Daniel Cuervo Interview by xavier Lannes
skate shop, Maroña was the first one to promote skateboarding in Dominican Republic, a task that has now been passed to Giuseppe Polanco from Tropical Skate, after Ivan decided to go live in La Coruña, Spain. Throughout the years, Ivan Maroña participated in a lot of demos, with skaters like Tony Hawk, Lance Montain, Christian Hosoi, Sergie Ventura, Pierre Lug Gagnon, Danny González, Richie López, Clay King, Ronny Mead, Johnny Fonseca, Chris Haslam, Kevin Staab, Jeff Grosso, Mike Vallely, Robert López, Luis Cruz, Ray Barbier, Eddie Elguera, Alfonso Ralf, Tony Alva, Andy Kessler…
With Edixon from the Dominican Republic, the Cuban bros Miguel, Luis & Jefferson and the legendary skater “El Ché” (Alejandro Pando Napoles), Maroña’s last project was to build a ramp for Red Bull Sport Project in Cuba. The project was largely covered in several skateboard magazines, in a movie, and was a first for Cuba.
Then, everything changed again for little Daniel at 14 when he met Jesus Christ. He discovered that a man does not live on skateboarding alone, that skateboarders should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but they should encourage one another. With God and skateboard as Daniel’s main concerns, it is not odd that one of his goal on his trip to California was to pay a visit to The Sanctuary, Christian Hosoi’s church in Westminster, the other sacred place being Venice Skatepark in the heart of Dogtown
I met him in the heart of Dogtown, in Venice Skate Park. This is who he is in his own words.
Who are you?
Daniel Cuervo: My name is Daniel Cuervo. I am 19 years old. I am from Dominican Republic. I started skateboarding about 7 years ago. The first time I skated was when one of my friends brought me for the 1st time to a ramp where they were hosting the Dominican Republic National Championship. The national champion at that time was Iván Maroño (Maroña), I saw him skate and I felt compelled to skate. I said “I want to follow his paths”. Then, Iván just taught me how to skate.
When did you get your first skate?
Daniel Cuervo: My mother bought me the 1st one, then, Iván Maroño had a skate shop and a skate park and he started to sponsor me and he gave me my first skates.
Why did Iván Maroño close the skate park?
Daniel Cuervo: Because he now lives in Spain.
I have heard you are one of the best in Dominican Republic?
Daniel Cuervo: I am the National Champion. There are contests all the time and this is my 3rd year as #1 in Dominican Republic. But I’m not pro yet, I ride as an amateur.
Daniel Cuervo: In 2007, I went to Vancouver for Gromfest and I ended third. I went to the same contest in 2008 and I ended 3rd in bowls and 1st in Best Trick. I also went to Puerto Rico but there I could not win because I broke my wrist. I also went to the ASR, last week (Feb. 3-4th) in San Diego. I could not do the final because that was a “best trick” contest. That was my first real amateur contest in the US at an international level and the level was very high.
So you came to California for the ASR contest or for vacations?
Daniel Cuervo: What do mean for vacation? I came to skate. I came for the ASR contest and also to practice, to be confronted with people with better level than mine and eventually find a sponsor.
Daniel Cuervo: I live at Heidi Lemmon’s house. She is the president of the SPAUSA.
Is it far from here?
Daniel Cuervo: No, I take my skate and just arrive in no time.
How did you meet her?
Daniel Cuervo: Tropical Skate made the contact for me. We are part of the Skate Park Association of the United States, so they told her that in order for me to improve, I had to go to the US, be with amateurs and pros.
Daniel Cuervo: Yes, that’s the 1st time here in California, but I already went to Miami and New York. In Miami, there are lots of parks and in New York there are several parks, but it’s not like in California. In California, I only know Venice and San Diego. I want to go to Vans skatepark, y bowls in Santa Monica y several other parks in Southern California.
How often do you skate?
Daniel Cuervo: I skate 4 hours everyday.
What contacts do you have with Ripper?
Daniel Cuervo: I am trying to get a sponsorship from them but still, there is a lot to do.
