Carlos Ribeiro Interview

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Is this you first Thrasher interview?
Yes, it is.

So this is gonna be a banger, right?
I’m so hyped on it, dude. I mean, I had a Lunatic Fringe right when I moved to Cali years ago and I had that one that we did two years ago—That’s My Shit or something like that, but never a full interview. I’m super stoked.

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So are you coming out swinging or what? I heard about some stuff that you’ve done and I’ve been seeing some shit. Is it gonna be fuckin’ gnarly, this video part?
I’m stoked, man. I’m hyped with the stuff that we filmed and the shoe. We were skating with Ollie most of the time and Ollie is sick as fuck. We traveled a lot for this as well. I’m hyped on the stuff we got.

Where are some of the places you went to?
We went to Shanghai and it was dope because I went there, like, four years ago with LRG and it was the worst trip for me because I hurt myself the second day of the trip. So it was nice to go back and be able to skate it. Then we went to Barcelona again which is always fun. I think that was it.

Ribeiro 1 750pxSix stairs of technical terror—Carlos unleashes the switch heel back lip

In Shanghai you had a battle going with the big hubba, right? Didn’t you try to switch back tail it or something?
Yes. The first time we went with LRG, that’s where I got hurt, actually. That was the second day of the trip. I showed up to the hubba and wanted to switch back tail it. It was waxed. I went to tailslide to warm up and kind of feel it out. I popped and stepped off of my board and then slipped on the wax, hit my thigh on the edge, hit my chin on the third-to-last stair. It was an accident, straight up. I got bodied, like, gnarly and I just couldn’t skate more. I was barely walking for the rest of the trip. So it was sick to go back and be able to do this trick. I was scared as shit, too, but it felt really good. It was a relief to get that off of my shoulders. I’d been wanting to do that switch back tail for so long. I waited another three years or four years to get back there.

So that’s been on your mind for three or four years and this spot is on the other side of the world and it’s just been eating away at your brain? Then finally you get redemption with the switch back tail, right?
Yes, exactly. That was a really good relief. I was stoked after that.

Ribeiro 2 750pxTriple-trouble front blunt. Welcome to America

So does this video part have a lot of meaning to you? What’s the reason behind the name?
This part means a lot to me. We want to name it All For You and that’s for my dad who passed away a year and a couple months ago. He did everything for me when I was growing up.

So this is a huge dedication to your father, right?
Yeah, straight up. All For You is pretty much like how he did it for me when I was growing up and started skating. We’re a very humble family and I remember him instead of paying the electricity bills he would take me to contests and take me to travel. When I first traveled out of Brazil to Barcelona he didn’t even have money for that but he knew how much I wanted to leave Brazil to follow the dream.

That’s super rad. Sorry, I know this might be a tough one.
No, it’s all good. It’s just hard to talk about it. But I feel like it’s good to talk about it because it’s something that everybody’s gonna go through. This is how life is and it’s not always how we plan it. There’s no way to understand it but we gotta live it up. So I feel like it’s important to talk about it even though it’s hard.

I know it’s gonna show in the interview and in the part. It’s gonna be so epic.
Yeah, I’m hyped for this one. This is a special one to me.

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Do you think these days it’s important putting out a part every year or so? For a pro skater in the Internet age, with Instagram and the constant need for content, what do you think is important?
I think parts are really, really important and I think that’s why I dedicate myself to film parts and stuff. I feel like one or two parts a year is good. It’s amazing if you can put out more. There’s kids that do it and that’s awesome. If you can keep going and putting out parts every few years that’s good. A good example is Rodrigo Tx. He for sure has more than 20 parts and is still putting out stuff! Putting out parts every year makes you progress. It makes you skate better or think different, like, In this part I want to do this or do different tricks. I feel like that’s part of your progression and if you stop doing that you’re gonna get stuck. I dedicate my life to video parts. I do contests, I love it, I do all the stuff but the main thing for me is filming video parts. And it’s fun with Instagram and all that too. It’s hard to do it all, but sometimes you’re at the skatepark and you put it on Instagram or sometimes it’s a warm-up trick at the spot that you wanna film your trick. I don’t really think about it, like, Oh, I gotta go out today to film this for Instagram, you know? That kind of happens naturally. It’s just, like, Alright, my homie’s filming. Cool. Let’s post it, you know?

