Mark Short and I went on a skate pilgrimage to Brazil in late 2011, and were hosted by Sergio Yuppie and his family. Over the course of 4 weeks, illuminated by the vivid Santa Catarina sunshine, I had the opportunity to document a bit of his skateboard building process.
Sergio Yuppie is known as the King of Downhill for good reason. He has been victorious in slide and slalom competitions for decades, both in Brazil and internationally; and is one of the fastest and most consistent riders ever to step on a skateboard. His astonishing part in Gravity’s 2003 skate movie Flow provided inspiration for many riders outside Brazil, and was certainly my first exposure to Brazilian stand-up style.
With help from friends, a wood shop was erected in his yard at the edge of the jungle. Here, Sergio puts his slide expertise and years of board building to good use, pressing twenty decks a day under his Curva de Hill brand of skateboards. Among his designs, are aggressively concaved slide decks with steep-ass kicks, slalom shapes, and longboards with and without tails.
Living as a pro skateboarder is tough—no one can compete indefinitely—Sergio has taken steps to ensure his family’s future by opening a skate shop near his home just outside Florianopolis, Brazil (700km south of São Paulo).
His wife Lilian and eldest son, Fernando also step in to run the shop; it truly is a family business—skateboarding runs deep in this family.
Fellow maconheiro Marcos ‘Bin Laden’ Dias joins the party of building skateboards alongside Sergio, painting graphics all day and toking like a train. As they work, Marcos and Sergio fill the air with unintelligible cackles and howls, bringing life to the animal caricatures of the Yuppie family drawn on the raw sheets of Brazilian hardwood.