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How has the Rayssa Leal phenomenon changed the image of skateboarding in Brazilian society?

How has the Rayssa Leal phenomenon changed the image of skateboarding in Brazilian society? Well, let's start off with this... In 2022 there are more girls than boys in skateboarding schools in Brazil.

Don't miss the second part of this conversation with Marcos Hiroshi, former Brazilian professional rider, where we tried to understand how Brazil turned into a massive player in the world of skateboarding.

How do you explain the evolution of skateboarding in Brazil?

We had ups and downs, but at one time skateboarding started to appear frequently on TV and city halls all around Brazil started investing in skateparks. We had this mayor in São Paulo who started building a skatepark in each community youth Centre (places with schools, specialized courses and sports equipment, including, of course, skateparks). In São Paulo around thirty skateparks were build and the city became a reference in skateboarding. Most of these skateparks were built in the city’s outskirts, in poorer neighborhoods and many good riders came out of those initial skateparks.

Mainstream media helped, too…

Indeed. It was when the X-Games appeared. Suddenly, skateboarding was on TV all the time and we had our ace, Bob Burnquist, who became a true ambassador. Many others came afterwards: Sandro Dias, Rodrigo TX, Tiago Lemos, Luan Oliveira and the most recent of all, Rayssa Leal, who at the age of thirteen years old won the silver medal in the Olympics.

Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk

What was the impact caused by Rayssa Leal in Brazil?

A tremendous impact. Every child wants to ride now. Parents are being pressured by their kids to put them in skateboarding schools. The Olympics showed that a little girl can ride and have fun like if she was in a playground. I can even tell you more. In Brazil now, we have more girls than boys in skateboarding schools!

Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk

You have accumulated a lot of experience in skateboarding events in Brazil…

Yes, we acquired a lot knowledge in the last two decades. The CBSK (Brazilian Skate Confederation) exists for twenty years and has many skillful people. We have associations, federations, statutes, projects connected to schools, you name it. They are also many social associations that take kids from streets through skateboarding. All this know-how resulted in big events and we have created a whole group of specialized people along the way.

The image of skateboarding in Brazil has changed…

For sure. It became mainstream and less marginalized. Several years ago, parents didn't want their kids to skate. And a girl? Never! But now that all changed overnight. The general public now understands something about skateboarding because the Olympics and all the Brazilian "skateboarding" idols. Now we have public money allocated to skateboarding, to prepare the Olympics, because skateboarding is an official sport. This money is also used to build more skateparks. The CBSK has an agreement with local and central government to act like an official advisor with skatepark builders to prevent bad constructions.

Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk

How many skateboarders do you have in Brazil?

A search made in 2015 by Data Folha (data platform from newspaper Folha de São Paulo) concluded they were about 8,5 million skateboarders in Brazil, but I can say for sure that we have now more than ten million, after the Olympics in Tokyo.

Instagram Marcos Hiroshi See all skateparks in Brazil

By Manu Silva

How Troubl3 Keeps Making Trouble with Skateboards

June 29 2022 - Interview with Troubl3  “I always have been a troublemaker”. If Andrew, 41, had to pitch his idea, this could be a good punchline. It’s one of those cases where a business’s name is not just marketing, but a character’s extension. "So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people." Andrew (Owner Troubl3)   VISIT WEBSITE TROUBL3 is a Canadian skateboard shop based in Otawa. It was born in 2018 from the desire to go against the flow. “Skateboarding industry has become a mass production machine. Everything comes from China or Mexico, where people are not paid right. I buy something for one hundred dollars that really costs ten dollars”, he claims. “Then I thought: if I’m going to be a troublemaker, I might do something different. If I’m making a board it’s got to be unique like any skater is. I’m going to make one by one; it’s going to be tougher, it’s going to last more, every single board is going to be different. When you buy, it’s not just a board, it’s a piece of art and an experience”, he adds. This is something “one hundred percent customized”, from size, shape, wheels base, and a “seven veneer deck”. He proudly details: “Each veneer that goes into each deck is hand picked.” He buys local (wood from Quebec, for instance) in small batches, presses, shapes and hand paints the decks himself also, when he can, he promotes local artists to draw on the skateboards. “So, Troubl3 is giving the middle finger to a lot of skate shops that do not support local people who make stuff. They say they are local, but do not buy local”, Andrew reenforces, protesting against the rules of the game. “I always compare skateboards with pizza. I love pizza: a large one costs 50 bucks, the same you pay for a skateboard sometimes. Those skateboards are made overseas, they cost nothing to make, the price of pizza is gone to double, but the price of skateboards stayed the same for 30 years." “I evoke Paul Schmitt’s case all the time: a big name in this industry who shifted his business from California to Tijuana because people want to keep the price of a skateboard at 50 of 60 dollars for eternity. So, to keep his business going and pay his people, he had to move”, Andrew says.   He likes to be different. “Being marginalized is something good in skateboarding”. Although he admits the way he runs business is not sustainable: “The breakeven would be making 250 skateboards a month. Right now, I have had a month when I made four or five, others one or two.” It doesn’t matter. He believes this is the way. And he gives a discount if people really ride them and not just hang his skateboards on the wall. Authenticity is his brand, like the style he prefers for riders: “I like to see the most unorthodox skater. Do you do treflips? Fantastic, so can any other kid. I don’t care, throw your board against the wall, flip it on your head, do a back flip, do something I want to see. It’s different, do skateboarding and not do what others do.” “There’s a kid in Indonesia I started to follow who's skateboarding reminds me of a young Christian Hosoi. When I see the kid skate I can recognize Christian Hosoi’s influence. Can you recognize the inventors of other tricks you see people do at the park?”, he asks. Andrew sponsors five “troublemakers”: Eric Martin (Ontario), Dustin Lawrence (Ontario), Connor Callan aka Meat Feet (Arizona), Luis Uribe (Texas), Shinichi Nichiyama (Japan). He enjoys watching them and supports them the way he can. About his local skateparks, Andrew recommends: Bob MacQuarrie skatepark in Otawa Joel Gauthier skatepark in Rockland Local bus stop where where it's super smooth and is perfect for slappies, now that people stopped using busses, due to Covid, it's always empty and available.

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