From Montpellier to Panama and back to Colombia, Aurelio has been spreading the stoke and killing wheels. Read on to learn about his adventures so far.
Hey Aurelio, how are you?
I’m doing good how are you? Where are you from? I am from Cali, Colombia.
California is in Latin America?
Haha no, the real Cali is in Colombia, we are known for loving salsa music and having great hills too.
When did you start skating?
I started skating 4 years ago, while I was working at Disneyland, Paris
Mickey mouse got you into skateboarding?
Haha quite the opposite! It was a co worker who had a really old pintail with tight trucks. I remember riding that board for two days, then I ran to a store in Paris to buy my first longboard.
How come you had never tried a skateboard before then?
I think while I lived in Colombia, I was always driving a car and never saw the need to use an alternative way of transportation, although I do remember having an old penny board with three wheels when I was little. I always wanted to skate, I just never tried it since.
What about skating that old pintail made you want one so bad?
It felt really good, it wasn’t difficult. I tried street skating once and it wasn’t as friendly as longboarding..
What was your first board?
It was a Globe pintail with a small kick and a really ugly design under it.
Who did you ride with then?
Most of the time it was me on my own, then my flat mate decided to buy a longboard.
What was the city like to skate around?
I think the city name is Marney la valley, and I remember there were really big hills around there. I still dream of going back there and riding those hills, they are perfect for fast freeriding, lots of turns and not many cars.
What kind of stuff did you get up to on your board?
I started with just cruising, then I remember watching a longboard video from Colombia “la rumba bacana” were they did some stand up slides and dancing, that really inspired me to try my first heelside 180s and speed checks. Doing the basic cross step was really fun in that time.
Who was in the video?
Camilo Cespedes, Manuel Rivera and Mauricio Rodriguez. I’ve never met them personally, but I know Camilo Cespedes is an insane all around skater, he rides for loaded and orangatang, and the other two guys have done a lot to organize the longboard community in Colombia, and they also have a shop named Longboard Colombia
How long did you spend skating in France?
I was there for three years, but I only lived in Paris for three months, after that I moved to Montpellier were I was studying and skating the city.
Where did you grow most as a skater?
It was definitely Montpellier, I lived downtown which was a peatonal area so there were not a lot of cars around just lots of people which made it more interesting to cruise around the city. I also built a longboard group that grew really fast name Longboard Montepellier 34000.
What was the community like there?
Before the group was created I think the few riders in Montpellier were just waiting for something to happen, so it was easy to contact everyone after the group was made, we were not really good skaters in the beginning but we found most of the local spots that people are skating now, we skated these spots as much as we could, which made us progress quite fast..
What was your role in LM 34000?
I guess it was mostly trying to get new people to join the group. If I saw someone with a longboard around the city I would always go and talk to them and invite them to the group. We organized weekly sessions and met many new people. The community started to grow. Most of the people I met influenced my riding style or me theirs.
What sorts of events did you organise?
We had a session every Sunday at our local spot “occitanie”, it was here where new people came to see how everything worked out and learn new stuff. We also did some night cruising during the week and we had a video party at a bagel restaurant. It was funny to see people that never skated with us before there enjoying some drinks, we have a cool video from that night.
How did things grow during your time there?
Everything started with 4 people in the first session, then each week more people joined the Facebook group and the weekly sessions grew. After two weeks we had 14 people skating one night! This was something that felt great as it’s always better to skate with other people. It was great to meet Lukas Grzywacs from Poland, he is a great skater and he also filmed and took pictures all the time, this helped to share the stoke around the city and be noticed in the French longboard community.
Did you consider forming an association?
We did consider forming an association, it was formed 2 months ago. Unfortunately I no longer live there, but my friends decided to name me president of honor in the association. Now longboard montpellier is a part of some French freeride events, also helping people from the region to access the french downhill federation license, which you need to be able to participate in any downhill event organized by them.
What was the highlight of your time in Montpellier?
