Even though Be Skateboarding Mag is only on its first issue, it's already made a name for itself as a high quality skate publication. We were impressed with how the mag balances coverage of the Barcelona scene with features on American skaters whose names you already know. Be stands out to us not just for its editorial content, but for its visual content as well. It's filled with the kind of expressive typography and ambitious layouts that aren't often seen in skate magazines (and when they are, they're not nearly this well done). To top it all off, Be is printed on really nice paper, which never hurts.
Daryl Mersom talked to the Be's founder, Javi Carvia, about the magazine.
Where are you based?
We are based in Barcelona, Spain.
How many skate magazines are there in Spain?
We have a few. There is Erosion, Dogway, and Go Mag. They are totally focused on the Spanish scene. We try to cover the Spanish scene as well but with more of a focus on what a city like Barcelona offers to the European and international scenes. Also Be Skateboarding Mag is shipped to stores around Europe. That is why it is in English.
Does anyone make a living from the magazine?
Right now we have just released the first issue and no one is making a living out of it. Hopefully everything will develop in the right way and at some point we will be able to live doing it, but anyway it is just our love and passion for skateboarding that gets us hyped and motivated to carry out this project.
In an ideal world, how do you see the magazine developing?
Developing into a relevant media that supports the scene with a quality product for free to the stores. Helping out the scene, shops and companies that support us. And if that’s enough to get someone making a living out it, awesome. We would love to see a photographer living off of it too, and it would be a dream to have a videographer as well. The more people we could get involved from the skateboarding world, in any way possible, the better.
How has the Spanish economic crisis impacted the Spanish skate scene?
Well, lots of skate shops disappeared and many skaters lost their sponsors. Overall it has quite of an impact in an industry that it is already small. Magazines struggle to survive.
What did the skaters who lost their sponsors do?
Some left Spain and went back to their countries because there are a lot of skaters from all over that were riding for European teams. Some others found jobs and tried to keep on doing what they love - skateboarding.
What’s going on at MACBA these days?
A lot of skating as usual, new kids are coming up. There are some new Brazilian killers alongside the all-time locals. We are so lucky to have such an iconic spot like this, a plaza where you can skate and chill every day. It's like back in the days Embarcadero in San Francisco, Pier Seven, or Love Park in Philly. Sometimes it gets so crowded that you can barely skate, but apart from that it is cool.
Have you seen the level of skateboarding at MACBA improve? And who should we watch out for?
The level is constantly improving because of the people coming from everywhere, and the new blood coming in to the scene, alongside the old skaters. You should watch out for Dani Jenks, Fran Molina, Kristian Krasimirov, Brayan Albarenga, Mikel Vidal, Jose Vívero, and Raúl Escalante, to mention just a few, because there are a lot. Also, many of the skaters don´t even touch MACBA. The city is packed full of sick skaters.
Are there still spots to be found further out of the city?
Sure, there are always new spots, every now and then someone will tell you about a new one, it is crazy! Also just not in Barcelona, but in other cities in Spain there are awesome spots for skating. There´s definitely quite a lot more to explore out there!
Do you think that skateboarding’s love for Barcelona will ever diminish, and that the focus will one day move on to another city?
Anything can happen, but what is going to be really unlikely to change is the spots, weather, lifestyle, beach, food, and so on. All of those things that make Barcelona special. I’ve heard about this idea for many years now and people don’t stop coming. More and more skaters come to the city every year. Anyways if it happens we will try to adapt the best we can.
What aspects of Spanish skateboarding are the mainstream skate media missing?
Basically the mainstream media outside of Spain, especially in North America, probably only know about the same names from Spain from around 15-20 years ago. The ones that made a global name for themselves by living in America. There´s not really a new generation after the well-known ones that stand out globally.
At the same time, there are so many sick kids out here nowadays. Therefore there is a big scene that needs to be covered and exposed, to help support the big names, alongside the new blood coming in. We need to get the new generation involved. An international publication could really help to get more recognition and opportunities for them.
Do a lot of American teams visit Spain and hang out with the locals?
Yeah, a lot of American teams visit Spain, there are almost no videos without footage from Spain. Sometimes they meet and some are really cool with the locals, in some other cases they just come to do their thing and leave. But they all love Spain [laughs].
How do you set yourselves apart from the other skate magazines?
More than set apart from other magazines we stand alongside other magazines. We just try to provide a quality publication for free, that can be distributed all around Europe. We are based in Barcelona, the skate Mecca, it makes sense to have a publication to cover the international skateboarding scene going on here. Also I like to think of Spain as though it’s the European California, because the weather is great. So what better place to publish a magazine than where the action is at?