Pedro Barros

PEDRO BARROS
INTERVIEW BY DIBI AND HERBIE FLETCHER
PHOTO BY ANTHONY ACOSTA

Interviewing Pedro for Juice was a real pleasure. He came to Astrodeck with his Dad and a few of his close traveling buddies, and I was impressed with how eloquently he spoke, considering his age and English being a second language. He was so stoked on life and humble about all his accomplishments. I look forward to spending more time with Pedro and his friends in the future. Whether at a bowl comp or on the beach in Hawaii, they have a warmth and sense of sharing that makes you feel like you’ve been part of the family for years.

DIBI: Okay, here we are at Astrodeck with Pedro Barros. It’s so nice of you to be here. I’m really stoked.
PEDRO: Oh, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

DIBI: Cool. Let’s talk about that first blast you did over the hip from the square to the round bowl in the Combi at the Vans Pool Party contest.
PEDRO: That was a thing I had in mind the first day I got there. Omar and I were skating and he was like, “Check this line out.” He tried it, just kind of pretending, and then it was like, “Oh, wow, that’s possible. I want to try that in the finals.” I was skating and the finals were going on and I saw that I had one last run to maybe go up to first place, but I wanted to do that gap so much. I decided to try it in my run, because I knew that would let me keep going because I knew it wasn’t going to be a first try thing and then everyone just started heating up and getting amped for me to try and make it. It ended up happening and I was very happy with that. I was super stoked.

DIBI: That’s really great. So you didn’t consider it a risk? You figured it was in the bag.
PEDRO: Well, I didn’t think it was going to be that hard. I thought it would be easier.

DIBI: Do you set up your run before each event at practice?
PEDRO: No. At that event I really didn’t have a run until the actual finals. I actually did two runs and didn’t make those two runs and I was like, “What am I doing wrong? I think I need to plan something out.” Then I was like, “Okay. Do this and plan it out and end your run with your board in your hand so you can have a solid score.” I think that’s what was really missing. Then I got a full run and I was stoked on that.

DIBI: That’s great. I think that transfer will be remembered more than anything else in that contest.
PEDRO: Oh, I’m happy with that. I’m stoked.

DIBI: Well, sometimes it’s not the winning that people remember. It’s just that one big giant trick. It becomes iconic.
PEDRO: That’s true. I think, at that whole contest, it didn’t look like anybody was really caring about scores. It looked like everybody was just feeling the energy. Chris Miller was skating in the finals and he has such a different style than everybody else. At the same time, you had Omar and Bucky and Rune in the finals who were people that had already won the contest in the past and it just made the energy go up. The year before, it was kind of a weird Vans Pool Party. I’m not saying that it was bad. It’s just, when you watch the Pool Party finals, you’re used to seeing the most memorable names of skateboarding history in the pool. Last year, you only had one or two of them and it was weird. This year brought everything back to life and it was really nice.

DIBI: That’s great. How long do you practice a new trick before you try it in competition?
PEDRO: There was a trick that I made for the first time in the Pool Party contest. It was a stalefish 360 that I’d never done at that pool before. I just let the energy take me to whatever I try.

DIBI: It’s more spontaneous than thought out?
PEDRO: Yeah, for sure, especially now that I’ve been just trying to skate everything. It’s not like when I was 13, where I was planning out runs because it was such a big deal for me and I knew I needed those contests to amp me up and for my name to get a little more known in the U.S. industry, especially for me coming from Brazil. Now I just skate more spontaneously and let my real skateboarding lead to what I’m going to do in a contest.

DIBI: That’s cool. How do you psych yourself up before a competition or is it more about calming yourself down and how do you achieve that?
PEDRO: For me, it’s always about calming myself down. I see all of the crowd and everybody screaming and my friends that are usually next to me. At the Pool Party, all my Brazilian friends and Greyson and everybody were all just screaming so much and that energy just gets you so amped. If you just let it go, you end up trying things, anything that’s not possible, and never making any runs, so I always end up having to calm myself down and relax and skate like it’s a normal session and do a full run.

