Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skateboarding Colombia Going Through a Golden Era

Skateboarding in Colombia right now is going through a golden era.
There are so many young, talented kids skateboarding all over the country, with Medellin and Bogota mainly being the meccas of talent, but even in smaller cities there is great talent.

It's ironic that in the 90's skateboarding went through a downturn in popularity in the United States, but not in Colombia. The 90's were the years when skateboarding first started growing exponentially in Colombia.

I think it was "La Jungla" skateshop in Bogota (now closed down), which was a pioneer in promoting the sport. All of a sudden, all these skate kids started invading the streets of Bogota, and during "la ciclovia" (on Sundays several main streets of Bogota are closed to cars so that people can ride their bike, run, exercise and skateboard).

So influential was this skateboarding movement, that if you dressed like a skater, people would even refer to you as one of those kids from "La Jungla" (I used to be one of these kids).

Fast forward to today and now in Colombia we even have a home grown professional skateboard company called Natural Skateboard Co.

Plus there are several new skateboard shops across the country like: 1) FUN Colombia, 2) Frontside, 3) On Board,or 4) LIBRE Skateboard that produce their own videos, do contests, promote the sport and bring professionals from abroad like the ZOO YORK Team to skate in Colombia.

Finally, there's some great websites providing Colombian skateboarding video and news content like

Here is a compilation of our most famous Colombian skaters:


Our most famous skater and export is David Gonzalez from Medellin.
He rides for FLIP Skateboards, which is probably the most famous skateboard company in the world. David was discovered when he was just a scrawny little 11 year old.

Someone from the On Board Skate Shop in Medellin saw his raw talent, and sent a "Sponsor Me" video to FLIP. Geoff Rowley, legendary British skater and owner of FLIP, was so impressed that he flew to Medellin to sponsor Davisito.

The rest is history, David who is now 20 has flown all over the world competing in the most prestigious skateboarding competitions like the Maloof Money Cup, Throwdown at the Sydney Opera House, Tampa Bay Pro Am, the Berrics, etc.

David was even given the ending video part (ending part is the most prestigious) of the third installment of the FLIP video trilogy "EXTREMELY SORRY".

Here is David's Extremely Sorry video part:

Along with David, there are many other great skaters in Colombia.

Here are my picks for my favorites in no particular order:

Oscar Lowenthal (also known as "Fresa"):

Oscar is a skater from Bogota who has been around for a couple of years, and has put out
some solid skate parts in Bogota. He rides for Natural Skateboard Co., which is our first home grown professional Colombian skateboard company.
The company recently released their first skateboard film called Un Chorro de Babas (click here to view whole film in order) in HD.
The quality of the film, editing, music soundtrack and intro to the film are all excellent, and it makes me proud that it was produced in Colombia.

Fresa has 2 parts that end the film, which you can view below:
Music for Part 1 is "Fue" from Soda Stereo.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Jean Carlos Arias (also known as JEANK):

JEANK is from Bogota and rides for FUN Colombia and Circa Footwear.

He has been putting out skateboard parts for a couple years now, but his part in the FUN Colombia 2009 Promo Video is a standout in my mind for its high level technical tricks.
At minute 2:10 he does a noseslide to nollie bigspin heelflip out..amazing.

Jean Carlos Arias, Fun promo 2009 skate Colombia from Fun Colombia on Vimeo.

Miguel Acevedo (Mike):

Miguel Acevedo is from Bogota and is also in Natural Skateboard Co.'s video Un Chorro de Babas.
After Oscar Lowenthal's part, Miguel's is a standout part.
He's really good at bigspin flips and in the end of his part he jumps some really large stairs.

John Bejarano:

John is from Bogota and is sponsored by FUN Colombia, Adio and Quicksilver.
This recent video posted by shows some of his skills.
I'm really impressed by his board control, smoothness and flip tricks to slides.
I like his hardflip to backside tailslide at minue 1:01 and his front 50-50 to nollie front foot flip at minute 1:33. Check it out:

John Bejarano - QUIKSILVER Colombia from SkateCol on Vimeo.

Jose David Veléz (aka "Tal Cual"):

Jose David has excellent projections to have an international career. He is from Medellin and is already sponsored by Real Skateboards, Thunder, Spitfire, Soulfish, Lakai and Frontside Skateshop. Check out this video of him skating around different spots around Medellin like Parque de las Luces, as well as the usual well known spots in Bogota.

Part 7: Jose Velez - Frontside Skate Shop from Frontside Skate Shop on Vimeo.

That's my list for now, if you think any other Colombian skaters belong on this list, post your comment or send me an email.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

StandUp Paddle Surfing SUP Colombia

Jim Brewer admiring a leaping Colombian whale


For those that have not heard about Stand Up Paddle Surfing (also known as SUP for short), the sport has quickly become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. SUP began when legendary Hawaiian surfers / windsurfers like Laird Hamilton, Robby Naish and Dave Kalama started experimenting with the sport several years back.

The sport uses a more floaty type of surfboard (SUP board) that is stable enough to support a surfer standing up on it. Then the surfer uses a paddle to propel themselves forward.

What has made it so popular is that SUP can be done in the waves, but also in lakes, canals, rivers....basically any body of water, plus the paddling is great cardiovascular exercise.

Colombia has just been discovered by the SUP press in the United States.
Colombia gets featured on the front cover of the December 2010 issue of STANDUP PADDLE MAGAZINE, as well as a photo in the back-cover of the December 2010 issue of OUTSIDE Magazine.

This is all thanks to the Blueline Paddlesurf Team out of Santa Barbara, California.

Jim Brewer, Peter Trow, Matt Becker and legendary surf photographer Dan Merkel made the trip to Nuqui in Colombia's Pacific Coast. They stayed at EL CANTIL Ecolodge and surfed the "Pico de Loro" break. They got to interact with some of the thousands of humpback whales that visit the warm waters of the Colombian coast from July to November to breed.

Check out the hypnotic video here and some screenshots below:

Colombia SUP / Blueline, Paddle Surf Hawaii from Peter Trow on Vimeo.

Peter Trow in front of the surf cave

Matt Becker about to catch a wave at the "Pico de Loro" break

Peter Trow

A Colombian whale waving to Jim Brewer

Jim, Peter & Matt at the cliffs
Peter and Matt admiring

Jim and Peter

Jim on solo mission

Cover shot, start of sequence


Oh crap! Better get out of here

Jim with some side-step action

Peter in front of a wall of water

Peter Trow, laydown turn at "El Chorro" break

Matt Becker cutback

Matt dropping in

Peter doing a floater in front of Matt at "El Chorro"

Jim attacking

Jim with a nice cutback showing his Blueline Paddleboard