Xelebrity of the Month – December

XelaWho‘s brand spanking new ear-to-the-ground correspondent, Mad Max, brings you the stories behind the famous faces you see around town in Xela. This month, Mad Max went undercover to talk to the who‘s who of Xela‘s skate scene.

So, what’s your name, man?

Erwin Barrios.

And where are you from Erwin?

Xela, Zona 5.

I see you’ve got a skateboard (a patineta in Spanish). How long have you been skating?

13 years.

That’s a good chunk of time. How did you first discover skating? I watched that Osiris video, ?Riders of the Storm? in 2001. Wow, it‘s amazing, man. At the time, Xela didn‘t have skate parks or shops, so I couldn‘t go skating afterwards. Around 2004, the first skate shop in Xela opened near Parque Central. I bought my first skateboard and started learning.

Where did you skate back then? In the Complejo by the bus terminal. That area is generally for Olympic sports, but there‘s a flat area that‘s great for learning.

Did you try to skate in the streets? Yeah… but it was difficult for learning since the streets are so rough. We didn‘t have internet and couldn‘t watch tutorials on youtube or anything. We just learned from each other. In 2008, we got internet and things got a lot easier.

And now, who do you skate with? Do you have a “crew”? Oh yeah, the dudes from Maple Board Shop. We all skate together in the streets and parks, especially on Sundays.

Sundays are more popular? Yeah. People don‘t have work, and whenever people don‘t have work, the plan is to go skating.

That’s a rad plan! How do you think all those non-skaters in Xela view all you skaters? As slackers. They think, ?They look homeless? or, in my case, they think, ?He‘s an old man and still with a skateboard!? This is something weird…? They think we must be doing drugs.

And how old are you? 34, but this is my life. I don’t want to quit.

Why is it so important for you? Why not play other sports? For me, skating is a sport, but there‘s also nothing really like it. In football, you grab the ball and go. In basketball, you put the ball in the hoop. I don‘t know, in all those sports, you focus on a single objective, but with skating, you expand your mind and become creative. It doesn‘t matter if it‘s a flat spot, or some random thing, a rail, a fun-box. You have so many possibilities. This is why I like skateboarding.

Word. Where is there to skate in and around Xela? There are skaters in municipalities around Xela, but not many places to skate. In Toto and the coast, they only skate in the streets. In San Marcos and Salca, there are small but pretty parks. Parque Extremo in Xela is like bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl. Complejo has a nice flat area with some rails. There‘s also a warehouse in Xela with a halfpipe, but it costs Q20 for entry, and that‘s too much. You have to get creative in Guatemala, but it helps you to explore the activity.

What do you think about skating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? In my opinion, it‘s a good thing for skating as a sport, but skating was born in the street, and it must stay in the street. It‘s all good though, the Olympics is just a different form and will allow for more things to be done on the skateboard.

Who are your favorite skaters? Luan Olivera, P-Rod, Chris Cole, Shane O‘Neil. Ummm, Leticia Bulfoni, she‘s pretty. She‘s very pretty. She is very pretty. I hear she just went pro for Nike.

What do you think about women in skateboarding? It‘s great! I hope there are a lot more in the future. There are many female skaters in Guatemala City. In Xela there are some too, but not as many. San Marcos too.

I agree with you, my dude! Anyway, thank you for taking time to talk. Any last words for the people of Xela about the patineta? Only that there is no sport like skating. It‘s not normal. You will like it. You don‘t have to be good, you just need the passion. You can live on the skateboard. You don‘t need drugs or alcohol… but, you do get hurt often. You give a lot to the skateboard because the skateboard needs 100%.

That‘s all. 

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