Ashly Stohl. Patina o Muerte.
The image of the old man with the wrinkled face and cigar has come to represent our vision of Cuba long ago, but what of Cuba now? There are teenage boys there with the same energy and need to band together as the teenage boys in America, or anywhere else. They have taken to skateboarding with the same passion of the original skateboarding crews from Venice Beach, California in the 1970s, but their skatepark is the crumbling ruins of the Spanish colonization and Castro’s Revolución. The setting is totally unique, but their desire to skate and the bond between them is universal.
I stood in the blazing sun next to a dry fountain in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, and waited. One appeared, then another, then the entire crew descended on the plaza, a broom was found, the fountain was swept out, and so it began. Two thousand miles southeast of the birthplace of skateboarding, in Havana, Cuba, I discovered what I came looking for – the boys of G y 23 - Havana’s band of skateboarders.