“Being able to see another dude skateboarding with a missing leg with the same way I’m missing my leg, it just spoke volumes to me.”
Oscar Loreto Jr. was born with a congenital birth defect that left him without fully developed hands. He is also missing part of his left leg below the knee. That didn’t stop him from picking up a skateboard. Loreto says he was inspired by photos of Jon Comer, a skateboarder with a prosthetic limb who made it to the pro level. In the new short film “An Ode To Jon Comer,” Lotero describes how he built the confidence to skate around other people without hiding his disability and how he hopes to inspire others the same way Jon Comer inspired him.
Skateboarding started as a local pastime in California with just a hand full of people. Now, it is an internationally recognized sport with major competitions taking place around the world. Just like any other sport, athletes are able to make some serious money thanks to endorsements and grand prizes. As the sport grew, so did it’s reach and Latinos began shredding it up like everyone else. Here are 20 Latino who are elevating the game with their own unique styles.
1. Pedro Barros
CREDIT: pedrobarrossk8 / Instagram
Pedro Barros is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to skateboarding. He dominates every competition he participates in and there’s not quetions why. Barros is one of the most fierce competitors taking home first place prizes in several competitions proving his place among the tops skateboarders in the world.
2. Carlos Ribeiro
CREDIT: carlosribeiro91 / Instagram
Carlos Ribeiro will make all of his competitors feel a little inferior. The skateboarder is always elevating the technicality of his tricks leaving jaws on the floor. He nails his tricks with ease and will only get better from here.
3. Louie Lopez
CREDIT: louielopez / Instagram
Don’t let Louie Lopez’s youth fool you. The young skateboarder is making a name for himself in a field of talented skateboarders. His intensity is known in the skateboarding community and his skills will leave you glued to his performance. He is definitely someone you should be watching if you enjoy skateboarding.
4. Luan Oliveira
CREDIT: luanmatriz / Instagram
Brazil is creating some of the best talent known in the skateboarding wold. Luan Oliveira is arguably one of the best examples of Brazilian excellence in the sport. Not only does he nail his tricks, his speed will leave you flabbergasted. That’s why he has become one fo the biggest names in the sport.
5. David González
CREDIT: davidgonzalez / Instagram
There is a good reason this man was was named the 2012 Skater of the Year. He is a beast when he is on a board and any video you see on social media about him will prove it. Check him out and you’ll understand the power this man wields on a skateboard.
6. Diego Najera
CREDIT: _diegonajera /Instagram
Diego Najera’s talent is very obvious. He debuted with an amazing run for Primitive Skateboards and destroyed the competitions as a newbie after that. He has a sense of control on the board that will intimidate any competitor. He is just beginning to grow within the sport and it’s everything.
7. Leticia Bufoni
CREDIT: leticiabufoni / Instagram
Leticia Bufoni is one of the most Instagram loved skateboarders in the world. But don’t let that change your concept of her talent. She is willing to risk injury and spend times in the hospital to push her skills. Oh, she also became the first female event champion of Nike’s Street League Super Crown.
8. Ivan Monteiro
CREDIT: ivanmonteirosk8 / Instagram
Ivan Monteiro is what the future of skateboarding looks like. He is young, charismatic and very talented. He is consistenyl in the top ten in all of his competitions and he should definitely be proud.
9. Tiago Lemos
CREDIT: tiagolemoskt / Instagram
Tiago Lemos is one of the rawest skateboarders in the sport. His style is so unique and impressive that he has caught the eyes and money of corporate sponsors. Tbh, that’s what all athletes want: to make money doing what they love.
10. Kelvin Hoefler
CREDIT: kelvinhoefler / Instagram
Kelvin Hoefler is another skateboarder that doesn’t brag about his skills. Instead, he just let’s his skateboarding skills speak for themselves. Since he broke out into the scene, he has been a fierce and well-known competitor on the skateboarding scene.
11. Carlos Iqui
CREDIT: carlosiqui / Instagram
Carlos Iqui uses his technical skills to launch full-on assaults against the competition. Iqui’s videos show his masterful take on any trick, flip, or skill known to skateboarders. He is someone who will change the face of skateboarding, for sure.
12. Daniel Cuervo
CREDIT: danielcuervodr / Instagram
Skater Daniel Cuervo is absolutely on fire. He was the first pro skater to come out of the Dominican Republic and now he’s competing amongst the greatest with insanely consistent runs. His style is so effortless he makes skating half-pipes look easy.
13. Nelson Garza
CREDIT: nelsongarza1 / Instagram
This skater from throws it down in the streets. Hitting huge handrails and getting tech on ledges is what he does best. After putting together an insane ten-minute part for Converse, its obvious he’s here to make a mark.