Speaking of contests and all that stuff, that brings me to the Olympics. It’s coming up soon. Are you gonna be in the Olympics? Have you been asked to be in there? Are you trying to get in the Olympics?
Yes, actually there is a selection here in Brazil. There are four skaters for street skating and I’m actually the fifth one. So I’m not under the selection but I’m invited for meetings and all that and also the government here is paying us and I’m included on that payment. It’s like a podium sentence, that’s how they name it and they’re paying us for that until 2020, which is awesome. It’s helping us, for sure. I’m scared about the Olympics. It’s something delicate to talk about. I’m scared ’cause I don’t want it to be ugly, you know? I’m scared it’ll be only those contest kids. They do all these gnarly tricks, which is rad, nothing against them or anything like that, but I’m scared of the contest being weird like that.

There are dudes that are real street skaters skating the contest but there are also park robots where all they skate is parks and they literally train. So you want it to be real street skaters skating these contests and not a park robot?
Yes, exactly. Thank you.

So the next thing about the Olympics is the drug test thing. Have they spoken to you about drug testing in Brazil? I’ve heard crazy rumors that some energy drink sponsors are gonna be kicking off their riders if they don’t pass the drug test.
Damn, that’s crazy. I never heard that. I mean, I heard about the anti-doping and all that and we had classes in London during the Street League Open. We had a mandatory one-hour meeting with the governing body about the anti-doping thing. We had to sit there and listen to them talk. Then in the next stop in LA we had a mandatory meeting again where you had to go, sign your name and watch it, you know?

Ribeiro 3 750pxThreading needles with a flattened-out switchflip     Photo: Papke

So you’re in Porto Alegre right now?
Yeah, I’m actually in Novo Hamburgo which is my hometown. I say Porto Alegre ’cause it’s the main city nearby. It’s 20 minutes outside of Porto Alegre. I’m at my parent’s house where I grew up.

Are there any other famous or well known skateboarders from your hometown of Porto Alegre?
Yeah, definitely. There’s the OG one—Cesar Gordo. He’s, like, the main one. And definitely Luan. We were in the same contests when we were 11 or 12 years old. We skated together a bunch back then too.

How long you been skating?
I’ve been skating since ’99 so yeah, like, 19 years.

How old are you now?

So that’s more than half your life, right? That’s pretty fuckin’ rad. So when you go back to Brazil do you hang out with Luan and Cesar? Do you guys keep in touch?
We definitely keep in touch. I hang out with Luan a little bit. We skate his park sometimes. He loves to party. He’s always going out and stuff and I’m married; I have a kid; I’m chill. So when we hang out we definitely go skate his park. I see Gordo too but I hang out with my friends that I actually started skating with in Novo Hamburgo. Some of them don’t skate anymore. Some of them are fathers as well and have the family and their stuff. When I’m here I like to get in touch with them as well. It’s nice. It’s nostalgic. It makes me feel good just to hang out, drink a beer and barbecue and stuff. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

So when you go back for Christmas is it just mostly family time? ’Cause you live out in California, right? You’re in Huntington Beach?
Yes, I’m in Huntington Beach. When I go back it’s family time, straight up. I skate of course. I arrived in Brazil three days ago and didn’t even set up my board yet. I’ve just been doing family stuff. I bring my daughter. My mom saw her for the first time and today it was, like, showing her to the whole family, grandma and all that. It’s a big thing for me to see family when I get back because I’m out of Brazil for one year every year so we barbecue, this and that, and all the cousins come. It’s fun; it’s dope.

