Chile’s Spiro Razis is one of the biggest legends in Latin America. He has travelled the world and is also a professional snowboarder who surfs the mountain in search of skate lines. At 37, he keeps in shape with a strict diet of board sports. His experiences make him a person who expresses himself on his skateboard but who also has something to say off it.
Hi Spiro- it‘s snow season in Chile. Are you in the mountains? What are you doing?
Yes, I just came from the mountains, I was there for five days camping in the middle of the Andes, but I got to enjoy the European summer as well- skating in Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Berlin.
Do you find similarities between snowboarding and skating?
It‘s totally different- the way of seeing it all: life, obstacles, the mountain... to be honest with you, it has nothing to do with skating. The big difference is that in the mountains, when you go sessioning you wonder if that day you will die or not.
It`s crazy but many times a day this thought goes through your head where you wonder if you or any of the people sessioning that day will make it back home.
Skateboarding is not like that, it‘s more relaxed, simple and spontaneous.
You could say that one of them means paying tickets and the other might give you a big bill.
I have not had a job in this enslaving system since I was twenty- one years old and I`m thirty- seven now.
You have been skating for many years so you know first- hand what happens within skateboarding in Latin America. How do you see the Latin American scene right now?
The scene is super motivated. There are people who skate amazingly everywhere and in most countries there are a few generations skating. I mean that there are people over 35 that still skate all the time and that makes the younger believe the story. Besides, the older skaters do not want to become separated from skateboarding and since sponsorship is still very basic they have to find ways to keep involved in the scene- be it shooting photos, filming, creating magazines, brands and this way the circus goes on building up.
I can‘t leave out the skatepark boom that is happening in Chile, Argentina, Peru and is starting to find its way up to Central America.
Which do you think is the best city to skate, Latin America´s best kept secret?
The secret is Colombia, Bogota parce!!!! The people are amazing and the spots are really good.
Many years travelling, many years on the road. You must have thousands of stories. Any trip in particular you remember?
One of the trips that left a mark on me was the one we did with Giani de Genaro in a van from California to Panama along the Pacific coast. Two months travelling, skating and surviving.
Many experiences, landscapes, people and situations of all kinds- both good and dangerous ones!
Spiro is a rare name in Spanish, where does it come from?
My name is Greek. My father is from Kefalonia.
You have a pro model with Element. How did that happen?
Yes, I have had a Pro model for a year now. It happened because I have been skating for them for almost ten years, we have a very good relationship and one day they told me they wanted to give me a pro model and I said: „Incredible“ and well, there it is. It is sold in the whole of America.
When and how did you start skating?
I started skating at about eight or nine years of age with my brothers. Back then we lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We would go to this plaza to play and there was a skate rink -just flat- and some other kids would come with their skateboards and we would race sitting on them, catamaran style: two kids together.
Then came the skate boom at mid 80‘s and that same plaza where we used to play became very popular and they would bring jump ramps. That`s how it started.
Do you make a living from skateboarding?
I have not had a job in this enslaving system since I was twenty- one and I`m thirty- seven now...incredible... like Jay Adams said: „We are gonna be on summer vacation for the next twenty years“.
I still have a few more to go!
On a sailboat navigating the world, getting to know the hidden corners.
Why don´t you like playing the game of S.K.A.T.E?
I never played much that little game because generally people use it to compare each other and everybody likes watching your opponent lose and feel that sensation of victory and feeling you are better than the other guy...I ask myself: better at what?
You have two brothers that also do board sports, do you guys session together?
Yes, my brothers are into the same sports. With my brother Yorgo we ride more in the mountains, i don‘t see him that often beacuse he lives by the beach. With my brother Stavros, we skate more together because he lives by my house and we skate with the same friends.
With all of your experience in this, what piece of advice would you give someone who just started skating?
The piece of advice I would give them is more about the person than the skater; I would tell them to follow their dreams, whatever they are in life, it is never too late. If you want to skate, do it wherever you want, whenver you want, however you want to do it. This is the most valuable thing from skateboarding, the free expression.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
In ten years I‘ll either be doing the same thing, travelling, skating, going to the mountains, surfing- or if not, in a sailboat navigating the world, getting to know the hidden corners of the world...... I mean, whether it be ten years from now or twenty, but that`s it!