Augusto Akio has a plan B for retirement. You’re going to put your juggling skills in your backpack and go from city to city discovering new places, new people, new cultures. But that’s only after ending one of the most meteoric careers in Brazilian skateboarding. Last month, he opened with juggling turns in the final of the Skate Park World Championship that earned him the runner-up title, just ahead of idol and friend Pedro Barros.
Owner of a restless body and mind, Augusto, 22 years old, got to know juggling when he couldn’t get either of them to work. He had dropped out of college to extend a trip to the United States, but injured his hip between one competition and another, and had to return to Brazil. He could not skate, nor the commitment to studies. He decided to throw things up.
“I would pick things up and throw them up trying to get them back and drop them less and less,” he told the column. Self-taught, he began to learn to juggle by himself and, only later, did he exchange knowledge with other people. He discovered a world, or a “scene”, much like skateboarding.
“It’s very frustrating to keep making mistakes several times. If you don’t really want to get it right, you give up before you succeed. It’s also cool the empathy that those who practice have both with those who are learning and with those who are already good. It’s always a desire to help the other “, reports.
Augusto started to stand out in the national skateboarding scene when he was only 11 years old. Many call it Japinha, because of its origin, and the fact that it is relatively short. But he introduces himself as Augusto and, although he doesn’t mind the nickname, he prefers to be seen as a Curitiba native.
He is, after all, the fruit and seed of skateboarding in Curitiba, which he explains, in a didactic way, to have been built by those who came before him. “This goes back to the days of the old guard in Curitiba, where the vertical skaters themselves, Miguel Catarina, Franco, Simãos brothers, Marcelo Kozak, got together to build tracks.”
This tradition continues to make a difference in Brazilian skateboarding. Augusto himself had a mini ramp at the back of his house and, when it was no longer efficient for his training, it was donated. “I could even look for someone who was interested in buying, but the expense is so high in assembling and disassembling that it is not worth it. Those who accepted the donation did not have the financial condition to disassemble and transport it, so the one who took the scolding was Erica Leguizamon’s family, which is also part of the national team”.
In the same way that the back of Augusto’s house was often used as a training ground for his friends, today he is the one who trains daily on Luigi Cini’s own track and, eventually, at the Green Box, a structure that is located in Gui’s grandmother’s house. Khury. The three are direct competitors for an Olympic spot, for positions on the podium of the main competitions in the world, but, above all, teammates.
“In skateboarding we have no rivals. We ourselves are our rivals, because it depends on what we’re going to do on the track. I’m sure that, regardless of who wins, there’s going to be a skateboarding show, they’re going to be representing well the Brazilian skateboard.”
at the height
Without having managed to qualify for the Tokyo Games, Augusto was not in the group that “pierced the bubble” and introduced skateboarding to the general Brazilian public: Pedo Barros, Luiz Francisco, Pedro Quintas, etc. Not that there was a lack of results, but they came first in vert, also a transitional skateboarding modality, but played in a halfpipe, not a bowl, as is the park. In 2019, he won bronze at the Mundial de Vert, but didn’t even make it past the qualifiers at de Park, in São Paulo.
The blossoming came at the World Cup held in the United Arab Emirates last month. Augusto had an almost perfect competition: he was the third best in the qualifiers, the fourth best in the quarterfinals, the best in the semifinals and runner-up in the final, between the stars Jagger Eaton, from the USA, and Pedro Barros.
The Curitiba native did not expect such a good performance. “To be quite honest, I went there to skate. I wasn’t too worried about the result. I wanted to be crossing the cut lines, always performing at the event. It was bigger whatand the expected. It was one lovely campaign, very consists,” he acknowledges.
In addition to having fun, Augusto wanted the World Championship to be an opportunity to show the power of skateboarding in Curitiba and, perhaps, sensitize local politicians who have the possibility of doing more in their hands, building tracks and offering conditions for young skaters to remain in sport.
“I went to Sharjah aware of the impact that my return home could have with an achievement. The way in which I could be influencing in a positive way so that the next generations that came to skate in Curitiba could have better opportunities than those that I had,” he says, lamenting the lack of support for skateboarding in the city.
“The city tries to embrace the sport, but it fails. It’s very complicated. The relationship between skateboarding and society is very close, because many of the practitioners are part of the mass, many are unable to travel, buy new parts. So it’s no use only one thing happens if several other things continue to be bad. For the evolution of skateboarding, socio-environmental evolution is necessary, for many people to be well for skateboarding in general to evolve.”
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