Greg Weatherall © Lat34
Second Place for SandroOct 14 2006 / Orlando, FL
Brazilian skater Sandro Dias has had a huge year: He won the X Games, placed 2nd at the Slam City Jam, and placed 2nd place in the overall Dew Tour standings with his performance in tonight’s Finals. He’s skating faster, launching higher, and using more of the ramp than any of his competitors, and with tricks like the Gnar Jar (a physically jarring 540 spin to tail) and the elusive 900, he can be unbeatable when he’s at his best. Dias sat down for an exclusive Lat34 interview before he hit the Vert ramp for the PlayStation Pro Finals:
Lat34: It’s been a good year for you!
Sandro Dias: Thanks, man. I’m having a great time. It’s a dream for me.
Lat34: I bet when you came to the U.S. from Brazil to make it as a pro skater, it didn’t occur to you that you’d be skating at events like the Dew Tour and find so many other Brazilians here! Besides you and Bob Burnquist, I count 6 other Brazilian skaters here in Orlando. What’s going on down there?
SD: You’re right! We have a lot of good skaters, and we have had a lot of growth in the sport in Brazil. For some reason it’s just huge in Brazil right now. It’s one sport the kids love to do. There’s no coach, no team, none of that. It’s just something you do for yourself: you train, you create, and you push yourself to always be better. I think it’s just something kids are drawn to: You work on your own tricks, you skate with your friends, and you have a good time. It’s very Brazilian!
Lat34: Let me ask you about one of your most famous tricks, the Gnar Jar. It seems totally counterintuitive to spin a nice smooth 540 and then crack your tail on the coping on reentry. It doesn’t look like it should even be possible.
SD: It’s easy for me to do spin tricks, and one time somebody asked me if I’d ever thought about trying a 540 to tail. I was like, ‘What? That’s impossible!’ But once I get something in my head, I just want to try, try, try. The first time I ever landed it was at the best trick contest at a Vans Triple Crown event in Cleveland. Even I was surprised, the first time. I said to myself, “Well, I guess it’s possible.” It’s such a weird trick, it’s hard to even try to explain it to somebody.
Lat34: What about the 900? There are still only a handful of people anywhere who can spin it, yourself included.
SD: I might not even be on that list anymore! It’s been more than a year since I’ve landed it. But I will say this: Tony Hawk worked on that trick for more than 10 years, and because of all of his work, I was able to learn it in 6 months. Then again, I had the foam pit at Woodward to thank for it, too. If you want to know why the sport is progressing so fast, thank Woodward.
Lat34: Let’s talk about the Dew Tour. You won in Portland, and got 2nd in San Jose, and Denver. If it weren’t for a 19th place finish in Louisivlle, you would be in first right now. What went wrong there?
SD: I don’t want to make excuses, but when I have a hard time on my mind, I don’t skate well. At the beginning of the summer, I was in trouble with my girlfriend! I try to separate the different parts of my life, but at that time it was very hard. Now I’m good: My life is great, I’m traveling everywhere, I have a new girlfriend, and I’m skating at my best. It’s important to balance your life!
Lat34: You and Bucky Lasek were running head to head for the Dew Cup in the overall points contest all season. How much rivalry is there?
SD: I’ve been thinking about it, but I try to stay calm and just go for it, stay on my board, focus on my tricks. I plan runs out in my mind. If I would do all that I’m thinking of, then I have a chance to go good! But I want to see Bucky doing good too. I don’t want to see anybody falling or doing bad. I just want to do my best and see what happens: Go fast and high and use every inch of the ramp.
Lat34: You mentioned the travel. You’ve been all over the place this year. What’s your favorite place?
SD: I have two homes now, a house in Costa Mesa, California and my house in Brazil, but I’m always traveling. I never even stay in my own houses! I like Asia. I just got back from China last week for a trip to the new Shanghai park. It’s crazy. Everything is totally different there. The people are so nice, and so excited to see skaters. They have this huge park with a monster vert ramp, but you walk around with a skateboard and people come up to you asking, “What is that?” The first time I went to the park I was asking around to find out who some of the best local skaters were. They were like, “Well, there are 40 or 50 skaters in China. But it will grow.” I love it.
Lat34: Now that it’s turned out to be such a huge international thing, what do you think of all the talk about skateboarding in the Olympics?
SD: Oh yeah, for sure: I would love to see skateboarding in the Olympics and I would love to be a part of it. I know the core skateboarding people don’t like the idea, but I disagree. I think it’s good for skateboarding. It’s good for everybody. Whether it’s the Dew Tour, the X Games, or the Olympics, I think it’s really important for skateboarding to be involved in these events. Would people rather see it disappear? The Dew Tour came along at just the right time, and all these sports started growing again. That’s where all the… the… progression comes from. Sorry, my English is still not so good.
Lat34: No, you don’t have to apologize at all. But that reminds me: I know you want to stay true to your Brazilian roots, but have you ever thought about translating your website into English?
SD: I have to! I always say I’m going to do my website in English, but then I get lazy. I promise: Next year – English website. But anybody who loves skateboarding should learn to speak some Portuguese and come on down to Brazil.