Havana's skateboarders posse 
 by Ana Lorena Fernández
 
 
Havana is in the midst of a skateboarding frenzy. Well, perhaps that would be pushing things a little too far but there certainly has been a resurgence in the sport which came to prominence in Cuba in the modern area at the Pan Am Games held in Havana in 1991. Over the last year, a couple of skateboarding areas have been opened up, most notably in the Parque Metropolitano which offer ramp, tubes, rails and all that is necessary for the cool crowd to practice their tricks. In the heart of the city on the beautiful Prado Avenue there is another stretch, which often attracts a skateboarding crowd.

 
 

Cuba has never had much tradition in extreme sports, but this has started to change. Cuba doesn’t have a very long history in skating, except as recreation for kids. One of the first roller skate competitions took place during the Pan Am Games held in Havana in 1991. Today, skates and skateboards have become a craze among the younger population. Everywhere across the island, you can find skaters with their typical outfits (which to them is as important as the skates themselves): tight Lycra shorts and T-shirts, one—or two—sizes too small.

Kids of all ages try their hand at making different tricks, many of which have been learned or copied from the movies. Skill and experience fluctuate: some do not do very well while others are quite good.

The skating fever has brought about a problem, which has nothing to do with the sport or hobby. Some teenagers skate in back of buses or cars and eventually climb the rear of these vehicles, endangering their lives. Fortunately, that is not the mainstream of skating. Most kids go to the many parks or plazas that are scattered around the city to show off their skills. It is not uncommon, for instance, to see skaters invading Prado every weekend to practice with a group of friends. Extreme or not, the sport has taken hold and skaters meet to proudly display a new trick, take a few falls or simply hang out.

Havana's skateboarders posse
June 2012
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