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Latin America Skate Team Hits SoCal
Not too long ago, Volcom purchased a 1983 Blue Bird Wanderlodge. A true Americana classic. The purpose of this, bring our riders together and travel the country in style. With this, the Latin American skate team saw an opportunity to bring together some of the best riders in the Latin American region to skate some of the most iconic skate spots in California they've been seeing in videos their whole lives. Among the squad was Jhancarlos Gonzalez from Colombia, Akira Shiroma from Brazil, Braulio Sagas from Chile and Michael Scott from Mexico were the homies to come to the trip. In California they met with Gerardo Bejarano, a Mexican skater living between his hometown in Mexico city and Los Angeles. During their week in the states they met up with other Volcom riders such as Omar Hassan, Cj Collins and Collin Provost too, who were all impressed with the level of skating they brought to the table.
Each rider had a special characteristic, a different style and preference of things to skate, but all together they made a great mix. It was the first time all met Akira Shiroma, and what an experience it was. If you're unfamiliar with Akira, we highly suggest checking out his "My City" part for a proper introduction. The smoothest style I have seen, not too much effort, and always positive.
Michael Scott was the oldest member of the team and not in age, but in years with Volcom. He knew his way around, the tricks and spots he wanted to skate. His "My City" part is a good representation of his abilities. Braulio Sagas is the newest member of the Volcom Latin America squard. Braulio can skate it all, but prefers transition and going FAST, whether it's in the bowls or bombiing hills.
If you've seen Jhancarlos' "My City" part, then you know he's one of the gnarliest! Always hungry to get more tricks and more stairs. Always on his phone editing the latest edit and talking to as many chicks as he can. Most of the time took longer to get to the spot than him rolling away from the tricks!
With a week to spend in comfortable California, we decided hit as many spots as we could. Costa Mesa local and Volcom team rider, Omar Hassan, invited us to his house for a BBQ and skate sesh in his bowl later in the day, so we dcided to hit some local spots. The hydrant was the first spot we hit and in just 15 minutes we had a glimpse of what we had coming. Akira killed the spot in style and between him and Michael Scott we gathered the first tricks of the tour. The rail at the Huntington Beach high school was just a snack for Jhanca and within four tries he had three hammers already. Later that day at Omar’s everybody got to skate a little bit of what a real skate bowl is. Omar had a couple of buddies showed up and at the end of the day we had a great skate sesh.
The second day we had set up a session at the Berrics that came out really good. Jhanca even got a trick on the way to the Berrics. We were driving by this 11 stair and spotted it out the window. Ten minutes later Jhanca was rolling away from a crooked grind into the street! Only mishap was that Michael Scott bailed trying a sw bs 50-50 down the long dock rail and hurt his leg, it have him a hard time for the rest of the tour. It was the first time at this park for everybody and Jhancarlos for some reason thought you are supposed to land everything first try, so he did. Later that day Santa Monica’s courthouse was the spot to hit. Lines for days!
For the next couple days we hit all of the classic spots in the Los Angeles area. From the L.A. High school banks to El Dorado stage rail in Long Beach, we tried to hit as many spots as possible. One of the most impressive displays of shredding was when we stopped at the infamous Hollywood High. With a 12 stair rail on one side and a 16 stair rail on the other, Jhancarlos went to town! Within 20 minutes he did about a dozen tricks between both rails, the craziest one being his backside noseblunt on the 16, absolutely MENTAL!
On the last day we headed down to Vista to meet up with Collin Provost and Lannie Rhoades so they could show us some spots in the area. After a heavy warm up sesh at Collins backyard bowl we proceeded to hit spot after spot where everyone was ripping. Akira pulled off some wizardry at a bump to bar with a nollie heel hippie jump while the others skated a rail. Jhanca skated every spot, including the last one that was a bump to gap where he got 2 tricks just before it got too dark to skate.
Today skateboarding is in a gnarly level, but at the end of the day is not the tricks you do, is who you ride with and the moments you get while you do it. Akira, Michael, Braulio and Jhanca are great dudes who love skateboarding and will keep doing it for as long as they can.
Words: Diego Espinoza
Photos: Daniel Cabral