Multiple DH skateboarding champ Carlos tells about his motivation for racing, how he fell in love with longboarding and his dream for the IDF’s premium paying elite class
Hello Carlos, how are you?
Hello, I’m super good!
How’s your weekend looking?
So far, it’s been intense. I had a friend, Tiago Lessa, come to my house for a skate session. And it was good training with the number 2 guy in the world! I can tell you, it’s good to have fast friends to train with haha.
HE IS FAST!
What does number 1 have to learn from number 2?
ladyI’m in a constant learning process, not just skating stuff. Friendship!
What are the most important things you’ve learnt?
I learn how to interact with people. Skateboarding gives me the opportunity to meet different people from different countries, in the same situation as I. It’s like dealing with myself in different bodies. Always good!
Who are the type of people you like to meet?
People who wanna be with me. Not just because I’m a world champion, but because I have something to give besides skating. My friendship, for example.
Are you a good friend?
I know I’m difficult sometimes, no one can commit mistakes around me. I can be a hard person but, I’m trying to get better every day.
Do you share bacon with your friends?
I share my bacon with people that deserve my bacon haha.
Who are your favourite friends?
My girlfriend for sure, and two brothers that I made when I moved to the South of Brazil. Allysson Pastrana and Andrez Krob, plus more friends that I have in my hometown we like to call ourselves MST- maringá speed team. (all my favourites)
Do they all skate?
YES! My girlfriend too! Met her when I first won Teutonia (fastest race on the planet). Actually, I fell in love when I saw her with leathers and full face on the hill. That was crucial haha.
Who is this special lady?
Her name is Ivana, and she is special, because she is a doctor who give me stitches when I need! She takes care of me when I feel sick. Perfect girl for a skater.
(That’s my special lady)
Haha and who is the perfect guy for a skater girl?
I don’t know if I’m the perfect one, but I try to be perfect for her, will chase the perfection for as long as I live.
When did you guys start MST?
Maringá, my town, is a super small town and we don’t have hills. It’s a flat city. So it was crazy to form this SPEED TEAM in a place that is hard to get speed haha.
How did you get into skating?
I was in the gym and a professor came to me holding a big skateboard. Super long and different that the regular ones looked. I was shocked when he went outside and showed me what he could do. From the top of the street (wasn’t so steep) he came down as fast as he could and made a super man… don’t need to say more. I was in love and bought a new longboard the next week and, here I am now.
Is speed the thing you love most about it?
In the beginning, it was the slide feeling. I started with downhill slide. After came the feeling of competition. Right now, I don’t even care about how fast I can go, I just want to race and find different roads that challenge me in a way that I will have to adjust to do well again.
Why is sliding so big in Brazil?
For sure because of Sergio Yuppie. He put that downhill slide in a different perspective for me. I saw what he did back in the days and when I see the videos now, they’re still try to be like him.
Did DH slide prepare you for DH racing?
Right now, I see it was like a physical preparation. The type of downhill that we are doing right now is much more physical. Was preparation, in that sense.
When did you begin competing?
My first downhill race was in 2007 (MT3 – Speed board contest), but I got eliminated in the first heat. After 2 years, I made my second race, got 3rd. Right there, I knew that I could do well in this sport.
10 years! Happy anniversary!
Yeah 😀 thanks.
What did you learn from that first race?
I used to look others to find answers of what I should do. When I made the first race, I discovered that I have a strong push, I know that my body type was good for racing and what I should do is try to keep calm in the race. The rest will come with training.
(fun fact) I’ve skated Teutonia for 6 years. The first two years, I fell in the push on my first heat, because I was too nervous. After I learnt how to control my anxiety, I won 2 years in a row.
I came to Teutonia without going 80km/h… and that hill can be pretty scary for beginners.
Was staying calm all you had to do to win?
In the beginning, I didn’t have the knowledge of what I should do to be fast. Was impossible till I started to train and save money to buy equipment. Eventually things started to make sense. For example my body weight, stature and the race aspects: vacuo, aerodynamics, new equipment… etc.
