Name: Leo Kapellán
Place of Birth: Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Birthday: March 28, 1987
When did you start skateboarding? I started skateboarding back in 1999.
What motivated you to start practicing this sport? I didn’t know anything about skateboarding, until one day I found an old broken skateboard in the yard of my neighbor. I asked my neighbor if I could keep it, and after he said yes, I fixed it and started using it. At the beginning, I had to improvise a lot, because I had never seen videos or pictures before of people skateboarding. So, I technically had to be my own motivation when I started, since I didn’t know anybody who skated.
Which was your first skateboarding competition? It was a competition held at Güibia back in 2002. I competed in the Rookie category and earned 3rd place.
In how many competitions have you participated? In 12, so far.
What is required to practice this sport? Exercises, good nutrition, protection equipment? First, you have to like it. Second, you have to be positive and disciplined. Third, it’s important a daily practice to connect the sport with yourself. Fourth, always use equipment to protect yourself: helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. And finally, it is very important as well that you exercise your body to have better flexibility.
What is the best part of skateboarding? For me: everything! Especially the feeling of accomplishing a trick, after so many hours and days of practice.
What has been the most difficult competition for you? All of the competitions have been challenging for me, due to lack of economic resources and lack of practice, since I live very far from the skateparks. Still, with motivation and support of the community, I have been able to thrive.
What are your short and long term goals? I am looking to position myself in the big leagues and be a professional skateboarder, representing Dominican Republic. My goal is to prove that Dominicans have what it takes to participate in international competitions and succeed. I am very confident that this would definitely help other Dominicans thrive in their careers as skateboarders.
Do you belong to any skateboarding community or team? My development in the sport I owe it to the Tropical Skate Team. This team was directed by Giuseppe Polanco, who greatly contributed to the sport with his ramps and events. I was influenced by other great Dominican skateboarders, that were part of this team as well. These skateboarders are: Daniel Cuervo, Miguel Cuevas, Richard Matos, Misael de los Santos, Carlos Gabriel Hinojosa, Jose Heredia, and Victoria Miniño. Unfortunately, the team does not exist anymore. But everybody’s contribution was immense, and we are all still friends and skate together.
Have you excelled in your community? If so, have you received any recognitions for it? Several times my name has been mentioned. In fact, my name is on one of the ramps in our community. But, since the sport has not yet developed in the country, nobody has been greatly recognized for it. We simply acknowledge who are the best and why, and greatly respect them all.
What motivates you to practice this sport? I am my own inspiration. I have been my own north since the beginning.
Who are your favorite skaters? Tony Hawk, Andy Macdonald, Bucky Lasek, and, of course, myself.
How do you see this sport in some years in the Dominican Republic? Since it will start being part of the Olympic Games in 2020, I am confident it will develop professionally and commercially in many undeveloped and developing countries.
How is the integration process in the Dominican Republic? The process of integration is slow, due to the situation in the country. But I am confident that in a future it will change, as soon as the sport becomes more commercial and people in general support it more.
What are your recommendations to people who are interested in starting this sport (men, women, children)? Where should they go and who they should contact? I would recommend they give it a try, as long as they know they will be dedicated and disciplined. Also, to always use protection equipment, to fully enjoy the sport without injuries. And if they want to start practicing, they can always go to the KM 1 Skatepark and reach out to Miguel Cuevas. Cuevas is a well-known Dominican skateboarder that has won many competitions and teaches how to to skate.
Facebook: Leo Kapellán