Coming to ya straight outta Buenos Aires.
Interview by Travis Knapp-Prasek
What’s your full name?
My full name is Mariano A. Gonzalez.
How old are ya?
40 years old.
Damn! Still shredding at 40? That’s whats up!
Where did ya grow up skating?
I grew up skating in Buenos Aires (Capital city of Argentina).
How was skating growing up in Buenos Aires? What were the spots like?
First of all, sorry about my English.. skating when I was 12 years old was like making our skateboards with a piece of wood and parts of a toy name LECCESE, supposed to be a skateboard. So we took the wheels and plastic trucks from it and bolted to a bigger piece of wood with the shapes we create as board, no tail and lot of nose, like little surfboards. So me and my friends skate around the streets of our hood on the home made skateboards, inventing our own spots, I remember we put paper grip on the top of it, but the kind of one to shred woods. Then we meet some older guys with real skateboards, nice wheels, and real skateboard culture, with the magazines, the music, even their own language. It was great to know them and know about good spots and a concrete bowl . Skateboarding was not popular on those days so nobody skates, only a few. I remember those days as real fun times, chilling with friends at the streets, growing and learning about life, Animal Chin thing, even we didn’t know about it. you know?
One day my dad, who lived in Miami, sent me a s Santa Cruz Jammer board with Indys and Road Rider wheels, and from that moment I decided I wanted to be a skateboarder for the rest of my life.
Who were some of the people you looked up to as a kid?
Older skaters were a big influence, Javier Bianco, Rolf and the Ciudad Universitaria vert ramp crew, all those guys brought skateboarding to our country, so I tried to stay near them, being nice and quiet, only skating and trying to gain respect from them to admit me to skate their ramp and learn more about skateboard life.
My mother was a big influence too cause she loved me to skate as a positive thing for my health and spirit growing as a kid, she was a dancer so like art, she saw skateboarding as a good thing for her son, aside as only a sport.
Has skateboarding taking you to any other parts of the world?
Yes, skateboarding took me and takes me all around. I skated Argentina from north to south, always traveling around the country, then other places like Chile, Brazil, San Francisco ¡ skating the market bricks sidewalks is one of my favorite when I remember¡ New York, and the Jamaican tour where I helped to made the first Jamaican pool contest, it was awesome. I really love the feeling of skateboarding tours, with friends and alone with your bag and board, the stations, the people the spots, the friends you make, all aspects of it is super positive and self educational, knowing all of that because of skateboarding, its a Bless.
Who do you skate with on a regular basis?
I skate with all my friends, its my family, skaters who know each other since a real life time, yesterday we were skating with Diego Bucchieri and some friends from Chile that are on tour, so it’s good to take them to the spots. We skate street and parks too, it depends how far it is cause we go everywhere on bikes . I like to go early outside with the bike and my board attached on it and find where the sesh is with my friends.
How do the police in Buenos Airies / public react to street skateboarding?
Right now very good, cause skateboarding is everywhere, and it is cool to skate or have a skateboard, so nothing happens. Very different as when we started, nobody liked it and even didn’t understand it as a sport¡ , sometimes at 80 s, the bus driver didn’t let you go up the bus with a skateboard… or get arrested for skating a spot, very bad situation and experience as little kids. So this present time is perfect, lots of people come to Buenos Aires to skate and its getting popular .
What local skate shops do you support / visit?
I like to support and visit real skateboarders owned shops like SHINE skateshop, who distributes SATORI MOVEMENT too, then it is nice to spend time chilling and reasoning with skaters at TREE Shop over downtown, TMK shop is near my house so sometimes I go there and share good moments with Guido, the owner, good skater and pal. My shoe sponsor KRIAL shoes, has a beautiful shop with a wooden pool at its backyard so imagine¡… I work with all of them too, cause they sell and distribute the products that I make with my own boards and clothes proyect = VOG, and it’s great to work with people you know and skate with.
Do you have any hobbies outside of skating? (music, art, etc?)
I think my job is like my hobby, when I’m not skating, I spend time designing graphics and models for the boards and the clothing . My personal project and ideas where I create VOG, (viviendo otro goce) means Living another joy, I really have a very good feeling working at things I love, I work with a team all together promoting the true power of small skate companies in this present time of big industry.
Then there is the practicing of yoga and iron pumping, it is good for my knees so I go with my friend Gonzalo Saravia to the Palermo Parks, hes is an execellent sports trainer and likes skateboarding a lot, his son skates awesome, and many skaters go and work with him physically and mentally listening the good songs of Linton Kwesi Jhonsons from his van! That man loves roots reggae music.
What’s the craziest thing you have seen go down while pushing around?
Living in a big city like Buenos Aires, sometimes it is crazy to be pushing thru the streets besides a skinny horse pushing a giant wooden box with two car wheels adapted under it, with people and their things over it in the middle of the traffic, horses are not here to be there walking over concrete surrounded by lots of cars and buses.
Then its always crazy to see lines of buses full HICHAS (soccer fans, the hard ones) shouting their team songs with bombos very loud and flags everywhere, going to the stadio for the game, throwing bengalas, sometimes even the roof of the buses are full of hichas dancing over it while moving . Boca vs. River Clubs is the classic game since long time ago.
What advice / words of wisdom would you give to the future generation of skateboarding?
Enjoy life, all the time, respect and take care of real friends, good food and exercises is perfect for our skate, stay strong¡ and Give Thanks for all.