I think meeting new riders was the best part. Lukas was my riding friend for over a year, we progressed a lot together. Thanks to his videos and photos, we were published in UD magazine on the home spot section. Another highlight was meeting the guys from Nise.at and Icone skateboards from Austria. They were filming a road trip that crossed from Austria, to the French Alps, then Cote d’azur, Montpellier and finished in Barcelona. I met them randomly on the street and we went skating and did some filming then ate good pizza great summer days.
Did you get to meet any other people from Europe?
All the riders from montpellier, Florian, Antoine, Thibault, le team de tahiti, Morgane who created the first longboard shop in Montpellier “Funbird”. I also met the people from Blackkross at an extreme sport festival, some guys from Holland, and a guy from Longbrothers Alicante named Gervasio who visited Montpellier for some days.
When did you decide to leave France?
In my last year in France, I had economic problems, this made me take the decision to live with my parents in Panama. More than an opportunity, I was forced to move but it has been great to improve my style and skills
How is skating in Panama?
It has been great. I was quickly introduced to the community here and their local spots. It was really good seeing more than 12 people riding almost everyday. We have different types of spots, Downhill, freeride, flat, fast freeride. This makes it really easy to progress in different aspects and make your riding more complete. Locals here really push the limits, they like to go big and fast and I enjoy every ride with them. I live in Panama city where I skate most of the time, I’m glad to be part of longboarding here with a long list of riders that are seriously pushing the limits like Gina Mendez (loaded/orangatang ambassador), Francisco Dutary (jaseboards), Carlos Rodriguez or CJ. They’re all from Panama City, but there is also a Big and Rad place call La chorrera were you can find the “West downhill crew”, they have done a great job sharing the stoke! These guys love speed and they love skating every day. One thing I noticed when I arrived in Panama was the lack of specialized longboard shops, which was really annoying when you needed some hardware; bearings, wheels, grip tape or even a good board. Thankfully two local riders had the initiative to create Panamaskate.com, they not only want to bring the best gear possible, they also want to make this sport grow more and be more organized here. These 9 months have been great, full of skating and events which were new for me.
Who is at the helm of the West Longboard Crew?
Gabriel Cesar and Jorge Chacon, both owners of “Diablo Rojo”, a new skate shop in their city. They have done a great job motivating groms and the community to skate, this city is full of talented and passionate skaters. Some of these kids have to work hard to buy any gear. West longboard crew is also lucky to have some of the best freeride and downhill runs around Panama.
How did people get boards before the shop?
People had to buy through the internet, it wasn’t the best the market had to offer. Something basic like good grip tape was impossible to find in Panama. You could find longboards in extreme sports shops, but they were not really good for freeriding or downhill, it was more pintails and cruisers.
What’s the biggest progression in your skating since you got to Panama?
I have progressed a lot in freeriding which is what I like the most. I’ve skated faster and more controlled than before. I’ve learned lots of new freeride tricks and my standup slides are much longer. I’ve had constant progression since I arrived, I realized the progress three weeks ago when we were visit by two guys from lifeonaboard, Sweden and loaded ambassadors Petter Hangman and Alexander Elhage. They stayed here in Panama for two weeks, and we didn’t stop skating for a single day, they really pushed us to skate more and inspired us to get out of our comfort zone and to try new stuff. It was great having them here, we made a video together and now I have lots of new projects I am planning to start as soon as possible.
Giant Viking Petter?
Hahaha yes! We are talking about the same Petter.
Are they the first international skate visitors?
We’ve had people visiting from Venezuela and Costa Rica during the “Festival de Cermeño”, but they were the first visitors I spent every day skating with and not missing one day, it was a great experience, I hope there will be more people visiting this year, I really enjoy receiving new people.
What will people enjoy about visiting Panama?
If they come during the dry season (january-may) they will enjoy the weather, the people, good waves, non stop skating, good hills, good food,etc. They might not like the service at restaurants or supermarkets and the traffic jams suck too.
What are the events on the Panama calendar?
