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Tania Cruz – Hello, Mom!

Tania never waits for opportunities to come her way, she looks for them and makes the most out of them. After moving from South America to Europe – all alone and at a young age – with nothing but her board, being homeless, and learning to speak English, she made her mark on the European skate scene in just two years like it’s no big deal. She skates with endless energy and always brings good vibes, and we often end up in a vicious circle of laughter. That’s when she laughs because of me and I laugh because of her. I’m so happy that our paths crossed and that I can call her one of my best friends.

Hello Tania, I’ve missed those lengthy breakfasts with you and I know you love gossip, so I’m more than excited to be doing some casual breakfast gossiping with you for Solo today!

I’m so boring, all my gossip is about my dates. [laughing]

In February 2020, we met for the first time at a competition in Madrid. The last night, we ended up alone at that bar and you couldn’t even tell me where you’re from because you had no clue how to speak English. We still had the best time, however, figuring out ways to communicate. Now that we’ve overcome the language barrier, can you start by telling me where you’re from and how you got into skateboarding?

I’m from La Rioja, a really small and beautiful city in the north of Argentina and I got into skateboarding when I was 15 because my sister wanted a skateboard for her birthday, so I started skating with her on the sidewalk in front of our house.

TANIA CRUZ bs 5 0 to fakie espigon LISBON by Gerard Riera

Pivot to fakie

When did you decide to leave everything behind and start fresh by moving to Barcelona?

Before I went to Barcelona, I was living and studying in Córdoba, Argentina, because it offered me more opportunities since I come from a small town. It was a bit of a hard time because I was studying and working so much and was still not able to pay my rent, books, and food. So at some point, I tried to work and save as much money as I could during the summer break to be able to study and skate without working too much for some months. After the summer, I was counting the money and felt like it was maybe enough to fly to Barcelona, which had always been a dream of mine. Actually, the money was far from being enough though. [laughing] But I made the decision and everything worked out… I already knew that I was going to stay there. I was like, “I’m going to try and if it’s not working, I at least tried.”

What did your friends and parents say?

Leaving my friends and family was definitely the hardest part, but I’m so grateful because they supported me with my decision. However, I have to be honest, my mom is now supporting me a lot and I know that as a mom she wanted the best for me, but back then, no one in my family supported me and my love for skateboarding. One time, I was like 15 years old and I was arguing with my mom cause she didn’t understand how I felt and why I wanted to skate, and I was like, “One day, I’m gonna live in Europe and I will be doing an interview with a magazine and I’m going to say that my mom was never supporting me.” She laughed and told me, “Say hello when you’re there.” Then I left my home crying and went skating. But just like me and everyone else, she was learning, and we were growing at the same time in different aspects, so I love you so much, Mom! I feel like people really limited me when I was young. Although I was stubborn and didn’t care, I always was clear about the fact that I wanted to do what I love. This is also the reason why I left my mom’s house when I was so young. I started living with my friends, who helped me a lot, so they are also my family. Especially my friend Pato Kastor! Thank you so much for everything. I love you and miss you so much!

When you finally left for Europe, how did your mom deal with it?

My mom traveled to Córdoba because I took the plane from there. I was so emotional, it felt very real that I was leaving my country and I was about to start a new life. I was not scared, but I had a lot of emotions coming up and my mom was there at the airport choking up with me, saying, “Don’t come back, don’t come back.”

She said, “Don’t come back”?

Yeah, because Argentina is a beautiful country, but it’s too hard to live there without having money. She knew I’m going to be better off here and she trusted in me, so she was telling me to never come back. She’d rather come and visit me, she told me. (I’m still waiting for her.)

TANIA CRUZ boardslide to fakie white mosaic vulcano by Gerard Riera

Boardslide to fakie

How did you manage to survive with basically nothing in a foreign place?

The truth is I have no idea. [laughing] I was used to it though and it was better than what I had before. I also had some savings to live off in the beginning.

Didn’t you lose your phone and wallet the first month you were in Barcelona?

Oh my god, this was so dramatic! Somebody stole all my stuff, my passport, my phone, my money – everything was gone. At this point, I got a little bit scared. I thought I had nothing, I’m on the other side of the world, I don’t know people here, and I was not able to call my friends or my mom for help. But I was also like, “I still have my skateboard, so everything will be fine.” Then my beautiful friend Scarlett, whom I didn’t really know back then, invited me to her home to stay there for some time. I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t need that much, and I was getting leftover food from the grocery store that they didn’t sell anymore. After a while, we became friends and they offered me to take whatever I needed for free. I felt like it was really not hard to survive here, because you can get everything. I was also sleeping at the beach in a tent, so it was cheap.

Really? Like a real hobo?

[laughing] I felt like I was sleeping in the best hotel cause when I woke up, I could see the sea.

Camping there is prohibited, I think. Did nobody shoo you away?

