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Skateboarding News

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who's hot: Daniel Cuervo

Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
Beware, Daniel Cuervo is watching you...
Daniel Cuervo is back with isTia.

Yes, this is the second time I interview him. But this time, his amateur days are over: he just got sponsored by a bunch of brands and is now officially a pro. But things have not changed for him. God is still in control and Daniel merely follows His guidance. In the Bible, God has many names and helps in many different ways. The key is that you never know how He will help you.

Actually, Daniel’s biggest benefactor in the US might be Heidi Lemon from SPAUSA. Heidi has taken good care of him since day one when she met Daniel in Canada at the first Gromfest in 2007. She recalls that: “I had been working with Tropical Skate for years and they were sending Daniel to Gromfest. He was 15 and didn't speak one word of English.. We didn't know what he looked like but we found him at the Van airport with his skateboard and took him to Whistler for the comp. I think he won his division. I was there with my team and had a condo for us, the riders from Korea and Daniel. It was so much fun - raining so we had to move the contest from Squamish to an underground parking lot.”

Then later she was also there when Daniel: ”wanted to come to USA to train. Tropical skate contacted me and I already knew he was a good kid and skater.” That was in last January. Since then she just told me a couple of days ago that she is already working on Daniel’s visa for a third stay in the US, this time, for a full year. The other benefactors that God put on Daniel’s path are Giuseppe Polanco, Ivan Marono, the Pastor Christian Hosoi, Jay Haizslip and Tony Hawk. Actually, Daniel and Tony have a lot to share. Not only their styles are very similar, but they almost share the same last name. A “Cuervo” in English is a “Crow”.

The Crow and the Hawk went skateboarding together and they flew high in the sky, if it’s not a miracle, it’s a parable…

Daniel Cuervo at Upland skatepark
Daniel Cuervo at Pipeline. Oooops, Upland... Ph. Heidi Lemon
Daniel Cuervo exclusive Interview with "I Skate, Therefore I Am"...

isTia: When did you arrive from Republican Dominic?
Daniel Cuervo: I arrived in Southern Californian from Dominica Republic on July 8 and left on October 6…

isTia: Where did you stay?
Daniel Cuervo: As usual, at the home of Heidi Lemmon, SPAUSA.

isTia: Did you stay with her all the time or did you go to live somewhere else?
Daniel Cuervo: When I arrived from Dominican Republic, I stayed two weeks at her house, then I went to Woodward West for 5 weeks to teach and then returned with her until October 6…

isTia: How long did you think you would stay here?
Daniel Cuervo: Actually I thought I would stay only two months; until the first days of September, but then I felt I should stay longer. I think God has the calendar of our lives and our plans. God leads the way, sometimes we will stay put, even if we make plans. I felt that God had several things to give me before I leave and that was it. I changed my plane ticket to the October 6 and it was all a blessing because I was sponsored by Maui and Sons and got to go to the Tim Brauch Memorial Bowl Contest and got 8th place in my first professional bowl contest.

isTia: So, you changed your plans to stay longer?
Daniel Cuervo: No. I never changed my plans because I never wanted to. God is the one that changed my plans, I felt something was missing. I felt I could not return home without this happening. God takes control of all.

Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
Daniel Cuervo does not know fear: God is in control. Ph. Julian Bleecker 
isTia: We did your first interview for isTia 10 months ago in February, then you went back to Dominican Republic. Why did you come back to California a second time? To train or was there anything else you wanted to do at high-level competition?
Daniel Cuervo: I came here for training purpose. The competition at San Jose was a total surprise.

isTia: What was your goal when you arrived in Southern California?
Daniel Cuervo: I came here to represent my country, to let people know that skateboarding is a shared activity in Dominican Republic and to put the Dominican Republic in the skateboarding world map.

isTia: Have you achieved your goal?
Daniel Cuervo: No, there is still a long way to go. I am just at the beginning of the goal that I want to achieve.

