Back to Mexico for a chat with a very rad lady named Valeria. She loves longboarding despite all the road rash. She shares her adventures last year in Mx, Peru, CALI and Bogota. Respect da people!
Muy Bien! How was your week?
I had a very active week. I went to the state of Jalisco to skate with the locals, but the last day a stone on my way threw me so I’m recovering. No skating.
Ouch! Are you okay?
Yes, but my knee still fat and I have a new hip tatoo.
Where are you from?
I’m from Mexico city.
Nice place to grow up?
I’m not sure if Mexico city is a nice place to grow up but I like being born here.
How did you get into skateboarding?
Two and a half years ago a friend bought a big longboard. I had always seen people on skateboards and was curious but I’d never tried till that longboard. We went to a little hill surrounding a football stadium and that’s where we started to skate.
Was it a fun experience?
Of course it was, even though I fell.
Does that friend still skate?
Yes, he does, the same way he used to. Chillin with his board, a beer and a delicious cigar.
Who else was skating in Mexico City back then?
There were many people skating, to whom I owe much. Dan Favela and Punk Rocker were one of the first people who told me how to stand on the board, but also the Figgis (Daniel and Fifer Figueroa) helped me a lot. There were a lot of people skating, half of them still do.
Are those your brothers?
The Figggis?, not of blood.
What did you learn during those early days?
I learned to stand up after I fall, and I learned that DH is about playing with inertia. That is the reason why some talk about following the flow.
What sort of skating did you enjoy most?
I like to go fast and slide, I think it’s freeride. I use to like more DH, but as I get more control on the board, I like most the freeride.
Who taught you how to go fast?
My friends. At first I was tried to keep control by constantly breaking, but once they told me I didn’t have to brake on that hill I started to go fast. They also taught me about the technical aspects.
“I fell in love with the skateboarding because of the control”
How important is control?
It’s everything. It’s trust in yourself, in your body and in the things you’re trying or the way you’re going, so you can enjoy what you are doing.
I fell in love with the skateboarding because of the control. The first time I slid, it was accidental, I lost control of the board and I slid. The second time I tried to do the same, consciously, so I discovered the power of having control or losing control.
What did you enjoy about going fast?
It’s like my brain is turned off; but just the thoughts, and I’m Feeling. Maybe I concentrate too much, because that’s something hard for me, so that feeling is magic.
“(when I skate) It’s like my brain is turned off; not thoughts, just FEELINGS.”
Is there a big community in your city?
I wouldn’t say it’s big, but growing. The problem is that we are widely dispersed.
What is the centre of the community there?
Mmm, that´s a polemic question. I think that maybe the difficulty in answering this question is the reason why we don’t have a big community yet. But there are some spots that work as community centers, like the university stadium (which is where I started) or the Revolution´s Monument.
What was the first event you ever went to?
It was two years ago. A slide jam and a “slow race” in Guadalajara.
How do you win a slow race?
Being the slowest hehe. There was a curved circuit painted on the floor on a straight hill. So you needed to slide but couldn’t completely stop.
Are the skaters in Mexico city and Guadalajara close?
Yes I think so. This year I have seen a real community being born. Skaters all around Mexico are closer, and we had a lot of events in different states of the country this year.
Which are your favourites?
The Monterreal Longboard Fest http://mlf.mx/?lang=en is one of my favourites. I love that spot! The road, the view, the smell. It’s the only IDF event we have in México, but we also have other fun events. Last month we had the Aguacate Longboard Fest in the state of Puebla. http://www.aguacatelongboardfest.com/ The track is awesome, fast and fun.
Next month, a week after Monterreal, we have an event in Jalisco, San Gabriel. Is also a very fun track, with a lot of curves, 3 Km of curves! I’m glad that this year we have a lot of events all around the country.
What has been your favourite year of longboarding so far?
This past year of course! I had the opportunity to travel a lot for skating.
When did you first get the opportunity to travel?
The first time I traveled was for the slow race in Guadalajara, December 2011. It’s not far from the city, like 6 hours, but it was the first time I went out from the city to skate.
Did you do much other skating that year?
Not really, that was my first approach to the skate word. Honestly, now I can say that I wish it had happen before.
Is it important to skate in new places?
Of course! I think it’s the best way to learn and to test yourself.
Why do you need to push yourself?
To be able to have fun, to keep moving, and grow up, and LIVE! When I look back in future years, I can tell myself how much I did, and how much I’ve moved, and why I’m there.
What are your big fears?
Snakes! Well, they used to be till I meet one on my local spot. I was startled but she was so serene, she looked at me and slowly and calm she left. I felt bad for my reaction, because I was about to scream like a little girl. Now I respect them more than I fear them.
I have to admit that also I feel fear each time that I have to cross a freeway in the city. It’s not a very intelligent decision to cross there, I know.
And “Botargas” (¿motley?), I hate that I can’t see their eyes, especially the Dr. Simi, I have to cross to the other sidewalk if is one of them dancing outside his store.
When did you first skate with other girls?
Since the first time I try to skate there were girls, I use to skate with another friend, but she doesn’t skate anymore. My first women’s race was versus Rosy Vega, she´s from Guadalajara and she is the first girl I run. It was in Guadalajara a year and a half ago.
WHERE IS ROSY?
She is in Guadalajara but doesn’t skate anymore.
What did you get up to in 2012?
Uff, hehe, you said I can write a story about all my adventures, but the true story is that I was having problems with finishing my thesis to graduate in History. I’m in the same problem now actually, because I decided a year ago to stop thinking and working on the thesis for the 2013, and now I’m retaking academic work to get the title and let my parents breathe easy. Also, I have to admit it, I used to play soccer, (football 7).
What position do you play?