No, I think I was lucky. I also managed to survive because I met good people that helped me a lot and gave me a home when I couldn’t afford it. Then when I made some money again and was able to pay my first rent in Barcelona, I was so happy. It was a super small room with just the door and a bed, but I was so grateful and loved it so much. It felt so comfortable to have a ceiling. I appreciated everything so much more.

Scarlett also told me your mentality affects your process of learning a trick. How are you dealing with strong emotions and anger?

I think skateboarding happens completely in your mind. I cannot skate at 100% when I’m sad, because I feel like my body is out of energy. When I’m feeling happy, I can skate a lot, but I’m usually never angry or sad. There maybe was that one time that Scarlett is referring to…

Boyfriends? [laughing]

Maybe, but only one. [laughing] It reminds me of when I started to skate. I think my adolescence was super hard, struggling with confusion, with my family, myself, life. In skateboarding, I found a way to express my feelings and everything else. It made me forget all the problems. I was taking refuge in skateboarding. Maybe that is what made me so addicted to it.

TANIA CRUZ fs shovit blocks by Gerard Riera

Frontside Shove It

I have a fun story: I remember that we were on that ferris wheel at the harbor in Barcelona, and you were panicking and screaming my name for a good ten minutes because of the height. How do you dare to drop down some huge banks when you’re that scared of heights?

With skateboarding, it’s different because it depends on me and I also only accept to get hurt while skating. When I somehow hurt myself in any other way, even if it’s only the little finger, it hurts so much more and I feel like I’m gonna die. Somehow I feel like I’m immune to the pain I get from skating.

Let’s talk about your second personality whose name is “Jaki.” She’s a girl or rather a bad-ass bitch in a mini skirt and heels. There are rumors that Jaki drank wine and thought about bombing a hill on New Year’s Eve! Did she make it down safely?

Yeah, when I’m skating, I’m like, “Skate or die!” And I don’t feel like a skater girl or something like that. I don’t want to make a difference between boys and girls, we are all skaters. On the other hand, however, I’m a girl and I like to do my makeup and lashes. I like to dress up, wear heels, and do my hair. I almost never do it because I’m skating all the time. Although, for some special occasions, I connect with my inner girl.

TANIA CRUZ fakie inward heelflip Piramid Faro by Gerard Riera

Fakie Inward Heelflip

And did Jaki survive the hill bomb?

Yes, for sure, because she is also a skater.

One time, I was waiting for you to call me back when you sent me a selfie from the police station instead. What happened?

It’s not what you would expect. I just had to fill out some documents there to get my passport.

To me, it was really funny. I was like, “What the fuck? Explain, Tania!” But you never explained. So it was because of your passport? How was the process when your visa was gone?

It is a long and delicate story. The truth is that it’s not easy to be an immigrant “sin papeles” and there are so many people that have to leave their country because they want a better life. It’s so sad that there are not many options to get a visa if you don’t have money and most of the options to get one are so crazy. It makes no sense, so you need to persevere and be patient. But I’m feeling so lucky because, in my case, I found amazing people that helped and supported me – thank you so much! And I’d also like to give my full support and best vibes to the people that are going through the same situation.

…and we’re at the end of the serious questions. What do you prefer, drinking or smoking?

Drinking, but actually, both.

G-string or panties?

G-string for sure.

Never skate at Ciutadella Plaza again or scooter for one year?

[laughing] You’re so stupid. I don’t skate at Ciutadella, because I found another place like Ciutadella.

Long or short hair?

I feel sexy with short hair. [laughing]

Switch, nollie, or fakie heelflip?


When you die, do you go to heaven or hell?

Hell for sure!

I expected you to say that because of heavy metal. I heard they play it there. [laughing] Would you rather stop skating or never listen to your favorite metal bands again?

If I had to choose, I would rather skate.

Now I got some guest questions: @chinonotfound wants to know if you ever stole something.

What if I still do it?

No, if you ever did!

[laughing] I answered already…

Yeah, you did! @jacob_ice_ wants to know where you see yourself in ten years.

Oh my god, I don’t even know what I’m gonna do today. [laughing]

I expected that! No plans at all.

Yeah, I’m trying to decide where I should skate today. Let me see, I’ll be 34 – I have no idea, but hopefully skating.

TANIA CRUZ bluntslide 270 behind the bench by Gerard Riera

Bluntslide behind the bench 270 out

@amy_ram asks what your favorite female video part is.

I don’t have a favorite part, but I really enjoy watching Breana Geering and Fabiana Delfino’s parts because they inspire me a lot. You can see their passion and I love the vibes.

@jazminenelcielo wants to know if you like coffee with milk or coffee with pancakes.

Actually, I had pancakes and coffee for breakfast today. I love pancakes and I think it’s my specialty.

@tablapodrida wants you to tell us, “Who is angry?”

[laughing] “Lockjawwww is angry!” I always said I’m angry when I’m hungry cause I couldn’t pronounce it correctly.

I remember and now I am angry because I couldn’t eat my breakfast, because we’ve been talking too much! You want to say anything else?

Only thanks to my friends, family, and sponsors. Thank you, and for sure, thank you skateboarding!