14. Jhancarlos Gonzalez
CREDIT: jhankgonzalez1 / Instagram
Jhancarlos Gonzalez turned Colombia into his personal skatepark. From stair sets in shopping centers to huge drops in residential neighborhoods. His effortless style and massive pop makes for some very interesting video parts.
15. Juan Carlos Aliste
CREDIT: juancarlosaliste / Instagram
Skateboarder Juan Carlos Aliste continues to build up his name in the skate community with the smoothest style imaginable and incredible catches on every trick. Juan Carlos never has to worry about snapping boards because he always lands bolts.
16. Matias Dell Olio
CREDIT: matiasdellolio / Instagram
Matias Dell Olio went from tearing up the streets of Mar de Plata to riding with Nike. It won’t be long before he starts taking gold amongst the best in the world.
17. Santiago Rodriguez
CREDIT: santirod89 / Instagram
Beginning his career in Uruguay, Santiago Rodriguez has developed an unparalleled determination to land the techest tricks in skateboarding. His Transworld part is a great example of his skills. While combining four tricks into one may sound impossible to some, but it’s just another day’s work for Rodriguez.
18. Pamela Rosa
CREDIT: pamelarosaskt / Instagram
Pamela Rosa has a fast paced and flawless style. She is amongst the greatest in the world competing in Street League and finishing on the podium at X Games.
19. Eugenia Ginepro
CREDIT: eugeniaginepro / Instagram
Hailing from Argentina, Eugenia Ginepro is now making waves all over the world. Nobody can compete when it comes to lines. The only thing greater than her consistency is her footwork when skating vert.
20. Anacleta Rendón
CREDIT: anacletarendon / Instagram
This skater perfected her style in the streets of Colombia. With effortless flow in vert and the cleanest grinds on any rail or ledge, she is ready to throw down at any spot that gets in her way.
Skateboarding has been used as a form of inclusion for teens and young adults to express their individuality. It keeps them active and allows them to form a tribe of like-minded individuals who can converse on the latest skate tricks and develop an artistic identity outside the conventional norms of society. Cuba is known around the world for the strict government and austerity that permeates the island. But a small group of young adults are taking their boards to the street to give themselves, and others, hope.
That sentiment extends to the marble-lined strip of Paseo del Prado in Havana, the main strip for skaters to practice stunts in the city.
Che Alejandro Pando, a tattoo artist and veteran of the skateboarding scene in Cuba, told the Havana Times, “With the boredom we have in this country, if you give a kid a skateboard and he goes for it, you are giving him something healthy to do, instead of hanging on to the outside of buses or drinking out and about.”
Skateboarding has given young people something positive to do in a country where good news is rare.
Teens are using skateboarding as an active, healthy lifestyle choice, and skater girls and women are using it additionally as a way to empower themselves. Although women on the island do have a certain degree of equal rights, the typical expectation is to be revered as a wife, mother and sister—not to go and dare to be anything they want to be.
With a board in hand, some Cuban women are seeing it as their metaphorical form of a spear and shield.
Team up with sPACycLOUd tomorrow, Aug. 5th to help female shredders in Cuba! Come to Local 16 and join our fundraising…
Regardless of who is on the board, skateboarders in Cuba are wary of authorities and are conscientious that they are not seen as a recognized sport by the country’s National Institute of Sport, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) for fear of being regulated by bureaucratic red tape. Some skaters have reported having their boards confiscated, being slapped with fines or even getting arrested.
Getting a board confiscated is often a literal derailment for skaters, since boards are hard to come by on the island.
Amigo Skate’s website says “the primary focus of our mission in Cuba has been to facilitate the tools and skills needed for Havana’s at-risk youth to foster a world where creativity has no limits.” Now the organization is working on expanding past Havana and bringing the support of the organization to eight other cities on the island that have a thriving skateboarding culture.
And there is no shortage of organizations facilitating the growth of this sport.
Cuba Skate also began in 2010 when two University of Michigan alums who had studied abroad in Cuba and made close ties with local skateboarders decided to keep that connection going. What emerged was a NGO to “establish sustainability for the island’s skateboarding communities.”
Skateboarding has a short history in Cuba, coming to the island just 40 to 50 years ago.
According to the Miami New Times article, skateboarding was first introduced in Cuba by Soviet soldiers, doctors and students who brought skateboards to the island in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Kids around Havana soon started making their own makeshift skateboards. By the ‘90s, skateboards were smuggled in thanks to travelers or those who worked abroad. Then in the 2000s, skateboarding culture started growing in the city. Havana even received donated ramps from Red Bull to build the Patinodromo, one of the only skate parks in the city.
Skateboarding still has a long way to go in Havana, since it is still seen as a ‘rogue activity’ due to its unofficial status as a sport and its ties to American NGOs and partnerships. Yet, the young men and women skating up and down the cities of Cuba are giving the country’s youth something to look forward to.