Jechu Corvalán – Issue 36 Interview


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, we’ve uploaded Raisa Abal‘s conversation with issue 36 cover recipient Jechu Corvalán for you to read in full. Put the kettle on and read on for an insight into Jechu’s travels, skating for Vans, Volcom and Censorship Skateboards, cofounding a Chilean skate collective to promote women’s skateboarding in the country, moving to Barcelona and more.

Introduction & Interview by: Raisa Abal

Translation by: Leticia Nogueira

Photography by: Gerard Riera

One thing we can all agree on is that skateboarding always, and I mean always, gives us good moments. It can be rough sometimes; the trick you can’t get, the wound in your hand that doesn’t go away for two months, the rude neighbour who’ll throw a bucket of water on you (if you’re lucky), the fines… But, after all of that, we get to keep the good stuff; memories, friends, places, opportunities. The ‘bad stuff’ is just a funny story to tell.

Sometimes I wonder, how could I give back to skateboarding everything that it gives to me? I don’t think I could ever give back all that happiness, not even in two lifetimes. Today is one of those days where skateboarding makes me happy, getting to see a friend live out her dreams step by step. This goes to show that hard work always pays off; María Jesús Corvalán AKA Jechu has the cover of Vague #36.

She’s a real warrior from head to toe – it doesn’t matter where you take her, how or when, she’ll always be ready for the mission. She’s got a glow to her and skateboarding coming out of her pores. Back in 2021 she moved from Chile to Barcelona with her backpack and a smile, and I hope you’ll get to know her a little bit better with this interview.

Jechu Corvalán ~ Taildrop to 50-50 Grind ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

I remember the day we met, skating in Horta back in October 2021. It’s been two years and you haven’t stopped since. How would you sum up this time?

I too remember that day, it’s ingrained forever in my heart haha. To sum up these two years, I could say that they were the best and also most difficult years of my life. Moving to a different continent and starting over from scratch isn’t easy, but I’m grateful for every lesson and every person that’s been there beside me.

Is it how you imagined, or did you expect something different?

I didn’t really know much about what it was like here, but I saw loads of videos of girls in Barcelona skating spots that I felt very capable of skating. I came here to pursue a future in skateboarding and travel as much as I could. So far I have achieved many of my goals and I’m still working on others, but I’m very happy with all the progress I’ve made these two years here.

In Chile you cofounded your own collective to promote women’s skateboarding. How did Juntas Mejor SB come about and what was your role?

Juntas Mejor SB was born from the need to bring the female skate scene together, so we could feel comfortable, supported and listened to. Women have always been downgraded in many activities and skateboarding is no exception. We’ve all had a hard time progressing in a male dominated environment. Me and my friend Bárbara Durán created an Instagram account where we shared videos of girls skating in all regions of Chile, and over time we managed to organise events and get support from brands to motivate more women to skate, which was our main goal.

What do you think is the role of movements like Juntas Mejor SB within the industry?

These kind of communities, such as Dolores Magazine in Spain, Into the Mirror in Brazil, Betesga in Portugal etc., together with the organisation of events, are two of the most powerful channels to achieve equality in environments where sometimes there are differences based only on gender or sexual identity, so I think they are very important.

Jechu Corvalán ~ Ride-on Backside Nosegrind ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

Cata Díaz, Valentina Cobos, Carolina Gamboa, you and all those who will come in the future – why do you think the Chile-Europe movement is so common, especially in Barcelona? How bad is the situation there and how do you think it could be improved?

Skateboarding is much more valued here in Europe. In Chile, there’s little support from brands and it’s hard to make a living out of it. The reality in South America is different. Chile should make many changes so that urban athletes, artists, dancers, etc. have more opportunities to make a living doing what they love. Many of us have to leave the country in order to choose something better. Also if you like European style spots then I’m sure you will enjoy it a lot, like I do!

