In Brazil It all started around 1975. Skat it was just the cool new thing to do. It was a solid 3/4 inch Oakwood deck with clay wheels and it was called “Super Surfer”. The sounds of Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin blasting out of car stereos made the perfect “rebel” scene that only the ones who lived know.
Skateboarding was literally declared a “killer” sport and a crime and it was banned off every street in town. But it turned even bigger and more out of control. Everybody wanted to know what the hype was and what was so dangerous about it.
In 1978, the first Brazilian Skate magazine “Brasil Skate” was born. The first Brazilian movie about surfing and skateboarding “Nas Ondas do Surf “ hits the theaters. Rio de Janeiro gets a real skate park “Campo Grande”, and the first Brazilian national contest happened in the city of Florianopolis in south of Brazil. In 1979 Coca-Cola and Pepsi became sponsors of our best skateboarders. The punk rock attitude was really strong in and out of “skating’” and sponsors just couldn’t put up with it anymore.
The first big and international Brazilian team Wavepark/Coca Cola/Gledson team was over. In 1983 the Brazilian government closed all frontiers to imported merchandise and equipment became almost impossible to get. At this time some of our skaters came to California and made San Diego and Los Angeles their home for a while. In 1985, the first Brazilian skate magazine of the 80’s – “Overall”, is created by Fabio “Bolota” and photographer Jair Borelli, and the scene starts to get bigger. In 1986, Tony Alva (T.A.) wrote the first article about Brazilian skateboarding for Transworld called “Back in RIO”.
In April 1988 one of the biggest events happens in Sao Paulo – The “Sea Club /Overall Skate Show”, consisted of an invitational Vert contest which Mauro Mureta won, demos by Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain and rock shows. In 1988 little kids was doing amazing moves. Bob Burnquist, Cristiano Mateus and his brother, Valtinho, Fabio Anjinho and Linconh Ueda formed what we would call the newest generation of the old “Waveboys”. In 1989, skateboarding was boiling hot and the eyes of capitalism start turning to it. The “Copa Itau de Skate” (Itau is the second biggest Brazilian bank) was made in the sands of “Ipanema” beach in Rio with a mega structure for vert and street.
The 80’s ends at full speed and created big future expectations. There’s a lot of countries around the world that really depend on the American product, but Brazil manufacture their own boards, trucks, wheels, bearings, everything. So Brazil can survive if something happens and no American boards come in. The boards are heavier and really good. In the 90’s, we had just the confirmation of the talent of Brazilian skaters, the support commercial from big companies with interest in sales and exposure (skateboarding has become big business and in 2005 it have generated more than $5 billion in sales), besides the “skate space” through the Brazilian Media.
In the last decade, Brazilians have been demonstrated much power, creativity, talent and a “Brazilian Style” to conquer many international or world titles on Street or Verti. Today for example, Brazilians are among the world’s top “vert” — short for vertical – skateboarders, who do aerial tricks and ramp stunts on the international circuit. Brazilians skateboards is like Afro-Americans is for Basketball, when you see the passion and dedication of these Brazilian guys, it’s inevitable they would reach the top ranks. They come out of the streets.
Skateboarding, a mania born in the U.S., has taken root all over the world but particularly in Brazil, where it’s the second most popular sport in many cities after soccer. Brazilian skateboards like Bob Burnquist, Sandro Dias, Luan Oliveira, Kelvin Hoefler and Felipe Caltabiano (Foguinho) are world skater’s personalities among others. Many of them came to fame and fortune in Southern California, the skateboarding Mecca of the U.S. Last word: Although there are no official national rankings, more often than not, there’s a Brazilian among the top three at major U.S. contests.