Interview : Max Ballesteros[wptouch target=”mobile”]
Australia: Photo by James Turner
Our scene is definitely a global phenomenon. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get into a good conversation and learn about what drives riders to travel all around the world in search of passion that keeps them in “the game”. Due to the never ending language barriers , we don’t normally get to know good people as much as we would like. Finally, after years of watching this guy murder his local scene, I was introduced to Max at a BBQ after Britannia Classic. This isn’t to say that I am only impressed with riders that speak fluent English, but without a doubt it sure makes it easier to get to know someone. I asked Ballesteros for the interview right after his 4th place finish at yesterday’s Maryhill Festival of Speed. Congrats Max, that’s no easy feat.
And oh yeah, once Max is done his world tour, we’ll likely be hearing more from the man himself right here on Skate[Slate]…
Dan Pape: Let’s start with some warm up questions that have nothing to do with DH skate.
Max Ballesteros: I like all kinds of food, but my favorite is home cooked in Brazil, Italian and sushi are also really good choices for me.
Rather rock a beanie or cap?
Cap for sure!
When Canadians say toque, do you know what they are talking about?
Not really Hahah
It’s a beenie. But a lot of Canadians call it a toque. Can you spread the word that it’s called a toque?
Oh yeah, good to know… that’s a new word for my vocabulary, I will spread the word for the Brazilians.
Do you have a favorite super hero?
Batman, I like how he is a regular guy without unreal powers, but still pulls of some crazy stuff.
If you had a private jet, where would you fly right now?
To the top of my favorite hill in Europe!! You know, one of those amazing mountain passes…
Lords of Dogtown, documentary or Hollywood version?
Interesting you asked me about this movie, back then I was a teenager and it got me really stoked to get back on my skateboard… after it came out was actually when I started longboarding. I like both the documentary and the Hollywood version, I think the documentary shows more the reality of their lives and it’s rad to see the testimonials from themselves, but the movie has some good vibes to it that get you amped on skateboarding! Do I really need to pick one? ha-ha… I like both!
Okay good…..we’re all warmed up now. Feeling good, ready? OK nice….
I’m ready!! Bring it on…
Photo by Rob McWhinnie
Tell us about Brazil, exactly where are you from?
I live in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Its one of those towns where everyone knows each other even though it’s the third biggest city in Brazil. It is surrounded by mountains and nature, kind of a laidback lifestyle. My best friends are all skaters so we try to skate almost everyday since we have so many hills around our houses. On the weekend we try to get to the further and fastest hills. Another thing I have to mention about it is the girls, Belo Horizonte is known to have the most women per square meter in Brazil!!!!!!
Okay, let’s go there now, ha… Do you do any other sports back home?
When I was younger I did all kinds of sports, I’ve always been very active in that way, can’t live without it.
For me it is like a treatment for the soul!
I’m sensing you are a humble fellow. But I gotta ask you to brag for a minute. What other hidden talents do you have? Instruments, arts, that kinda thing.
Britannia Classic 2013 Quarter Final 1
Thanks Dan, my family always taught me to be humble and respectful, I think that’s a very important thing in life!
So I could say I was an artist for a while, a side of my family influenced me a lot and always got me into that. I had a clothing company a few years back and did all the art and design for it, which was cool but skateboarding caught more my attention. Since then, what I do is the “art” of riding a skateboard.
Balian Arte Photo Link to Facebook Page
Jumping back to home topic for a minute. Do you live there because you like it or because that’s where you’ve always lived?
I’ve lived there most of my life, it’s where my roots are from… I have tried living somewhere else but I missed my family and friends and had to come back! I like the traveling lifestyle, because I never get bored I can enjoy home and know that soon I will be going to another city and another completely different culture.
Vernon BC Canada: Photo by Manuela Perez Blanco
Ever think of moving?
I have thought about moving, but not sure where to… there are so many amazing places in this world!
