Words: Matt Kruz | Photos: Scott Furkay
On Go Skateboarding Day 2017, Gnarmads joined Amigo Skate Cuba to celebrate the growing community in Havana. We kicked off the week with a huge group skate through the old city with 150-plus local skaters, rejoicing in the flight and freedom of skating.
Amigo Skate Cuba is an organization that has been bringing necessary equipment to Cuba for over seven years. There are no skateshops or access to product on the island, relying heavily on the smuggling of donations. Many people have come from all around the world—skaters, builders, artists, skate teams and individuals who all contribute in some way.
Brian Schaefer and Boards for Bros came this year with over 100 completes! Skateboarding is not only growing in Havana, but in further cities with even more difficulty getting gear. Representatives came from Matanzas, Holguin and Camaguey—some driving over 12 hours just to get a few boards!
During the week there was an active DIY build at Ciudad Libertad—an abandoned gymnasium resembling a decrepit structure from Jurassic Park. Clayton Graul from Urban Skate Project lead the charge, along with Jesse Boswell from Canada, William 'Soup' Campbell from Hawaii, and brothers Emilio and Ivan Fernandez from Mexico. The project was fundraised by SkateDIY and Build Ramps not Walls, along with substantial private donations from Scott McDonald and others.
Amigo Skate Cuba celebrated its seven-year anniversary with a group photo and art show at the famous Fabrica de Arte Cubano all month. They premiered a documentary and informational videos, educating the public about skateboarding and how it benefits the community at large. Also Tod Swank and the Foundation Team were down there, premiering their epic Oddity video!
We hosted two pop-up contests, at the DIY Spot and at a local skate hotspot in parque Acapulco. So many kids were throwing down while having a good time. Big thanks to adidas Skateboarding for getting us down there with plenty of product to give out, along with Oakley, SHUT Skateboards, Natural Koncept and Arizona gear!
Stay up on these organizations:
Amigo Skate Cuba – http://www.amigoskate.com
Boards for Bros – http://boards4bros.org
Urban Skate Project – http://urbanskateproject.com
Fabrica de arte Cubano – http://www.fac.cu
Gnarmads – https://gnarmads.co