interview by Leland Ware
photography by Alex Branao
photography by Alex Branao
Dwayne Fagundes has been riding for DGK since 2008, has toured with the team, and is poised to release a serious video part in the upcoming DGK video. Given those facts, you may be wondering why you haven’t heard of him or seen more from him over the past couple of years. The reason for this is that due to some unfortunate situations and misunderstandings, Dwayne lost his visa in 2010 and is currently unable to return to America. Most people would probably have a nervous breakdown in his situation, but Dwayne’s keeping a level head, stacking footage, and patiently waiting for his opportunity to return to the country and get the recognition that he deserves. We recently conducted the following interview with Dwayne to shed some light on his situation and find out what it’s like to truly be banned in the U.S.A.
For those people that don’t know who you are, tell us your name, age, and where you’re originally from.
My name is Dwayne Fagundes and I’m 22 years old coming from Porto Alegre, Brazil.
How did you first discover skateboarding and who were some skaters that you looked up to when you were younger?
My neighbor used to skate in front of my house with a good board, at that time I had this fucked up old school board; so I skated with my neighbor on his board until my parents got me a good one. I did a lot of things when I was younger like play soccer, capoera (just to learn backflips HA!), and basketball; but skateboarding was the shit and I could never stop skating! When I was a kid, I looked up to skaters from my city. I started skating at Matriz square (Praça Da Matriz) my father used to bring me there on the weekends and I saw a lot of guys killing it like Cezar Gordo, Marcus Cida, and Rafael Dias. When I watched skate videos I always liked to see Stevie Williams, Josh Kalis, and Keenam Milton.
What is skating like in Porto Alegre?
It’s good and it’s getting bigger, you see a lot of people skating over here. We have a lot of good street spots too.
How long have you been riding for DGK and how did you get discovered by them?
I’ve been riding for DGK since 2008, so like 4 years now. It was crazy man! When my sponsor-me tape was on Circa’s website after Circa’s South America tour, I was planning on going to the United States. When I got there I went to Maloof with my friends and one of them was from LA. He introduced me to Joey Suriel who was the Diamond team manager at the time. He liked my skating and hooked me up. I think Joey showed my promo to Stevie. A couple of days later I was in Huntington Beach with Rodrigo Lima and Stevie called him saying he saw my promo and wanted to know what was up with me. Lima talked with him on the phone and then handed the phone to me. I was like “oh my god, this is crazy!” My english was really fucked up at that time, so I didn’t really understand what Stevie was saying. He told me he liked my video and asked me if I wanted to ride for DGK. I said “thanks man, DGK is my dream! I been feeling this company since the beginning…” and he said ” your dream is coming true!” The boxes started to come and then they flew me out to Atlanta to meet the rest of the team and skate with them. Big shout out to Rodrigo Lima And Joey Suriel for hooking me up with Stevie!
Now that you’re a part of it, what does DGK represent to you personally?
For me it’s more than just a company, it’s a movement, a lifestyle you know. It represents people who came from nothing and made something out of themselves. I can really appreciate that coming from Brazil and getting to skate and travel around the U.S. and live my dream.
When was the last time that you came to the States, where did you travel to, and what did you think of the lifestyle and skating over here?
My last time in USA was in 2010. I’ve been to a lot of cities to film like Atlanta, Washington DC, Philly, NYC, Costa mesa, LA, Houston, San Diego… The lifestyle and the skating are real sick because you can skate the spots that you see in the vídeos and find new spots. I see a lot of friends from my travels and meet new homes from different countries all the time. Getting new fresh things is always good too.
On your last trip, something happened that caused you to be deported to Brazil. Can you tell us what happened?
Damn it’s a crazy story man, all of this shit happened because I had one fuckin’ rolling paper in my bag! It started when we were on a U.S. tour in Texas and the immigration police were working on trying to get the illegal aliens out of the country. Some of the homies in the van had some weed and the dogs smelled it and started jumping around, so we had to let them search our bags. The homie gave the weed to the police and we had to wait for like two or three hours in this little jail for the sheriff to come and write a ticket. They took our passports and ID’s but they said ” when you guys try to come back to the U.S. nothing is gonna happen. I went back to Brazil for a couple of months, then I tried to come back. I landed in Atlanta and immigration sent me to this security room and started asking me about the situation in Texas. They said that I had the weed on the trip, but I didn’t. They ended up searching my bags and found a rolling paper that was going to be a gift for the homie Marcus McBride. They took the paper and said “how am I supposed to believe you when you got a rolling paper in your bag?” I told them it was a gift for my friend, but they weren’t having it. They made me wait ’til midnight then sent me back to Brazil again. It was the worst feeling ever! Now I can’t come back to the States for awhile…
Since then, you’ve had problems with your Visa. Tell us about what you’ve been going through with that and what the process has been like to get your paper work to come back here?
They canceled my visa, but they told me ” When you get in Brazil you can go straight to the embassy and try get the visa”. I tried 3 times and they won’t let me back. The last time I tried they said I have to clear my name which means I have to go threw a crazy process… I’ll be back soon though!
Do you feel like the set back with your visa and not being able to come to the U.S. has affected your skating or your skate career? If so, how?
Not my skating, because I’m always gonna keep my head up and stay on my grind. It’s just a little bump in the road. As far as my skate career, it’s affecting it a little bit because I’ve missed a lot of events and coverage like the Fresh ’til Death Tour, Zumiez Couch Tour, and a lot of DGK filming trips for the video, things like that are super important to me.
Since you haven’t been able to return, where have you been filming for your part in the upcoming DGK video?
I’ve been filming here in Brazil in a lot of cities and I can tell you we have a lot of good spots too.
Do you have any trips planned to finish up your part and are you satisfied with what you have so far?
I’m going to Barcelona to get more footage and trying to go other countries in Europe too. We got run more than “super sonic” to get this video part done. I’m gonna be happy though. I’m not satisfied all the time when I watch my footage because I think I can do better. Sometimes I’m too critical.
Who’s part are you most excited to see in the DGK video?
I wanna see the whole video like ten times in a row when it’s done! Everyone on the team is a friend now, but they are always gonna be my idols. It’s been two years since I’ve been to the States, everyone probably has a lot of crazy new footage!
Once the DGK video comes out, you’re going to be a recognized skater in the industry, are you ready for the fame?
Haha, that’s funny… I don’t know about the “fame” thing you know, but I’ll stay the same person and just try to bring positive energy everywhere I go.
What are your future plans and goals in skateboarding?
Get more and more video parts, travel a lot, and make more dreams come truth!
Any last words that you’d like to say to wrap this up?
I would like to thank DGK, and The Kayo Corp for helping me a lot. All my family and homies who believe in me…DGK ALL DAY