Fabrizio Santos Roll Call

Still Breezing

Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour

The Breeze blew the hell up back in 2000 when he came out of nowhere and threw down heavy for a series of Euro comps. Without a lick of English, the young Brazilian managed to follow the path of fellow countrymen like Bob Burnquist, Rodrigo TX, Nilton Neves, and Adelmo Jr. to fork out a slice of the pie that many around the world- even outside of skateboarding-call the American Dream. Now, with a loving wife, two daughters, and a home tucked safely behind the Orange curtain of Costa Mesa, California, Fabrizio takes some time out to look back on the journey that skateboarders far and wide dream will one day become a reality for them as well. The following is a short interview conducted entirely with his eight-month-old daughter crying in the background.

What kind of neighborhood did you grow up in?
It was pretty mellow for Brazil. It wasn’t dangerous or anything, but it wasn’t super rich either-pretty much in the middle, middle class. It was still the launch-ramp days when I started skateboarding, like in the late 80s. My father didn’t like it at first because I kept falling and getting hurt. He wanted me to stop doing it, but it was too late. I told him I wasn’t going to stop.

You’re from the same city as Adelmo Jr., right?
Yeah, we’re both from a small town named Aracaju. I grew up skating with Adelmo. We’d hit up the skatepark together all the time. Eventually, a shop called Jan Skates in the city right next to ours sponsored me. After that, I started traveling around Brazil, to S_o Paolo and the other bigger cities. I was entering the contests, won a few, and ended up getting hooked up with some of the bigger companies in S_o Paolo. Eventually, I saved up money for a while and ended up going to Europe to enter the contests there.

Was that around 2000 with the Prague contest and Dortmund?
Yeah. It was crazy for me. It was the first time I traveled outside Brazil and I was skating these contest courses with all the guys I had seen in the videos since I was a little kid. When I saw the pros in real life, I was just like, “Whoa.” I never thought I’d be skating with those guys.

Did you get hooked up by the U.S. companies after those contests?
Yeah. Basically, straight from my trip to Europe I came to America and got hooked up with New Deal and etnies. I was going back and forth to Brazil just for visits here and there, but from then on I was pretty much in the States. I left everything behind and just went for it. For me, it wasn’t a tough decision because that was my dream-skating in America and getting sponsored. At first, my parents told me, “No, you can’t stay there, you have to come home.” But I just told them I was sure it was my dream and eventually they understood.

Did they understand that you could make a living off of riding a skateboard?
Well, in the beginning, no. Because in Brazil, if you tell people you’re a professional skateboarder, they’ll just be like, “What? You do that as a professional?” Skateboarding in Brazil is almost viewed as some sort of criminal thing. It’s hard to explain, but it’s kind of lumped in with graffiti, like a delinquent thing. Being a professional skateboarder there is not really like in the States.

Are you living the American Dream?
Oh yeah. I got two babies. I’m a family man. I’m the family guy (laughs).

Was it difficult at first with the language barrier?
For sure, when I first came, I couldn’t speak one word of English. I remember going on my first tour with the New Deal guys like Kenny Reed, Rob G., and all those guys, and I was seriously using sign language. If I was hungry I would rub my belly or something (laughs). I pretty much just wouldn’t talk at all. Then New Deal hooked me up with some English lessons after that, and I started to at least get some of the basics.

What is the general vibe behind Creation Skateboards?
Oh man, it’s a superood vibe. The company is growing right now, and I feel really glad to be a part of it as it evolves. It’s a relaxed vibe but super concentrated on skating, you know?

How does it feel to be a family man and a professional skateboarder?
Well, it feels great. I got married in Brazil to a Brazilian girl and now she lives here with me. I had known her for like ten years before that. We got married in 2003.

What were her first reactions when you took her to America?
When she first came she just couldn’t believe it like, “I’m in America now, wow!” It took her a while to get used to things and learn all the little differences. But now, she’s okay, and she’s happy to be here.

What are the names of your daughters?
The oldest one, she’s two years old now and her name is Maria Eduarda; and the little one, she’s eight months old and her name is Laura.

Does family life change your skating at all?
Well, I love the family life. It changes skating a bit for sure. I mean, you have to have a little more responsibility, and with touring and being away and all that it can get a little crazy, but I love it. My wife understands what I have to do. I mean, I married her with the skateboard basically.

Do you stay in touch with any of the guys from the New Deal days?
Yeah, for sure. I see Kenny Reed sometimes, Rob, Chad Tim Tim-sometimes we call each other up and skate together. We’re all still friends, so it’s cool. It was crazy when New Deal ended because it was kind of a surprise to all of us.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of skating?
Outside of skating I’m definitely into making music-like mostly hip-hop and R&B beats. I got turntables, a drum machine, and all the equipment. I’m still learning. I haven’t really had anyone sing over my beats yet. I’m still training. Besides skating and music, I just chill with my family-take care of my babies.

Do you plan on having any more kids?
No. We’re done for now (laughs).

