Renato Anjos is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s been few years now he is enjoying the good life in San Diego.Priority Longboard followed him in the neighborhood. The size of your board doesn’t matter, just ride and enjoy !
Skateboarding is absolutely everywhere in Brazil. I went there two months ago and I spent a couple of weeks in Rio de Janeiro, just before the Olympic fever. In the center of the city I came across a very nice longboard community called Guanabara Boards. The two owners, Alex Batista and Teresa Madeline Geer Batista, have an ‘escola de skate’ (longboarding freestyle, dancing school). The school is for everyone who wants to learn or develop their board skills. All the equipment is provided, including a variety of boards and safety gear. The two have more than 30 years of skateboarding experience to share with their students. They are expert teachers, who can certainly be considered as pro-longboarders, teach in both Portuguese and English. Guanabara Boards is made up of ten amazing Brazilians and one sweet British girl (Teresa), who ride almost every day. For them, longboarding means passion, fun, freedom, happiness – it’s a way to live. They are passionate about sharing longboarding through their classes. They want to stop people being scared about riding and to learn in the safest way possible, whether you are a child, a woman, a man, a parent, old or young – you can start learning this sport at anytime in yourlife. They show their students that it is totally normal sometimes to fall down after trying new tricks and they teach how to fall down in the safest way and that the most important thing is getting up and trying again, to keep pushing yourself. I first discovered Alex and Teresa on a YouTube video called “Dancing, Freestyle, Freeride, Downhill’, when I was at home last summer, in Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada. I soon got addicted to their videos where I also discovered Ana Maria Suzano, one of the Guanabara Boards team and student of Alex, freestyling barefoot by the beach. When I saw her dancing on her board, all I could think to myself was – I really want to do that! I was hungry to find that freedom and share that happiness. Ana Maria Suzano was like spark of genius in every move that she perfectly executed. She was inviting me to try dancing too. The Brazileira has gained millions of views on her Youtube videos since 2013. She’s globally appreciated for her talent, style and control of the board. Since I was 12 years old I’ve always had a board under my feet, but here, in North America we don’t see a lot of longboard dancing tricks, because we have so many places to downhill and practice freestyle. So for me, it was a new challenge to try dancing and I decided to contact the Guanabara Boards team to help me with my new mission. I booked my flight ticket to Rio, a city that everybody told me was a paradise for riders. I can tell you personally, that this totally true. When I arrived I was stoked to ride by Ipanema beach, the incredible view of the ocean and the rocky mountains, Dois Irmãos (the two brothers), marking the landscape. The city’s cycle paths are perfect to ride on, and there are also skateparks in almost every corner you roll. On Sunday, the main roads right next to the beaches of Ipanema, Copacabana and Flamengo are closed so you can enjoy car-free concrete with your bike, rollerskates, board or even just jogging or walking. In all of my travels, I’ve never seen so many people riding a board – kids, families,workers, surfers and even tourists – everyone is riding. Another amazing place to hang out on weekdays is Lagoa. It has kilometers of perfect bicycle patharound a lagoon with that exceptional view of the surrounding mountains andCristo do Redenter. The father of Guanabara Boards, Alex Batista, born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, rode a street skateboard since a young age. Unfortunately, a few years ago he had a very bad back injury which prevented him from riding. At that time, his skateboard was a huge part of his life and was riding at a professional level so it was a huge blow to have to stop. He put his head down and built a chain of IT businesses, and although he was becoming very successful, something wasn’t right in his heart. He decided to sell the business to search for something with more meaning. Afterseeing some longboard videos, he realized that he could apply his street and classic freestyle skateboard skills to a longboard, which would be more stable for his back. He started doing his tricks with a longboard and began to develop the longboard dancing freestyle scene in Rio. He soon started giving lessons to share his passion with everyone who wanted to learn too and the Guanabara Boards Escola de Skate was born. One day, Alex was teaching in one of the most beautiful places to ride in Rio, Aterro do Flamengo, and he saw a pretty woman, Teresa, about to ride down a hill with her Penny board. She, of course, fell and bumped her cute face on the concrete on the way down. Alex saw her falling, came to her and got her to the hospital. She told me of the romantic moment, her savior came to her, and I can believe it, because last year they went to Teresa’s brother in Australia and got married while longboarding by the amazing beaches of Queensland. It’s the kind of love story, we usually only see in the movies, but this awesome story isreal. Teresa is a professional photographer and video-maker. She is the producer of many Guanabara Boards videos. She is also the creator of Boardettes in her homeland London. She has also now brought Boardettes to Brazil. Boardette’s mission is to initiate women and girls to learn boardsports or to deepen their skills andchallenge themselves. It’s a digital and real-life community of powerful female riders. They now run Guanabara Boards together with it’s escola de skate. Alex and Teresa are excellent teachers, together unifying the perfect match of technique and fun. I learned very quickly with them and I am still practicing a lot here in my town. Guanabara’s vision is about challenging yourself, being free and finding your balance. They run workshops all over Brazil, including in Sao Paulo, Fortaleza and Brasilia. Beyond skate classes, the team are currentlyworking on making their very own Guanabara’s longboards in Brazil.When the crew aren’t teaching skateboarding to their students they can be found at the square outside of MAM (Museu do Arte Moderna). Here, I learned dancing with the local skateboard community who meet up regularly to encourage riders to keep pushing, and remind everyone that, first and foremost, is the fun. The four year company has grown up very fast. If you are a rider or if you plan to travel in Brazil, just take your backpack and go to explore the breathtaking country. Head to Rio de Janeiro, the cidade maravilhosa, and meet the awesome Guanabara team and learn to live the Guanabara Boards lifestyle. PHOTOS: Teresa Madeline Geer Batista