Ribeiro 4 750pxIn America all you have to worry about is someone stealing your tricks. Switch front feeble under the cover of darkness     Photo: Papke

That’s cool. What’s your daughter’s name?
My daughter’s name is Luna.

Did you choose the name or was it a joint decision between you and your wife?
That was my wife’s choice, actually, ’cause of Harry Potter. There’s a character in the movie named Luna who’s a little girl and she’s, like, “Yeah, I want to name her Luna ’cause of that.” That was after my father passed away and then I saw his last post on Instagram was a photo of the moon and Luna is “moon” in Spanish. I was, like, Alright, that was meant to be. The name is perfect. So yeah, she is Luna Belini Ribeiro.

So now that you’ve had a child, how do you fit it in with skateboarding? Do you have to devote more time with the kid? Do you see any changes coming up in the future, like maybe not traveling so much?
Yes, I mean, traveling is definitely hard because you don’t count the trip as, Oh sick, I’m going on a trip anymore. Now a trip is, like, Fuck, that’s ten days away from my daughter. But that’s also maybe a good thing, too, because you go on a trip and you really want to make the trip productive. You really want to make it count because you’re spending time away from your family so you actually want to do stuff and be productive. That helps a lot.

carlosribeiro fsnollie180switchnosegrindrevert shanghai barton 1 1 750pxCoulda taken the ramp but Carlos hits the hard road with a frontside nollie to fakie 5-0 rewind

If you didn’t pick up skateboarding where do you think your life would be right now?
I don’t know about being a professional at soccer because that’s so hard, but that’s every kid’s dream and everybody does that in Brazil. I was definitely playing soccer and I was on teams and stuff. My dad used to be pro for soccer so he had connects. Maybe I would be playing soccer right now. I don’t know.

That’s cool. You picked up a skateboard and that’s all that really matters. The skateboard found you.
Yeah, it was crazy. I remember seeing people pushing down the street when I was in the car and my dad was driving, looking back on the guy pushing and waiting for him to bust a trick or something. I really wanted to see something. Then I finally seen those skaters in front of my grandma’s house. That was like first love from right there. They were, like, “Yeah, try it out.”

Ribeiro 5 750pxMarble dream or Shanghai nightmare? Carlos conquers, four years later. Switch back tail

That’s amazing. So it just captivated you and held your attention. Do you remember when you got your first board?
Oh yeah, definitely. It was Christmas. I got a board and it was a full complete of Devil skateboards. It was a Brazilian brand, a full complete and it worked for that time.

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That’s sick. Can we talk about how you almost drowned? Tell me the story. We were in Rio and it was a pretty epic trip but you had a little moment out there.
Yeah, now it’s fine to talk about because I already told my wife, so it’s not gonna be a surprise for her. But yeah, there were some hot days in Rio. We had skated the day of and we were at the beach since 1 pm or maybe even earlier and drinking beers, hanging out and eating coconut, more beers. Mad beers, actually. And then we were going to pee in the ocean where all the people were at the time. There were mad signs at the beach, like, “Don’t get in the water because of the rip current.” I’ve surfed since I was ten years old so I’m very confident with the ocean. I remember we were, like, “Ha, let’s pee in the ocean and swim a little bit,” and Luan was, like, “I’m chilling.” So I was, like, “Dude, come on. Let’s go. It’s on me. I got you. No worries, dude, I got you,” and he was, like, “No, dude, I don’t give a fuck. I’m not going. I’m scared.” So then we all go. It was you, Zijuan and Yuri. And then this wave came and I just ducked down under it and I kind of took my time, kind of enjoying it and then when I came up I looked back and I was so far deep in the ocean already in, like, 30 seconds. I remember I tried to swim back to shore a little bit and I saw that I wasn’t able to get myself back in there so I’m trying to not panic but panicking at the same time. I’m just floating and then I turn back, kind of waved for the shore. It was packed. In Rio it’s packed; there’s so many people. I’m just hoping somebody sees me and I’m doing that for, like, ten minutes, which is a lot when you’re in there. I seen Zijuan and Yuri running to get the lifeguard and stuff. So I was, like, Okay, something is gonna happen, but I remember before I seen them running I was, like, Fuck, I hope somebody sees me  because I’m not gonna be able to make it back. Every five minutes I’ll turn around, wave and then I just hear after 15 or 20 minutes someone, like, “Chill out; be calm; I got you.” I’m like Finally somebody picked me up and so these guys—one swimming and two surfers—came to pick me up. This guy handed me his board and he’s, like, “You know how to paddle?” and I’m like, “Yes.” I got on the surfboard and, thank God, I was safe but I was shook. So we started paddling back to shore and I remember I was paddling and this wave came and I kind of paddled in the wave. I got in the wave and I was gonna drop in but it was like the whole beach was standing up looking at me too so I was like, Nah, I’m just gonna be lame. I almost dropped in, though. In my head I was, like, I’m gonna drop in even though I almost died.

