Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
I can’t help but laugh listening to Fabiana say, ‘I’ve been high for two years.’ And why wouldn’t she be? In the space of a few years, Fabiana Delfino has found her passion for skateboarding, gotten really damn good at it, and begun travelling the world alongside her similarly talented big brother, Pedro. To top it all off, Fabiana and Pedro both turned pro on the same day in late 2019—how could she not be high as a kite?
Though Fabiana’s been living in what must seem like a constant stream of ‘pinch me’ moments, her steady run of accomplishments proves she’s only just getting started. I caught up with Fabi in the aftermath of her starring role in Vans’ all-female, Shari White-directed video project, Credits, to see what’s headed her way.
Hey Fabi, what’s up?
Sup Andrew, I’m just chillin’ outside. I’m up in Vancouver right now.
What are you doing in Vancouver?
Waiting for things in the US to chill out. I planned on coming up here before the whole coronavirus got crazy, so I just figured that I’m gonna wait it out up here. I’m bored, things are crazy.
How many parts have you put out now?
I think this is the third piece that I’ve put out. I had my welcome to Santa Cruz part in 2018, and then my The Skate Witches part, and now this Vans Credits film.
I heard you were doing demo tours while filming for the last part.
Yeah, Santa Cruz did a European demo tour at the start of the project, so I missed the first trip that everyone went on to New York. Pretty much the whole time I was juggling some obligations with other sponsors. But the good thing about this video, I was able to talk to Santa Cruz and everyone else and let them know that I was going to be focusing on this Vans project. So, it could have been worse, but I think everyone handled it pretty well.
Are you on a high anyway, getting to travel the world and go skating?
Oh yeah, dude, I’ve been high for like two years. It’s been really crazy. I feel really high, but I know I have a lot more I have to do. It’s kinda like we’ve got one thing done now onto the next.
It’s cool to see the whole female skate culture blooming in the last couple of years. It’s been around forever but it’s been in a really good place lately.
The big thing is, women’s skating has been around for a while but a lot of it was contest-oriented. But now we’re reaching a stage where girls are coming out with parts and looking out for footage. Not so much contest focused, but out in the streets, filming for months and then putting something out.
Frank [Mare, Vans TM] was raving about how much effort and heart everyone put into their tricks for the video.
There were a few moments where you’re like, ‘We’re all the way in Barcelona, we have 10 minutes at this spot, we’re gonna get kicked out but you have to just go for it, you might not get another chance to try it.’ I think a lot of us were like that and extremely motivated by the opportunity.
And you spearheaded the idea of getting Airbnbs instead of hotels?
At the start of this project, it was going to be just me, Breanna [Geering] and Una [Farrar] filming parts, so we figured we’d just get hotel rooms. But as the trips went on, we wanted more riders to come along. Once more people started coming, we decided it was a better idea to be in more of a communal setting. We wake up to each other. It added a very big family vibe. It was really nice. That’s where you find the bond between friends. You’re out skating all day, but the end of day is when you’re really bonding and getting to know people on a different level. It’s really rad.
Do you guys have any secret handshakes or celebratory dances?
Yeah, we share a handshake for sure (laughs).
I’ve gotta ask about the drop in at the beginning of your part where you literally dropped into a police officer.
(Laughs) I think it was the first day out skating in Barcelona that I saw that. I thought, ‘I wanna do this, but I don’t wanna get broke off at the beginning of the trip, we’ll come back.’ So, the last day we were skating, I wanted to go back to the spot, like, ‘Fuck it, I’m gonna try it.’ A few girls stayed at another spot, so it was just me Shari [White], Norma [Ibarra] and Breana at the roll in. I got up there and I was scared. I saw the cops from afar so I was like, ‘Ok, I gotta get this right now.’ So, I dropped in and I stuck it, but I was like, ‘Fuck, I gotta I try it again,’ but now the cops were really getting closer to the spot. I got on top of it and they’re yelling at me in Spanish and I’m trying to tell them, ‘One more try, one more try, I’m leaving. I’m gonna get down from here but I’m gonna skate down.’ I’m telling them this in Spanish, so even more so they’re not having it—they’re pissed. I’m like, fuck it, last day, I’ve got so much adrenaline in me.
