Pedro Escarda: Agent of Stoke

Pedro is a rad bro from the Philippines. He tells us about the VLT, Grupo Nopo, getting sponsored by Landyachtz and RipTide and plans to skate Canada this year!

Keith Ramirez photo

Keith Ramirez photo

Hi Pedro, how are you?
I’m good, man.

Having a nice week?
Yeah, always! Just got back home from a skate trip in the south part of Cebu with my crew and Leon Godin.

Where did you guys skate?
We skated Cebu’s finest surfs spot in Oslob, Cebu City Philippines.

What is your crew?
Grupo nopo.

Chinese DH - Leo Entrampas photo

Chinese DH – Leo Entrampas photo

What does Gruponopo mean?
It is the name of our city spelt backwards ”OPON”. We named it NOPO GRUPO.

Who else is in it?
The Ricablanca twins, Tongco brothers, Mikel, Bingbong, Allan, Jcoy, Kerk, Epos, Juan.. and many more.

Can I join?
Yeah, man! For sure, if you are here in Cebu. We will surely let you experience the lifestyle we have .

What is the Grupo Nopo lifestyle?
Skate every day. After a long day of skating, go to the white sand beach, then find a perfect spot for our hammocks… hard chilling! Participate in some charity acts. Also travelling  to explore some beautiful places. Skate, travel and party haha.

Eurie Aquino photo

Eurie Aquino photo

What charitable acts?
Yolanda shelter support , and skateboarding for the kids who were affected by typhoon hayian.

How badly affected were you by the typhoon?
The typhoon affected Cebu, but not as bad as Leyte – because, their houses were all gone and nothing was left.

Can skateboarding make a difference in the life of those affected by the disaster?
Sure, it can, because it can unite them and make them happy!

Grupo Nopo photo

Grupo Nopo photo

How do you personally cope with these natural disasters?
Always pray and have faith.

What can anyone reading this do to help?
They can help thousands of people, most especially the people who lost their houses and loved ones. You can visit the Facebook page YOLANDA SHELTER SUPPORT.

“You can visit the Facebook page YOLANDA SHELTER SUPPORT to help typhoon survivors. 

What do you guys get up to?
We are all  in the same place here in Cebu. Everyone’s house is near, so, every day we get together to skate some local hills.

grupo nopo media

grupo nopo media

Where are you from?
From a small island in the Philippines. They call it OPON MACTAN ISLAND CEBU. 

Nice place to grow up?
Yeah,  the life here is GHETTO.

How does that shape the person you become?
It really helps me a lot. Before, when I was not skating, I was always involved in a lot of trouble. Since I got involved in board sports, especially longboarding, it really shaped me into who I am right now.

How did skating stop you from being bad?
Instead of being such a naughty guy, I just made myself busy by doing some tricks or some gnar slide haha.

Goks Photography

Goks Photography

Who would you be today if you had never started skating?
Maybe I’ll  be hanging out with the gangster neighbours. Selling crack in the streets haha.

When did you start skating?
When I was 14, using a skateboard and I moved the truck forward for the good carving. I’m talking about surf style. Then I was starting to do some downhill stuff in late 2008.

I just love going down the hill with a big smile on my face.”

What style do you enjoy most?
I just love going down the hill with a big smile on my face. Mostly freeride no street at all.

Carlo Biana photo

Carlo Biana photo

Was there anyone else skating when you started?
Yeah, grupo nopo is a big family. We all started skating  together.

Who is the daddy/mommy of the family?
juan and oB Ob.

Did you have anyone to teach you?
Yes, I had a couple of mentors who teach me, but I just skate with my own instincts most of the time.

Who were those mentors?
My mentor is JUAN DUAZO, our elder brother in the group. He is the one who inspired us into boardsports.

Anna-Selina Kager photo

Anna-Selina Kager photo

Was he the first guy in the country to skate?
I don’t think so, but here in Cebu, he was the guy I first saw playing longboard and doing some surf style on the longboard.

What made you go into downhill?
There’s was a time when downhill skating was a trend here. Then, I tried it and crashed, but suddenly I fell in love with it.

What were you riding back then?
Man, haha so funny. I just remembered the days when I was using loaded pintails, crail trucks with abec 11 powerballs for bombing hills way back in 2008.

What adventures did you have in those early years?
Travelling in Leyte for skimboard competitions when I was 15. That was my first adventure trip, sleeping in the top of hill without any camping gears haha, sleeping in the grass.

Blunt - Ering Ricablanca photo

Blunt – Ering Ricablanca photo

What is skimboarding?
It is a smaller counterpart of a surfboards, but without fins. It’s used to glide the water’s surface to meet  an incoming breaking wave, and ride it back into the shore.

How is the stoke different from skating?
I think it’s same! Hypeness haha.

What do you like about being out in nature?
I feel refresh all the time. Lots of good stuff in nature.

What was the first skate event you went to?
Maybe in Siquijor, that was 2009.

Little Anna photo

Little Anna photo

How was it?
It’s good man that was my first major race. Felt great racing with some dudes from Manila.

Did you do any special preparation for the race?
I was just there to enjoy the race. Before the race day, I relaxed my body.

Did you have a good result?
I was in the quarter finals. A heavy manila guy knocked me out in the race.