I was def, but since I met the longboard I haven’t been on a field.
Who will win the world cup?
Haha, let’s have some laughs, México!
Was skating distracting you from school?
I wouldn’t put it that way. Skating makes me feel good, and I’m a better student if I’m feeling good.
How was your 2013?
Wonderful! Probably my best year! I had the opportunity to travel all around my country to skate. I went to California, Bogotá, and Peru, to skate. I met a lot of places to skate, and a lot of people with different ways of thinking and living. I put aside my academic things and I learned that there are many forms to overcome and grow up. and I think I did it.
WOW! How was Cali?
It was a paradise! I met Tuna! It was a big challenge for me. At first I wasn’t sure what was I doing there. I was scared, because I was not sure If I had the skills to skate it. It was a big thing to me.
Does Tuna like you too?
Oh yes!!!! It was really a big thing to me, but in a very good sense. I had a lot of fun there, I learned to much. Specially not using slidegloves.
Who were you skating with out there?
I went there with Mexican friends; Fer Bailleres, Edy Aviña, Eduardo Cordero, Patrtick Olmos and Vic González. They all skate and I owe them so much. It was a grate an enriching experience to be there with them.
What were you up to in Colombia?
I went to the Festival de la Bajada. It was not my best race, I had some trouble with the last right, but I learned. We also went to the Cerro de Guadalupe for a slide jam, and we had the opportunity to skate there with the peruvian gays, was very fun.
Is it similar to home?
Yes, in a lot of ways. Bogotá, like México city is a high city surrounded by hills, and there are a lot of things that are similar but different, for example food. They eat a lot of fried food, like the “buñuelos” which is a wheat flour fried ball. In México we have all class of “garnachas” word that we use to refer a kind of fried food, just that most of that is made with corn.
What did you learn in Peru?
I learned that it is good to haggle with Peruvian taxi drivers; that llamas use footwear sometimes; that if you run being at 4000 m above sea level you maybe feel dizzy, and coca lifts can help; and also I learned that racing is not the same as freeriding, and you (at least me) need courage to be able to enjoy racing as freeriding.
In what ways did you grow at the end?
In every way. Being in another country, where everything is new and some kind different to the way you now, and learn to move there, makes you grow up. Skating new spots also made me grow up, it always does.
What gave you the biggest smiles last year?
Every spot brings a big smile to me, and sometimes a roadrash haha. I also had a very big smile the first time I taught a friend to slide on his board after recovering from a broken exposed bone. I saw his bone!
What were you riding on your adventures?
I was riding a Mini kill switch that I have since I started into DH, bought it with the money of my scholarship, same as my full face. A 44° caliber trucks and for shoes I had a sector9 race formula 82a for freeriding and red rad advantages. And venom bushings 87-85a.
Are any of those your sponsors?
Sector9 helps me, they give me support when I was in Bogotá and I appreciate that so much. I also had for my adventure, and fortunately still have, the support of Trip House Co., a Mexican brand of clothes, they’ve sponsored me for over a year.
How is this year going for you?
Is going great! Is not perfect of course, I lost my job when I was planning my races schedule, so I couldn´t assist some of them, but I´m glad that in México we had a lot of events so far this year, so I´been skating a lot! So far this year there have been three races in different part of the country. In March we had de Natura DH & Freeride 2014 in Jalapa, Verazruz. I got second, I crashed in the last left, Liz Espinosa, she ´s been skating faster, I’m glad.
In April we had two races; the Laguna DH, In the state of Jalisco,
And the next week we had de Aguacate Longboard Fest 2014, took place in the state of Puebla.
These two tracks were particularly fun, I had some troubles with the treacherous pavement in Laguna, and a lot of fun and learning on the big “S” of Aguacate.
Is skating worth that sacrifice?
Yes of course, my aunts and friends ask me the same every time they look at my legs white scars. The answer is the same, but it’s not like I want more scars!
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Skate of course! I´m planning to assist as much races I can. May be some on the United States, and I want to go again to Peru and Colombia, so I have to work hard to be able to get it. I also want to finish my degree process, and maybe move to live out of the city, at least for a while.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I really like plants, all kind of, and I have a lot, so most of my not skating time, I’m doing something about them. I also like to spend my time with my family ; mom, dad, my brother and Chino, Cora y Cirila, our dogs. I like also spend my time with my old friends, they support me a lot with the skating thing, even is something new for them.
Pick 3 numbers!
5, 17 and 4
5 – what’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you?
When I was like 6 years old, there was a bird nest in the cornice of the bathroom´s window. I saw the Birdy Mama build it, I saw the nest with four three little eggs, then I saw the nest with three little and nasty little birds (one of the eggs fell out of the nest), I used to watch them every day, I knew when they’re being fed cause they made a lot of noise. One day I heard the noise and I went to to the bathroom just to see a snake suffocating one of the birdys. The noisy one was terrified, and the snake had a protuberance. It off, the poor snake fell into the destroyer childrens hands, and the last image I have of it is one of them hitting the snake´s head with a baseball bat, and the snake´s eyes poking out.
17 – What is Victoria’s secret?
I don’t like gossip, ask Victoria.
What is your super power?
That the power of plants is with me, always with me.
Who should we interview next?
I think it would be interesting to read an interview with Abraham Esparza, “pichón”, he’s from the north of the country and he’s very involved with the skating community.
It’s been so so so so nice talking to you. Can’t believe how long this took. Thanks for your patience. Good luck on your adventure this year!
Thanks for your patience too, really! It´s been an honor and a pleasure, and very fun. Good luck too!
Any last words?
Always respect the road, and thanks for your time.
Thanks to Trip House Company for supporting me as nobody does, except for my parents and brother, that they also understand what this means to me.