Intro by Oliver Nermerich
Story by Francisco March
Images by Augustin Obarrio
Although Argentina is widely recognized for its soccer, sultry tango, world-renowned beef and passionate crowds, these are only a few of the cultural elements that define this South American country. With an incredibly diverse geography and climate, Argentina also offers some of the most exotic and unique landscapes in the world, from the glaciers of the antarctic south to the northern tropics next to Brazil. In the capital of Buenos Aires, a sprawling cosmoplitan city of 20 million inhabitantes, there is a countless number of leisurley activities to choose from. With its picturesque neighborhoods, museums, a stong culinary culture and vibrant nightlife among other things, Argentina is condsidered a main destination for vacationers and travelers alike.
In regards to other aspects and in relation to in-line skating, the underlining issue in Argentina is a general lack of skateparks and a third world infrastructure that in most cases is not well equipped for developing the sport. As a result, the possibility of increasing the exposure of aggresive skating is limited as far as spaces for events, generating media coverage and therefore little recognition from the local up to the international levels. Unfortunatley, circumstances such as these have prevented in-line skating from gaining popularity as it remains not a very well known sport in general.
However, what we do find here are sub-cultures of aggressive in-line skaters with alot of passion, determination and perseverance. Despite the challenges, they always find time between work, school and their daily responsibilities to dedicate to skating, refining their style and perfecting their tricks. Aggressive skaters in Argentina have been around since the mid 1990´s, a time when we looked to Chris Edwards and Arlo Eisenberg as the main skaters and the only skates available was the Magestic and the video of the time was that of Mad Beef. This is when Argentina became a growing part of this movement. With an uprising of various skaters that demonstrated interest in the sport is when we began see new skateparks emerge in the main cities such as Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario. Up until the begining of 2002 in-line skating had gained popularity and was continuing to grow. And although we lacked official skateparks, skaters took to the many plazas of the cities, public rails and using national monuments for launching and grinding.
In 2002 Argentina suffered a complete ecomonic collapse and defaulted on the largest foreign debt in the history of the world that sent the argentine peso tumbling, pegged against a strong US dollar. The entire county fell victim to an economic crisis where the one of the most affected industries was the importation of goods and services which included the accesiblity of in-line skates and accessories in addition to all of the tools necessary to skate. A grave economic situation further divided the social classes and those who continued to progress in the world of in-line were simply those who could afford it, most could not. As a result, the X Games Niss and ASA had dissappeared as well as other fundamental events that previously helped diffuse a sport that was now left without the ressources for further development.
In the wake of the crisis, aggressive in-line skating practically dissapeared from the map. However, there were still skaters that never stopped and were resilient in their determination to continue practicing, making due with what they had. Once the crisis had passed and Argentina had reestablished economic stabability there was a reemergence of in-line skating!! There was still however great limitations with respect to the availablity of in-line skates and the capacity to buy and import. This made it very dificult and the only option was to have a friend or family member bring in skates from another country.
After a trip to California in Febuary of 2010 and the chance to meet Andy Wegner of Sunshine Distribution, we decided to begin to import their products to Argentina. This was an important step for all of the local skaters who needed new skates or simply replacements and wheels. Due to the influence of the old school riders who have always been faithful to the sport and the presence of the main-stream brands (Razor, Remz, Ground, Control and Jug), many young aspiring skaters now have the posibility to enter the realm of aggressive skating and begin to practice, introducing a new generation of skaters with a ton of potential and as we say here “ganas” or drive. They represent the emergence of the future of aggressive in-line and are learning from the old school who kept the sport alive during tough times and are proud to have dedicated so much passion and commitment to the sport that they love.
Since a few years ago we have seen quite a growing interest among young aspiring and anxious skaters who have shown that they have a lot to give! Now we are seeing an emergence of new skateparks as a result as well as the organization of tournaments and an ever increasing presence of main-stream in-line skate brands with tremendous potential amongst local argentine skaters. I myself have been skating for 15 years, to have been an intergral participant in the aggressive in-line movement in my country has been an amazing and fullfilling journey… ROLL FOR LIFE!!!