Roberto tells us all about Puerto Rican skating and his adventures in Canada and the US in the last couple of seasons. Including the best bacon recipe!Hola Roberto, how are you?
Hola Gbemi, I’m fine and you?
Great. How’s your weekend looking?
Very nice so far, sun is very bright, temperatures are high and I am stoked to be back home to get some skating.
Where is home?
Puerto Rico is home, but I live in Iowa. College took me away from home.
How is college life?
College life is good, spending a lot of time reading but I always take time to go partying and skateboarding.
What do you enjoy reading?
I like reading about animals and stuff that affects human health. Recently read about insects!
Is there a skate community in Iowa?
Of course! Community is very different from many other places since Iowa is mainly flat. Many people cruise. ISU longboarding club has around 250 members. Impressive for the location.
What was it like growing up in PR?
I’m very proud I grew here; the traditions and the people are very different from other parts of the world. People are very humble. Also can’t forget to mention living next to the coast and mountain is amazing!
What is important to Puertoricans?
Our traditions and our culture are the most important things to all of us.
How did you get into skateboarding?
When I moved highschools in 2010, many of my classmates had longboards, so one of my friends lent me a pintail and I felt the love for skateboarding very quickly.
Are you part of the first generation of PR skaters?
Probably second generation. When I started downhill, I used to ride with the first generation; Guzman Brothers and many others.
Who are the OGs?
Jose El loco, Jose Guzman, Jomar Guzman, Kenneth Barreto, Chan, beetle juice, and Clifford.
What legacy did the first gen skaters leave for you?
The first gen brought the sport to the island. They visited Canada and came back with new ways of going downhill and the actual tuck. Before that, everybody used to kneeboard. The first Guajataka Downhills were kneeboarding down the hills with horrible pavement.
What is the island like for skating?
Puerto Rico is the island! 100×35 surrounded by Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea. Many mountain with narrow roads. Many fast hills, one of them is part of the IDF, Lago Cerillos is 60+ MPH.
When did you first go fast?
After 4 months of skating my dad bought me a landyacht evo, bear trucks and orangatang wheels. Started to skate my local hills with Kenneth Lopez, we both skated together every time.
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with skating?
Of course. The feeling of rolling on 4 wheels is amazing. All my conversations and everything that rolled through my mind was skateboarding. My parents were going crazy with longboarding conversations. Haha.
Has that love changed your life?
Skateboarding changed my life in many ways. I used to be a gamer freak, wasting my time on a computer was all I was about! Also, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people around the world and visit many places.
What is the soul of the community on your island?
Puerto Rico community is very big and very active. Skaters are very fast and very fearless. Every day is bigger and bigger, more people join my passion.
What was the first event you attended?
The first event I attended was Guajataka Downhill organised by Pirata Surf Club. It is the main event in Puerto Rico, people from around the world come just to race Guajataka every year. It was a big deal for me, to see all those people I used to watch in videos. We are close to this event again!
Were there many events on the PR calendar back then?
Back in the day they were not many big events but a lot of outlaw races, nowadays we have several in the calender.
Do you have more fun at Outlaws or sanctioned races?
Outlaws are more #fun, because there’s no rules!
Had you grown as a rider after that first season of riding?
Absolutely, every race is an experience that you acquired, and you don’t need to win to obtain skills. It was very scary racing with 4 or 5 people next to me, but this taught me for the next year. Also setting up my skateboard the correct way and getting a better tuck!
Is the competition tough there?
Competition is tough and is getting more difficult. Riders are growing and getting way better. It’s impressive!
What did you get up to in the 2011?
2011 was my first time competing in downhill, I was very afraid when it come to my first heat. I got eliminated in the first round. But that didn’t stop me from continuing to practice and get better. During the year I attended many outlaws and had great outcomes from them. Definitely got better for 2012.
Why did you decide to race?
Racing is a different feeling, adrenaline is higher and thinking in on another level. When I race I imagine the road and think of what could happen and what could go wrong. After I raced for the first time, I knew I was going to keep racing. Free Riding is fun but racing is another level.
What kept you going after you fell?
In every sport you fall, I used to play soccer in elementary school and surfing during high school. In both I fell but the feeling of loving what you are doing gives you energy to continue and focus on what you are doing.
What were the most important things you learnt about racing?
The most important thing I learnt about racing is that your friends are your enemies. During a race my skate buddies or anybody becomes my enemies.
Did you have a sensei?
I didn’t have a teacher, I used to watch Original Longboard videos when they came to Puerto Rico to film and that was all about. Everything I learned by myself in the beginning. Pushing myself hard just to get better on what I like.
What are your favourite outlaws?
My favourite outlaw is Guajataka Lake! It’s covered by trees that give a lot of shade. It’s all about a straight into a left hairpin and another straight into a predrift right hairpin! It’s amazing and a very nice place to practice. Many of the outlaws that I attended there were wet.
How was your 2012?
