It's the 27th annual Tampa Pro event & Monster legend Kelvin Hoefler is here for it. The two-time X Game gold medalist took second place in a heated final against Shane O’Neill. Although the competition was fierce, every skater was stoked to be there and skate with the crew. In between sessions, we talked to Kelvin about competing in this iconic pro event and what's next.
Congratulations Kelvin you’ve had a hell of a year so far. First a Silver Medal at the Summer Olympics in Men’s Skateboard Street, and now another podium at Tampa Pro, held at the legendary Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT). If it’s even possible, please explain to the Monster audience what the difference is between the Olympics and the Tampa Pro contest?
Yeah, it's been a great year so far and I’m super stoked! The Olympics is a big competition event and has a big impact on the world because everyone’s watching. From my experience, I earned the first medal for Brazil so every single person in Brazil was sitting in front of the TV waiting for Brazil to earn the first Olympic medal, and that was me (laughs). It was so unreal all the media coverage I got because of that. Tampa Pro is more of a traditional skateboard event where we always have fun and see our friends. It’s like a professional skateboarder “must do.” At Tampa Pro, we are all winners just to be there celebrating one more year of such a fun skateboard contest. It really doesn’t matter your placement in the end because at least for me, I’m stoked to be there.
Unlike SLS or the Olympics, the SPoT course was wood-based rather than cement, making it less nerve-racking to fuck up. After skating it, what’d you think of the course? Did you try anything new while you were there?
It feels good to skate in a wood-based course. It definitely hurts less when we fall and is a little easy on our bodies. The course at SPoT is always fun and the vibe of the fans is amazing. I love coming to Tampa every year. I did try some new tricks in the finals I hadn’t done in the previous days like the sugarcane.
Before Tampa, X Games, all of it, what’s your ritual before you compete?
I just try to stay calm and try to stay on my board because most of the events lately have been only best tricks. Tampa is a run contest so I try to stay on my boards and not fall.
What new trick are you working on, and how do you master it?
I’ve been trying a lot of new tricks, but I like to use them at the most important events when I need it the most. I just keep practicing every day until I have the new tricks on lock.
Winning gear: from your shoes to your wheels, to your board. What’s the formula for your best performance?
Catiba Pro’s from Cariuma shoes, Powell Peralta Flight 7.9 boards because they don’t break, silver trucks, Powell 51 mm wheels, Bones bearings and Mini Logo grip tape.
How many boards do you bring to a competition?
I used to bring 7-8 boards. Since I switched to the unbreakable Powell boards, I only bring around 3 boards now cause I like new graphics.
You have said in the past that skateboarding is a lifestyle, and it’s all about trying tricks and skating with friends. Now that you’ve made it big time, has that changed? Do you feel the need to balance skating as a hobby and now a career?
Skateboarding is still the same, friends are the same, and the most important: having fun skateboarding is still the same. I think all the spotlight we get is a great way to make skateboarding bigger and allow more people to know how rad skateboarding is.
What are 4 key nuggets of advice for all the young skaters out there?
1. Love what you do
2. Always have fun skating
3. Keep doing as much as you can
4. Don’t give up.
Dude, you’re a two-time X Games gold medalist, took silver in Men’s Skateboard Street at the Tokyo Olympics, and have a world record for the “most wins of the World Cup Skateboarding men’s street world rankings”, after accomplishing all this, what’s the next goal?
Yeah, it’s been a lot of great accomplishments in my career and I can’t complain, I feel very blessed. My goal is to keep pushing, learning new tricks, and bringing the best of street skating to arenas around the globe.
Now the question everyone has been waiting for is, what's your favorite Monster drink?
My favorite Monster drink is Hydro, I like all the flavors.