The poster child for pursuing skateboarding against all odds, São Paulo’s Tiago Lemos knew from an early age that all he wanted to do was skate. It consumed his life so much that his mom had to resort to hiding his board, breaking it, even throwing it in the river if she thought this might keep him in school.
At 24 years old, Tiago is giving the DC video everything that he has, and he’s relishing the time he’s been spending on trips with his teammates, all four of them beaming with pride as they introduce their biological families to their skate families. Tiago might not have taken the path that his mom was expecting, but he’s received a valuable education nonetheless.
The Skateboard Mag #142.
How old are you and where are you from?
I’m 24 and I’m from a town called Jaguariúna, in the state of São Paulo.
Where did you grow up skating?
I grew up skating the local skatepark and some small spots by my house.
At the time so many kids were skating the park, it almost looked like a contest.
What types of spots did you have to skate growing up?
I really learned everything at the skatepark. I didn’t have other options and
I knew everyone was at the park, so that’s where I spent my time.
What types of products were available to you when you were young?
I started skating on a beat up deck that my brother got from a friend of his.
My brother helped me put a board together with used parts we got from our buddies.
Somebody gave me a set of trucks, someone else gave me some wheels … I didn’t have bearings, so I started on those old, loose ball bearings. They were horrible and slow, but that’s what was available.
At what age did you know you wanted to make skateboarding your life and career?
After I got on DC Brazil and started getting more opportunities, I felt people liked what I was doing. When I was sixteen or seventeen, all I wanted to do was skateboarding. I watched the videos and the Pros and I chose that path for my life. When I started to understand what was going on, I wanted to live that life. It was in my blood.
The Skateboard Mag #142.
Was your family supportive of your skateboarding?
No. When I first started my family wanted to prevent me from skating. I was losing interest in school and it was creating a problem at home. All I wanted to do was to skate. My mom would hide my board from me, she broke it, she threw it in the river… it was hard, until they finally understood, but … nowadays they understand and it’s great. But the beginning was difficult.
Why do you think skating is so popular in Brazil, and in Latin America in general?
I’m not sure why. Skateboarding is becoming a lot bigger in Brazil right now. Lots of people are skating. Soccer used to be all that the kids were interested in and nowadays many kids want a skateboard instead. They may have been inspired by other Brazilian skateboarders who made it and left Brazil … I’m not sure.
Who are your closest friends that you skate with?
I skate a lot with Wilton Souza. Every time I go to the city of São Paulo he’s there and I run into Caue Costa, Vinicius dos Santos, João Gabriel … all the São Paulo homies. I’ve always skated with these guys and still skate with them when I go to São Paulo. There are some other ones, like Rafael Eduardo, Thomas Henrique, Chavinho …
How was it visiting Porto Alegre and seeing Carlos’s family and how he grew up?
It was awesome to meet his family. He had already showed me many videos of his brothers and his mom. I’d been looking forward to meet them in person for a while. It was a great occasion, too, because we were all there with the DC team. His dad had a big barbecue for us; we got to know his brothers. They’re all cool and they skate as well.
Did you grow up skating with Carlos, Thaynan, and Felipe?
Describe the first time you met them.
I started getting some shoes from DC Brazil and I was staying at a friend’s house, which was close to the DC warehouse. I had just arrived in São Paulo, picked up some shoes at DC, and I went to my friends house. I was by myself at the house, two hours later the door bell rang and it was Carlos. That’s how we met and started getting to know each other. This was some four years ago.
I first met Thaynan at a contest, inland in São Paulo (state). I think the name of the city was “Tambaú” [laughs]. I was a little kid, and he was very little too and still learning how to boardslide a little rail. I can’t remember the details but we started speaking to each other somehow and that’s how I got to know him.
Felipe I first met in a contest in a town called Mauá. He had just come back from the U.S. and we knew he had been out there ripping. It was a big surprise to see him show up in Mauá. We met, shook hands and started talking, but I had known who he was for a long time before that.
Who is your biggest influence and why?
My biggest influences are my family, my friends, my girlfriend, and all the people who do good things will always be influencing me.
Watch raw clips from the DC Boys From Brazil, HERE.