Ribeiro 6 750pxDrowning in technicality, Carlos floats a nollie back 180 nosegrind pop over

You almost die and then you’re like, “Fuck it, dude. I’m gonna show these people who I really am here.”
Yeah, but I didn’t drop in. Thank God I didn’t do that. I thought twice at that moment.

Then right after you get saved you come back onto the beach where we’re chilling and then we got more beers and açaí.
Everything. I think there was a coconut! I got saved and then right back to beers. Luan was mad, I remember. He was mad at me. He was, like, “Dude, I told you! Fuck, you could have died in that shit.” Then we got more beers and we cheered and everything was fine. I remember looking for the guys that saved me too. I wanted to maybe get them beers or buy them stuff just to show appreciation but I couldn’t find them. I remember when the guy threw me his surfboard he was, like, “Did you drink?” And I’m, like, “Yes,” and he’s, like, “Yeah, I can smell it from here.” He was ten feet away from me or something.

Oh my God, dude. That’s pretty gnarly.
It’s gnarly because my wife was pregnant at that time too. When I told her, like, one month after, the first thing she said was, “Yeah, and I’m pregnant over here thinking that you’re skateboarding.”

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Oh, dude, well it’s radical that everything is all good. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t trust yourself that much, especially when you’re drunk.

What’s your favorite thing about Brazil and what’s your favorite thing about America or California?
Okay, my favorite thing about Brazil—I mean, it’s my hometown. It’s the Motherland. So just being with my family, too, maybe that’s the main thing. America is like the skate dream place, you know? I love being able to do what you want. Like, Okay, I want to go to that rail and do this trick there. You hit up the filmer and he’s gonna film properly; the photographer will be there; you do your stuff; you make skating happen, which is hard to do in Brazil. I love that it’s a calm place but you can definitely party if you want to have that lifestyle. But if you wanna be like me, like, I’m raising my daughter and have my wife over there so I love that tranquility.

It’s hard to get things done in Brazil, right?
Definitely harder to make shit happen. One, because product, of course, and the gear is way better in the States. Also, filmers in the States are really super dedicated. In Brazil they can’t make a living off filming skating so it’s different. They usually have a side job so it’s hard to take them to a session where they can get robbed filming you. That’s something, too, like when you’re skating you’re not only scared about getting kicked out by the cops or a security guy, you’re scared about getting robbed at the same time. All this makes it really hard. In the States you can pretty much barbecue at the spot and have a laptop there open. It sucks but sometimes you judge people in Brazil, like you see two guys walking towards you and they look suspect. Sometimes they’re very good people but just how they look makes you worried. That doesn’t happen in the States. In the States you barely see suspect people.

