Words by Blair Alley, photos by Shigeo
As we head into what is sure to be another heated SLS weekend, this time up in Portland, Oregon, we got some phone time with Chris Cole to see how he’s preparing and what’s on his mind. Fresh off his first ever Street League win in Munich, Germany last month, Chris weighed in on SLS course design, the precision of street skating, and the superiority of Luan Oliveira.
Do you do anything different on weeks like this, when there’s a Street League contest coming up?
I try to skate a lot. That’s about it though. I don’t really do anything different.
Do you ever take a look at the course preview and then try to skate stuff that’s similar?
I do. I look at the CAD of the course and try to get a little bit of time in on some of the items. It usually doesn’t help at all, because skateboarding is so precise—if the tranny is a little bit steeper than what you were planning on, or if the bump is more mellow than the one you were skating, it completely throws everything off. You’re kind of screwed either way. I just skate similar-ish stuff and then I try to figure out the contest course the day before.
The Portland course looks like it has the most transition ever of a Street League course.
Yeah, there’s a lot in there, huh? I’m a big fan of air time.
Who do you think is going to have an edge with that transition?
It’ll help David [Gonzalez] for sure. Ishod is an animal on everything—add tranny and it’s extra. He’s pretty good at it. Sheckler likes to fly around. Some people will definitely be able to use it. I’ve found that I can’t really use the tranny to my advantage. Even though it seems great, either the trick I do before it doesn’t set me up with enough speed for the transition, or the trick I’m gonna do right after it requires me to go a bit slower so I can’t be blasting off the tranny.
Do the SLS pros have any hand in the design of the courses?
They take our input, and we give them feedback with each course that’s made. What we like, what we dislike about it—what gets used, what doesn’t get used. A lot of info. We don’t help in the design of it beforehand, it’s a mystery to all of us.
How did it feel to finally win your first Street League in Germany?
It was awesome. It was just such a good feeling to have won that. The stress of not having won any of them was starting to get really high. When people start saying, “Man it seems like you can’t win them.” I’d rather not talk about it but yeah, it hasn’t worked out. It’s also a completely different contest than the ones I’ve been used to. It’s like winning a different type of contest for the first time, so it’s neat.
Did you get Nyjah any sort of gift for not going to Germany?
No. The tricks are the tricks, you know what I mean? People say that, “Well, Nyjah wasn’t there.” Yeah, well, the dudes came pretty damn correct even without Nyjah. The tricks that happened, happened. It was pretty hairy. You’re not just competing with Nyjah out there, although he does win a lot of them—you’re competing with everybody. Portland is gonna be really good because there’s no handrail, there’re no hubbas, it’s just drops. Luan hasn’t been able to win one either and he is so superior at doing tricks down stairs than most of us. So it’s gonna be very interesting.
Is there one dude that’s your favorite of the Street League pros to watch skate these courses?
I really like Tom Asta. I like Ishod, I like all the dudes. I usually get pretty psyched for P-Rod, and the better Mikey does, the happier I get. I always wanna see Tom in the finals, I wanna see Mikey in the finals, and any chance to watch P-Rod is always a good deal.
Who’s one guy you’d add to Street League if you had the executive power?
That is tough. That’s really a hard one. There’s a lot of greats out there. I always like to see Koston, and I know he’s kind of out right now, I get that there are bloodthirsty animals out there that want to jump in and go ape-shit, but I really appreciate watching Koston just be himself. The tricks he does, absolutely he does them like Koston, so you’re a fan. Then his personality shines through and I think it’s great for the overall show that is the contest.
Catch SLS world stop #5 from Portland, Oregon July 13 and 14. Check the TV schedule and catch updates and wrap ups right here on twskate.com.