The craziest day of the entire trip was our second to last day in the DR. The time: about 3 p.m. or so. Location: Puerto Plata. The temperature: blazing. We drove up to the spot of our last demo location and there was a DJ booth already set up and blasting tunes. Amidst all that was the most beautiful sight I’ve seen in a while â€“ skaters, and lots of them. There were at least 30 kids; skating the small kicker, grindbox and flat bar that had been set up for us. It felt like home immediately. The only awkward point being when one of the girls (Maricella) interrupted one of my conversations and remarked how much she liked my ass. Something about it being big. So very strange. However, the cheers, applause and fist bumps the locals exchanged with us as we skated among them only magnified the feeling of home and proved that skateboarding transcends race, language and borders. We finished up the demo and skated with the locals to the only skate shop in the area aptly named “Skaters”.
The ride to the shop was quite an experience for all of us, including the pedestrians of Puerto Plata. It was clear that a bunch of skaters skating at top speed through streets, skitching dirt bikes, mopeds and cars was not a sight they were used to seeing. We finally got to the shop and tore it up on their mini ramp for a bit. I stood back to take a breather amazed at how well the locals skated the small ramp (which was definitely in need of much TLC) when I felt a hand on my left cheek. I turned around to see who else but Maricella yet again giggling. It was still very awkward. After mingling with all the skaters for a bit, we started the signing.
Aside from a dude (who I hoped was joking) shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said “I love your ass, man,” the signing was solid. What exactly is it with Dominicans and my ass? Once that was through we started the product toss, carefully choosing those with the worst looking wood to give the decks to and threw everything else out into the clamoring hands. We then escaped into the van, still signing and high-fiving as we made our way to the vehicle.
All in all, I think the last day was just as crazy as it was supposed to be. I had the time of my life in the Dominican Republic and I damn sure am not looking forward to saying goodbye to this beautiful island. To any and all skate companies reading this – GO OUT THERE. Figure out what you can do to help build the scene. Get them better parks, cheaper skate products or even just year-round clinics. Please, as there is a lot of potential in this little island. They just need the right push.
Oh, and Maricella…I’m going to need to see some I.D.
– Justin Brandon Kinard
To view the last update from the trip, click here.