It’s a cliché, romanticising about Barcelona, how fantastic it is to skate and meet people there. But, in the end, that cliché is really true, and this is how this interview with Mauro Caruso all started.
Last winter he and a friend from Italy came over to Barcelona to escape from whatever there is to escape from in Sicily – where he's originally from. So normally when you are an open minded free spirit like Mauro, you start to meet other skate rats with the same energy and good will. One such guy was Sam Clark, who came all the way from South Africa (Cape Town) to enjoy Europe; hell of a talented young man behind the camera and the beer. We ended up making a really good crew, going on missions all over the place and after a short time everybody was of the understanding that Mauro was of another species. His amazing pop, style and elegance, embody what everyone of us would like to have but don't, if you take your time to enjoy this interview you will understand what I mean in the end.
- Gabriel Engelke
Photos by Sam Clark.
Sam Clark: How did you end up going to Barcelona?
It was really strange, last year, in September I went to college for a few months, taking classes in Spanish. One of the days the teacher was strangely mad at me and told me, “Hey you, Mauro, stand up. Why aren’t you coming to the classes, I haven't seen you the last week!" But the truth was that I was going to every single class and, because I was sitting in the back of the class being quiet, she didn’t notice. She also claimed that I was a spoiled brat that just came to class and did nothing, so I basically walked out the class, went home and bought the ticket to Barcelona and stayed there for 6 months.
S: Would you go back to college
No man! Not right now
S: Would you back to Barcelona then?
No, I was kind of over it by the end, not [going back] for now anyway, too many sketchy people everywhere, gypsies fighting with Brazilian skaters at Macba for example. A city is normally good if you are with good people, in the beginning it was just me and my friend from Italy and we where sleeping in the kitchen of a friend’s flat so it was a bit boring at the time. But then when I found my own room and we started to hang out with Lars Griewe, Paul Labadie, Stefan Zanette and you guys, that’s when things started to get fun.
Gabriel Engelke: Did you go anywhere else in Spain?
Oh yes, we did one crazy trip, it was me Sam and some other random guys that I didn’t know: 2 France men, 3 South African dudes, and Eugene from England, he only hung around for 2 days and then just left without a good bye or anything. I think he got paranoia from drinking way too much or something, the tour actually ended up being a beer drinking tour more than a skate tour.
G: So since you left Barcelona what have you been up to?
I did a London trip with Nike and after that not much, some small trips here and there but mostly I've been back home in Sicily going to party’s at the beach because the heat didn’t allow us to skate, but then after the summer I had a couple of guys from Australia come to Sicily to shoot an article for the Skateboard Journal, that was pretty sick. The day they left Sam came over to keep on shooting for this interview, at the same time the Mofo crew from France came to get wasted too, and then the Italian Fallen team came down too and shot an article with Sam, so finally there was some good skating again.
G: It sounds like you are a bit lazy and get everybody to come to Sicily so you don’t have to move your ass.
No man! I’m not lazy. I’m always saving up money to go somewhere. The last 6 years I’ve been all over the place, travelling by myself, exploring and meeting people.
So what’s you next step, are you going to travel this winter too?
I’m going to stay here until January to save up some money to go to the US for 3 months, I have these friends from Portland, Oregon, the sickest crew ever! They are filming for their new video and asked me to come out and get some shit done.
The first time I went to the US was a few years back, I went to study history there and stayed for one year. There were 2 Asian twins in my class and I could see that they were in to skating so I just started to hang out with them and they where a part of this crew; six guys my age and one filmed, all unsponsored and everyone skated so good, they’d go on crazy missions every day, they really lived for skateboarding and this made it feel like you weren’t on a trip with some big company with the pressure to deliver something. Some of these trips I’ve been on there has been some crazy-good trick landed and the rest of the crew didn’t really seem to care that this shit went down, but when we go on these camping trips it’s always really good vibes on the spot, backing each other up like real homies do, it’s like they almost want you to make your trick more than you do. I’ve never seen these guys freak out or get mad trying a trick, so when I go there I get really motivated to skate, it’s always such good times and far away from the feeling that you work as a skateboarder.
G: do you prefer to go on an early session more than going out enjoying some beers to end up on a late session the next day?
Early session for sure.
S: That’s not really true, I know you’re normally the last one to leave the party and then you are the first one at the spot.
Hmm, well that true I guess. I like to try to do my best in all fields, and it all depends what people I’m hanging out with at the time.
S: I know your pretty good at shit talking cops, what happened at the back tail flip out spot
Cops man, it’s always-crazy stories with the cops here in Sicily. Skating is not too big yet, so sometimes the cops aren’t that bad. So, this day we were skating a school that you had to jump the fence to get in, after some time skating we could hear the sirens of the cop car, it was 3 cops and they starting asking us what we where doing and saying that trespassing was illegal etc. I started explaining we weren’t there to steal or destroy anything, and that we just wanted to shoot some skate pictures with Sam, who had come all the way from South Africa, just for 2 days to shoot this interview... We made it sound really important, but they didn’t let us stay and moved us out of there, so I just said, out of the blue, “Hey guys listen! I’m a close friend of the principal and he had allowed us to skate here, so nothing is illegal," and the cop answers, “Oh yeah, really? Okay, so give me your ID so we call the principal to check that it’s all good." In the end they just called back to the station and explained that I was a friend of the principal and that this case was closed.
S: Speaking about getting IDs taken, what about the other situation with smith pop out?
Oh man, yes I remember. So, we where skating outside of a shop that sold sofas and the shop had the same name as my last name Caruso, I was joking saying this will be no problem because it’s my spot. So, I started skating the spot and after 5 minutes of course the owner came out of the shop all mad and aggressive, complaining about us destroying the place. He left and came back with his son, so we had to run away. After that we decided to come back on a Sunday to be sure the place was closed, it was all good for a while, then suddenly he showed up again, parking his car right in the way of the spot, getting mad about a plant that we’d had to move before he disappeared into the shop. After a while another guy came up to us starting to give us shit for being there so I started asking him, “Why do you care?" Turns out he was a cop and shortly after that another bunch of cops arrived and things started getting a little bit too aggressive, I was trying all kind of ways to explain to them that I was not doing any harm to the place or the people there. I was just about to make it so I pleaded for 10 min more. The police took the IDs in case something got broken and took them across the road to the police station to do the paperwork. [While they we there] we ran back and got it done in two more tries. We got our ID's back after but I ended up forgetting my brand new board at the spot because I was too exited about the whole thing.
G: how many boards have you lost since you started skating?
This was the first one, although it could have been Sam that left it on the freeway after taking out his bag, which was under my board, to shoot some landscape photos. It was much more of a bummer losing my board than when I lost my wallet in Barcelona, not sure but I think someone stole it…
Switch backside flip.
G: Okay, so let’s go back to your future.
I’ve always wanted to go to Berlin for a long time, for 2 years there have been German skate crews visiting here in Sicily and they have told me Berlin is full of good spots and nice people, so I decided I want go there for a long summer, at least until September. I have a good friend that’s lives there so that’s a good start. And Sam is coming too no?
S: Yes that’s for sure! Beer is cheap there... How many beers did you bet on tricks during shooting this Mauro?
100… Maybe even 200.
S: And how many got bought in the end?
Not even one. I’ve got to step up my game because when I was in the US these bets were for real and in the end you went and bought what you owed.
G: So does this mean we are going to have a hell of a party in Berlin because you didn’t land your tricks!? Haha.
Mauro is supported by: Nike, Cliché, Blast! Dist, Royal Trucks, Minoia Skateshop and my homies from Exit Real World in Oregon.