Rodrigo Braz Teixeira has a different view of Lisbon – after all, he mostly navigates the city on wheels. We caught up (just about!) with the pro inline skater to hear more about his perspective on the move.
Lisbon: The city of magical light, of seven vistas thronging with people enjoying an evening beer, of trams that wind their way up the Old Town’s streets, tracks embedded in ancient cobble stones. Here, even pedestrians welcome a spot of suspension.
Or follow in the footsteps – well, wheels – of 18-year-old Rodrigo Braz Teixeira who straps on a total of eight rollers to explore his beloved city. Even when it puts a few stumbling blocks in his way.
Rodrigo, do skaters have a different perspective of cities, compared to pedestrians?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: When I’m on a roll, I generally view any city differently. What others might call an obstacle, I consider a challenge: Everything becomes a massive playground. Well, I don’t scan a city just for its skateability – I certainly appreciate beautiful architecture! But sometimes I think, “that’s quite nice, but no great spot for jumps or tricks.” And then there are places others might simply ignore or pass by that I like for their sheer skating potential.
So, is that what Lisbon is? A huge playground for skaters?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: No, not really. While Lisbon is truly amazing, it wasn’t made for skaters. And you can’t really go everywhere. A lot of the city is very old and the historical squares and buildings, especially, are strongly policed. Here, skating tends to be prohibited.
How do you discover all the good spots then?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: I find them cruising around in my brother’s car. We are always on the lookout for suitable spots. And Lisbon can make them quite hard to find. What’s more, surfaces tend to be uneven or rough; that’s not the best condition for tricks. Once you know a place a bit better, though – when you’ve lost the fear of messing up and when your trick finally works – it’s a great experience. I would say: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Well, you certainly made it! When did you actually start skating?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: Eight years ago. And it all got a bit more serious three years ago when I got my first wheel sponsor. A friend showed them a video of me and they have supported me ever since.
If it’s not Lisbon – what’s the European hotspot for inline skaters?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: While Germany has a very big scene, the best place for skating is definitely Barcelona. When I was there this year it really was on a different level. In Barcelona, you can skate pretty much anywhere!
I also really loved the indoor Winterclash Festival in Eindhoven. And then I was at Summerclash in Berlin two years ago. What an amazing experience – I was surrounded by people on rollers!
Could you imagine moving to another city just because it has better skating potential?
Rodrigo Braz Teixeira: Hm, maybe. Barcelona is fantastic; it has a beach and everything really is close by. But moving just for the sport? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll move to the countryside when I’m older and have a family. But definitely not yet!
Lisbon-based Rodrigo Braz Teixeira is a student and professional inline skater.
Watch our video “One fine day in Lisbon” featuring Rodrigo Braz Teixeira, Mariana Duarte Silva, entrepreneur and co-founder of Village Underground Lisboa, and street artists Kruella d’Enfer and AKACORLEONE.
All images incl. header image: broken bloke Production