Fer Bailleres in the Jungle.

Skate [Slate] – Finish Line with Fer Bailleres

I recently travelled to Monterrey, Mexico to shoot the Mesa Fest 15 and to hang out in Monterrey for a bit and photograph at some of the hills. I stayed with Fer Bailleres and got to know him much better. On one of the days, I got sick with food poisoning and he took me to the doctor and took care of me during that time, for which I’m very thankful. Otherwise, went and skated with some locals and some other Mexicans from Guadalajara and elsewhere. It was so hot in the middle of the day, but we still had a blast. In the most recent issue of Skate Slate Longboarding Magazine, Fer was featured in the “Finish Line“, our final page of editorial. I caught up with him recently for an extended interview about his skating, his business, and his life.

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Jon: Wassup Fer? How are you doing?
Fer: Sup sup Jon, doing great, thanks!

What have you been up to recently? How was Texas?
Well well, life and work are great for now, having fun working and working on having fun everyday. I’ve been going to Texas a lot lately, skating parks and ditches.

Levi Green and Fer Bailleres enjoy the view from the top of the Cheesus Christ hill.

Levi Green and Fer Bailleres enjoy the view from the top of the Cheesus Christ hill.

Where’d you stay?
Levi and I stayed at the hippy house a couple weeks back and Mufasa took care of us.

What’d you do?
We had some great days skating and swimming in the Austin Rivers.

What’s your favorite thing when you are in the U.S.?
Gringo food, hehe. My stomach is done though, so I need to stop doing that.

Fer Bailleres dips into the jungle in Monterrrey.

Fer Bailleres dips into the jungle in Monterrrey.

Ok, I should cover some basics really quick. What’s your full name?
Fernando Palacios Bailleres

How old are you?
I’m 27.

Where did you grow up?
Between Monterrey and Texas. I have really close family and friends over there.

Another angle of Fer dipping into the jungle barrel of bushes.

Another angle of Fer dipping into the jungle barrel of bushes.

When did you start skateboarding?
When I was 11 years Old, street skating.

When did you start Longboarding?
When I turned 21, after all those injuries from skateboarding.

I told [my parents] I was gonna drop school and go live in California… and learn how to skate, and I did.

Where did you go to school?
Monterrey, Mexico.

Fer slides with one kneepad for function and one for fun.

Fer slides with one kneepad for function and one for fun.

What’s your typical downhill setup?
38” Board with kicktail (otherside), Caliber 44 with Mixed duro bushings, 87a/90a rear- 85a/86a front and 70mm Rad Wheels.

Fer sessions a corner with Valeria Figueroa, who was featured in the Check Out of issue 25.

Fer sessions a corner with Valeria Figueroa, who was featured in the Check Out of issue 25.

Tell us how you got started?
So, I woke up one day. After having this crazy dream of me skating, I decided that I was gonna do that all my life. So I talked to my parents that day. I told them I was gonna drop school and go live in California with that money and learn how to skate, and I did. I took a flight to California and I didn’t know anyone but Dustin Hampton back then. He picked me up one day, took me to Santa Barbara and skated with all the big names out there: Loui Pillion, Kyle Chin, Trevor Baird, Adam Colton, and a few others. I was stoked to meet all the guys from the videos I used to watch to learn how to longboard. So I was staying at a hostel in Venice and they invited me to crash at the Stakehouse after that good day. Oh man… that flat was crazy. There were bearings, old boards and cored wheels everywhere. It was a lot of fun and such a good experience on my first trip to California. They took me to all the good hills and places I really miss. I sure can say that my first trip to California changed my life completely.

Lee Cation and Levi Green visit Fer's shop, Longboard Mexico.

Lee Cation and Levi Green visit Fer’s shop, Longboard Mexico.

When did you start traveling for Longboarding?
I started going to other events in Mexico in 2010, then my first Maryhill was in 2012, and it’s been all good stories from there.

What are some of your favorite events of you have been to?
El festival de la bajada, in Colombia is fun, Maryhill for sure, Angie’s curves has the best skateboarding ever.

How long have you been learning English?
I started classes when I was like 10 years old, but been able to actually use it for the last 5 years.

How long did it take you to learn it well enough to know what’s going on in the U.S.?
Since I was kid, I kinda grew up with the 2 cultures mixed because of my family. And I can say that I love both of them in their own way.

A barber cuts hair in the same complex as Fer's shop.

A barber cuts hair in the same complex as Fer’s shop.

So you own the Longboard Mexico store in Monterrey. When did you start the Longboard Mexico?
It was in February of 2014 after a good trip to California and a few talks that I decided to do it with the help of some friends.