There are two main contest in the Panama Calendar, the first one is “festival de Cermeño”organized by loaded ambassador Gina Mendez during the month of November. It’s a two day downhill contest that also includes a slide jam for freeriding and technical sliding which people from Panama really enjoy. Last year we had around 70 riders in the downhill category from different nationalities: Peru, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Gina did a great job organizing this event mostly on her own with the help of some volunteers. Every rider had free drinks and one meal included, closed road, music, an ambulance and lots of spectators. The second event is coming soon, and is “el limite contest” that will be going on in May and hopefully we will have people from outside visiting us again.
What will El limite be like?
El limite will be a two day contest like Cermeño, one day for freeride and downhill qualifiers and the second day the downhill race. I think el limite will also be a good spot for people that want to learn how to go fast, and get used to the fast feeling. I’m not sure about how many international riders will be coming to this event, but it will certainly be a great weekend full of downhill.
Where do you see skating in panama going next year?
I really see skating in panama going big next year! We really need to start organizing the community here to make it happen, but I know a couple of people that are willing to get involved, so we will be working on that. I am soon buying a DSLR camera to start filming and editing so that we can show what is going on in Panama. In the future I would like to see more support for local skaters here, but this will only come if they start showing their talent to the world through videos. The scene here is just getting rader every day, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the world notices.
Do any locals compete internationally?
None of the locals is competing in the IGSA or IDF, but some of them do participate in contests made in Costa Rica, Colombia and Venezuela.
What do you ride?
My current setup is a Rayne killswitch mounted on the 31” wheelbase mounted on some Paris trucks and 80a RAD releases, I have 92a khiro bushings boardside and otang soft nipples road side.
Are any of those your sponsors?
No, none of these are my sponsors, but I will be soon getting some boards from LUCA longboards. These boards are part of a project from my friend Lukas from Poland. Also lately I’ve been supported by Panamaskate.com with some wheels to test and also a friend’s discount, this is a great support because I’m a heavy guy so wheels don’t last more than a few weeks.
Have you skated in Colombia?
I was there last December for the first time in 4 years and I had the chance to skate at the Parque Nacional were they host el festival de la bajada. I was really welcomed by the locals, I was surprised of seeing how big, talented and united the community is there. It was hard to get used to the grip of the roads, you have to have a lot of strength when you throw your slides. Also I’ve been living at sea level for 4 years, so the 2,640m of Bogota was killing me.
Will you be back to skate there again?
I would really like to go back there, and visit my native city Cali, so I will go at least once this year.
What are your plans for this year?
I will do a little more of filming here in Panama, using it as a way to show what is going on here to people around the world and also to try to get the community closer. And I’ll try to keep the scene growing more around Panama, we will see if some associations can be created. Also I plan to keep skating and having a good time.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
When I am not skating you might find me drawing on my sketch book or watching longboard videos, messing around on the internet, reading some wheels reviews, or most of the time I will be on Stumble upon.
Pick 3 numbers from 1-11
4, 7, 9
4- Do you have any recurring dreams?
Yes sure, I would like to have my own Skate House Pizzeria, a place where you can enjoy great pizza while skating. It would be great to be able to receive skaters from around the world and being able to make their stay much better. I would also like to find a wheel sponsor some time soon, this part of this sport is becoming really expensive for me and it would be really nice to have some support. As I said before I will buy my first DSLR camera, so it’s part of my dream to be able to show my skating and my friends through some filming.
7 why did the chicken cross the road?
The chicken had sleepwalking problems, she thought she was going downhill.
9 what would you choose as your last meal?
Pizza from pizzeria St. Anne at Montpellier, with a nice cold Coke to drink.
It’s been so nice hearing your story bro. Thanks for your time!
Thanks to you for this great opportunity, I wish the best for you and the magazine.
Any thanks yous?
Thanks to my friends in Montpellier, the guys from Icone Skateboards and Nise.at, really important to say thank you to LUCA longboards and Lukas for making a space for me in his board project, I’m more than happy of skating for LUCA, thanks to Gina Mendez for her support, to PanamaSkate.com for believing in me as a wheel tester, thanks to the people I’ve met skating here in Panama, and last but not least, thanks to my parents for being patient with me and supporting me on my skating.
http://www.facebook.com/lucalongboards?fref=ts (LUCA longboards facebook page)