After I got good gear, and had the right training, all I had to do was keep calm and let my training do the rest.
You know when people say – “the only thing that separates you from what you want is yourself”. Today this line makes sense to me.
What did it feel like to win?
I love winning races, of course! Racing is my thing and winning them is like being good at my job. I know the feeling of victory is temporary so I don’t celebrate too much. I like to keep it simple, and always work hard.
What is the best body type for racing?
Depends of the track. Back in the day, I was known as the fastest guy on straight lines in Brazil, but if a race has one curve, I was out! Haha.
Where I lived didn’t have hairpin turns. I didn’t know how to do it and, to make things harder, I used a drop-through skate.
When I had my first race in Europe (2014), I learnt about top-mounts. It was hard to understand my board during the euro tour, but I made the transition. In the beginning of 2015, I grabbed a short board (34″ long with a 25″ wheelbase and a 160mm hanger).
I knew that skating a setup like that with my stature would be painful, and so it was, but I learnt not just skating a top-mount but also how to pre-drift and slide in races.
Changed my board again during the 2015 season and it was worth it. Inconsistent year but, happy to be a world champion for the first time in IDF.
To answer your question; Perfect body? There is no such thing. What exists is training, dedication and self-knowledge.
What’s the best skate event in Brazil?
There are so many good events in Brazil. If I have to choose as a racer – 7curvs. If I have to choose as a human who likes fun and not just fun skating: TIMBURI SKATE CAMP by GAS INFLAMÁVEL SKATESHOP, they organise one of the finest events and it’s not even a competition. Just the place they found, the crew, the people that they bring to the events… perfect.
How come you didn’t skate in Europe till 2014!
Well, I started to race for real in 2012, became a pro skater in Brazil, 2013 and the next step, back in those days was going outside and testing my skills. I couldn’t get outside of Brazil before, I needed proof for my sponsors that I was ready… nobody was willing to send me ”to try”, they wanted to be sure I could win haha.
What was the most difficult thing about the top-mounted setup?
First, doing corners full-tuck. The top-mount skate has much more grip but has to be ridden with tight trucks. It makes the control of the board more difficult and reduces the lean.
This is the most difficult thing that I found and, the reduced wheelbase plus narrow hangers. Because of this, I needed to get my drift and slide technique more accurate, to be strong and precise. I chose that kind of setup as “training set up”. For a 6’’2′, 88kg guy it was a challenge to control, but it paid off.
(This was my technique of slide with a drop skate – Photo: Juliana Vaz)
(This is my current technique of slide with top mouth skate – Photo: Justin Rolo)
Did you enjoy your first taste of Europe?
A LOT! It was the best part of the world tour, every downhill skater in the world has to make one euro-trip at least once in their life.
Why is it so good?
For me, it’s the fact that all European races have this camp thing. In Europe, it’s normal to get a tent and camp; it creates a different energy at the event.
Did you have a fun 2015?
I love skating, and love skating fast on closed roads, so when I arrived in Europe, I was ready to have the best time of my life, and so it was.
Where did your 2016 season begin?
Mexico, Laguna DH. I don’t have deep pockets to go on all the circuit so I had to start almost in the middle of the season. Was maybe 2,000 points behind the riders that started the season in Australia, it was a good challenge for me.
WOW. Did you expect to catch up?
Was becoming champion your aim for the year?
I always dream big. So YES, and being the fastest in Quebec as well.
How did it feel to be crowned?
I feel good of course, but my goal is not just becoming world champion. I do it because I love skating different hills and finding new cultures: in order to do that – I have to be world champion… so be it!
Have you found your perfect setup now?
I’m a very technical rider, every little thing of my set up has a purpose. For example my board, The BLACK MAMBA of Kysygni boards, has a little gas pedal, you can feel much more secure kicking some slides in Kozakov (super smooth pavement) or in festival de la bajada (super ruff pavement).
It’s different from most other boards on the market because it’s not that rigid. I used to think that rigid boards are better… but not for grip, so I made it a little flexy to get extra grip when I slide.
