How About September?
Writeen by Lee Burman
Photography by Jon Coulthard
Sometimes things just happen for a reason. It was the night of the Purple premiere in New York City back in April when I was finally face to face with the Converse CONS Brazilian Team Manager Guimaraes "Gui" Guilhermes. Gui has had the gig for just over two years and has assembled an underground team of incredible skaters from all over Brazil, and he continually lets me know with a steady flow of emailed YouTube links and Instagram DMs. It was there where he finally had me in a corner unable to escape where I had to answer his question: "When is the CONS Team coming back to Brazil?" The last time we were there was the One Star World Tour in 2015 for a quick demo. Gui showed us the crew (releasing a Brazilian CONS full-length called Salvagem) which he also filmed and edited, showed us the spots from Victor Sussekind's Magellic video part, and has even worked with Brazilian factories to produce quality products designed specifically for the Brazilian market at an affordable price. There was no escaping. Gui's little Brazilian CONS world was bullet proof, it was on me now and he deserved the answer he was looking for… "How about September?" I said.
Gui had enough ideas to keep us all in Brazil for six months, but when the dust settled we decided on a 13-day trip starting in the old capital of Brazil, in the state of Bahia with its capital city of Salvador. No other skate team has visited Salvador according to the locals, so we were all very excited to see what the city had to offer, we would then jump on a plane to Brasilia, where we'd later drive to Goiania, and then end it all with a flight to São Paulo.
Victor Sussekind, hailing from the tropics of Florianopolis is your favorite skater you've never heard of. Victor studies the ancient geometry of Megalith and its alignment with the Stonehenge, Egyptian Pyramids and the Mayan Pyramids. Victor would rise every morning with the sun around 5:30am, as he knew it was hitting Megalith to do Thai-Chi and prepare for his day to come. Speaking very little English as Victor lost his drive to study the language when his visitation Visa was denied to the states two times, we relied almost solely on communicating with Victor via Google translator. Here, Victor shows no lack of drive with what was probably the gnarliest trick of the trip. Victor waited patiently eying up this razor-sharp pained brick ledge with transition on the end while the rest of the crew finished up skating a rail around the corner. As the sun was almost setting Victor started his battle, and in all honesty, it was a real one. A few close calls with a more than double head high drop, some deep wounds from the sharp brick, and some heart breaking "almost makes" as he was sliding down the tranny only to fall off when riding away, put him in the position where giving up just wasn't an option. Sometimes the best things come to those who wait and under the light of hidden camera lights and iPhone flashlights—with vibes high—keeping the entire crew on the edge of their seats, Victor landed this board slide.
Again, we have Victor going where no man has gone before. This drop-in is the kind of spot that for decades people have passed saying, "I wonder if someone could drop in on that?" This spot was at the "Agriculture Palace" building in Brasilia where the crew stuck out instantly; we had armed guards on us as swiftly as the van doors swung open. After a heated back and forth with some of the guards we decided it was best to come back for a second round later in the day. This time as the vans posted up across the street while Victor snuck around the back of the building, ran up the bank, and without hesitation dropped in first try as the guards were already in hot pursuit.
Aaron was a shoe in for this trip as he probably screen shots and texts me things from the Brazilian Cons team as much as Gui does. One of those screen shots was Henrique's last trick in Salvagem, a no-comply over this bump to bar on the outskirts of São Paulo. Unfortunately for us, São Paulo was the last stop on this trip so we all had to listen to Aaron talk about this bump-to-bar for over a week. Unfortunately for Aaron, as luck of the draw would have it, it started to down pour within minutes of us arriving at the spot. Just as the drizzles came, Aaron knew it would be his only opportunity to get something at this perfect bump to bar and fired in this board slide yank within two or three tries.
Salvador, a coastal city and formal capital of Brazil seems like it would be on heavy rotation for visiting skate trips so we were all surprised and welcomed the lack of ABD's. Although it was a solid 100 degrees, it worked out well for Raney Beres as he was one of the first out of towners to get to skate this incredible tile bank to wall. Raney sweated it out and came away with this beautiful front blunt.
