Louie Lopez is on fire right now. He was chosen as one of this year’s SLS Picks and won the 2017 Tampa Pro. Winning Tampa achieves one of the ways SLS Picks can earn full status as an SLS Pro and it guarantees Louie’s spot in this year’s SLS Nike SB Super Crown World Championship. On top of that, he dropped a serious Spitfire part in March that had the internet going nuts. The momentum is definitely on Louie’s side right now. We’re expecting big things from him at the SLS stops this year—which is why we decided to ring him up for an interview to get his take on everything.
How was Tampa?
Tampa was epic. It was definitely a Tampa for the books.
How many Tampa Pros have you been to?
Tampa Pros, I’ve probably been to about three I think. But I’ve been to a bunch of Tampa Ams. My first one was probably like eight years ago or something. It was a while ago. It’s crazy to win one.
Going into the whole weekend, did you think you were going to do as well as you did?
No, I didn’t at all. I was actually stressing because I never really do good at the Tampas. I never even made it to Finals. It’s just trippy. I didn’t even think that at all. I was like, “Whatever, Tampa’s fun either way.” You get to see all the homies—so it’s going to be fun no matter what. Once I got into the Finals, I was like, “Oh, damn, this is very cool. I made it into the Finals. I can check that one off the list.” And then—right as I was doing the run that I won on—I was like, “I just want to skate, whatever happens happens. I just want to get this over with at this point.” I could barely walk. I somehow landed everything, so I was like, “alright, cool.”
Did you have your run planned out or were you freestyling as the day went?
I tried to switch it up as much as possible as opposed to doing the same run 15 times throughout weekend. I had the first couple of tricks planned and then I was pretty much just seeing what happened after that.
I always like it when it’s not planned and it’s not seeing someone do the same run for two days straight.
Yeah, cause then you start to get to know what they’re going to do. It doesn’t get that exciting anymore. It’s like, “oh, he’s doing this, he’s doing that.”
Was the fakie tre at the end dedicated to Tom Penny? You had your arms out like his and everything.
It’s definitely a Tom-inspired trick for sure. I look up to Tom’s skating. He definitely inspired that one.
After winning Tampa, what’d you do to celebrate?
Not much really, after the contest we went to the Bricks and everyone was just hanging out there. Got turnt there. Then the next day was the flight home. Actually, when I got home I just went bowling with a bunch of friends. We had some drinks and went bowling. It was pretty fun.
Frontside Kickflip Disaster
What about the $20,000 that you won, any plans to spend that?
Nah, I’m not gonna spend that. I’m just gonna put it in the bank and figure it out from there. I’m definitely not just gonna blow it though.
Is that how you usually are with your dough? You’re not a big spender right, you’re kind of smart with your money.
Yeah, I’m not trying to win a bunch of money and I don’t know… you can buy something for $20,000—but I don’t need anything that’s worth $20,000. So yeah, I’ll just have it chilling for a bit.
What’s your approach for skating contests? Do you do anything to prepare for them, or do you just show up and skate?
I don’t really do much preparing. I skate a lot already. So it’s not like I have to go to the skatepark. I just show up and whatever happens happens. I’m not too strict on it.
How did you first hear about SLS, do you remember at all?
Obviously, when it first started up I remember hearing that everyone was being a part of it. There were a bunch of skaters that aren’t in it now. So you’d definitely hear about it. I remember going to watch one. It was crazy. It’s pretty insane to watch what people can do. It’s crazy in person.
This year, you’re an SLS Pick. And next year you’ll be an official SLS pro since you won Tampa. How does that feel?
It’s crazy. I was super happy to be a Pick. They probably felt bad for me because I always miss it by one every year. So they probably felt bad and were like, “Alright, we’ll just throw him in there.” I’m stoked that it all worked out. And I’m super stoked to go to Barcelona too. That will be fun.
Louie’s Future Looks Bright
How does skating a contest compare with filming a trick in the streets. There’s a certain amount of pressure involved with both. Do you approach them in the same way?
I definitely think that filming a trick in the streets and doing a trick in a contest are a little different in the sense that in the streets, depending on the spot you’re skating, you could have more time or less time. Sometimes you could have as long as you want to try to land a trick—take a couple of hours. You can try something that you’ve never done before. But in a contest, it’s more you gotta land it this try. You’re gonna go for what you have on lock as opposed to trying something that you’ve never done. But there’s some spots where you gotta land stuff first try. I guess in that sense, it goes hand-in-hand.
You’ve grown up in the skate industry. What, if anything, has changed in your perspective on skating over the years?
Not much, I still love skating just as much as I did when I was 10. I’m super hyped that it’s still that way. I guess I skate a little different now. I can ollie higher than I could when I was 10—so that’s better. But yeah, it’s still just the same love for it.
You’re such a well-rounded skateboarder. What shaped that? Who did you look up to when you were younger that influenced that type of skating?
When I first got on Volcom, I was all tranny. I was skating in pads in bowls. At one point, I was skating tranny more than street. I don’t like to be focussed on just one thing and only skate that. I don’t like to do the same thing every time. Even if it’s learning a new grab, that’s fun. One of the first videos I saw was Birdhouse The End and Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song Round 2. I just remember that there were always different sections—obviously the vert skaters and the street skaters, and mini ramps and stuff. Then there was, like, Daewon. He could do everything. He could do crazy shit on the quarterpipe, skate tables, and do manuals. I guess just seeing different things in different videos is what I wanted to do.
Do you have anything planned between now and the SLS Pro Open in May?
Right when I got back from Tampa I got back to the streets. I’m just trying to get as much footage as possible for the Converse video that’s going to come out next year. So I’m just trying to get some footage for that. I have a trip coming up to the East Coast for the Converse video. And then after that, I go to Barcelona.
Watch Louie Lopez skate the 2017 SLS Nike SB Pro Open in Barcelona May 20 & 21. Tickets available now!