Feature Article

The History of Skateboarding in Brasil – the 80’s

In the end of 82 the Wavecat center couldn’t survive the rollerskate crisis and closed its doors. Skateboarding was basically dead except for the “Guara” park with their national contests that turned to be the event of the year for years to come after that.

Waveboy Formiga at QG skatepark.
The 70’s80’s – 90’s – 2000’s

The last sessions were done at the legendary Wave park, ’til the last piece of cement; the Wavecat center was the new spot. With the orphans of the Wave park and the locals Osmar Fossa and Aranha, a new park team was formed but they tried too hard to have an “organized” scene that didn’t really “fit” the skate punk attitude. The team was divided in groups and we’d have to skate during certain hours supposedly to make a little show. Guess what? It didn’t work and it got to a point that I recall us snorting glue and nitrous on the platform of the pool and rippin’ it at the same time just to watch spectators seeing it in horror. Very soon the “Waveboys” were all kicked out off the park team and veered in a different direction. In the beginning, all of us got into surfing and later Luis Roberto “Formiga” and Alvaro “JOFA” Sandoli brought the skate attitude to the hangliding world breaking records of altitude and longitude with “Jofa” doing crazy loops and super high spiros and “Formiga” breaking all “cross-country” records flying over 3 states in one single flight and turning into national tv. and newspapers personality. As far as me, Jun, and Ralph (the other waveboys), we continued to surf constantly. I also have to tell you one of the main reasons why we kind of quit skatin for a while was the “invasion” of the rollerskate fashion killing almost 100% of skateboarding early in 81. In this same year you could count in two hands the ones still skating and they were the new generation that came from the Wavepark: Marcio Tanabe, Yura, Dan Bourqui, Porque, Ari, Mureta, Mario, Carrao, and the locals from the Wavecat: Osmar, Aranha, George Rotatori, and Tioliba. There was also a crew of skaters from Rio that would often come down to skate. They were: twins Oscar and Osmar Lattuca, Luciano, Comerato, and Cesinha. In the middle of ’81 a new public park
opened 5 minutes from the Wavecat. It consisted of a long kinked half capsule halfpipe. Stories tell about a grand opening party where skaters got paid to stay in a 5 star hotel just to get kicked out hours later for thrashing and terrorizing everything and everyone, including throwing tvs out the windows. Rumors were that they were all the “Wavepark” kids; so I guess the old Waveboys did a good job teaching the new generation.
Mauro Mureta in his backyard.
In the end of ’81 a new park is built in a small county town between Sao Paulo and
Rio. The “Guara” park consisted of an 8 figure bowl/banks with 5’deep end and 4’shalow, kinkless, it also had a 10’deep pool with tile and coping. This was all work of locals Junior, Petronio Villela, Indio, Nando, and Salgado and it started to revamp skateboarding.

82-Back in Sao Paulo rollerskating was slamming skateboarding turning all opportunists to the rollerskate industry; but a tight crew kept skating though. Some were freestylin’ like Bolota, Sallada, Anshowas, Pastel, and Helio Greco whose homegrounds were the “Marquise” in the “Ibira” park. Others that were riding skateparks like Marcio Tanabe, Yura, Porque, and Ari Jumonji turned to skate the hills in town creating the “downhill slide” style. In Rio the “Barramares” pool was the spot for some gnarly sessions but only for a few “zs” locals. See, in that time, skaters in Rio were divided in two factions: the”zs”(south part of town) and the “zn” (north part of town) and there was “heavy” territorial localism. In the end of 82 the Wavecat center couldn’t survive the rollerskate crisis and closed its doors. Skateboarding was basically dead except for the “Guara” park with their national contests that turned to be the event of the year for
years to come after that.