2012 was way better than 2011. Starting the year with Guajataka, I got 4th in juniors then attended Guama downhill another event we have and got 2nd in junior also! Then I traveled for King of clermont and got 2nd against Jonas Richter. After that I visited I Love Dh in New York and raced Open for the first time, broke my ankle in New York, and went to Maryhill to sit down for 5 days with a broken ankle. Not to forget I also went to Dominican Republic and visited Pam Diaz for their biggest event, Jacagua. Got 2nd in Open. 2012 was amazing!
Did you have any fun in Maryhill?
Maryhill was fun to watch, but sad not to be able to ride. I did take a ride down the hill even though my ankle was on fire.
Did you have more fun racing junior or open?
Junior was less challenging but open is more #fun.
Do many people form PR race internationally?
Every year, more people travel and I like it. I like that Puerto Rico is being well represented around the world. I love my people!
Is there a close relationship between skaters in DR and PR?
We are both close to each other, and yes we do have close relationship with many people in DR! They have the same terrain we have, both are tropical island with a lot of mountains and fearless people who go down fast through narrow roads with crazy drivers!
Who do you look up to in the community?
I look up into many people! I watch skatehousemedia enough to get a little bit from everyone!
Are any of them your sponsors?
Yes, Rayne Longboards, Vicious Griptape and Abec 11 are my sponsors.
When did you first get sponsored?
Got flow sponsorship with Rayne in beginning of 2012.
Do you have any local sponsors?
I have no local sponsors but I encourage people to support locals stores.
Was landing sponsors important to you?
Sponsors motivated me to push forever and skate harder! Skating and promoting my sponsors to earn what I get from them. They are part of my success in skateboarding.
What do you do to promote your sponsors?
Ride their gear, tell people about them, answer people question about my sponsors products and convince people to ride the best gear in the market! Also mention them in podium and wear the apparel! Can’t forget to mention photos and videos!
Did you have a fun 2013?
2013 is the best so far! Too much #fun. Visited Canada in summer and live there for 2 month with the Rayne Family, I skated the whole season from Danger bay to Whistler. Too much fun and great experience. Had 2 weeks traveling in Gloria (Patricks RV) with Spencer Smith, Dexter Manning, Cam Brick and Levi Green! Too much #fun! Also took a trip to North Canada, with Striker!
Was the 2 months you spent there the longest you’d been away from home?
No, I’d been 5 months from home, when I was in College.
What did you miss from PR?
I missed the weather, family, food and beaches!
You missed PR bacon?
Canada’s Bacon was better, Patrick knows what up! That Maple syrup caramelized in Canadian bacon.
Do you guys have a ‘’Striker’’ in PR?
There is only one striker in the world.
What were your favourite events?
Yea I did a lot of racing, and my favorite event was Kelowna skylands! It is very fast and technical! It has a little bit of everything, slide, grip, straight, corners, chicane! Everything, it’s complete.
How were your results in the races?
Unfortunately no good results. Got 14th overall in Maryhill big improvements for myself. But got a lot of experience and can’t wait to go back and shred.
How are the BC events different to the races back home?
Very different, Terrain change, rules change, even people change!
Did you document your adventures?
I did shoot few picture but no video! Too much skateboarding and forgot about shooting videos and pictures.
What does it take to be a member of the Rayne family?
To be part of the Rayne family you first need to drink a whole bottle of fireball whiskey (non alcoholic) with Papa Les. Second make sure that you can win the party not the race.
On a scale of 1 – Victoria Waddington, how hard can you party?
Victoria can’t party as hard as me.
What were you racing on last year?
Rayne Piranha, Vicious griptape, Aera Trucks, Abec11 wheels!
How was Christmas?
Christmas was great, shared time with my family, and friends. Also skated everyday since we do not have horrible temperature.
Who are the shredders there?
Many shredders! Eric Ho, Ramsay, Adam Nelson, Cory Maurer and many others.
Are there any fun events on the Iowa calendar?
Not in Iowa but we have stuff around in the midwest;, Ohio, Soldiers of downhill; Nebraska, Hummer Havok and Missouri, Hills for thrills!
What are your plans for this year?
My plans for next summer is to attend an internship in Spain for 1 month after that stay in Europe and skate all around and meet new people from different skate communities until summer is over. Unfortunately college drain my spare time.
Pick 3 numbers.
666, 777, 69
6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
777 – What’s your favourite joke?
No jokes! haha
69 – Would you rather be a zombie or a mushroom with a toothache?
What’s your favourite Nirvana song?
Smells like ASS spirit.
Dude! That was a lot of fun. Thanks for your time. See you in Spain!
You too! Thank you very much.
Any last words?
Thank to Mom & Dad! Papa Les and the whole Rayne Family, Rory Russell and the Abec family! Also thanks to all the Puerto Rican community for keeping the sport alive! Keep skating, fast and safe! WEAR A HELMET!
Instagram: robertocobain / raynelongboards / abec11wheels / rayneteamstoreusa