isTia: Which church did you attend while you were here?
Daniel Cuervo: I wanted to go to Christian Hosoi Church, The Sanctuary at HB, but could not…

isTia: How did you meet Jay Haizslip?
Daniel Cuervo: I met him when I was visiting his church, The Sanctuary at HB…

isTia: Where did you skate? Only Venice, Culver City or did you go to another park?
Daniel Cuervo: This time, I went to Woodward West, Culver City, Santa Monica, Venice and San Jose…

isTia: Did you skate in a backyard pool?
Daniel Cuervo: No…

isTia: Did you go to another state?
Daniel Cuervo: No…

isTia: With who do you skate?
Daniel Cuervo: With anyone who skates with love, and has a smile on his face. I generally skate with Christian Hosoi, Neil Hendrix, Bennett Harada, Eric Tuma, Tony Hawk, Zack Miller, Sky Siljeg. I regularly skate with all my friends in Venice beach etc ...

isTia: You have a lot of pictures on your Facebook page, who took them?
Daniel Cuervo: I love the pictures of Ray Rae, Matt Fisher, Michael Chantry and Julian Bleecker… They have all taken pictures of me.

isTia: There's a picture of you on Facebook that Ray Rae took, where you are doing a big aerial. On the front of your board, we can see a sticker of Tropical Skate School. In this Facebook pictures Steve Primo, MOFO, Block, Adam Paul, Bobby Rae said very nice things about you... How do you feel when all these legends take the time to congratulate you publicly?
Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
Now, wait, did I shut-off the gas this morning before going to the skatepark? Ph. Ray Rae
 Daniel Cuervo: I feel very proud and grateful to God, because I never thought to be part of a family of skaters that started skateboarding 20 years ago, and being part of
their family is more a pride than a dream.

isTia: Who are your sponsors?
Daniel Cuervo: My sponsors are: Tropical Skate School, SAPUSA, Maui and Sons, XCaliber, Jymmy Z.

isTia: How did you find your sponsors?
Daniel Cuervo: I was at Venice skatepark, and I was riding in front of the Maui shop every day I was in California. Then, from the store they saw me fly gain and again, every day, and then they came and I was with the Maui family.

When did that happen?
On October 1st, 2010

isTia: What does it mean for you to be PRO?
Daniel Cuervo: It means to love skateboarding and to know that, not only I have a skateboard under my feet but that I have a tool with which I will be the image, the representation and the figure of many young people who want to be like me. I want to be a positive example as a person before being an athlete, before being a pro. Being PRO is not just a title, it is a lifestyle that one is broadcasting when you want to stand out from the others. Being a PRO shows that every sacrifice and pain has a eventually a reward. Being PRO is not only having the guts to compete and win, it is also being able to accept the moments of defeat and victory.

isTia: Is your life going to change now?
Daniel Cuervo: Now, I'll be competing in the World Cup skateboarding, and traveling, probably a lot.

isTia: Are you really first pro skater of the Dominican Republic?
Daniel Cuervo: I am the first pro skater of the Dominican Republic.... I am very thankful to God for putting me where I am now ... I give all my regards and thanks to Him, who put all those people in front of me and that’s because of them that I am where I am .... My mom, Heidi Lemon, Giuseppe Polanco, Ivan Marono ... I looooove them all.

isTia: Has it been difficult to find a sponsor?
Daniel Cuervo: Yes, I thank God for the way because it is difficult. Because of that hardship I can appreciate that.

isTia: What are they asking you to do?
Daniel Cuervo: The first thing they ask me is that I have a good time.

isTia: What have you learned during the 4 months you stayed here?
Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
Daniel Cuervo by Ray Rae: "Finally, you're starting to get close enuff. - MoFo"
Daniel Cuervo: Many new tricks, learning to live with more skaters in the same room at the Camp Woodward.

isTia: What are the new tricks you do?
Daniel Cuervo: The McTwist!

isTia: What are you preferred tricks?
Daniel Cuervo: All, if I practice everyday and if I do all my tricks one after another, then they can be dominated forever.

isTia: What are the tricks you want to do but still cannot?
Daniel Cuervo: There are a couple of them: 720, stailfish 540, 540 Melon…

isTia: Who are your favorite skaters?
Daniel Cuervo: I cherish every oldschool skater of the same manner, they can say today that we are skaters Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, Bucky lasek, Danny Way, Bob Burnquist…

isTia: How did you do to get into Tim Brauch?
Daniel Cuervo: Spausa contacted the world cup, I was referred to them by Spausa.

