The mission

Go Skateboarding Day 2017. Photo: Scott Furkay.

Go Skateboarding Day 2017. Photo: Scott Furkay.

 

 

A brief history:

With no skate shops in Cuba, it's nearly impossible to acquire skateboards and other supplies needed to keep skating alive. Breaking one’s skateboard deck often means going months without a replacement. When this happens they call it the “dark months.” The only options at this point is to try and repair a broken skateboard deck by screwing another piece of wood onto it or pray for someone to bring it to you from the outside the island. Ordering online and shipping into Cuba are not options at this point. Cuba’s skate scene was born in the 1980s when Russian soldiers left their skateboards with a couple of scrappy street kids who never gave up on their dreams and have kept things rolling for 30+ years. One of these two original skaters is still on board and he is also involved in this project.

Photo: Emmy Park.

Photo: Emmy Park.


The challenge:

Caught in a crossfire between two feuding governments Amigos volunteer army has had to work in the shadows in order to help Cuban youth envision and obtain their dreams. To the Cuban government skateboarding is more of an act of rebellion than a sport and for Americans to gather up, support and befriend the Havanas youth is considered a crime against the Revolution. The American government is no more supportive of skateboarding as sport or in its understanding underground art and music cultures. Even reaching out to other charity's, churches and government officials for support and guidance has been futile thus leaving the  Amigos to play their role as "The Robin Hoods of Havana."

Building a new skate spot with Urban Skate Project and Amigos from Canada, USA, Cuba, Mexico and Czechoslovakia. Photo: Scott Furkay

Building a new skate spot with Urban Skate Project and Amigos from Canada, USA, Cuba, Mexico and Czechoslovakia. Photo: Scott Furkay


Our model:

A big part of what Amigo Skate does is collect unwanted or broken skateboard equipment, refurbish, rebuild, and then recycle it back to skaters in need.  Besides supplying new and used decks, wheels, hardware, grip and trucks; we have gathered a wide variety of action sports gear, music equipment, and art supplies. After collecting and refurbishing everything we redistribute the goods to kids wherever and whenever we see a need. Our goal is to provide youth with an outlet to express themselves.

Chris and Katie painting a collaboration mural in Havana. Photo: Scott Furkay.

Chris and Katie painting a collaboration mural in Havana. Photo: Scott Furkay.


 

Current Projects:

1. Launching Havanas first Skateboard School.

2. Collaboration art project with The Havana Children Home.

3. Building a new skate park..

4. Skateboard Collaboration with Foundation Skateboards.

5. Skateboard Wheel Collaboration with Underground Wheel Co.

 

Past Projects, 2010 -2017:

1. Create and host: Go Skateboarding Week Havana, est. 2015.

2. Create and host: Havana Tattoo and Arts Expo.

3. Hand delivered roughly 7 tons of skateboarding equipment, musical instruments and art supplies.

4. Create opportunity's for collaborations between Cuban and International musicians.

5. Create and execute collaboration art murals between students and graffiti artists.

6. Hosted a series of skateboard competitions.

7.  Collaboration with The Giving Lens to provide free photography classes and equipment.

8. Teach skateboard safety courses and stretching techniques classes.

9. Funded and built several DIY skatespots.

10. Fabrica de Artes Cubano featured our photography for a month long show in their gallery to celebrate our 7 year anniversary.

11. Hosted multiple downhill longboard races.

12. Promote international solidarity through our annual skateboard parade through Havana.

13. Project collaborations with Sony,  Cerveza Sol, Fender Guitars, AfroPunk and Skatepark of Tampa just to name a few.

14. Co-sponsored the first full length Cuban skate video.

15. Hosted Yoga workshops.

16. Host art/fun day event at local orphanages.

17. Sent support to skaters in Caracas, Venezuela.

18. Mission trip to Jacumel and Port Au Prince, Haiti.

19. Hosted international artists to paint with Cuban artists.

20. Skateboard and product collaborations with Madrid Skateboards, Generator Skateboards, Foundation Skateboards and Printed Grip.

 
 
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