Tommy Fynn was one of last year’s great stories. He made it into SLS through the Pro Open in Barcelona, then went on to take 3rd in New Jersey. He clearly learned the ropes through this experience and has a solid perspective on how things work going into the 2017 season. With this year’s Pro Open coming up soon, we decided to catch up with Tommy and get his take on the contest and what it takes to make it in.
What were your thoughts and feelings going into the Pro Open last year?
Last year was the second time that I was in the Pro Open. So I knew a lot more about how the format worked and what the course is like. So I went into it more confidently. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and just believed that I had it. I felt good and everything was working. It all worked out and I was stoked.
What was it like skating the Qualifiers on Day 1? Did you have a strategy?
Yeah, I had a strategy going into it. I had a plan of what I thought would be strong enough to get me to the next level. I started doing it and it was working. It was giving me the points that I thought I would get and that gave me more confidence. That was kind of the strategy.
How were the Qualifiers different for you in 2016 compared to your first Pro Open in 2015?
There was a big difference. The first year in 2015, it wasn’t like any other contest. I didn’t even think of that kind of thing. I just went into it like, “It’s just another contest. I’m just going to go, do my thing, and go skate.” SLS really isn’t like that. You have to know how the contest works. It’s different, you know? You have to be prepared. You have to know that you need two solid scores in the Run Section, and you need four bangers to add in the Best Trick. If you don’t really have a plan, then you kind of just fall apart. The first year in 2015, I was just kind of young and didn’t think about it as much. Even though I wanted it and thought it would be amazing to get into SLS, I was just kind of not prepared. I was stumped. I learned what to do the next year and put it together. And it all worked out, you know?
Tommy Fynn Fakie Ollie Switch Frontside Blunt
How did you feel at the end of Day 1 when you found out that you advanced to the next day? Were you surprised by how well you did?
I was surprised by how well I did. I qualified 1st. I got a really high score. I think it was a 31 maybe, or something like that. It was up there with people that win it. I think Shane and Nyjah, they got something like 32 or 33 last year. I was just tripping that I got a score like that. I wasn’t expecting it. I was just trying to get to the next round and figure it out from there. But just qualifying 1st with a score like that, that boosted my confidence going into the next day. I thought, “Man, I have to try to do the same thing.”
What was it like skating on Day 2 with all the SLS Pros?
It was dope. It was a different vibe. It was kind of like, “I’m in the mix now.” And those dudes are just on another level. They’re all in SLS, and so consistent and stuff like that. I remember that it was just a good feeling—skating with Shane, Nyjah, Paul, and all the homies. It was just cool being there for the second day. My whole mindset was just to do the same thing—stick to the plan and stay on the board.
How did you find out that you made it into SLS?
I think Shane. I stopped looking at the scores like that. Like watching each score, and watching where I was standing. That’s also a part of skating SLS—you’ve got to really be in it. Sometimes you don’t need a high score. But you don’t know what you need, and you try a hard trick and you miss it and you won’t make it in. You’ve gotta be aware of your score and what other people are doing. You’ve gotta be really in it. If you’re not, then you’re really just all over the place and things don’t work out. But I remember, I was really kind of young and so new to it that I was just skating. On the second day, in my head I just thought that I needed to do the same thing and I should get a similar score. I remember doing it and I was just sitting down. There was still maybe two or three heats of people to go. I didn’t know that I made it and was just watching people skate. There were only a few more people left and Shane was like, “Dude, you’re in. You made it.” I was like, “But it’s not even done yet, there’s still a few more dudes left to skate.” He was like, “It doesn’t matter. No one will be able to catch you.” I just remember tripping on that like, “Oh shit, I did it!”
Tiago Lemos & Tommy Fynn
What were your thoughts and feelings once he told you that you were in?
It was crazy because it was going into the second time of doing it. I wanted to make it happen. I had the strategy, had the plan. I remember him telling me and I didn’t really believe it. It was weird.
And how did it feel in Munich and the rest of the year in 2016 knowing that you’re in these events?
