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Peaceful Invasion

Submitted by on December 9, 2011 – 2:31 PM
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The world’s attention turned to Rio de Janeiro last November, when the National Forces (local and federal police, plus the Army and the Marines) invaded a huge area known as “Complexo do Alemão” to bring peace back to a crime-infested neighborhood. You probably saw it on CNN and also got jawdropped by the scenes of drug dealers running away from the Force like cockroaches escaping a sanitization. It was the best planned military action in modern Brazilian history. Just a couple of months later, a group of skaters went to Morro do Adeus (the largest favela in the infamous area) and discovered wild, rough and extremely steep hills ready to be ridden. They saw, they planned and then performed another invasion – only this time a peaceful one. One of the guys was Bruno “noBru” Ribeiro, and this is their story. Note: Get yourself a good glass of cold water and a napkin before reading this, as your mouth will become dry reading the story – and you’ll certainly drool looking at the pictures!

Peaceful Invasion Header
Rio de Janeiro is a city full of hills, which would be great for downhill skateboarding if only the terrain would be as nice as the rest of the “Wonder City.” Pavement is usually rough and uneven, so not all hills can be regarded as truly skateable. This only makes the search for new spots a must and a need for all carioca riders. Local longboarders have dreamed for quite a while about riding the hills in Complexo do Alemão, since this huge area full of favelas is basically set on Zona Norte’s largest chain of hills. Riding there would be a privilege, as there are many options for freeriding, high-speed runs, slalom, carving – you name it. But not everything is as simple as that. One must never enter this area without some sort of help from the local inhabitants, as the local social organization is confusing to say the least. This skateboarding paradise was controlled by a fierce and violent drug gang, which of course made the place itself hazardous to one’s health and impossible to be ridden by anyone. So when the government initiated its actions to bring peace to the community, the Clube de  Skate de Ladeiras do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro Downhill Skateboarding Club, a local crew of riders) couldn’t miss the opportunity – and there we went to ride those hills.

Bruno “noBru” Ribeiro testing the limits of traction.

Bruno “noBru” Ribeiro testing the limits of traction.

In order to do so, Felipe Cobra (the club’s president) contacted Afro Reggae Organization’s sports coordinator, Fernando Medeiros, and he took Felipe, Luciano “DMF” Vasconcelos, Fabio “Gorducho” and me to the steepest and hardest hill I’ve ever ridden in my lifetime: the Morro do Adeus. The key for a good ride at this spot is the predrift, since the curves are really tough and very few see the place with good eyes. If that weren’t enough, the pavement is made of concrete, with extra grooves to give cars enough traction to go uphill. But we were so amped to ride the spot that we didn’t even care about the final works on the road, or the “extras” – dust, sand, rocks and horse sh*t – on the pavement (lots of each, I might add). Morro do Adeus is definitely not for  beginners, and only very experienced riders would be able to  dominate the spot. If we compare skateboarding to martial arts, this would be a “black belt only” kind of ride, if you know what I mean. It’s not enough just to make the usual speed checks; this spot is for those who’ve got their slides truly wired. Also, managing to visualize different lines is essential to escape the “extras.” Other similar insane locations are already being searched by our crew. After all, we’re all devotees of one of skateboarding’s universal truths: “Seek, and thou shalt find.” CW

Felipe Cobra

Felipe Cobra

Written By Guto Jiminez | Photos By Vitor Vieira

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