This year we are switching up the judging panel for our European stops. The new panel consists of five legendary European pros: Daniel Lebron, Danny Wainwright, Florentine Marfaing, Enrique Lorenzo and Jesus Fernandez. Jesus was one of the judges at last year’s Pro Open. So we decided to sit down with him and talk about his thoughts on the new judging panel, what it’s like to judge an SLS contest & more.
How do you feel about the SLS European judging squad for this year?
I have a good feeling about the SLS European judges for this Year. It’s gonna be fun and exciting because we all know each other really well and we are all really stoked to be a part of this.
The European judging panel this year is made up of legends like Danny Wainwright from the UK who had the biggest Ollie in the world. He is an awesome skater and person. Flo Marfaing represents Germany and France. He is so sick and a great human as well. Then we have Enrique Lorenzo who is one of the first skaters from Barcelona and is so good. Finally there is Daniel LeBron who is also a legendary Spanish skater that I grew up skating with since we were 14 years old. So stoked!!
We are already getting good feedback from some of the pro skaters that are in the competition this year and that makes me feel really comfortable about it. I’m glad they think like that and they are stoked. It feels like it’s going to be a good competition with a warm and friendly ambient, which is what I enjoy.
I also want to thank the other judges from last year, Matt, Big cat, Aaron, Jimmy and Martin. These guys taught me all I know about SLS and how to judge it so I will miss them this year.
You judged the SLS Pro Open last year. What was that experience like?
It was a really good experience for me. There was some pressure, because you want to do it well. There’s so many tricks going on and everyone is skating super well. You have to be really focused because it’s a responsibility as well. I enjoy it—being there and watching the contest closely from the start. It was super fun.
What’s your overall impression of the skating in the SLS Pro Open?
It’s amazing! I’m always surprised. The level of skating is insane. I don’t skate that way. I do my tricks and take my time. I would be so nervous skating the contest. These guys surprise me every time.
Is it hard scoring the contest with so many crazy tricks going down?
Yeah, it’s hard. It takes concentration. I really have to focus and think mathematically. Sometimes I want to score the tricks too high because I skate and understand how hard the tricks are. But I know I have to chill and be conservative because someone can do something unexpected that should be scored higher. If you give 9s right away, what do you give to the next one?
Who are some of your favorite SLS Pros to watch during the contest?
Shane O’Neill is crazy. It’s unbelievable to see those tricks. Nollie crooks nollie flip out every time, stuff like that is amazing. Carlos Ribeiro, Tiago Lemos, everyone that’s in it is nice to watch.
What Pros that aren’t currently in SLS do you think have a shot at making it in through the Pro Open this year?
Maybe Sebo Walker and Josef Scott Jatta, those guys are good.
What’s it like having all of the SLS Pros in town for the event?
It’s nice having them here. The city gets a little bit more excited. All the kids are super stoked to see Paul and everyone. It brings something nice to the city.
What are some things that you would recommend people check out when coming to Barcelona?
That’s hard to answer. There’s a lot of nice things, but it’s also too packed sometimes. I would recommend to wake up earlier. I would say check out the Cathedral and eat a good paella. For skating, meet some locals and go to MACBA, of course.
How would you describe the current skate scene in Barcelona?
There’s been a big scene here in Spain for a long time. I don’t know how I would describe it. I guess we have the spots and good weather—in the winter it’s a little bit colder. I don’t know. It’s more like people doing it for fun. People that aren’t from here travel here to film for videos. But here, it’s more like a lot of people are just chilling.
How’s your part looking in the Lakai video?
I don’t know because I haven’t seen my footage. Sometimes I forget that I’ve done a trick. I hope I have a part, but I’m not sure. I still have a few more weeks. I don’t know if I’m going to have a part or share with someone. I think I could have done better. At the same time, I think I tried my best. I just turned 40 (laughs).
Anything else you want to add?
Just that I’m really stoked to be a part of the SLS judging panel again this year. I’m really excited to watch the Pro Open and Munich stops!
Watch the LIVE stream of the Pro Open FREE this weekend, May 20 & 21, on ETN. No subscription necessary.