DIBI: Is music part of that?
PEDRO: Music, for me, is one of the biggest parts of that. If I can get music that I can get inside and feel like I’m part of that music, my skating is going to be an instrument for that music to get better in my head.

DIBI: What kind of music inspires you the most? What do you listen to?
PEDRO: There are so many kinds. I love all types of music. I like reggae and rap. To skate to, I like something with a faster beat, something that keeps me going and keeps that rhythm of skateboarding to that speed. Sometimes, if you get something that is too stopped or doesn’t have a continuous beat, it feels like your skating is going to be stopped. I can skate to Slayer or Sepultura all the way down to a good Bob Marley song.

DIBI: You’ve had a pretty extensive travel schedule. Are there plans to slow down or are you accelerating your pace?
PEDRO: Lately, I’ve been accelerating because I’ve been realizing that now is the age I can most do things in my life and keep going without stopping. I know, in five or six years, I’m going to want to relax more at home. I already kind of feel like that because where I live in Florianopolis, it’s paradise, so every time I just want to go back there. I’m like, “Now that you’re young and you can stay at an event for seven days straight and go and hit spots and film and kill yourself, do it. Hopefully, eight years from now, you’ll have enough done that you can rest a lot more at your house.”

DIBI: How do you stay stoked?
PEDRO: Skateboarding just stokes me. My friends and the people who I hang out with, they always keep me stoked. I think I can stay in my own little world and it doesn’t matter really what’s happening around it. If the world were ending, we’d probably be in our own little world with our own friends and be happy and stoked.

DIBI: Is skateboarding pretty much the same all over the world?
PEDRO: I think it’s always the same language. You go to Europe or the United States or Brazil and the skateboarders know how to talk to each other just by skating and feeling that energy.

DIBI: What is the most fun about having a skate career and what is the most difficult?
PEDRO: The most difficult part is leaving everything aside. There is no difficult part really. It’s just skating. [Laughs]

DIBI: Cool. What is your favorite place to skate?
PEDRO: I like to skate anywhere with my friends where everybody is having a good time because I’ll be having a good time too.

DIBI: What is the most challenging place to skate?
PEDRO: My bowl, when it was the first version, was probably one of the most challenging places to skate ever.

DIBI: Was it because of the surface or because of the design?
PEDRO: Everything. The design was great, but we didn’t know exactly what we were doing so we had a square corner that was a killer corner. If you had too much speed, you’d get slammed into the wall. The coping was the scariest thing because there was just concrete sticking out because it wasn’t at all perfect pool coping. Everything on it was kind of scary. It was a rough Brazilian style bowl.

DIBI: Do you always use the same board set-up or do you change it under different circumstances?
PEDRO: I like changing my boards. I’ve been skateboarding now almost 19 years of my life, because I got my first skateboard when I was one. I remember when I was ten, I used to ride my boards until they ended and wouldn’t ride anymore. Then I started realizing that new boards were always great because they had that nice crispy sound always. The wheels were good and the bearings were good. Now I always try to keep my set-up nice and clean and new.

DIBI: What is your favorite surface to skate?
PEDRO: My favorite surface is concrete for sure.

DIBI: Fast?
PEDRO: Fast concrete. I think it’s just a natural skating surface. It’s where it started off anyway. The pools were pretty much concrete or plaster.

DIBI: Do you skate a lot of ramps?
PEDRO: I used to skate ramps more. Now I stay more on the concrete. Skating is skating on any surface I guess.

DIBI: Does surfing help or is it so completely different that it can’t be compared?
PEDRO: I think it helps more on your vision and on the style you’re going to try to take on a bowl or whatever you’re skating. It doesn’t mean that if I’m good at airs in skating that I’m going to be good at airs in surfing or vice versa. I think it’s totally different. At the same time, I think it brings you to the same place though.

DIBI: It’s how you go relax.
PEDRO: Yeah. Surfing is perfect. You’re on the water and you have nothing to worry about and you just do your own thing.

