Last week, the Volcom “In Color” Skate Tour arrived in Medellin for a demo in front of hundreds of local skaters at the Estadio Skatepark.
Medellin was the second stop on a four city tour of Latin America (the prior stop being Bogota, and the latter being Lima and Santiago). I learned about the demo a few days earlier, thanks to posters around Ciudad del Rio, and made it a point to attend.
While I retired from skateboarding about 12 years ago, and the ripe old age of 25, I still enjoy watching the pro’s.
Plus, the tour included David Gonzalez, the best skater to ever come out of Colombia. He’s currently at the top of his game, having been named Thrasher Magazine’s “2012 Skater of the Year.”
David was born in Bello, north of Medellin, and dropped out of school in the 7th grade to pursue his skate career. He was soon discovered by Geoff Rowly, co-founder of Flip Skateboards, at which point he moved to the United States.
All the skaters on tour:
- David Gonzalez (Bello, Colombia)
- Louie Lopez (Hawthorne, CA)
- Alec Majerus (Rochester, MN)
- Collin Provost (Huntington Beach, CA)
- Mario Saenz (Mexico City)
The guys actually arrived the afternoon before the demo, and did an impromptu appearance at the Estadio skatepark for those paying attention to the Instagram and Facebook feeds.
On November 19, the day of the demo, I headed over to Estadio Skatepark by taxi. Located across the street from the Estadio metro station, it’s one of, if not the best, skateparks in the Medellin valley. I’d seen it before in videos, but this was the first occasion I had to check it out up close.
It was 5:30 PM, and a large crowd had already formed. I’d estimate 500-750 people, but it could’ve been more. You’d have to have arrived a few hours earlier to get a prime spot, but I already knew my camera’s limitations when it comes to capturing sports, especially at night.
I walked over to the right side of the park, and almost immediately after choosing my spot to watch the demo, a guy turns to me and says he reads the blog.
His name was Carlos, and he lives in New Jersey now, but he said his whole family was in Medellin. It was his first time back in five years, and he saw my update about the demo, and decided to check it out.
For the next 30 minutes, we reminisced about our skating days, while local skaters tried to warm up the crowd.
A little after 6 PM, the pro’s arrived by van and made their entrance to the park. There was an announcer, but I could barely understand a word he said, his mic volume and voice not being loud enough against the background of metal music (think Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath).
The guys began to warm up in the park, starting out with easier tricks, and working their way up to bigger airs, more technical stuff, and the rails.
As the demo got under way, I became enveloped in a fog of pot smoke. It felt like I was standing next to Cheech and Chong.
All the skaters landed impressive tricks. For such a small guy, Louie Lopez was killing it. David Gonzalez got cheers with every successful big air. My favorite trick of his was a kickflip to long boardslide across the ledge in the middle. Alec Majerus was hitting the rails, and Collin and Mario were kicking ass too.
I found it challenging to keep an eye on all five guys at once, let alone get good photos and video, which is why I’m glad Vive Skateboarding put the video above together.
The demo lasted about an hour, and as 7 PM rolled around, the guys began signing autographs, and posing with fans, before being ushered out.
Later, through Volcom Latin America’s Instagram, I’d see they also spent time skating some of Medellin’s best spots during their stay, including Parque de las Luces, the Ciudad del Rio Bowl (behind my apartment), and Mahalo in Envigado.