INTRODUCTION & INTERVIEW | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: KEVIN LITTLE, @KEVINMLITTLE
WORDS BY JIMMY CISZ , @ROLLERSTREET_MIAMI & PAISA GEONAUTA, @PAISAGEONAUTA
Faction Skate Company professional Jimmy Cisz took two recent trips down to Medellin Colombia and came home with one hell of a profile to show for his hard work. We spoke a little bit with Jimmy Cisz about his trip as well as his host Paisa Geonauta who told us more about the Medellin skate scene and how important the influx of professional skaters is to the scene down there. This is what they had to say.
KL: To start with, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! So I know you are on the road with Faction at the moment after your recent trip to Schmidty’s Ramp & Camp, which you happen to win by the way, so congratulations! Does Faction have any more plans to tour through the US or abroad anytime soon? Maybe a South American tour possibly?
JC: Nothing is in stone but we’re doing trips. We are headed to Atlanta right now, then a Vermont trip , the Colorado road-trip , the fall Ramp and Camp and a December Vegas trip, then to Winterclash.
KL: So how did getting the opportunity to go to Medellin come about? That is quite a random destination and not necessarily one most skaters would attempt.
JC: I just had a vision almost bro, I gotta think about how I answer these, cause it was all so crazy that I haven’t even figured out how it happened. Shit was like destiny like the place pulled me to it!
KL: So it sounds like you were manifesting your own destiny! Considering the violent history that Medellin has, were you apprehensive going there by yourself? It doesn’t seem like the typical blade-cation location!
JC: Yeah of course , especially going with such a valuable camera. I also don’t speak Spanish so I was trying to keep up with actively learning a new language all at once. I was still in customs and my bag was already stolen off the baggage claim, the guy ended up getting arrested cause they checked the bag tag and I had to collect my bag in the Jet Blue office. Then immediately hopped on the bus to Medellin. That bag had all the extra skate parts I wanted to give away, my new Shredpools set up for distance skating, and Chris’ new Razors we brought him , I was smart enough to carry my camera and main setup with me.
KL: Let that be a lesson to everyone! Take your camera & skates on the flight with you! Haha So you’re an American with a language barrier in a foreign country, did you just wing it and hope for the best or were you studying Rosetta Stone in your spare time or what?
JC: I winged it , growing up in the Miami area helped me with understanding some stuff.
KL: Yeah, Miami is a cultural melting pot, for sure. So, who did you get in contact with to make this dream of travelling to Medellin a reality? I assume
JC: Firstly, it would of never went down without my homie Anthony Alari , we got together a crew of me and two of his friends, Santiago Pareja and Cameron Phillips, to go down there along with us. I was in contact with a local down there named Paisa Geonauta to show us spots. He probably has more a meaningful perspective on it if you wanted to reach out to him.
KL: Sounds good to me, let’s bring him in! [Paisa joins conversation] Hey Paisa, it is nice to speak with you! To start with, can you tell me how you and Jimmy initially came to meet?
PG: He talked to me on Instagram like 3 months before coming. He asked me about the city and wanted to come film a video and skate with the local people. I think we had some friends in common that told him about me here in Medellin Colombia. Because I’m from south of Chile but I have lived here for five years already.
KL: That is awesome! Is Jimmy the first professional that you have met before?
PG: No, it isn’t the first. I have met many professionals before as I travel a lot.
KL: So what is the Medellin skate scene like? What would make someone want to come visit there? Considering some of the things people hear about the city are that it is quite crazy at times.
PG: There are many people skating street spots everywhere, there is nice weather all the time and is very cheap to live here. Medellin is in a valley with a lot of mountains so there are many spots here and also it is a modern city. People come here for the energy and the vibes and the change of currency is very convenient. As far as professionals visiting, Julien Cudot was the last one before Jimmy and before that Adrien Anne with Antony Pottier and Warren Digne. That’s only here in Medellin.
KL: With there being many international professionals coming down to skate Colombia and Medellin specifically, are there any talks of having a competition down there, possibly something at the 4Sur skatepark? It looks like it would make for an incredible place for an event.
PG: Not in that place though it is kind of complicated because of the mafia and drug business in that area. But definitely Colombian scene can have a competition in a better place. They used to do an event once a year in that skatepark, it was a big comp that had lots of people coming. That was before COVID, after that just small events because of the lack of organization here. The last comp was a street comp in Pereira, I got first place but got just 30 dollars and a t-shirt, so it is a joke haha.
KL: So tell me about the experience of having Jimmy there for two separate weeks and filming with you. What was your experience like skating with him.
PG: I was simply amazed by the level he is at and the focus he has. He will point to a spot in my videos and say “Take me there!” and then he just destroyed every single spot I took him to. He is an amazing human being, very humble and really passionate about rollerblading. He just wants to skate street spots so we became like best friends right away and we did everything we planned on filming and we skated almost everyday and in the night we planned for the next day so it was full commitment on making it real.
But skating with Jimmy was a mind upgrade for me cause he is like the dream person for me, like being sponsored and living off of blading. Down here in Medellin, it is hard; but when you do what you love, that is all that matters. Just getting better and experiencing more cultures and meeting people around the world opens your mind and you become a better skater and person too. I’m so thankful for rollerblading I’m 38 years old and have been skating 26 years already. Jimmy has become my family and one of my best friends out of this so is not just a sport, it is a way of living for me and I try to motivate people and grow the community.
KL: Awesome! Thank you both so much for your time and for getting us this great interview with you both. Jimmy, did you have anyone that you wanted to thank for making this trip a possibility?
JC: Big thank you to Paisa Geonauta for filming and being such an incredible host and a huge thank you to Steven Garcia for holding me down at Asados Famila Garcia restaurant. Always thank you to my parents for them supporting my skating and lastly I want to thank my sponsors, Faction Skate Company, Sic Urethane and Create Originals frames.