isTia: How did you feel when it was confirmed that you were going to compete in San Jose?
Daniel Cuervo: Very excited and grateful to God, I could not imagine competing in a competition of this level this year.

isTia: When did you know?
Daniel Cuervo: I knew a month before returning to Dominican Republic

isTia: How did you go there?
Daniel Cuervo: By car

isTia: How long did you stay in San Jose?
Daniel Cuervo: Two nights

isTia: Is Tim Brauch your first major competition in the U.S.?
Daniel Cuervo: Yes, in the USA. I also participated in Gromfest 2007 and 2008, both in Vancouver Canada.

Istia: How were you treated?
Daniel Cuervo: That was super cool, like a real family, the pros, photographers, and the public .... I realized that racing is more than sharing with your family.

Istia: Did you go for a training sesh in San Jose before the competition?
Daniel Cuervo: I arrived a day before the competition, practiced the previous day full from morning till night.

Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
8Th place at Tim Brauch. Not bad for a rookie... Ph Unknown...
isTia: Did people know you beforehand?
Daniel Cuervo: Indeed, I appeared as a surprise! I had never before competed in the World Cup competitions. Never before had they seen anyone from the Dominican Republic in an event like this and it was a big surprise for them.

isTia: Who was your most difficult contestant at Tim Brauch?
Daniel Cuervo: All, all the competitors executed very good tricks.

isTia: Some were doing tricks that you did not know?
Daniel Cuervo: Yes, I saw tricks that I had never seen before, I was very surprised by the level.

isTia: What kind of support do you have from your friends back in Dominican Republic?
Daniel Cuervo: Super! Super! Well thanks to GOD well, only two or three friends from DM support me. That’s not much, but with this support of one or two I feel confident enough. What really I care about is the support of my family and my true friends that I do not see them as friends but as brothers…

isTia: Who is your #1 fan?
Daniel Cuervo: My mom!

isTia: Do you have the support from your family?
Daniel Cuervo: Thank God muchisimooooo! Not economically because we have no money, but I have been given all the support I really need which is love, education and understanding to know what my lifestyle is. Many families do not understand the skaters…

Daniel Cuervo at Venice skatepark
The guy in the back is probably thinking: "I have visions of a large Dominican Crow flying way
too high over the big bowl at Venice. That's it, tomorrow I stop drinking Tequila with beer and
Mexican mushrooms..."
Ph. Ray Rae.
isTia: Which park do you prefer: Venice or Lake Cunningham?
Daniel Cuervo: Venice Skatepark, it was there where I learned to run a bowl.

isTia: What is the next competition going to do?
Daniel Cuervo: Florida Bowl Riders

isTia: What did you miss here in the States?
Daniel Cuervo: Thank GOD I did not miss anything ... All my time here was nice.

isTia: What has been the moment of your time here?...
Daniel Cuervo: The best moment was my stay at Woodward when I was learning in the vertical to do the McTwist. There was Woodward, Venice skatepark everyday, my first interview with Maui and Sons, skating with Tony Hawk…

isTia: What are your personal plans for the immediate future?
Daniel Cuervo: Start a competition schedule for next year and go to each of these contests giving the best of me with God’s willing…

isTia: What are your personal plans for the long term future?
Daniel Cuervo: Follow love and pride representing my country, so other Dominican skaters can go through the door that I am going through and can also get into professional skateboarding. I want to win some money to help my family and give them a better quality of life.

isTia: When are you gonna come back?
Daniel Cuervo: God willing, in January 2011 to start my skills circuit, this time for full year…

Translated from Spanish to English by Xavier Lannes. Venice people will miss you while you are on the road next year. Thanks to Ray Rae and Julian Bleeker for the amazing pictures. All pictures copyrighted, used by permission only.

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Saturday, November 06, 2010 

Anonymous pam miller said...

Daniel is an amazing young man. Sky and I first met him in Canada at Gromfest 07. He has remained our friend since. I am grateful for his learning English.. though he and Sky never seemed to let language get in the way of skating and having fun.
I am proud of him and so happy to have gotten to be there for his first pro event!!!! Congrats and looking forward to seeing you in the near future.

November 6, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

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