Daniel Cuervo: That was another sponsor that I had in Dominican Republic but now it’s over.
What is Tropical skate?
Daniel Cuervo: That’s the company that’s upholding skate in Dominican Republic. They are a skateboard school and I am the teacher of the school. Right now, they are sponsoring me. They are the ones that sent me here in California, with God’s Will.
Are you more street or vert?
Daniel Cuervo: I am definitely vert! Ramps, bowls, vert!
Daniel Cuervo: We don’t have anymore bowls, but every time I can go outside of Dominican Republic, I take advantage to go to a skatepark.
You have an amazing vet level for someone that’s not skating with the proper infrastructure.
Daniel Cuervo: I think I was born to do vert. Also, we have a mini ramp so I am used to vert. What is new for me is curving because we have no bowls in Dominican Republic. But with only one week at Venice and I think I’m OK.
How long will you stay in California?
Daniel Cuervo: From January 12th to February 28th.
What is your favorite movie?
Daniel Cuervo: Dogtown.
Daniel Cuervo: Because that was the start of the vert and the start of skateboarding!
All of this is Dogtown, so here it’s like paradise?
Daniel Cuervo: Of course!
You skated with Christian Hosoi, can you tell me more about that?
Daniel Cuervo: I met a Christian fellow from the Skate House and he invited me to Christian Hosoi’s church in Westminster. There I met Christian, he is a Pastor at that church. I just asked him if he wanted to go skate with me and he said “sure” and the next day, we were skating both of us here in the Venice Skate Park. Then, I saw him again at the ASR and now we have a relationship that is based on friendship and I feel like Christian is my friend.
You say that your favorite book is the Bible
Daniel Cuervo: I am a Christian skater. I started to be involved in Christianity when I was about 14 years old. I feel the only hope that someone have in life is through God. God is telling you what to do. When you dedicate so much time to God, you see that God must go before everything else…..
So, between Christian Hosoi and God, how did you feel at The Sanctuary?
Daniel Cuervo: That was awesome! Christian Hosoi is one of my favorite skaters; Christian, (with Jay and Brian) are using their skateboarding talents to spread the word and the Gospel, to preach and evangelize and to bring God’s words to the all the skaters.
Do you watch the “Uprising Tour” in Dominican Republic? (A series that follows born again pro skateboarders Jay Haizlip, Christian Hosoi, and Brian Sumner in their everyday lives as they spread the gospel.)
Daniel Cuervo: Of course I like to watch it a lot, but I could only see part of it, not all.
Skate Bible” sticker on your board…
Daniel Cuervo: Of course, that’s the ministry where Christian Hosoi, Brian Sunmerr are and that’s also a skate company. What they do is go and evangelize the skaters, spread the word and the Gospel… So, I have the Skate Bible sticker under my board even though I am not officially in the team, even though they don’t sponsor me because anybody that doing something for God’s Glory…..I feel like we are the same united body…
What’s your church’s name?
Daniel Cuervo: It’s called Ministerios Selim
Daniel Cuervo: OK
“He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day”.
Daniel Cuervo: This is from Genesis!
“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God”.
Daniel Cuervo: Chronicles? No, Salmo!
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me”
Daniel Cuervo: Philippians 4:13. That’s my favorite verse from the Bible because every time I am thinking about Jesus I think about that everything that I do, He helps me doing it …. I see that nothing is impossible for God and that He can do everything that He wants with us, so, every time I go to a contest, every time I see something that seems difficult, I think: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me”.
Daniel Cuervo: Salmo
“All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed”
Daniel Cuervo: (Apocalypsis) Revelation.
“The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”
Daniel Cuervo: Salmo.
Daniel Cuervo: Don’t tell me… I know it, I know it! That’s the verse I have in my Facebook page.