When you first arrived from Chile you travelled a little bit on your own around Europe- Copenhagen, Madrid, Lisbon – which city would you like to travel to soon and why?

Travelling has been difficult without my residence permits, but when I get them I would really like to see Italy and France, hang out with some friends in Berlin, and I’m also looking forward to visiting Chile. I want to visit my family and friends again.

Jechu Corvalán ~ Ollie ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

Would you like to stay in Spain?

For now my plan is to live here in Barcelona. I like this city because you get to meet people from all over the world. I’m also in the process of getting my residence permits and for that I have to stay a while longer before I think about moving.

Last year you were invited to take part in the Dogway Vans Classic Masterweek, and this year you went as a Vans team rider. Can you tell us about the Dogway Masterweek and what your two experiences have been like?

Masterweek is a tour organised by Dogway Mag together with Vans. They select a group of about 10skaters to go on a tour around the Basque Country, from which they make a video and a mag. The experience has been really good, getting to know new people and new places is always rewarding. In the first year it was all new, it was one of my first tours in Europe and I was very happy and a little nervous. In the second year I felt more confident because I already knew the filmer, Blai Costa, and the photographer, Gerard Riera. Most of the skaters on the tour are about the same age and it’s a lot of fun, a great experience.

Jechu Corvalán ~ No Comply Tailslide ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

Do you feel that, when you work hard and commit to something from the heart, that hard work pays off?

Yeah. I think effort and confidence are fundamental and skateboarding is a little bit about that. When you learn a new trick, you believe in yourself in order to imagine yourself doing it in the future. Your slams will help you learn until you achieve your goal. There are a lot of factors to it, but perseverance is key.

Besides being part of Vans Iberia, you are also part of the Censorship Skateboards team. Can you tell me a funny story from your last tour to Valencia?

The story of that trip is that we went just for the day, we left at 7am from Barcelona to Valencia. Roberto Aleman and Miguel Bahomon had a mission pending, I was working on the photos for this interview so I went to try my luck and happily we all achieved the mission and came back with photos and videos. And then a five hour drive back, it was intense!

Jechu Corvalán ~ Frontside 50-50 Grind ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

While working on this interview you were given the opportunity to start skating for Volcom as well. How did that happen?

I’m very happy about that, it’s still very recent but it was all managed by Roberto Aleman, who is now the team manager of Volcom Europe. I’m very grateful for all the trust and support he’s giving me lately. Skating with him and having him share his experiences and knowledge with me is a huge motivation.

You’ve been making a living as a skate teacher for years, especially with very young children. Have you always felt that calling to teach little kids? What is it that most fulfils you about being a skate teacher?

That’s right, I love teaching skateboarding to people of all ages. When I do it I feel like I’m helping someone to excel in many ways. People are happy after class because they’re able to do things they thought they couldn’t, it’s like I get to see everything I had to learn to be able to skate the way I skate today.

Jechu Corvalán ~ Half Cab Kickflip ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

Are there any projects coming out soon that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m working on a full part with Censorship, I can’t give you a date yet but I really want to do something good. Another one of my plans is to go on tour with Volcom for an upcoming video. Good things are happening and I’m more motivated than ever!

Jechu Corvalán ~ Backside Wallride ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

That’s great Jechu. Thanks a lot for sharing a piece of your story with Vague and for your time and energy in order to make this interview a reality. Congrats on your cover! It makes me very happy to witness you reap the rewards for all your hard work. Anything else you’d like to add before we finish?

I would like to thank my mom and dad, my family and friends in Chile, the new friends I made here and all the people who have helped me, listened to me, given me advice and believed in me. I’d like to thank you Raisa for all the sessions, your friendship and your great work as a photographer, and lastly I’d like to thank Reece and Vague for having me in this mag.

Jechu Corvalán ~ Pop Shove-it ~ Photo: Gerard Riera

Order Issue 36 + back issues of Vague here or by clicking below!