Maria’s Brazillian Skate Adventure
The following words are about my awesome longboard trip to Brazil and a report from the World Cup Mega Grand Prix where I placed third. Yay!
This was my next longboard trip after hitting up Kozakov in the summer. I decided to go out of Europe this time. And I chose Brazil, where the last World Cup event of this year was being held. I went to Sao Paulo for 2 weeks before the race. My plan was to visit my school friend, rent a car, surf in the day and skate in the evenings. Sadly, the plan was ruined on the second day.
I had a nice long flight from Moscow – Zurich – Sao Paulo with an awesome guy who was seating nearby. Met some longboarders at the airport and took their contacts. Got to my friend’s place, rented a car. Everything seemed perfect! Then it started…
First, I seemed to be 100km from the nearest surf spot! I went for it, although it was so difficult to deal with the people and a country that didn’t speak any English! I rented a surf board and rode a messy swell of that day. Can’t say I was happy with it but I knew I had two more weeks and lots of different spots along the coast.
On the way home it stated to get weird. I got chased by some motorcyclists that were slapping my car and wanted to stop me. Because of them I lost my way and got into a bad district. I wanted to turn around but some local teens attacked my car, opened it, grabbed my neck and took everything. They also took documents from the car, driving licenses. I went to the police but they could not really help me. The detective was only able to ask me on a date… So I spent half of the night in the police station, 100km from my place, without language knowledge. That was the end of my surfing in Brazil.
Over the next two weeks, I lived on my friend’s couch and skated. Big thanks to the local skaters – they got me out of all the troubles… I saw an advertisement for the slide championship in Sao Paulo, contacted organizers and met some very cool local pro-skaters and longboarders. They gave me a long skateboard for sliding, so I could train for the slide contest.
We spent a nice time together in skateparks, pools and a nearby Museum which is home to all the slide skaters of Sao Paulo.
I also met downhill longboarders and we shredded the place called Drop Do Chicko. It was a pleasure to ride with guys in leathers after all these skaters haha.
The slide Championship was very cool! The first day was qualification with two heats, second one – finals as a jam session. My first day wasn’t good but I got through and rode very good in finals! Got a best trick award but only the 7th place… because the local judges gave more points for dancing rather then speed and crazy shredding. Well, whatever! I got lot’s of audience love. Brazilian girls were very strong! The first placed girl is an amazing slider.
After Sao Paulo I got a flight to Belo Horizonte to the World Cup. Met some other racers at the airport and they gave me a ride to the camp. It was about 3am… I opened my tent and got a bit pissed off. My tent was an open summer shed, so I spent the next 4 days on a pink air matress, watching stars and speaking to mosquitoes. Thanks God Brazil is a very warm country!
Well, let me tell a bit more about the race. The Mega Space camp was quite far away from the track and we had to go by bus… Lots of waiting here and there in 40 degrees temperature. It was tough but there were normal showers, WCs and a swimming pool at the camp which was very cool!
When I first tried the track I was a bit shocked. I had never skated something like that. It is specially built for downhill sports, so the drops and angles are different from normal mountain roads that are in public use. I was feeling like a cosmonaut – gravity forces were incredible there! The track is very short. It goes flat, then a massive drop, right corner where you feel all the power of that gravity, then you fly into the left corner, and flat again. So it actually has one tricky corner, which decides everything and three other “normal” corners. Before that I had only ridden tracks like in Kozakov… long, fast with lots of different corners that were built for cars in a bit safer way. You have to feel it to understand. Mega Space is very different from those nice European mountains.
The skill level of the riders impressed me. It was very high. There were no beginners like in Kozakov (for me and lots of other guys Kozakov was the first race we’d ever been to). Everybody was in nice longboard leathers. Everybody was shredding that corner very cool! The average age was also much younger! Lots of kids who were riding very good.
I did a foot brake on the first day. But then guys showed me a proper line and I was taking that corner just with a bit of air brake. That was a really cool feeling when I did it without mistakes, like I was riding a huge water slope, you dive in, you feel your stomach somewhere in your throat… Go a bit outside… grab the board… dive inside… you feel that power in your board… and that sound… You don’t want to fall. It feels like a wave; you can ride the whole week and catch only one ideal wave… and it will be enough. I caught it and I want more!
Everybody was changing wheels very often. On this track I really got a point of it. I could see and feel how the wheels wearing off with each run, especially if you caught some drifting.
I experienced 40 degrees air temperature in a leather suit! Thank God buses took a road up from the other side, so we didn’t have to wait all the time like in Kozakov.
At qualification I got 4th place. I was using my very old wheels and I knew I can be much faster on the other set of wheels which I kept for the race. The first one was Elena – the World Champion. Second one (and a second in the World) – Georgia, very young and very fast girl. With those two I hardly had a chance. But the third girl – Debora… Well, I was faster.
Unfortunately, Elena injured herself on the final day and was not able to compete. I got to the finals. I pushed and I was the second one just after Georgia. But I drifted out on that turn… That was definitely not my day. The girls passed me, and then one of them also crashed. So I took the third place after Georgia and Debora and 15th place in the World ranking of this season. I was happy!
In the evening we had a short pool party and chaotically drove away from the camp to Belo Horizonte. We spent the last night at the skate house. Very cool big house with a shop inside it, lots of boards and pictures on walls… BBQ, drinks, American and Brazilian pro riders… That was a nice party! I told them a lot about Russian longboarding. Showed some videos from Caucasus roads… they were impressed! Hope we will have some visitors from other countries soon.
Next day, the airport was full of longboarder and I took a flight back from Belo Horizonte – Sao Paulo – Zurich – Moscow.
What are my eventual thoughts of it? Well… they are really different from what I’ve experienced during these 3 weeks… But I would say they are definitely more positive! Positive from skaters, places, racing and, of course, lots of new experiences.
Thanks to all who were with me those three weeks… Skaters and longboarders from Sao Paulo, to my Russian friend Kate, her cat and husband… and to all the guys in Mega Space – that was just Sick!
Maria Esyutina signing out.
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