My trucks (AERA k5) are set in 168mm/46 degrees front and 164mm/30 degrees back: strictly for racing. My main advantage against the others for sure is my wheels. My friends skate all types of wheels around me during practice and training sessions but on race day, you can see all the Brazilians using FACE SKATE. The grip that wheels has is impressive, and when the wheels are new, you can flip them putting the sharper lip outside (fast elephant are centre-set) and you can kick a super smooth slide or little pre-drifts and re-grip easily.
I think I have found the perfect setup for me and I will keep riding the same for 2017.
(Setup of 2016 and ready for 2017)
All top 3 guys ride the same wheels?
Last year was me and Lessa who rode face skate. 1st and 2nd in the world.
Was your setup responsible for your victory last year?
If you know how to use it, yes! You can say this. The reason I’m telling you this is because in 2014 I already had face skate fast elephant but I didn’t like the wheels, didn’t race them on my first euro-tour. And, one year after that I got the world championship using only those wheels for the entire circuit. That’s why I think I wasn’t prepared for the wheels. Once I understood how to use and learn how to ride, I extract everything the wheels could give me.
Why has Brazil been so dominant in Open class?
We have a strong scene here in Brazil. We have a professional division, amateur 1, amateur 2 and beginner division. This makes people hungry, they go to a race and work to improve in the category and keep the motivation firing. When you get to the professional level in the Brazilian circuit, for sure you are ready for any contest in the world. I can tell you there’s at least 2 or 3 more guys in Brazil that, if they have the opportunity to, will fight for a world title easily.
Will this become a trend?
In Brazil, it is. In the world, it used to be. I have faith that the sport will grow this year, it may be a little slow but maybe in the next two years it will explode again! I’m putting that hope on people in Oceania (China, Australia, Philippines and Korea)
Traditionally, North American riders and gear dominate – is this the beginning of the Brazillian reign?
My first time in an IGSA race, years ago, there were so many good riders, Erik, Mischo, Kevin, Martin and so many others – the main difference to me that time was experience and gear.
Physically, we are made from same material (flesh and bones) haha. Right now, everybody has access to a lot of equipment at an accessible price, so what counts is the experience. That being said, if you race in the Brazilian circuit from beginner category and get to professional, for sure you will have everything you need to fight for the title. Now is time to reaping the fruits.
For sure you can expect a lot of Brazilians in top of the world for at least more years to come.
How are you preparing for this new season?
I like to keep my body always prepared. I live a very healthy life, so it’s not too hard prepare. I do capoeira (Brazilian dance/fight) and skate parks to keep me up. The hardest part of my preparation is finding money to booking flights.
Is defending your title important to you?
Yes it is, was hard to achieve. I know that it is a temporary thing but it’s good to have this personal achievement in my life.
What do you expect from this new evolution of the IDF?
I expect that IDF members get paid for they jobs, this ORG thing, in my opinion doesn’t work ’cause we have professional people doing amateur job. But, if you hired them and paid for their time, they’ll give 100% to do what they love and get paid for that.
Take me, for example. I love what I do, and I get paid for it, so I will go to the hill and make as many runs as I can to bring the best that I can to provide what I proposed to my employers.
If we have to pay bigger inscriptions to make this IDF salary, I totally agree! We can create an elite group, and for that group the price of inscriptions is bigger, but we have prize money and the open or general class, which get no money prize and they pay just to race with people in same condition.
I expect that from IDF.
How much would you be willing to pay as membership?
The point here is not about how much a rider will pay to be in the elite group, if she really is a pro rider. The question is how much riders will get as their sponsors will typically cover any costs. These brands will pay the confederation or organisation that amount of money, to keep the riders rolling.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I love playing video games, especially race games, and working out… like 6 days a week, I’m addicted hehe.
Who should we interview next?
For sure, Tiago Lessa!
Carlos, Bro! It has been really fun getting to know you. Thanks for all the stoke.
I just wanna say thanks to you Gbemi, and Thane magazine for giving me the space to say a little thing about me.
To people out there I wanna say one thing XABLAU!!!!!!