Going pro and winning contests back to back. Yuto Horigome is on the top of the world with numerous accomplishments. Rising gold medal contender for the 2020 Tokyo Games looks back on the year 2019 and beyond.
──YUTO HORIGOME (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
VHSMAG (V)： You just had your 21st birthday, congratulations. Now you can drink in the US.
Yuto Horigome (H)： Thank you. Yeah, I can finally go to a bar. I never could before. Now I can hang out with my American friends at a bar.
V： It sucks that you're the only one who can't go to a bar during trips.
H： I know, we had to go some other place to eat just because I couldn't get in.
V： How's living in LA? How long has it been since you moved out there?
H： About two years. Actually it's been a year and half since I moved but I'd been going back and forth staying there for three months at a time. I made a lot of friends and skated with so many pros... it's a great environment.
V： Who do you hang out with in the daily basis?
H： I live with Dashawn Jordan so I hang out with him the most but also Shane O'Neill and April team. I sometimes skate with Nike SB teammates like Eric Koston, Sean Malto and Ishod Wair too.
V： Now Yuto Horigome is a pro that pretty much every skater in the world knows about. Do you still get stoked when you meet pros that you admired as a kid?
H： Yeah, I still get stoked. I still get a little nervous when I skate with Shane.
V： How's your English now?
H： It's way better now. I mean we're friends, so I just go with the flow.
V： You have to film, skate contests, go on trips... you must be super busy. How's your everyday like?
H： In LA, I just eat, skate and film (laughs). I sometimes go out bowling on friends' birthdays. I go out and eat with friends a lot but I can't really travel privately. So I rarely go out to have fun.
V： Did you get your driver's license?
H： Well, I failed the test three times... (laughs). I failed the first time because I didn't practice at all. That's understandable but the second time I practiced so much. I checked the car and when I was about to start, battery ran out. So I couldn't take the test and had to wait for two months to take the third one. I prepared for the test but... I didn't pass (laughs).
V： You can get the license in a day in the US, right? You've got to pass the fourth one.
H： I know, but the third one was terrible... I thought I did good but I was told to look at the side mirror every five seconds. I was like, "I'm not good at driving so if I do that I'll get in an accident!" I complained but it didn't work.
V： You went pro for April in May. In July you won SLS LA stop. You won X Games in August and China ISO in September. 2019 must have been a tremendous year for you. How do you feel looking back?
H： Early 2019 was not really good though... There were contests where I couldn't even make it to the finals. Two years ago I was winning SLS three times in a row so it was a big drop. I had my ups and downs... I thought contest was done for me. Somehow I managed to bring things back so that was good.
V： How was going pro for April?
H： Going pro in the US was my childhood dream and it's Shane's new brand... I'm super happy to go pro for my favorite skater. It's definitely a dream come true.
V： You had a cake smashed on your face (laughs).
H： They handed me the board out of the blue and smashed it from the behind. I wasn't expecting that. It was during an Australian trip.
V： You went pro for one of the best brands and have been winning global contests. That's something unheard of in Japanese skate scene.... How do you see your accomplishments?
H： Honestly, I just chased my goals and this is what happened.
V： Your dad is a skater and he completely understands how much this means. He must be proud of you. Did he say anything about you going pro?
H： Well, no... we don't really talk about that kind of thing... (laughs)
V： Okay (laughs). Then what's your ideal skater like?
H： Ideal skater for me is someone who can make a good video part and win contests. I want to be able to have a distinct style too. It's just that I haven't made a good video part yet. I don't have a video part that I can be proud of. So I need to work on that. I have a lot going on this year so maybe next year. I want to start filming again after all the contests are done, mix the footage with the ones I've been saving and make a video part that I can be happy with.
V： When you say you have a lot going on this year, the Olympics must be one of them. You're currently ranking second so I assume you'll make it but when exactly is it going to be announced?
H： It seems like it won't be announced until the last minute. So you'll never know.
V： Do you have any restrictions for the Olympics? Is there anything you're being careful about?
H： We have doping test so that's a thing. I don't take supplements so I'm fine but I don't drink someone else's drinks anymore. I used to not care about it but who knows what's going to happen, you know. I don't take cold medicine too but I heard sometimes that can get in the way.
V： With the Olympics, I'm sure you have opportunities to work with people outside of skating. Anything that sticks out? You've been working with a pretty idol today (laughs).
H： Yeah, I get to meet many people and I've been doing a lot of shoots recently. Today was fun (laughs).
V： Sorry you have to work with an old guy like me after a young pretty girl. By the way, Nike SB Japan just released their first video WAMONO.
H： My footage is a bit old though... Like I said, I've been saving new ones for my solo part. I want to use them for the part I'm going to start filming after all the contests. So the best ones will go into it. I won't be able to finish my part if I don't save the best ones... But all the guys like Taihou Tokura and Keyaki Ike is in it so I'm stoked about the video.
V： Aside from contests and filming, anything planned in the near future?
H： No, not really. I'm just skating. Just skate and have fun with my buddies and learn new tricks. That's pretty much it.
V： Okay, anything you want to achieve through skating?
H： This is a goal but the Olympics... Well, at first I wasn't really interested but there's a chance that I can skate in it. I also have sponsors that support me so now I really want to skate in the Olympics and do my best. And the fact that it will be held in my hometown Tokyo is a big thing. I'm looking forward to it. Plus I want to have an awesome video part filmed in the street. It'd be hard this year but definitely hoping to get it out next year.
Born in Tokyo in 1999. Yuto has been winning contests and charging the streets with his all-round skills and creative trick selection. He went pro for April last year and is one of the faces of Nike SB and XFLAG.