Kaue Cossa is like the energizer bunny. Somehow this guy can go out all night and skate twelve hours a day and it seems like the longer he goes the more energy he has. Kaue also eats enough food for five people, ordering two main courses at a minimum every meal. In all seriousness though, Kaue's heart is just as big as his appetite. One night we invited his daughter, mother, and grandmother to dinner with the team, he was so happy to have them there, he cried at the sight of his family trying things like Salmon and French Wine for the first time. His mom, to show her gratitude invited us to a BBQ at her place the following night where she cooked and prepared the house the entire day. As we all ate until we couldn't fit another morsel of food inside of us, I can safely speak for the entire team in that we will all remember her hospitality, open heartedness and generosity for the rest of our lives… Oh yeah, Kaue did this half Cab noseblunt like a bawse. Skateboarding is easy for him.
The craziest thing about these Brazilians is that we'd have to rip them off their boards at the end of the day. We'd have those moments where someone would land an epic trick, the vibes would be high, beers would flow, the Yelp app would come out for dinner, and then one of them would announce there's another spot around the corner. One night, way past dinnertime, Henrique did just this as he turned water into wine with his lipslide deep in the heart of Brasilia.
As the crew sessioned the beautiful coastal tile bank to wall, we were warned to stay together and not to wander off as Salvador is known for being a bit sketchy. The big problem with some places in Central America is you never know if it's going to be the neighborhood hooligans or the police that are going to shake you down. Against advisement, Brian Delatorre went chasing white rabbits and found this virgin out ledge. As the neighborhood started to heat up and we heard the "cops were called" Dela rolled away from this five-0 and we quickly loaded up the vans and were on our way.
Biano Bianchin is a Brazilian legend, 43 years old and still out in the streets tossing his carcass with the youngsters. At one point on this trip he slammed so hard boardsliding a rail, that he bent the rail. If there's any doubt to the balls on this guy, just check out the TWS archive where he backside 50-50s a 25 stair double kink in the contents page. I asked Biano about this photo, and he told me he had actually grinded the rail for fun one day, and when Atiba was in town to shoot Bob Burnquist he went back and grinded it again. No stranger to a set of stairs, Biano 180 nosegrinded the Hubba at plaza Vale do Anhangabau without hesitation, none of us thought to ask him if he'd done it before for fun.
Felipe is one of those skaters where his creativity transcends his skating spilling over to his every action. Whether it was tattooing, drawing, graffiti, or disappearing only to resurface with fresh coconuts, we never really knew what we were going to get from Felipe. Felipe would paint and sew cloths every night until the wee hours of the morning only to wear it the next day and trade it for a few article of clothing that evening to start the process over again. Felipe, keeping things consistent, found his own line at this handy cap rail in Goiania, kickflipping over it and narrowly dodging a street sign, landing out into on coming traffic.
We are living in a strange time and the scooter/parkour boom can really only best be compared to the roller blades and Soap shoes of the late 1990s. Nothing made this feel more real than an elaborate parkouring park next to the largest skatepark in Sao Paulo. Milton Martinez would skate a child's sand box if he thought he could get a trick on it and somehow, he pulled this half-push boardslide in to fakie. Nothing like watching a skateboarder sit some jumping Brazilian extremists down in their own zone.
Right off the plane into São Paulo, Biano told us he knew about a four-stair wallride. What he failed to mention was that the wallride went into a San Franciscoesque hill—with two way traffic—going up hill at the bottom so you couldn't see the cars coming over the top of the other side. No stop signs, and a side street right at the bottom of the hill with cars pulling out with no warning made it that much sketchier. Cars were charging full speed down this thing so they could make it up the other side. As Biano promised, the four-stair bump-to-wallride was perfect and with all the surrounding elements of danger weighing heavy, Mike Anderson still couldn't resist.