I really like the area the store is located in the historic section of Monterrey. Where did you start?
I started at my apartment with some racks and good vibes, hehe.

Levi Green climbs up to hang out on the roof above the Longboard Mexico store.

Levi Green climbs up to hang out on the roof above the Longboard Mexico store.

Tell me about the space where the longboard Mexico store located?
It’s a great place; it is a house, kinda. It’s a complex with a few different business. We have a Barber Shop, Tattoo Shop, Veggie Restaurant, Texas Food Restaurant, Mexican Clothes Designer Boutique, Trip House Company and an illustrator/graphic designer. It’s a fun place to work.

Fer catches his breath in the shade with friends, in between runs in the jungle.

Fer catches his breath in the shade with friends, in between runs in the jungle.

What is the skate community in Monterrey like?
Since there’s mountains everywhere, there’s people skating everyday in different places, different groups and hills. We do make an event very often and like 60 people will show up. All types of skaters show up: street, longboard, wrongboard, beginner and not so beginner. So you can do a lot of skate in here for sure and you will have fun any day of the week.

There are some black sheeps still holing it down in the community that keep doing what they love and spreading the stoke!

How easy is it to skate downhill in Monterrey? And the surrounding areas?
Super easy. We have tons of closed neighborhoods with great hills and curves. Also, there’s not much traffic, and we have the IDF track just one and a half hour away to skate every now and then.

Fer casually talks to the cops that showed up when we were getting ready to take a run at the top of the Cheesus Christ hill.

Fer casually talks to the cops that showed up while we were preparing for a run at the top of the Cheesus.

How are the cops?
They good. If you are not doing something super crazy, you will be fine.

Security?
We always encourage people to skate safe and with all the gear for sure, we have a very good communications about that since we had accidents in the past in Mexico.

Eek, well that’s good you are spreading the safety word. I guess the word “security” was lost in translation. I meant like, do you run into hired security guards trying to kick you out?
Security is good. We have arrangements with some of them. They let us skate on Sundays or things like that, which is pretty cool. Some of them just want a beer or even a cold soda!

After Fer explained that there were some international longboarders here and a photographer from the US shooting photos of the longboarders, the cops were stoked and headed out.

After Fer explained that there were some international longboarders here and a photographer from the US shooting photos of the longboarders, the cops were stoked and headed out.

How are the residents near the places you skate?
They love it! We rarely get complaints, usually people want to watch.

Levi and Fer check out the view of Cheesus Christ from an unfinished mansion window. It is the same window where I shot the opening spread for "Lurking the Mexican Dream" article in issue 25 of Skate Slate.

Levi and Fer check out the view of Cheesus Christ from an unfinished mansion window. It is the same window where I shot the opening spread for “Lurking the Mexican Dream” article in issue 25 of Skate Slate.

Are there dangerous drivers you gotta watch out for?
All the time, TIM!

[Note: For the readers that don’t know, the acyronym TIM stands for: This is Mexico. – Jon]

Who’s killin’ it in Mexico right now?
Oscar Gutierrez is killing it and hopefully he will be killing it all over the world soon.

I wrote a little bit on the Monterrey scene in the latest issue of Skate Slate. Have you read it?
Yes, I have. That was great, by the way, thanks for the words.

Fer slides during a dusk session.

Fer slides during a dusk session.

Would you say it’s accurate that your generation which established a scene in Monterrey is thinning out and there’s a new generation starting up without being part of or feeling a part of a larger Monterrey community?
Yes, totally. This has been happening since I started skating. All generations come and go fast, but there are some black sheeps still holing it down in the community that keep doing what they love and spreading the stoke!

What are you trying to do about it, if anything?
Actually, without notice, we have done so many events lately. Now there’s a big group of people always waiting on the weekend for the next skate meeting and asking about the sessions. Sometimes there are between 40-60 people. I think we can start calling it a new community.

Well that’s awesome to hear. So, what does the future hold for Monterrey?
Looks good actually. People just went back to school and there’s a lot of people on streets and exchange students visiting the store and going to skate, so we are excited!

After a long, hot day of longboarding, Fer is ready to go to sleep.

Fer is ready to go to sleep.

What is new for you?
The store is growing and I’m working half of the time now, and skating the other half. I’m feeling good about it. All injuries recovered and ready to start a new race season.

Future plans?
Working my ass off to get to Vancouver early next year and of course attend the race season.

Shout outs?
Thanks Jon for making this so smooth for me and Les Robertson for all his support through the years. Vic Gonzalez for being there helping all the time. Parents for trusting me and taking care of me during every injury!

Fer Bailleres is sponsored by Rayne Longboards, Caliber Trucks, RAD Wheels, Trip House Company, Vicious Griptape, Longboard Mexico Store.

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