Bruno Leandro at QG park.
In 83 the Brazilian government closed all frontiers to imported merchandise so it was almost impossible to get equipment. Basically with no parks, skaters in Sao Paulo like Pastel, Be, Ricardo “tchap-tchura”, Helio Greco, Marcio Tanabe, brothers Porque and Poise were the crew! In “Guara” the second national contest creeps the town with punk skaters creating a war with hillbilly locals. Since then it
was dangerous to be a skater in that once peaceful little town. All it took
to get a real ass beating was to carry your board around. I myself decided to
move to L.A. to surf and restarted skating on a daily basis. The Paramount
and the Upland Pipeline park.

84-with the lack of parks skaters started to build small halfpipe ramps in their backyard to keep vert alive but it
was really hard to get any equipment to skate. Back in Cali in a contest at the Del Mar “skateranch”. I’d met Tony Alva (T.A.) and told him about the scene in Brazil, so he hooked me up and I started smuggling skate products to Brazil. People down there was really stoked on all the Alva stuff ’cause it was the only imported material available.

85/86 – The first Brazilian skate mag of the 80’s “Overall” is created by Fabio “Bolota” and photographer Jair Borelli. The scene starts to get bigger so I arrange for T.A. and Duncan to come down and check the fourth national contest in Guara. They came down and literally “lived” the whole scene surfing, skating, and partying everywhere with locals. When they came back to the U.S. T.A. wrote the first article about Brazilian skateboarding for Transworld called “Back in RIO” (May/86). T.A. also formed the Alva Brazilian team which consisted of: Mauro Mureta, Porque, Sallada, and Bigo which just had his private cement ramp done and had the honor to have TA riding it in the first few days. This guy also had a lion “pet” that loved to watch skatin’ and hung around the ramp all the time!! T.A. was a real skate ambassador on this trip teaching style, attitude, and experience that influenced the whole scene. Next year another skate mag named “YEAH” is out under the commands of Paulo “Anshowinhas”. This one was more like Thrasher. It had a “zine” look inside and it was more underground directed. Ramps are popping up in Rio and in south of Brazil. Alva is the biggest imported brand next to Powell-Peralta only Powell was almost impossible to get. On another international smuggling skate adventure me and T.A. drop down again but this time we consumed hot “sake” during all the 13 hours of flight, so when we arrived I had lost my id and passport and had no idea what was going on. We were drunk as fuck and just sat at the customs’ bench watching federal agents stack 100 boards, 600 sets of wheels, 100 pairs of trucks, about 4000 bearings and assorted “promo” clothes…they were so shocked that they didn’t know how to charge us ’cause skateboards weren’t in their product list, specially being smuggled in by two drunk asses, weird looking, careless, and belligerent individuals, so they let us go. Street skatin’ starts to hit Brazil so the first street contest is made with a car as an obstacle, that was a cool one, we thrashed more than skated, so when it got time for the second contest which would also be downhill slide, the rumors of anarchy made the residents of the location throw oil all over the place so there would be no contest but we just changed the location in the last minute to the other side of the hill and there was even more anarchy ’cause there was traffic on the street and the contest went on. It was pretty crazy, specially when some skaters were being pulled downhill by motorcycles so they could go faster. That same year a Brazilian team went to Vancouver for the “Slam City Jam” and the best they’ve got was a fifth place by team. Towards the end of the year in one of my trips I met Christian Hosoi (C.H.) and told him about the scene, so around Christmas he lands in Rio for a demo on a vert ramp on the sands of famous “Ipanema” beach just to freak unaware beach goers with hair extensions, lycra shorts, and 10′ airs. Oh, he also ollied over 5 skates, rode all the parks in Rio, and turned imaginary lines and tricks into reality.

87- It’s election year and some hypocrite politician claims he studied the best angles and transitions from parks all over the world and builds a cement vert ramp and an 8 figure bowl/banks in Sao Paulo. The good point – it was 5 minutes from my house so I convinced the fucker to have a demo for the opening and bring C.H., Malba, and Reategui down to skate all over. Like a good politician he skipped part of the payment, but it’s alright ’cause we overcharged him anyways. At that same time a gnarly capsule bowl is built not far from there so we went to check it out. There was this little Japanese local kid that was learning to skate and had his dad filming his every move but while C.H. ripped, he watched like he was in class. The trio also skated places like the Guara bowl in which C.H. did gnarly 8′ mctwists and the ramp at Bigo’s ranch where sessions raged late into the night.