What do you like about racing?
The feeling, it’s an extraordinary feeling when you go down the hill, racing with awesome riders from different places.

Mark Biana photo

Mark Biana photo

Who organises skate events in your country?
There are a lot. Gravity Games Asia, free energy coop, post98 etc.

What other events did you do that year?
I raced in gravity games Asia, that was early 2010.

What is your favourite kind of event?
I like chill events; VLT events.

What is VLT?
VLT was a skate adventure trip. It was 10 days of skating and racing in three different places here in the Visayan region. I attended first in ’09.

When was the first one?
First VLT was in late 2008 in Don Salvador, Bacolod City.

Poste98 photo

Poste98 photo

What do you spend the 10 days doing?
We do whale watching, have fun in the waterfalls and cliff jumping, free riding & racing.

Who organises it?
Free Energy Cooperative & DWLE.

What do you love about the VLT?
Getting good vibes from other friends, longboarding and meeting new friends.

How far away do people come from to skate the VLT?
There are skaters from Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Hong Kong and Manila who participate in the event.

Which of your visitors have you enjoyed skating with most?
Calvin Staub!

Wildantz Boards

Wildantz Boards

Does it make a difference to the local community to get well known international visitors?
Yes, it can make a difference to the local community – we can learn different things and get different perspectives from them.

Was it hard to get good gear when you started?
Yeah! Too hard. When I started,  I always borrowed my friends’ boards. It was a struggle.

When did you finally get yours?
I had my own gear late 2009 and I was very happy. It motivated me to skate and travel.

Have you skated outside your country?
Yes! And I was so stoked! I went to Singapore and was one of the finalist in Rimba Alam, Malaysia in 2013!

Congrats! Was that your first podium?
Yes, it was! THANKS.

Buble Querubin photography

Buble Querubin photography

What has been your favourite year of skating?
2013, because Landyachtz and Riptide bushings sponsored me, and I was able to go outside the country and travel.

Where did your 2013 adventures start?
It started in VLT 2013, Havens Gate & Rimba Alam, Malaysia. In VLT 2013, podium – I got into the finals. After VLT, my friend Ching Ho invited me to join the race in Malaysia and helped me in the registration, accompanied us to the spots in Malaysia.  We were with Justen Ortiz and Poste98 Crew. Havens Gate was held in Tanay Rizal, Manila and my experience was amazing and fun, stoked! After that, RipTide Bushings welcomed me to the team with the help of Ching Ho. Next was in Rimba Alam, Malaysia – the local government and my sponsors helped me to join the race, and it was overwhelming.

Did you have fun skating in Malaysia?
Yes. Super.

Was the vibe different from home?
Yes, it was totally different  because the buildings were huge & fast trains. In longboarding, the difference is that their homes are far from the spots, unlike here in the Philippines. Their spots are also beautiful.

Was it your goal to get sponsored?
I really don’t have a goal in particular. I just skate and if somebody will sponsor me, then I will grab the opportunity, of course.

What does it feel like to get that support and recognition?
I feel very happy and special, because it is the first time that somebody supports and recognizes me, and the realisation that not everyone could get it.

How did you hook up with Landy?
After Rimba Alam race, I received a messege from the Team Manager, Justen Ortiz and he told me that they will give me a deal to join the team.

Onin Handugan photo

Onin Handugan photo

How does the local government support you?
They helped me financially for my first overseas skatetrip, and I heard that they will build a skate park in Opon.

What setups are you riding right now?
Top Speed 34, Bear Precision Trucks, Riptide Bushings and Hawgs Wheels.

How has 2014 gone for you?
So far, so good!  Just waiting for the events this year and participate.

What are you looking forward to this year?
Racing in Canada.

Goks photography

Goks photography

Will you be the first guy from your country there?
No, I don’t think so. I know there are Filipinos that have raced in Canada.

Which races will you be doing?
Gravity Games Asia in Mount Samat if there will be. I’m also planning to visit Talegong, Indonesia.

Who will win the VLT this year?
I can’t tell, because there are a lot of good racers, but I will also do my best to win!

Why should people reading this plan to visit your island?
Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries. There are lots of beautiful spots, beaches, hospitable people. To the people who are reading this, come visit the Philippines!

Keith Ramirez photo

Keith Ramirez photo

What do you do when you’re not skating?
Hang out with friends, chill, drink beers, laughing and PARTY!

Pick 3 numbers between 1-18.
3, 8 & 9

3 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
Teleportation, so I could go to different places without any visa haha

8 – why did the chicken cross the road?
Because the chicken was looking for her chick haha!

9 – what would you choose as your last meal?
LECHOOOON! Lechon Baboy is very popular in the Philippines, the whole pig is being grilled!

Jonathan Gumabras photo

Jonathan Gumabras photo

Pedro bro! It has been so much fun getting to know you. Thank you for your time. Good luck for the upcoming races and hopefully see you in the Philippines ones day!
Yeah man! Any time. I had so much fun answering the questions and thanks for your time, too! Thank you and see you soon.

Any last words?
A big thank you to Landyachtz, Riptide Bushings, JSS, Skate Of The Nation, Harpoon Company, Eroplano Soles, DWLE, Poste98, GRUPO NOPO and to all my friends who supports me!