It was a dope feeling. It was a super good feeling knowing that I was in there now and there’s all of these opportunities. I’m gonna be traveling the world with all the other dudes. I’ll have the opportunity to win one of these and make better money. And just be in a better position in the game. I remember going to Munich and I was still learning. It was my first major event. It was in the arena, and I wasn’t used to that. I wasn’t as solid. I learned from that. Then, I went to the next one and knew what to do.
Tommy Fynn Backside Noseblunt
In New Jersey, you placed 3rd. Did you have a different approach for that one?
Yeah, a different approach for sure. I knew what to expect with the whole arena thing. And also, I told myself that I just need to be in it more and watch the scores and stuff like that. Before I was doing tricks and my scores weren’t that good. I didn’t know. I was just kind of doing some tricks. I started thinking of it in terms of these tricks will get me this type of score which will get me to where I need to be. I was just kind of thinking about it more and changed my approach. I remember I was in the Semi Final to qualify for the Final. I needed one more score to get in the Final. It didn’t have to be a big trick. I just needed a 7 or something. It could just be a mellow trick. It didn’t have to be the gnarliest thing. I remember talking to Shane about it. He said, “Just do something mellow, like noseblunt the rail, and you should get in.” That’s what’s cool about the contest. You’re never sure what’s going to get you in. You just do the trick and hope that it works out. I noseblunted the rail and got the score that I needed. I got in the Final, and that was a cool feeling. Once I get in the Final, I just try to think of something that will get me the win.
How did it feel being on that podium?
That was a crazy feeling, man. We were taking photos. Just being next to Nyjah—someone that wins these things all the time. He’s that good, you know? He’s won the Super Crown and is on top of the game. Cause I’ve known him for a while now, like a long time. I’ve seen him win these things over and over. Just being next to him and getting a SLS trophy for making the Top 3 was crazy. I was proud of myself.
Chris Joslin, Nyjah Huston, & Tommy Fynn
Now that you have a year under your belt, are you doing anything differently to prepare for the 2017 season?
Yeah, I kind of know what I’m getting into this year. I’m definitely excited. I don’t plan on doing anything too different, just the same sort of thing. Just check out the course before the contest and start thinking about what I could do on certain obstacles—what would be dope. And think about what would be good enough compared to what everyone else is doing. So the approach is just to check out the courses. I usually check out the courses a week before the contest and start thinking about tricks. Then I try to do those tricks before the contest. And when the contest comes, I try to do them on those obstacles. It’s always a good feeling skating these brand-new courses.
Who do you think people should be keeping an eye out for this year in the Qualifiers for the Pro Open?
I really think people should look out for Diego Najera just because of his style. He’s an amazing skateboarder. He’s powerful, but his style is just incredible. That would be awesome if he got in there. He’s just a straight street skater. And Yuto Horigome, my god, the kid is insane. I was just skating with him in Brazil. He was skating the contest and ended up getting 1st or 2nd. He’s super consistent. He’s an amateur young kid. There’s so many good dudes in there. Alec Majerus has always been gnarly. I feel like he should be in SLS. He’s at that point. And Boo Johnson too, he’s the homie. He’s got a dope style and good vibe.
Being that you made it into SLS through the Pro Open, do you have any advice for the skaters trying to make it in this year?
My advice would be to go in there with some sort of a plan. And just watch the contest. Be in it, you know? When you’re skating in it, watch the scores and watch what people are doing. Just being aware of what’s going on around you in the contest betters your chance of doing well. It’s a whole point system. You just have to watch where you’re standing in the contest and what you need to do to do a little bit better.
What else are you working on in 2017?
Right now, I’m working on Push with The Berrics. I’m almost done. After that, I want to put out another video part. I’m gonna put out a Thrasher part after that in October, towards the end of the year. I’m gonna try to put out two video parts this year. I want to get in some street skating. These contests are fun. I want to go skate them real quick, then come back and get back in the streets.
Tommy Fynn & Shane O’Neill
Tommy skates Day Two of the Pro Open this Sunday, May 21. Watch the LIVE stream FREE May 20 & 21 on ETN. No subscription necessary.