The Guajataca Downhill in Puerto Rico has a rich history and is about to hits its tenth anniversary this January.
Concrete Wave is proud to be a media sponsor of this event and encourage you to head out to the sun of PR.
We will be featuring a story about the event in our November issue, but for a little more background, we reached out to Joel Cardona, one of the key organizers of the event.
What is the first thing people should know about this event?
Joel: First I would say is that this is one of the most attended Downhill events in the world. It is important to know that the GDH has grown and evolve into a skateboarding cultural celebration. Finally, we have great weather. No snow… just warm beaches nearby and beautiful nature.
How would you describe the culture of Puerto Rico…what if I don’t speak Spanish?
Puerto Ricans lovevisitors. They love to show off their culture along with their food and all the beautiful sites. If you don’t speak Spanish it’s ok because almost everyone knows English up… to a certain degree. Is not a big deal you will survive!
Is it expensive to attend the event?
This will depend on where are you coming from. But the area has inexpensive hotels that range from $50 to a $100 a night. Food is quite affordable in this area. There are lots oflittle paradores (luxury hotel) and guest houses that can make your stay really affordable and pleasant.
What is one highlight from the past decade – a great story you can share with our readers?
Well the event production is a BIG endeavor. It takes a full year of work to make ithappen, So each year brings different challenges. People don’t know but what happens backstage is good enough to have our own reality show. I mean just dealing with sponsors is quite dramatic, but I guess this is part of running a successful event. I believe that the greatest story is how this event grew into an international event and put a small town like Quebradillas on the world map of extreme sports. It is story of unexpected success and organic growth.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about Puerto Rico?
I would have to say that many people don’t even know where the island is located. Some people have asked me “in what part of Mexico is Puerto Rico found?”
A lot of people get surprised when they realize that PR is a Caribbean island and a United States territory. This means that if you are American, you don’t need a passport to travel. Some [people think that is not a safe place but I have to tell you is just like any city. I would say that is a pretty safe country and even more on the west area far away from the metropolitan area.
Thank you Joel. We wish you great success for the 2016 event!
Sector 9 put together some great highlights of the 2015 event. Have a peek here.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico is about 90 minutes away from Quebradillas.
- Flights from NYC are on sale right now for $304.
- Flights from LA to Puerto Rico are coming at $424.
- TripAdvisor – rental info
It looks very much like surfing will be admitted to the 2020 Tokyo Games. And, as night follows day, it would seem skateboarding is also moving in that direction as well. There are some who welcome this move. Others, not so much.
A petition to NOT have skateboarding in the Games has garnered over 6,000 signatures.
Whatever your take on the Olympics, one thing is for certain, the political games rival the actual games themselves.
Over at www.insidethegames.biz, you’ll find an article that quotes Ricci Bitti who seems to pretty miffed. Mr Bitti, speaking at an event called out the ISF and the WSF (both skate organizations are lobbying to represent skateboarding at the Olympics).
I am still trying to get my head around this particular statement: “Some organisation has good skaters, some organisation has good organisation.”
Let the games begin!
So there’s a story about a mother who took her daughter to the skatepark in Cambridge, Ontario (about an hour or so west of Toronto). The daughter was at first a little bit intimidated by the skaters they spotted there. Here is her Facebook excerpt:
She only had two or three runs in before you approached her and said ‘Hey, excuse me …’ I immediately prepared to deliver my ‘She’s allowed to use this park just as much as you guys’ speech when I heard you say, ‘Your feet are wrong. Can I help you?’ You proceeded to spend almost an hour with my daughter showing her how to balance and steer, and she listened to you – a feat not attained by most adults.
You held her hand and helped her get up when she fell down and I even heard you tell her to stay away from the rails so that she wouldn’t get hurt.
I want you to know that I am proud that you are part of my community, and I want to thank you for being kind to my daughter, even though your friends made fun of you for it. She left the skate park with a sense of pride and with the confidence that she can do anything, because of you.
The internet has gone bonkers for this story. It’s right up there with man bites dog.