Costa Rica skatemag
‘The most important thing is to promote skateboarding in our region. To be able to involve everything that our culture can offer and inspire the new generations to stay creative.’
You run the only skatemag in Central America. How long have you been doing it?
I have been working as a skate photographer, editor and much more for around 18 years now. Prior to Stand By, I worked in a magazine called “Flow”, together with Gaston Francisco (we only managed to print two issues). Then, I worked for almost ten years for a skate magazine called “Blast” and since 2013, I have been working on my own project “Stand By”. Always taking photos, writing, editing and doing a little bit of everything.
What inspired you to start this project?
Skateboarding and Photography, my two great passions.
How many people are involved with the mag?
We are two; Nacho who is the graphic designer of the magazine and me.
Any special meaning behind the name ‘Stand By Project’?
It is basically the term that some electronic devices give you (such as photographic or video cameras, flashes etc.) to say that they are in a kind of pause, but not completely turned off … they are “Stand By”.
I noticed you still do prints which is remarkable. How do you sell them?
For now in some skate shops, such as Tiendas PLX (in Costa Rica), Tiendas Nuevo Mundo (Costa Rica) or through our website www.standbyproject.com
I assume you finance the printing mainly through paid ads. How difficult is it to find brands that pay for printed media?
It is very difficult now, but fortunately I have worked with brands for many years and some still believe in my work. It is a combination of everything. Print magazines are still important to our culture, but they are not everything. The most important thing is to promote skateboarding in our region. To be able to involve everything that our culture can offer and inspire the new generations to stay creative. Skateboarding, photography, art, video, brands, shops…it’s a combination of everything.
Are you able to pay for contributions such as skate shots?
Almost all the photos in the magazine are mine, because it is very difficult these days to be able to buy photos, but we have done so and I would love to continue supporting photographers and serve as a platform to publicize their work and recognize their work of course.
You seem to have a huge fanbase. Why do you think people like what you are doing?
People’s response to our project has always been very positive. I am very happy to know that people like it. I think consistency is something we’ve had for a long time, and that’s important in a project like a skate magazine.
The mag is in Spanish. Have you thought about an English version to spread it outside Central/South America?
The magazine is in Spanish, but it is not a bad idea to reach a wider audience…on our website you can see the articles in Spanish and in English.
You seem to have regular content on your website. How are you able to generate a continuous flow of new and relevant content?
Yes, I am always generating content and I am almost always on the street taking photos, to share content and keep our digital media as up-to-date as possible.
‘Almost all the photos in the magazine are mine, because it is very difficult these days to be able to buy photos.’
What is the proudest moment around Standby Project?
Whenever I see a new edition it fills me with pride, but the first edition I think, I will always remember. I think that what fills me most with pride is the perseverance, I can say that I have never stopped taking photos, articles, events, travels etc for the last 18 years, without stopping.
Is there time for anything else? Do you have a regular job and/or other hobbies?
I am a freelance photographer, full time. If I am not taking photos or skating, I am with my girlfriend, my dog or reading at home, reading is another of my passions.
Most embarrassing or fun stories you can share?
There are many, each trip has a funny story.
Is there one in particular you can share?
Something fun always happens on every trip, a few months ago I was taking photos for Volcom in a camping trip, we spent eight days in the mountains of California, and the first night I forgot my tent and had to sleep outside in a hammock, very cold and with one eye open afraid of being attacked by coyotes or some snake. It was a very intense trip.
What are the things you do not like as much when putting an issue together?
It is hard for me to write. Whenever I start an article or an editorial it is complicated for me. I love reading, I am addicted to reading but when I have to write, it is hard for me to start but I do it because I have to (laughing).
As you cover all of Central America, which country is the most advanced in regards skateboarding and why?
I live in Costa Rica, and I think that here we have advanced over the years but each country has its own scene. We are all very similar countries, now skateboarding is everywhere in the world.
‘I think that what fills me most with pride is the perseverance, I can say that I have never stopped taking photos, articles, events, travels etc for the last 18 years, without stopping.’
What is the skate scene like in Costa Rica?
It is a very small but growing scene, with a very good level of skateboarding and skaters with a lot of desire to do things. It is a very strong scene.
Where are some of the best skate spots?
Maybe now is one spot in Barreal de Heredia, close to San José, we call the red banks.
What are some of the local brands coming out of Latin America?
There are so many brands doing good things in Latin America. Each country has its own history and some countries like Argentina or Mexico have a very strong scene with brands that have been in the industry for many years. República Skateboards, Roots Trucks, Stranger Skateboards, Woodoo Skateboards, EJE, Tinte Skateboards are some good Latin brands…but there are many, and more are born every year.
What are some of the Central American rippers that we should keep an eye out for?
Luis Aponte (he is Panamanian but lives in Barcelona), Roberto Chaves, Roly Smith, Iván Arcia, Kervin Miranda, Kevin Mejía, Daniel Chacón, Yiyo Obando, Maggie Ugalde…they are some.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?