My top three places to live would be Florianópolis (Brazil), Sydney (Australia), San Diego (USA).
I love the surf/skate lifestyle, so if I had to move somewhere it would be to a place where there’s a good scene and spots for that.
I hear ya loud and clear. Trust me, I’m on it. Was your first skateboard a long or short board?
A short board.
What board was it?
It was a regular skateboard from a Brazilian brand called Drop Dead.
What was your first longboard?
I can’t really remember the name of the brand, but it was a used longboard I got from a friend… after a few weeks of use I redesigned it with a new cut and I painted it myself. I still have that board, my little brother rides it now!
What’s your racing set up?
Fibretec Flying Pan topmount board, RAD Advantage 74mm 78a wheels, Aera K4’s, Riptide Bushings and Vicious Griptape, that’s my race setup!
Squamish BC Canada : Screen Capture from THIS VIDEO
Is it the same board that you use for free riding?
Some times, but I also have a double kick longboard which is super fun to ride downhill, parks and bowls!
How did you place in the Canadian races so far?
I believe I had a good season in Canada, I started with getting around top ten in Danger Bay. Made it to the finals in Jake’s Rash and finished in 6th place, semi’s in Britannia Classic got 7th, and Vernon DH I got to another final’s, it was rad. I finished 3rd with a super close finish with my old teammate Patrick Switzer. I just got 4th in Maryhill Festival of Speed.
Old teammate? What was the connection there? Congrats on 3rd, that’s nice.
3rd by an inch hahaha, thanks!! Yeah Patrick is a great guy, and was cool to be teammate’s with him in 2011, we both rode for Orangatang and did some traveling and racing through Europe and South America, good times!!!
Where are you going next?
I’ve been to Kelowna Skylands, then to the World Cup race Angie’s Curves. By the time this comes out I’ll have gone to Maryhill Festival of Speed 2013 and then I’m back to Canada for Whistler Longboard Festival.
Oh Whistler. So good. Have you been there before? Would you ever trade in DH Skate for surfing or snowboarding?
Last year I was at Whistler, I loved that event, it’s one of the best! Stoked to come back this year. Yeah, I could trade surfing for snowboarding, but doing any of these sports in a regular basis would be rad for me. Because in my home town there’s none of that.
Who’s your biggest influence in life both in and out of skateboarding?
My grandfather in life and in downhill skateboarding K-rimes.
My grandfather was like a dad to me, taught me alot of things for life. And as far as skateboarding, when I saw Kevin bombing Teutonia back in 2007 I was hooked for that ride, now he is a good friend of mine we get to travel and skate together, it’s really cool to have that opportunity and evolve my skating with him.
Thowing a wrench in this flow, what’s your most embarrassing moment?
Ufff I dont know, I embarrass my self quite often, I’m a shy guy.
What’s your proudest moment?
This is a hard one, but I think becoming European Downhill Skateboarding Champion in 2011 made me very proud.
Why do you think Brazil produces such great skaters?
We Brazilians are very passionate with what we do, things are harder for us so when we are out skating we do our best and never give up our dreams. I guess that’s why there are so many great Brazilian skaters, like Bob Burnquist, Pedro Barros, and Douglas Dalua to name a few top notch Brazilian skaters.
Why is your English so good? I mean, it’s right up there.
Most people don’t know this but I was actually born in America, my dad has lived there most of his life so I had this connection. When I was a kid I studied at an American school in Brazil and I lived for a year and a half in Atlanta when I was 14 years old, that’s when I really improved my English. Right now it’s kind of rusty, sometimes I have a hard time with the vocabulary but it’s always good to practice my English during travels and get the flow again.
Awesome man, thanks for the interview. I’ve been watching your skills from afar so it’s nice to finally catch up and get a few questions out of ya. Good luck at the races and make sure you hit us up when you’re in the area.
Australia: Photo by Rob McWhinnie
[sam id=”9″ codes=”true”]