Kickin’ It: An Inside Look at the Life of a Professional Skateboarder

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Kelvin Hoefler talks about life on the road, what he looks for in a sponsor and more.

Louie Lopez nails a Fakie Flip (Photo by Jake Darwen)


The Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Nike SB World Tour landed at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles last weekend with Nyjah Huston and Lacey Baker winning the Men and Women’s Super Crown World Championship, respectively. Huston and Baker competed against the world’s best skateboarders and 2020 Olympics hopefuls in front of a packed arena.

Fans around the world watched the 2017 SLS Nike SB World Tour live on ETN, the only digital OTT network created by skateboarders featuring original skateboarding shows and live events.

Earlier in the week I sat down with former Super Crown champion, 24-year old Kelvin Hoefler from Brazil, and talked about the skateboarding industry and traveling the world for contests.

“First stop was in Tampa, FL and I did pretty good getting third, then Barcelona and Munich which I’ve never been to before. I like going to new countries because the fans are always different.”

Kelvin Hoefler lands a Nollie Nose Bluntslide. Photo by Justin Crawford)

Hoefler also competed last summer on the Dew Tour and spoke about the contrast between the events.

“The formats vary, like in Tampa you get a one-minute run, and same with the X-Games. Here at SLS you get two minutes to land five types of tricks. We have to adapt to every contest.”

When discussing sponsorships Hoefler was quite open about what he looks for.

“It’s about being comfortable for me. If I like shoes with no laces then I’ll wear Vans. This skate deck by Ammo is the best so I ride with them.”

Lacey Baker hits a Backside 5–0 grind (Photo by Jake Darwen)

The G-SHOCK endorsed athlete is known as one of the most technically sound skaters on tour and I wanted to find out what his favorite trick was.

“I like doing kickflips a lot, I enjoy doing flip tricks for sure,” he added.

Typically skateboarders ride the streets with few spectators, in contrast to a major event like this one inside a sold-out arena.

Hoefler describe the environment stating,

“Yeah it’s going to be gnarly, I like it. I enjoy the added pressure.”

Now that skateboarding has been added as an official sport for the summer Olympics I got the Brazilian’s thoughts looking ahead to Tokyo 2020.

“I’m down! I’ve been waiting for this announcement so I can’t wait to be there. It’s going to be so next level for us skateboarders. It’s been a long time…I’ve been waiting my whole career.”

At the end of this Los Angeles stop, Hoefler put up amazing tricks and walked away with a 3rd place finish.

Nyjah Huston celebrates his win (Photo by Joey Shigeo)

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.


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