BRAZILIAN PRODIGY AT SLS NEW JERSEY STOP
──KELVIN HOEFLER (ENGLISH)
Interview by VHSMAG, Photos by Ryan Zimmerman, Special thanks: G-SHOCK, Street League Skateboarding
VHSMAG (V)： How did you get into skateboarding? You started skating in Brazil, right?
Kelvin Hoefler (H)： Yeah, I started skating in Brazil. My dad used to skate, so he gave me a board. He helped me keep going. He helped me a lot with skateboarding.
V： How was it like growing up skating in Brazil? I feel like all the spots are really rough and kind of hard to skate.
H： Yeah. It's kind of like New York. It's pretty hard to skate over there because you don't have much parks. We grew up skating in the streets. It was pretty fun though.
V： When did you start skating?
H： I started skating when I was about nine years old.
V： How old are you now?
V： Any skate video part that you were influenced by?
H： I like Chris Cole's "Ride the Sky", like right now if I watch the video I feel like grabbing my board and try to skate.
V： And now you're skating together at the Street League.
H： Yeah, it's pretty crazy. I'm friends with him a lot, so I told him other times, you're my idol. He's so sick. He's so stylish. He's nice.
V： You’ve been skating contests since you were a kid, so you’re not new to contests. But all of a sudden last year, you won the Super Crown.
H： Yeah, I got into Street League through Tampa Pro. I got third place, so I got a spot on Street League.
V： And in the first year at the Street League, you won the Super Crown. How do you concentrate and get in the zone? What's the secret to skating well in contests?
H： I don't really know. I just try to skate and have fun with my friends. Just pick some good tricks and try to land them. At the Super Crown last year, I qualified in the last spot, which is 8th place. And after the first runs I got last place. I wasn’t landing any of my tricks, so I was the first one to start the finals. I was like, “Okay, I'm going to do it for myself because I know these tricks. I need to... I've done this so many times, why not right now?” I just tried to keep it calm and do it for myself because I know how to do the tricks. I just needed to keep calm and do the tricks.
V： That makes sense. Was that a life changing experience for you?
H： Yeah, it changed my life. There were changes with my sponsors and my family. I could help out my family with it. It's pretty nice.
V： You live in LA right now. When did you move out there and what was the reason?
H： I moved to LA two years ago because in LA they have a bunch of parks. I have a lot of friends in LA like Manny Santiago and Paul Rodriguez, so it's good skating with the guys. They push my skating. And I need to live in LA because it's like the center of skateboarding. I do a lot of contests all over the world, so the best place to live was LA. Also I wanted to make a part for Thrasher, I moved to LA so I could go film.
V： Okay, and that became the Green Card part for Thrasher. That was an amazing part.
H： Thanks, man. Thank you.
Kelvin Hoefler’s Green Card part from Thrasher.
V： So you won the Super Crown in the rookie year. But this year, I heard you got injured. What happened?
H： Yeah, I got injured so this New Jersey stop is my first Street League contest of the year. I broke my leg in Tampa, which was my first contest of the year. It was pretty stupid. I was just playing on the board and I fell off my board. It wasn’t even in the contest. I was just playing around with my friends, just having fun. The doctor told me a month ago that I could walk and that's when I started skating again. I’m 100% healed physically, like medically, but I need to get back on my tricks. That will take longer. I’m here because I like the energy of the contest. Next year I’ll be strong enough, less nervous because I went from the top and then to the bottom. All I have to do is just build my way back. I think coming to this contest was better for me, so that I won’t feel nervous when I’m back next year. Like, “Okay, I'm going to start the season again.”
V： G-Shock is sponsoring the Street League for the first time this year, and you ride for them. How did you get hooked up with them?
H： I got hooked up with them in Brazil. I’ve always liked their watches, and I’d send them a message on Twitter for G-Shock Brazil and they were like, “Oh, let's talk.” I’d always wear G-Shocks. I wanted to skate for G-SHOCK because that was my favorite watch brand.
V： What's the best thing about G-Shock?
H： It's so stylish. It doesn't break. I like the design of it. I see it a lot and when I skate it feels so comfortable. Some watches, it's pretty hard to skate. When I put the G-SHOCK watch on, it feels good like having a brand new board. I especially like the GA110. That’s a sick watch.
V： If you could do anything with them, what would that be?
H： Yeah, a pro model would be sick. If I can have a pro model, that would be the next level.
V： Is there any particular function that you use with G-Shock watch?
H： I use the timer every time. Like today, I did that 60 seconds challenge called “A Minute to Win It” with Micky Papa. I use the timer to practice for my runs too. For example, I feel out the 45 seconds for the Street League run. I do it every time.
V： You're 22 and you still got a lot of time ahead of you. Is there anything you want to achieve through skateboarding?
H： I want to go to the Olympics, 2020 in Tokyo. I've never been there. I want to go there so bad.
V： If you make it in the Olympics 2020 Tokyo, are you going to be skating for Brazil?
H： Yeah, Brazil. Yeah, I'd be skate for Brazil. I'm going to train so hard for that. I want to go. That’s my focus for my career. The core part of skateboarding will always be there. That's not going to change anything. It's not going to change at all. I'm going to skate every day, and I'm going to skate in the Olympics.
G-SHOCK’s Kelvin Hoefler, known for his amazing tech and hammer tricks, won the Street League Super Crown with his consistent skating and got his name out there to the whole world in 2015. Kelvin currently resides in LA.