What kind of heroes did you have growing up in Brazil?
I was into Nilton (Neves) in Brazil. Outside Brazil, I was always a huge Tom Penny fan. When I finally got to skate with him, it was kind of crazy. Bob (Burnquist), too. The first time I saw him in real life it was a trip. I actually used to skate vert in Brazil. I was really into it for a while and had 540s and airs and all that down, so I was always a big Bob fan. I’ll still go skate his ramp sometimes, although I’m not as good as I used to be (laughs). But I still got some kickflips and some airs-no 540s anymore, but I can still drop in and have some fun.

Who first called you “The Breeze”?
Mike Burnett. We went on some New Deal tour and everybody was always saying I needed a nickname-that Fabrizio was too long. Finally someone said “Breeze,” and from then on it was just “Breeze” everywhere we went. Up to this day, if somebody calls me up, they call me “The Breeze.”

The “Frogface” one disappeared. You must have been stoked.
(Laughs) Oh yeah, that one came from Brazil. Back in the day they used to call me that. In Brazil, they’re pretty mean with the nicknames, man. Like Nilton was “Urina”-“Urine” because of the color of his hair, and Adelmo was called “E.T.” because back in the day when he was little he had big fingers. The people in Brazil are ruthless.

What’s your favorite meal from back home?
This food called acaaje. It’s a typical food from the north of Brazil, made out of green beans and some other stuff. But if you’re not used to eating it, like people from the south, when they eat it they get sick, like have to use the bathroom all the time. You gotta get used to it. People from the north eat it every day. Every time I go to Brazil I sit down and eat like four of them. I love it.

Favorite meal in the States?
I love Indian food. I guess that’s not really American, but we don’t have it in Brazil. In-N-Out is one of my favorites-that’s about as American as it gets, right?

How many pairs of Oakley sunglasses do you own?
I can’t count them. There’s too many. Every time I go in there, I grab a couple new pairs, a couple old pairs. They treat the riders really good. That video should be out by the time people read this. It’s gonna be real good. The team is sick. They got Ricki Bedenbaugh to edit it and he filmed some of it.

Would you rather be filming or entering contests?
Sometimes I still go to contests. Now that I have the two babies, it gets a little more complicated, but I still try to go. I haven’t been doing as good as I used to though. I kind of chilled a little on that front, but I’m gonna come back on the contest tip.

Are you going to get your kids into skating?
Yeah. I’m gonna try. But if she doesn’t like it, I can’t force it. But I’ll do what I can. I’ll start them at age three (laughs).

If you could be a part of any band, anytime, what would it be?
Any type of band? Like hip-hop, rock, anything? I think I would have to say A Tribe Called Quest. I’d be the DJ, mixing the beats. I can’t sing at all. My voice is really bad.

Who represents the ideal professional skateboarder?
Well, it’s a job like any other, really. You have to go out and represent for your sponsors. You have to get coverage. It’s business sometimes. But I would say (Eric) Koston and Tony Hawk are good examples of what a professional skateboarder should be. They know how to make it last and make it a career. Bob (Burnquist), too-he’s a big inspiration for me on how to ride a skateboard for a living.

When people look back, how would you like to be remembered?
Like a legend (laughs). The legend of “The Breeze.” No, seriously, I would just be happy if people looked back and thought, “I remember that guy. He was good on a skateboard.” I’d be honored just to be remembered for that.


rican as it gets, right?

How many pairs of Oakley sunglasses do you own?
I can’t count them. There’s too many. Every time I go in there, I grab a couple new pairs, a couple old pairs. They treat the riders really good. That video should be out by the time people read this. It’s gonna be real good. The team is sick. They got Ricki Bedenbaugh to edit it and he filmed some of it.

Would you rather be filming or entering contests?
Sometimes I still go to contests. Now that I have the two babies, it gets a little more complicated, but I still try to go. I haven’t been doing as good as I used to though. I kind of chilled a little on that front, but I’m gonna come back on the contest tip.

Are you going to get your kids into skating?
Yeah. I’m gonna try. But if she doesn’t like it, I can’t force it. But I’ll do what I can. I’ll start them at age three (laughs).

If you could be a part of any band, anytime, what would it be?
Any type of band? Like hip-hop, rock, anything? I think I would have to say A Tribe Called Quest. I’d be the DJ, mixing the beats. I can’t sing at all. My voice is really bad.

Who represents the ideal professional skateboarder?
Well, it’s a job like any other, really. You have to go out and represent for your sponsors. You have to get coverage. It’s business sometimes. But I would say (Eric) Koston and Tony Hawk are good examples of what a professional skateboarder should be. They know how to make it last and make it a career. Bob (Burnquist), too-he’s a big inspiration for me on how to ride a skateboard for a living.

When people look back, how would you like to be remembered?
Like a legend (laughs). The legend of “The Breeze.” No, seriously, I would just be happy if people looked back and thought, “I remember that guy. He was good on a skateboard.” I’d be honored just to be remembered for that.