I rolled in and the cops grabbed me immediately and at that moment I realised, ‘Oh fuck man, I think I fucked up,’ ’cause I didn’t expect him to put his hands on me; maybe I underestimated the situation, that I could actually get fucked over in a foreign country. They grabbed me and were like, ‘You hit me, you hit me, you ran into me, I’m hurt.’ The cops are saying that I assaulted him with my board. They looked at the footage and were like, ‘We can just take you in for two days; you’re coming with us.’ They took me into the car and I asked if Norma could come with me. Basically, they drove us to a bank and were like, ‘Get out 500 euros right now and you can leave. If you don’t, you’re going to stay two days in Barcelona,’ and we were supposed to be leaving the next day. So, I gave them the money, they gave me a ticket and then left.
So corrupt. They drove me straight to a bank and wanted cash.
At least you could speak Spanish to them.
They were like, ‘This isn’t America, you can’t do this, what are you doing?’ I think they might have taken advantage of the situation if I didn’t speak Spanish.
It’s hard to read that stuff when you’re panicking.
It’s scary ‘cause you’re abroad. I’ve learned that you can’t underestimate that stuff. We’re not untouchable; I learned my lesson there.
Is there that same fear of getting hurt overseas, or do you just try not to think about it?
I don’t think about it. You know, Frank’s on the trip and he does a really good job of making sure that we’re good and we’re safe. I feel totally at ease on a trip with Frank there. There was an incident at a spot where we were all chilling and had our bags in one area. This guy came up and held up a skateboard and was like, ‘How much do you want for this?’ like he was trying to buy it. The whole time he’s distracting us, he was unzipping my backpack and then had his hand in there. Norma was like ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I look up and he has one hand in my bag and the other holding the board trying to rob us. Frank immediately got up and scared the shit out of this guy.
He’s the nicest guy, but he could look pretty intimidating, covered in tattoos.
Oh, for sure.
What was the worst slam you took for the video?
I eat shit a lot. I was trying this line at this bank spot and clipped coming back into the bank and kinda taco’d on it. My board was primo on the ground and my shin jammed into it. I have this indent in my shin muscle, which meant I couldn’t really skate for too many days in Barcy, but I guess that was the worst one. Now I bring a shin guard on trips.
You and your brother have it in your genes.
When you were growing up, did your brother try to encourage you to get gnarlier with your skating?
He encouraged me but he wasn’t like, ‘Get gnarly.’ I think he saw how I skated and what I wanted to get out of skating, whether it was adrenaline or a chill vibe, he just encouraged whatever I expressed in skateboarding. So, he did encourage me to be gnarly, but only because that’s what I wanted to do. It just so happened that we both like skating fast.
After travelling all over the world and skating all these different terrains, is there something that you’ve fallen in love with that you didn’t really skate before?
Definitely, the one that I can pinpoint now is hill bombing. In Florida, it’s a pretty flat state, there’s not really mountains. So, going to SF for the first time, going down one of those hills and getting that rush. I’ve been keen for that, experiencing the gnarly terrain of SF.
It makes sense you like going fast from skating transition. How did you get on Santa Cruz?
I just got a DM on my Instagram. Something caught their eye and I got a message. Within the next few days, they sent some boards and that was that… the age that we’re living in.
No sponsor me tape?
No sponsor me tape needed. It’s really crazy.
You turned pro during the process of filming for this project.
Yeah, right after Barcelona, just a couple of days. Thrasher hosts the ‘Bust or Bail’ every year, so they had it at the Frost double kink rail in LA. After the whole thing ended, Neck Face was like, ‘Can we bring out brother-sister skateboarders?’ And then my parents came out and everyone rushed out with the boards and that was that, we turned pro together. It was crazy.
Your parents must have been tripping.
And you know, they hadn’t been to a lot of events like that. Maybe a few contests when I was younger. That whole atmosphere, they hadn’t really experienced it too much. To experience it on that day for my brother and I, I’m sure they were like… they were proud, they were very, very proud.
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Was it more your brother that took you skating when you were younger?
It was mostly me. In my teens, once I was able to drive and stuff, I’d be doing solo trips to Tampa or Orlando. At that point, he was out in California.
Ah, that’s rad. You just had to keep on skating.
He’s been a big influence on me in life as a whole and when you narrow it down to skateboarding, I don’t know. Everyone looks up to their older siblings, and when you share a passion like skateboarding, you’re going to observe what they’re doing. It was kinda like that; I would try to follow in his footsteps. Now we’re living parallel worlds. Things are different, like we’re both travelling and all that. It’s nice to look at him and see where he’s at, compare and contrast, we grow a lot from each other. He’s a huge influence on me.
Where’s the place you want to go back to the most?
You’re not scared?
No question, I want to live in Barcelona. I want to live a summer in Barcelona and see what happens. It’s a playground.