Story. May 21, 2005. PLAYA MEGANO, Cuba (AP)
In a land where amateur sport is king, some people go to extremes.= Surfboards, skateboards, parachutes — let alone kitesurfing kits — you just can’t buy that kind of stuff in Cuba. Yet on a sunny, blustery weekend at Playa Megano, a beach a few miles east of Havana, there they are: surfing, kitesurfing and ripping the rails on skateboards.
At one moment, four kitesurfers — there are only about a dozen on the island — three windsurfers and a scattering of plain old surfers skitter across the waves and whitecaps. In a nearby parking lot, skaters and BMX bikers tackle a rare ramp.
It’s a sort of X Games, Cuban-style.
Che Alejandro Pando has enough rings on his ears, lips and nose to form the Olympic symbol. He makes a living as a self-employed tattoo artist.= But he shares one thing with his more traditional colleagues: passion.
“My knees hurt. I’ve broken a lot of bones. But I love what I do,” said Pando, 32, who said he took up skateboarding at age 10.
He started with metal skates nailed to a board. A few years later, a friend gave him a real skateboard that he suspects had been stolen...