Skateboarding moves me. It takes me from point A to point B every day. It’s moved my residency from one coast of the United States of America to the other. It’s lead me out of the country, to Spain and the Dominican Republic. Those are just a couple of my personal instances, I have friends with much more impressive skate travels, far and wide. And I encourage you to explore, for the love of skateboarding.
Recently I visited the Dominican Republic to compete in the Jacagua Extreme Downhill Race and Slide Jam with a crew of friends from all over. The Dominicans gave us a proper tour of thier island in all it’s glory. There were at least fifteen of us stuffed into a minivan courtesy of Muir Skate, but that’s how they roll on the island—or three-deep on a mini-motorcycle. There appeared to be no rules of the road. It was hectic. Little culture-shocks like that are my absolute favorite part of traveling. Following the locals around, absorbing what they have to say about their home and trying everything they suggest. (Except for red meat, I don’t eat red meat.) In the Dominican, I dusted off and utilized my Spanish skills, conserved water by bathing out of buckets instead of running water, discovered that pear juice is delicious, surfed a private break we shared only with stingrays, and connected with the energetic and sincerely caring local skateboarders. They constantly offered help whenever they could, assuring that us visitors were always comfortable and having a good time. The island is a tropical downhill skateboard paradise—full of fun, fast, and technical jungle runs, and a skate community that’s ready to completely shralp at any time of the day. And they were mighty stoked to have us on their turf.
By race day at Jacagua my ankle injury was too flared-up to race on, so I spent the day filming, passing out stickers, and talking with the locals. I was so impressed by the number of girls, not just skating the hill, but totally shredding it. Pam Diaz was the only female race competitor keeping up with the boys the entire time on her beloved local run. Molly Lewis came all the way from North Carolina to very stylishly place first in the women’s slide jam. Keyla Denisse of Puerto Rico placed second and Maria Reites of the Domican Republic was third.
I left some things undone in the Domincan Republic: exploring seventeen consecutive natural waterslides, skating some ridiculously gnarly run in a town we didn’t didn’t have a chance to go to, competing in the race at Jacagua. But I’ll be back for those endeavors next year, after a few more radventures to other foreign parts of the world.
Make time for these kinds of excursions, no matter how busy your schedule may be. Save a little money, let your skateboard guide you to your next destination, and make sure to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where you’ll really get radical.