It had been a solid two years since I had been back to Peru. Not once did I ever forget the level of joy and excitement that I remember seeing within the small but tight-knit longboarding community there. At the time there was probably only a hand full of riders that were actively involved within our sport, 40 at the most. Everyone had sketchy truck set-ups, hand-me-down gear and homemade gloves. And for the most part, helmets were virtually unheard of and uncool.
But after two years of being gone, riding in the US and Canada, I was met by a very unexpected longboarding family. Leaving Peru and knowing pretty much everyone by their name, I was shocked to come back and feel like a complete stranger. New faces were everywhere. Kids of all ages were shredding harder than I could have ever imagined was possible when I was their age. Sessions were huge and the level of riding was unbelievable. At first I was nervous seeing everyone again, but within the first hour of hitting the streets, it was as if I had never left.
My first night back, I spared no time in getting back to the chaos of Lima’s car filled streets. A 10 minute skate down memory lane of my old “barrio” kicked in my survival instincts again. To put it in the simplest words, Peru is a dangerous place to skate. Traffic is dense and taxis are crazy. Even rolling down the side walk is just as hazardous to your health as riding in traffic. With constant pavement changes and huge pot-holes that seem to blend in like wrist breaking chameleons, Peru is terrifying if you don’t have quick reactions. Taking to the actual streets of Lima, is a much more extreme experience. There are no lanes or right of ways in Lima. There is almost no use of the brakes, only exceptional usage of honking. Speed limits are guide lines and stop lights are suggestions. With all the danger I re-encountered after so much time being gone, I found myself to fit right back into the action.
After dodging cursing pedestrians, avoiding the biggest potholes ever, and narrowly surviving rush hour traffic, I finally reached my old stomping grounds of the boardwalk, better known as “Malecon Roots”. After sitting and taking in the beauty of the city and the smell of the ocean, I heard a phrase I had all but completely forgotten. “Habla pues, chuls” was screamed from the upper part of the Malecon. I looked up to see my best friend JL Bobadilla, or Jota (Hota) for short. My main partner in crime, this dude has style. Smooth steps and fluid motions are his jam. No one can rock a longboard on the busy streets of Lima as stylish as he can.
Within my absence, he has taken the few things I knew and shared with him and thrown in his own Latin steez all over it. He has been such a persistent and influential member of his local crew of longboarders that he found himself a sponsor with Chaman Longboards, the biggest retailer of longboarding gear in all of Peru. With the smooth talking Pablo in charge, his skilled riders like Jota and the rad grom Gonzalo Bandon representing him at events, this shop is destined to be the new backbone and force behind the community. Looking for some of the latest gear in Peru? Chaman Longboards is the place to find it.
Chilling with my old buddies and several new ones was more than a blast. I was even lucky enough to meet Mariza Nunez and Ishtar Backlund of Daddies Boardshop. These girls know whats up when it comes to being great people. They’re always smiling, always happy and in Ishtar’s case, always dancing. They rocked the competition at the KillMana Race, both getting podium, even after Ishtar stumbled on the push.
If you ever get a chance to hang with Marisa, ask her to bust out a knee-down backside 180, the girl has got them on lock. And if you are lucky enough to run into Ishtar while she is traveling the world, please check out her art, it will blow you mind. Thanks again for the custom drawing Ishti!!!!
Just like any other place in the world, I ran into an Aussie. His name is Rob McWhinnie and with his amazing wife Maga, they both ride for Early Skateboards and Hopkins Racing. This dude shreds. Literally, he destroys thane and burns concrete with his riding. Not only being super human and coming back from several injuries in the recent past, when I first met him, I couldn’t tell if he rode goofy or switch. I’m still not too sure! Thanks Rob and Maga for being a dynamite couple and showing me around to some of your favorite spots!
And what would be the point of going to a beautiful and amazing foreign country for skating without filming something?! The guys at Choro Longboarding had my back from the very beginning. Christian Salmon and Diego (Panda) Cardenas know what’s up when it comes to some quality filming. I give you guys the biggest shout out and a huge thanks for letting me fall as many times as I did during our filming sessions! Patient and rad, you can’t help but love these dudes and their amazing looking work.
All in all, Peru is a wonderful place. You looking to go somewhere cheap and friendly with plenty of excitement and danger to greet you in the face? Check out Lima, Peru. Unfortunately I only had a quick 13 day trip there and didn’t have the funds to get down the some of the gnarlier hills that they have to offer, but I was able to throw a Slide Jam on the last few days I was there. With about 40 riders competing and about a hundred spectators at best, it went smoothly and as perfect as it gets when it comes to Latin American events. Stay tuned and stay stoked for my recap of one of the most fun events I have ever been a part of.
Thank you Choro Longboarding and DHorDIE for all of the rad photos!
Chau Peru, y chau a todos que me apoyaron con mi evento! Gracias por tu hospitalidad y tu amistad! Nos vemos muy pronto.