How would you feel if you are a 24 hours stoked surfer who lives pretty far from the nearest spot? Probably you would look like the human version of “grumpy cat”, Right? Not here. Let me introduce Gustavo Valiente, passionate surfer, ASA Collaborator, and the mastermind behind Boards & Art Exhibition, one of the most important annual exposition in Argentina where shapers, riders, surf brands and artists keep the surf culture growing. We were talking about this expo and many other interesting topics over an hour.
How was your first contact with surf?
Ahh It’s a long time relation. Since I was a child, in every summer vacation at Mar Del Plata, I spent hours watching the guys on the line up. And I was totally stoked with the surf culture. On the other hand, I thought that I will never gonna ride one wave, because the only moment to do it were those 15 vacation days. One day I start to investigate about this sport, next summer I asked a friend if he can “teach me” how to surf and that was the beginning. Some years later, I start to work for the big brands (Reef/mormaii) and this position allow me to be in contact with shapers and pro surfers.
Lately, I met some surfers here (in the middle of the city and 180 miles away from a decent surf spot) and I felt that in some cases, they have more passion for surf than a local who lives opposite to the best spot. Your opinion?
Yeah, totally. I think this is related with the “want to go” process. For a local surfer that process is shorter, almost immediate: He take a look and if the point is working, he just go and surf. For us, that process is longer, sometimes we keep stoked several weeks before and after the surf trip. We start to enjoy the experience since the moment you put your boards on the car roof. Also, this stoke drive you to give all you got in every wave. For example. In a windy, choppy day, the local probably will stay in home and we’ll be trying to catch each and every wave.
An amazing growth, definitely. And it looks like it will keep growing[/pullquote]
I know what you mean! Any thoughts or opinions about SUP Growth?
An amazing growth, definitely. And it looks like it will keep growing. The first meeting with Mahalo (my SUP school) was 3 years ago and we were only a few. Today we are a lot, lot more and you will find people riding SUP in different places around our country: Rosario, Chascomus, Cordoba, Bariloche. Wherever you got restful water, there is a person paddling. And, this is really important, the SUP is an alternative for a person with a permanent or temporary injury that cannot practice surf in the traditional way (for example if you cannot paddle or cannot pop up) A lot of guys in this situation choose the SUP.
We know sponsors are essential. So, how is your relation with the big brands and surf?
Fortunately, I was on the organization of the last Pro Billabong Miramar contest. (Brand with whom I have an excellent relation) and this event allow me to have a close interaction with other brands, Judges and riders. I think the discipline is growing, so it demand a change on the big brand ´s point of view. In our country sponsoring is not a usual practice, and sometimes is seen as an expense instead of an investment. Sometimes to negotiate with a brand demand a lot of energy but until now I feel that totally worth it.
Favorite spots to surf?
Mar Del Plata is my place and specially Biología spot. Varese beach is more “friendly” but Biologia brings to me a powerful felling. In Brazil… I think Praia do Rosa is the one I choose. These spots works always. I visited other spots but it felt like “this is not home” hahaha!
What kind of boards are you running lately?
My Shaper is Rufus and my current boards are a 6.7´ classic and a 6.2´fish all round.
Please name your top 3 surfers list.
Ok. International: Rob Machado he got an amazing relaxed style. Andy Irons was amazing and Joel Parkinson.
From Argentina: Martin Passeri is an institution, a surfer with a lot of history. Lele Usuna An Joaco Juarez.
Lets talk about a Boards & Arts exhibition. How does it begin and how can you describe it?
Mar Del Plata ´s Shaper Rufus Henderson, with whom I am very close, is the person behind the first Surf Boards & Arts exhibition and he ask me to collaborate with all the advertising around the event. The exhibition was in Mar Del Plata and it works really well so I asked Rufus to let me bring it to Capital Federal. I suggested to remove the “surf” from the name to be open to other board disciplines like skateboard, wakeboard etc. he agree and here we are!
The expo had a good reception…
Yes, and we are really happy because the people feel (as same as us) that this is a “real event” with an identity and character. And this is important, you will find shapers, artist, designers and riders to talk with them in the best environment.
How do you met Chelsey Henderson? (Exhibition Curator)
She is Rufus sister and, besides that, she studied Art History, her personality sums up pretty well the spirit of the exhibition and she understand amazingly how artist´s minds work.I feel like we are a flawless teamwork.
Last but important question: Why you surf?
Ehhhh….. to be over a board sliding in the water gives me a satisfaction beyond words. I cant resume all the felling in one idea. I love how sea smells, I love to swallow salt water, I love to duck dive a wave. Sometimes I find myself doing a silly thing: when i´m paddling to the lineup, I ask the ocean: “Please give me ONE wave”. But lately I found many of my friends or surfers doing the same thing!! Hahaha!!!. My Heartbeat start to rush just for being in the shore waxing the deck. I feel I am part of something different.
Makes you feel part of something bigger.
Exactly, you, me, the guys here, we are part of something special. Freedom is the first word that I can imagine and that’s something I want to give to my Daughters.
That´s something essential. Thanks a lot for your time Gustavo.
Thank you and I’ll see you in the expo.
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© Santiago Videla Surfshots.