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THE REAL REPUBLICA UPDATE: DOMINICAN SKATEBOARDING

THE REAL REPUBLICA UPDATE: DOMINICAN SKATEBOARDING

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Lots can be said about the Dominican sports world. One word really–baseball. The Dominican Republic has, hands down, produced more fruitful major league players than any other country in the world–any MLB expert can attest to this. The island and the sport share an old history. But when it comes to the unwritten future, things are a bit different. Especially a future for a sport that doesn't pertain to the bat and ball that everyone's used to. The truth is that there's a whole generation of Dominican youth, that since as far back the 80's (according to some of the kids I spoke with), have been embracing skateboard culture.  Once an underground past-time inherited from the Californian Z-boys, the sport penetrates the scene on a global scale today. Skateboarding is a multi-billion dollar industry and companies like Quiksilver and Volcom have the numbers to prove it! But without the right support, training grounds, or promoters of the sport, Dominican skateboarding, in particular, suffers greatly despite the amount of participating youth. This was the story that I received first-hand from a local skater named Gabriel. "I know friends that should be pro, but because there isn't support for it here like there is for baseball, he isn't." Is something wrong with this picture? Most definitely! But there's still hope. Along with the bad news, I was also informed about institutions like Tropical Skate School, a project that, along with sponsor, Maui and Sons, has single-handedly built a series of mobile skate parks on the island. As a result of such support the Dominican Republic also has its first island-born pro currently competing in the US. His name's Daniel Cuervo and he recently ranked 3rd during one of the last heats at the prestigious Vans Pro-Tec Pool Party competition. That's 3rd among a slew of other competitive (and more experienced) pros. It isn't everything, but it's a start and hopefully people, powers,  and companies take notice. And if there's anything we can deduce about skateboard culture in general, is it's remarkable ability to evolve even when everyone isn't necessarily watching. DR, we're watching and waiting…

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