I know, that’s why I’m asking you…
Daniel Cuervo: Don’t tell me; don’t tell me, I know it… You know, that verse has a special meaning for me because before I arrived in California, my mother gave me a brand new Bible. I opened the bible and that was the first verse that I saw and it was saying “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. And I said, woaahh! That is amazing because it is so true. So I trusted Him and everything is working out just fine…
Daniel Cuervo: Ho yeah, That’s in James. This one is very good for skateboarders because every time a skateboarder is trying a new trick and you can’t land it for a month or more, it takes time to learn a new trick, 2 months, 3 months. So a lot of people just like give up because they can’t learn it. I have seen people just breaking their boards because they can’t learn a new trick. And I think that’ wrong! I think that you need patience, with the help of God, you have to persevere and you have to have patience, the same patience that Jesus had with us when we were harming him. We must have the same patience with us as the one He had with us…
Daniel Cuervo: That’s so true. Like the Bible says: God did not create the world in one day, so one must give time to time. God is not going to bless you with one trick just like that! God wants to see you persevere before He awards you with the blessing of the new trick.
The last word?
Daniel Cuervo: First I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to come to California and to show my strengths and potential. I also want to thanks “Tropical Skate” in Dominican Republic, my mother who is 100% behind me and because she let me do what I like to do, she knows how to mentalizing that this is my career because I am taking skate as a career and not like a game. I also want to thank Heidi Lemmon because I’m staying at her house and she is also giving me 100% support. That’s amazing what she has done for me. Not everybody lets you in their house; she told me “you can stay there 2 months if you want”.
Daniel Cuervo's Contest Results:
- Cabarete Summer Fest 2009 1er lugar (Vert)
- Snickers Urbania (Santo Domingo 2009) 1er lugar (Street Park)
- Preliminar Snicker Urbania (Santo Domingo 2009) 1er lugar (Street Park)
- 1ra competencia Tropical Sk8 team 2009 1er lugar (Rampa vertical)
- Competencia Amateur Gromfest 2008 Vancouver (Canada) 1er lugar Best trick all park, y 3er lugar en Bowl.
- Competencia Amateur Gromfest 2007 en Vancouver (Canada) 16,17 y 18 de julio. 2do lugar en Bowl.
- Competencia Xtreme Hotel (Cabarette) (7, abril, 2007)
1er. lugar Open rampa.
- Competencia Vision Street Wear
1er. lugar Open vertical
1er. lugar Open mini rampa
3er. lugar Open calle
- 2da. Competencia punctual Imperial Team. (agosto 2006)
1er. lugar Cat. Open, rampa.
14. Circuito Maroña Bad Boy Xtreme Hotel (Cabarette) (27, agosto, 2005)
2do. Lugar Open rampa.
- Competencia del Distrito Nacional Malecón libre. (abril 2005)
2do. lugar Open, rampa.
- Competencia XDP Malecón libre. (19 y 20, marzo, 2005)
2do. lugar. Cat. Open Mini rampa.
- Circuito Maroña Bad Boy. Ramkin Nacional (19, feb., 2005)
1er. Lugar. Novato, rampa.
- Circuito Maroña Bad Boy. Ramkin Nacional (5, febrero, 2007)
1er. Lugar. Open rampa
- Circuito Maroña Bad Boy. Ramkin Nacional (5, febrero, 2005)
1er. Lugar. Novato rampa.
- Competencia Sonicar de Skateboard (2005)
1er. lugar. Cat. Novato mini rampa
- Competencia de Skateboard Distrito Nacional, Malecón libre (abril 2005)
2do. lugar. Cat. Novato-rampa
- Competencia Malecón libre (19 y 20/03/2005)
1er. Lugar cat. Yunior, Mini rampa
- Xtrem Day’s, Playa Caribe (junio 2004)
2do. Lugar. Cat. Open, Mini rampa
- 1ra. Competencia Xtreme Day’s (mayo 2004)
- 3era. Competencia Bad Boy, Multicentro La Sirena (21/03/2004)
1er. lugar. Novato rampa.
- Verano xtremo Bad Boy (2004)
1er. lugar. Categoría Yunior. Mini rampa.
- Verano xtremo Bad Boy (2003)
1er. lugar. Categoría Yunior. Mini rampa.