see in the Facebook Page that we are more than 20! It’ s super rad. We don’t get together all the time, but I try to organise little events only for girls cause the girls scene is still super poor.
What has the response been like?
GREAT! Families involved, new faces, I always receive support from the boys in everything and the girls are really into this.
How did you get involved with the LGC?
While I was recovering from the accident, I found this group called “Longboard Girls Crew” and I saw the pictures: ALL OF THEM and I had some shots my friend got of me on the road.
You know how stupid I was? Barefoot on a highway? No helmet, no gloves, wearing baggies? 0.5 miles per hour. WRONG WAY? I thought that was gnar!
It’s funny because you see a lot of pictures of girls like that now – no clothes, no protection, speed tucking at 0.001km/h.
I get really mad when I see those kind of pictures, I really do. On Tumblr for example, people give a lot of likes and reblogs to similar types of pictures. The sport is more than that. There’s a bunch of really pretty girls posing on a board and skating unsafe, but it is not cute to go around on a longboard looking unsafe. THAT IS NOT COOL, it’s dangerous. I had that very bad experience because of the same reason: BEING STUPID.
It’s cool to look pretty with a board, that is super awesome, but skating unsafe is NOT.
You can look sexy with a helmet.
I look fucking hot with my helmet!
What was the response from the girls?
They answered me with a bunch of love. I was the only girl from the Dominican Republic, so they started a new album called “Dominican Republic.” After a few months I sent pictures of my two other friends, and Jacky Madenfrost (founder of LGC) wrote me a mail inviting me to be the Dominican Republic Ambassador. I instantly said yes and that was the start of another big family! Longboard Girls Crew is doing awesome things in this scene. I’m still super stoked to be part of this.
What’s your role in the LGC?
Spreading the stoke! I created a page ( www.facebook.com/longboardgcrd ) and I need to keep it active – promoting the sport, making events, posting new videos and pictures, representing LGC everywhere I go.
What competitions have you entered since then?
1) Jacagua Extreme Downhill (For the Slide Jam Only) – DR
2) Cap Cana Downhill Race (Slide Jam and Downhill Race) – DR
3) Clothilde Slide Jam – DR
4) King Of Clermont (Slide Jam and Downhill Race) – FL
5) Guajataka Downhill (Slide Jam and Downhill Race) – PR
6) El Lago “Outlaw” (Downhill Race) – PR
7) Guama Downhill (Slide Jam and Downhill) – PR
8) Little David “Outlaw” (Downhill Race) -DR
9) El Cupey “Outlaw” (Downhill Race) -DR
10) La Confluencia ‘Outlaw’ (Downhill Race) DR
11) Catalina Island Classic by Riviera (Downhill Race) -CA
How did the race season end for you?
At the end of the year I sold two boards and I made some money out of it. Five minutes after I got the money in my bank account I bought two tickets, one to Miami and then from Miami one to Puerto Rico. I had no idea where I would stay, or who I would contact in Miami, I just bought the ticket because I really wanted to go to King Of Clermont 2012. I asked a few people and finally found a place to crash. Cordelia and Ben from Miami, friends of Marisa Nuñez. She told me that I was going to be safe with them. I was super nervous about the trip because for the moment I didn’t know how much money to take with me. I didn’t have as much money as I thought. I talked to my beautiful friend Isthar who told me “Lady, I’ll kick your ass if you don’t stop worrying, you’re gonna laugh at yourself after your trip. Everything’s gonna be ok!”
The day I arrived there, I had to stay in the plane for 2 hours, stuck. Someone had hazardous materials in a bag, all I was thinking was “OMG, what a bad start”. Outside was Shawn Tseng (My team manager from Comet and my buddy) waiting for me. We drove to Miami to Cordelia’s and Ben’s house. There was part of the Miami Longboard Crew waiting for me at a RAD GARAGE SESSION. SO MUCH FUN! Shawn, Cordelia and Ben took good care of me, I will always love and appreciate these people, they are awesome, super awesome. I want them to come to my country soon so I can give them back everything they gave me.
We drove to Clermont and stayed for a few days in Sara Paulshock’s house (in Celebration, Florida), with my teammate Keith Rebhorn, Andrew Mercado and Les Robertson, the Bustin Crew, a few buddies from Atlanta and some other rad skater boys from Delaware. Sara’s mom is the RADEST WOMAN I’VE EVER MET. Every time I remember that lady I want to hug her! That’s why Sara is so freaking awesome – King of Clermont was sick.