Ribeiro 7 750pxSacto smooth— switch kicky front blunt

Yeah, that’s a trip. Didn’t you tell me a story about your cousin getting robbed at gunpoint in Porto Alegre?
It was my friend. We were skating this plaza and when we got back to the car it was him on the passenger seat. So we got in the car and we’re about to turn on the engine and this guy just walked towards us. He was actually very well-dressed, like a normal, chill dude. He just pulled up his shirt and showed us the gun on his waist. He didn’t even take the gun out. He just showed the gun through the shirt and told us to walk out and leave all of our stuff. So we got out of the car and he got in and drove away.

Wow, that easy, eh?
Yeah, I mean, there’s nothing you can do. If I see a gun it’s, like, Okay, just take it.

Were there any tricks that you really wanted to get for this part that you didn’t? Are you still filming or are you done?
I’m done. Everything that I thought that I wanted to do happened and I’m thankful. I’m stoked on that. Even last week, right before the Street League contest, I wanted to do this trick to be an ender. I was scared as fuck too. On Monday I went to that spot by myself and kind of threw it out there to feel it out and when I actually landed it on Tuesday, I was so hyped.

Wow, what did you do?
That was the switch back noseblunt. I’d been thinking about that for a long-ass time.

Dude, that thing is insane. Switch back noseblunt on Tarzana is totally fucked. Was that the hardest trick for you?
That was definitely the scariest. I actually went there three times, one time with my homie who was staying at my house where it was, like, Dude, let’s just go there. From Huntington to Tarzana is like an hour and a half, so we go there just to look at it and I went three times just looking at it, like, Okay, I think I can do it. Then one day before I skated it I went and I threw a switch back noseblunt in there by myself.

Ribeiro 8 750pxTrophy perfect, standing tall on the dreaded SS BS NBS. Congrats, Carlos!     Photo: Atiba

Going there all by yourself and trying that—that’s so gnarly, dude.
Yeah. I was terrified to do it and we were kind of lining up the session for Tuesday and on Monday I woke up and I was scared as fuck. It’s, like, Fuck, I have to go there and skate it and make sure I’m gonna be able to do it tomorrow. So I went over there and looked at it a little bit, grinded it a couple times and then started going switch, like going super fast and switch ollieing right next to the ledge and kind of locking on one and then was able to pull it off the next day. When I locked in one I was, like, Cool, that’s it. Driving back home I was super hyped. I hit up Oliver, like, C’mon, let’s get it tomorrow; it’s gonna be sick. It was a dope session. Atiba shot it and Paul came by too. I hit up Paul to come on a session and he was, like, “Hell yeah, I’ll definitely cruise.” So it was nice.

What a great way to end all that madness. You got Paul Rodriguez there, you got Atiba, you switch back noseblunt that thing and that must have felt so good, dude.
That felt so good because I was terrified. It was, like, Fuck it, I’m going back to Brazil next week.  I don’t care about the contest this weekend. If I pull it off I’m gonna be stoked. Then it happened and I got out of it and didn’t get bodied or anything. I was skating the next day and chilling.

carlosribeiro gaptosmith fullerton barton 1 750pxGap to back Smith, locked and loaded. Sometimes skateboarding involves skateboarding

I’ll tell you this, people won’t remember a contest but they’ll remember a switch back noseblunt on Tarzana forever.
I was definitely hyped on it. That was a heavy weight off of my shoulders because I was terrified. On Monday when I woke up, I was making breakfast and my wife was, like, “What’s going on? Why are you sad?” And I was, like, “Fuck, I have a session lined up for tomorrow and I’m terrified.”

How many tries did it take?
It was maybe two hours. But sometimes I go five hours. Sometimes it’s a couple of days or months, you know? It took a while of kind of just throwing it out there. I’m stoked.

You know what? Fuck it, next video you gotta do switch flip switch back noseblunt.
Holy shit.

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If you really wanna scare yourself. You got any last words, anyone you wanna thank or whatever? You got anything you want the world to know about Carlos?
Yes. This is dedicated to my father.

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