88-In the beginning of the year on a vert ramp by Sao Paulo an amateur contest happened featuring the best ams from all over and none other than that little Japanese kid easily wins. His name: Lincoln Ueda! The learning school started to pay back and anyone could just tell that kid was good. Later that year another cement vert ramp is built 15 minutes from Bigo’s ranch in the parking lot of a shopping mall, it was the “Lipton” skateramp. For the opening they had a contest and demo by Tony Magnusson and Eddie Elguera that ripped the place! In April one of the biggest events happens in Sao Paulo: the “Seaclub/overall skate show”, it consisted of an invitational vert contest which Mauro Mureta won, demos by Tony Hawk and Lance Mountain, and rock shows, all in an indoor arena. Around June C.H. and Sergie Ventura land to promote C.H.’s new clothing line “Hosoi skatewear” manufactured by the biggest surf co back then “Hang Loose”. They did demos in a trade show and Lincoln Ueda got to skate side by side with C.H. who also put a team together: Bigo, Mureta, Porque, and Sallada on vert and Thronn and Skillo on street. They also got to skate the then recently enlarged “Sao Bernardo” park. In October John Gibson and David Duncan arrive in Rio for demos in a surf/skate tradeshow while in Sao Paulo, another big step for skateboarding, the “Ultra Skatepark” is built. It consisted of a big transitioned wood vert ramp, metal mini ramp with transfer, and street area. This was all indoors and the work of Cristiano Mateus’ dad! Local boys Bob Burnquist, Cristiano Mateus and his brother, Valtinho, and Fabio Anjinho formed what I would call the newest generation of the old “Waveboys” only they were then called the “Ultraboys”. These guys developed skills really quick doing high airs, 540’s, varials, and assorted liptricks more consistently than anyone at the time. They lived to skate everyday pushing each other’s limits all the time just like we did in the old wave park! Not far from there another cement vert ramp was built but much gnarlier and with a lot of vert. The “Stones” ramp was burly and not many people skated there but local boy Mauro “Mureta” ripped it with no problem doing all variations of airs all about 10′ high and super extended liptricks! In the end of the year a big vert contest is thrown in one of the most important venues in the country in Sao Paulo: “Avenida Paulista” and guess who won? None other than Lincoln Ueda, the kid was unstoppable. Also a new skate mag is made by the biggest publisher in Brazil: the “Skatin'” mag.

89 – Skateboarding is boiling hot and the eyes of capitalism start turning to it. The biggest event ’til then happens, sponsored by one of the biggest banks in Brazil. The “Copa Itau de Skate”. This event was made in the sands of “Ipanema” beach in Rio with a mega structure for vert and street. 5 star hotel accommodations across the street from the event, and demos by Malba, Gator, and Joe Johnson. This one vert ripper Lemoel “Dinho” won the vert and highest air. In June a team of Brazilian skaters go to Europe for the season and 15 year old Lincoln Ueda brings back a fourth place in vert from Munster showing what the world awaits. Back in Sao Paulo a huge all cement skatepark is built: the “Sao Caetano do Sul”. This one had everything; vert ramp, big bowls, medium bowls, small bowls, huge killer street area, miniramp with transfer, wall-ride, but almost everything was kinky except for the mini and the street course. Another problem were the wacked hours, like you’d never knew if it’d be open or closed. This park was right next door to locals Sandro Dias and Rodrigo “Chileno” the two little rippers that were always seen shredding the whole park. I also have to mention that “DEVO” was the attraction in the opening. As you noticed this decade ends at full speed ahead creating big future expectations…