Tell us something about the Solomon Islands people do not know?
I think most Solomon islanders don’t know much about skateboarding and the skate scene we have in Honiara. We want to build a skate community in the Solomons and anyone can skate regardless of gender and age.
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Carlos. I’m the eldest of 7 children and I love to skate, I have been skating for about 5 years now. I sometimes like read and I like my own space to think randomly, I also like being around family and friends. I like to be around good people with positive vibes.
How did you get involved with skateboarding?
I have always loved it, like I was locked into skateboarding when I was 9 years old. I didn’t start sooner because I couldn’t get a board. Growing up my mum is pretty strict so we can’t just ask for something we want and expect to get it. It was just a matter of time before I got a skateboard and started skating. I couldn’t see myself not skating. Skateboarding is an interesting part of my life.
I saw some of your skate clips and you have some real pop and catch those boards super high in the air. How much closer are you with your dreams to become the first sponsored skateboarder in the islands?
I still have a long way to go in achieving that goal. Most of us pretty much got basic flat ground tricks down and basic slides and grinds. Right now, for me I’m trying to be more consistent with slides and grinds so that I can start learning technical stuff. We have been skating flat ground all this time as we lack in stairs and handrails. So the feel of popping a trick down a set and locking a good grind on a handrail is longed for, so we are still pretty far back and there are few more levels to get to. Skateboarding is new in the Solomons so I think getting recognition from people outside would be a crucial step towards achieving the goal of becoming a sponsored skateboarder. I want to prove to myself and youths in Solomon Islands that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it, I want to inspire and open new doors.
‘They built a dirt BMX park and I never saw anyone use that park.’
How big is the skate community in the Solomon Island?
The skate community here in the Solomons is not really that big, as far as I know there is one group of skaters, 15 to 20 people and usually 4-6 skaters show up to skate every skate session.
What are some of the best skate spots?
As far as skate spots go, we have two main spots that we can get a decent session out of. One is in the centre town but there is always to many people around, and one is at Telekom car park. We are not allowed to skate there anymore. But thanks to the Solomon Island institute of sports (SINIS), we have a place to skate at their car park. We usually skate there on weekends when the car park is empty, and we also store our DIY ledge and flat bar there.
Are there any official skate parks?
We don’t have a skate park here in the Solomons. We used to have a half pipe beside a childrens park but it was taken down to build a futsal court. They built a dirt BMX park and I never saw anyone use that park; people use that place to just sit and chill. I think if it was a skate park there will be skaters skating every day there.
Is the government involved in the skate community?
The government is not involved, I don’t think they even know that there is a skate community here in Honiara. But I hope we‘ll get their attention and hope we get fundings to put up a skate park.
Are there any formal discussions taking place about a skate park at all?
So far not yet, but right now we are working on establishing a skate federation in Honiara, with the support from the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports. We only have a few more steps to go before we become official. Through that we can get support from World skate and hopefully that’s when we will be looking into a skatepark here in Honiara.
‘I believe that we should work and appreciate with what we have here and try to make the best out of it.’
How close is the relationship between the different South Pacific islands and their skate community?
We have just started building a relationship with the skate community over in Fiji, we have been cheering and supporting each other through social media. I think skaters over at Fiji are really good and talented.
How difficult is it to access skateboard gear?
Getting skate gears in Honiara is pretty difficult because we don’t have access to any local skate shops. What we do is when we have money, we send overseas to friends or relatives in Australia and New Zealand to get skateboards there.
When I was watching this ABC Sport coverage, you guys mentioned that you share shoes to skate amongst each other as they are very expensive. Can you give us an example?
If someone doesn’t have shoes he’ll just show up and wait for another person to take a break and then he can skate his shoes. We give hand me down shoes to each other whenever we get new ones, and we also share skateboards when someone else’s board is snapped.
‘We have been skating flat ground all this time as we lack in stairs and handrails.’
What are some of the challenges people face in the Solomon Islands every day?
In the Solomons I think one of the main challenges that people face every day is earning money. If you go around town, you’ll see a lot of street vendors selling along the streets, there has been an increase because there are not many job opportunities available so people just do whatever they can do to earn an honest living. With the Pacific Aus labour mobility scheme and the seasonal work in New Zealand hundreds of Solomon islander went over to work to support their families.
What are doing if not skating?
When and if I’m not skating, I’ll probably be at work. I work as a freelance videographer and video editor, sometimes I do media work, and I work partly at a local news company doing the same job my mum did. I also help with work around the house, and I also look after our little family canteen when no one is available to look after.
Last question: If you could interview a person, who would it be and why? What would you ask?
If I could interview a person, it would be Nyjah Huston. Nyjah Huston is one of the skaters that has a different style in skateboarding, he makes his tricks looks so easy and his consistency with his tricks down handrail is insane. Nyjah Huston is one of my favourite skateboarders out there right now and if I could ask him anything I’d ask him how does it feel to be a professional skateboarder and how does it feel to be able to do what you love every day.