I had lots of fun with my Puerto Rican friends José Guzmán and Roberto Cobián. I couldn’t make the KOC finals – on my heat my shoelace got stuck on my wheel and I fell. HAHA.
After the race William Royce invited me to go and skate all day with him, José, the boys from Delaware, Travis and Jenica Davenport (From Push Culture News) in his RV. Lovely day!
A few days later, we flew to Puerto Rico, with more than fifteen noisy skaters on the plane, rad! As soon as I got to PR I felt at home, such awesome vibes, Caribbean style.
Where did you skate in PR?
My friend Ras Carlos and his family from Quebradillas are like my Puerto Rican family. I stayed at Luis Marrero’s house for a few days, thank you Luis! You are a great person. We had so much fun skating and hanging out with all the visitors and locals. The same day I got into PR, some of my boys from my country flew to PR: Wilbert Caba, Giancarlo Nadal and Giancarlo DiVanna, can you imagine my happiness? Outside of the country with my locals, SICK! Guajataka was awesome.
What was the race like?
There were some things that I didn’t like about the organization but that event was EPIC – I was skating next to guys I had only seen in videos! Kevin Reimer, Scott Lembach, Kyle Martin, Zak Maytum, Ethan Lau. I spent some days with Scoot Smith who’s a great guy and finally met Budro! AWESOME DUDE. The music festival was sick, I danced all night! Had fun with my best friend Miranda (who flew to Puerto Rico for the race). Jimmy Riha won the party! I’m his biggest fan now. hahaha!
What did you do after the race?
I stayed in Puerto Rico for a few days more and the locals. I love the locals, Clifford, Melo and his RAD MOM!, José Loco. I need to go back! Spent time with Jorge García, Charlie Cricket, Hugh Johnson, Louis Roy and Andre Bruni, we went to “El Yunke” and that was a sick experience.
After awesome days with awesome people I went back home, my friends were waiting for me super stoked! We had an Outlaw race that made me feel at home again! The day before that race I fell and almost broke my ankle. That didn’t stop me from racing. More than 25 male riders I was the only girl? I got through 4 heats out of 5. SEMIFINALS BABY!
What other disciplines do you indulge in?
I really don’t want to label myself as a “Downhill Racer” or “Freerider”, I like to skate and have fun, try new things and practice what I’ve learned.
When are you coming to shred in Europe?
Hopefully next year!
Any people in particular who made an impact on you during your travels?
Before my trip Ishtar Backlund from Sweden came to visit for a few weeks. She definitely left a mark on me, she is an awesome girl with the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. A sick and super fast longboarder! José Guzmán, from Puerto Rico, is a good friend,he is an inspiration for me, such a good boy and rad rider. Marisa, Pilloni, Scoot, Budro, Jimmy Riha, K-Rimes… So many good people I met along the way.
When did you get on the Comet team?
Liam Morgan got me into the Comet Team last October. He asked a few people for a girl from outside the USA to get on the Comet Team. One of the people he asked was Marisa Nuñez, seems like she said great things about me, she referred him to me.
How have things gone?
Comet have been super awesome to me, they really know how to treat a lady! I’ll always be thankful. They’re always sending me sick goodies and stuff, also supporting me and paying attention to whatever I ask, write or send. I’m super STOKED, HAPPY, THANKFUL and BLESSED for being part of that RAD crew.
What do you do when you’re not on your board?
I’m at home or at the office. I work in an office from Monday to Friday 9- 6pm.If I’m not working, I’m traveling around my beautiful island with my friends, taking pictures and filming.
You make skate films?
I try to, I’m learning. It’s fun to have memories, I’m surrounded by funny kids and rad skaters… so why not?
Pick 3 numbers between 1-21
1, 5, and 18.
1 – What do you take with you when you go for a skate ?
All my gear, water, water, water, water, water. Camera, extra shirt, food, pepper spray (really), snacks and my bikini!
Pepper spray for your snacks?
5 – The best skater you’ve met?
Miguel Cabreja. He is not famous (yet) but he is an amazing skater. He is my teacher and friend, and brother, so he really deserves this place here.
18- Your favourite Cartoon?
Tom and Jerry!
Thank you for taking the time out to do this. I’ve had a lot of fun!
THANK YOU Gbemi for being such a papi!
Do you have any thank-yous?
YEESSS!! Thanks to my sponsors that have been supporting me and watching me grow a bit more every day!
Comet Skateboards (www.cometskateboards.com) ,
Daddies Board Shop (www.daddiesboardshop.com)
Encargo PAQ (www.encargopaq.com).
Without them things wouldn’t be flowing so good <3 THE BEST!