DIBI: Who and what has been the biggest influence in your skating career?
PEDRO: There are so many. I grew up close to so many people that influenced me so much. I don’t think it’s even fair to say one name.

DIBI: Although you’re still young, you’ve been at this for quite some time. How do you keep it fresh?
PEDRO: Skateboarding is fresh. It’s always something new. It’s always teaching you a lesson, so I think, if you just keep skating and loving it, that love doesn’t die. It’s always going to be fresh.

DIBI: What does a year in your life look like? How much time do you spend at home?
PEDRO: I spend a lot of time at home and I spend a lot of time traveling. I spend a lot of time all around. It’s good. A lot of times, I get a bunch of my friends from home that are always traveling with me too, so wherever I am, I’m home. Like right now, I kind of feel like I’m home because I have my whole crew with me and I’m with good people.

DIBI: I think that’s one of the most interesting things that I see in what you’re doing. I think skateboarding, just like surfing, is very individual and you’re one of the few skaters that really travels with your own posse. Otherwise, it’s like a corporate team trip and the guys don’t seem to get along as well. They do things as a team, but not like you guys are doing.
PEDRO: Yeah. That’s true. I don’t know if it’s a Brazilian thing or if it’s just the way that we grew up, but it’s always like that in everything we’re doing. Even if it’s surfing, we have a beach right next to our house, but my dad will get in the car sometimes and drive for hours just to go to a spot where he’s surfing with his crew. We can yell and scream and there’s no, “Oh, don’t say this because that local dude is going to get pissed about it.” Or “Don’t drop in on this wave.” You can do whatever you want. It’s your crew. You can keep it going. That’s how I feel when I’m with them. We can go skating and we’re always having a good time. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a good trick or you’re just messing around, you’re with your friends. If you’re with your friends, skating or surfing and doing things that are already cool, it just makes it that much nicer.

DIBI: Yeah. That’s what I noticed. When I watched all your friends at the bowl cheering you on, it’s not the same as the other kids. They’re much more isolated in what they do, so it’s very interesting to watch how you guys approach this, and it is by design, huh?
PEDRO: Yeah. I know, when I see my friends competing, I get more nervous than when I’m competing. For me, it’d be so cool if they did well in a contest. Sometimes I don’t even need to be in that contest. If my really good friend goes out and wins it or does something that’s crazy, that sensation and that feeling is going to come to me naturally. It’s crazy. I think it happens naturally for all of us.

DIBI: Is there anything else you want to say?
PEDRO: Thank you for having me here. It’s a big honor and pleasure to be here at Astrodeck.

DIBI: It’s so nice to have you and I want to thank you for taking Greyson under your wing. It’s really been great.
PEDRO: It’s a big pleasure for us. Greyson can be sitting at the same table with 20 Brazilians and not saying one word, but he understands everything and he’s having a blast and we’re having a blast that he’s next to us.

DIBI: That’s great. This is really great. It’s been an honor. I’m so glad you came.
PEDRO: Oh, thank you.

DIBI: I’m so stoked. I get to interview all the young surf guys and all the young skate guys and it’s really great to hear how they approach whatever sport that they’re in.
PEDRO: It’s crazy for us too, to be here and to see how much history is laid down here. It’s crazy because, at the same time, in surfing, you guys are huge, but in skating there’s a really big influence too with Nathan, Christian, Greyson and Herbie. Everybody has such a relationship with skateboarding and surfing in the way that started it all. It’s crazy.

DIBI: Well, we’re putting together a new Wave Warriors movie and we want to get some film of you because you need to be included in that.
PEDRO: Oh wow.

DIBI: We always put skating in the original Wave Warriors and we want to continue with that with all the young skaters.
PEDRO: That would be amazing.

HERBIE: This was a photo of me skating in ’75 at Mt. Baldy pipeline before graffiti.
PEDRO: Whoa. That is insane. No wonder there is so much talent in this family.

 

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