Heitor Da Silva Interview

All photography by Alex Pires.

‘Woke up late but I’m ready soon, just having some breakfast’.

It’s 14:32 on a Thursday and I’ve been trying to get in contact with Heitor for about 24 hours, which to be honest is not even really that crazy an amount of time to be AWOL, especially for a professional skateboarder, but I’ve been stressing a bit because I’ve kind of fucked it and left this thing to the very last minute. Anyway now that I’ve heard back I’ve started to relax… I’m also quite hyped on the angle we’ve come up with for the interview, and it should be relatively straight forward.
At 15:41 I get a message saying he’s ready. I catch myself envying this lifestyle that allows a man to finish his breakfast at that time in the afternoon midweek, then lol when I remember that he’s actually an hour ahead in Malmö so it’s really 16:41 where he is.
Minutes later his cheeky face pops up onto my screen, he’s lying down on a couch munching crisps and filming himself from above. Obviously looking as chirpy and care-free as ever. I was under the impression that I was feeling quite serene now that I’d gotten through to him but I just caught a glimpse of my sullen, grey face in the video and in contrast I look like the human embodiment of the word ‘prang’. Just chill, I tell myself, he’s here, you’re sitting on some extremely wholesome questions; what could possibly go wrong?

Nollie backside nosegrind revert, Cascais.

Arthur: Eeeey how’s it going?
Heitor: Yeah I’m good man. A bit hungover today but I’m chilling. How are you?

Yeah I’m alright thanks! Okay so we’re going to do something a bit different today as you’ve had a million interviews in the last three years. What we’ve done is ask a bunch of students from Bryggeriet, your old school, to submit some questions they’d like to ask you. Sound alright? You’ll see they’re pretty cute.

Okay so the first one is from Vilma  Ståhl who’s 17 and from Stockholm: ‘How does the drip affect your skating and mood?’
Uh it does affect that quite a lot actually… If I’m gonna skate, I better be wearing what I wanna wear… And it better be drippy ha ha. I’m sure not everyone is like that, but me, I really need to have clothes I like and for them to be comfortable.

Next one is from Sigurd  Løland who’s 18 and from Trondheim: ‘Since you finished school you have been all around the globe. What are the main differences between Scandinavian, European and American skating?’
I feel like maybeee… Maybe like especially in Sweden they skate a lot of transition – actually I don’t know, I feel like most places they feel quite the same but yeah there’s all types of flavours. But maybe some places they skate more street, and vice-versa, know what I mean? I’m not really sure if I’d put like… Uuumh. What’s the question again?

Ha ha ha this is going to be fun. Basically they want to know if you can think of any differences between skating in America, Europe and Scandinavia, I think.
Ah. Hmmm. Maybe let’s come back to that one.

Yeah okay. So this other kid called Lars Grimen, 17, from Bergen says, ‘I see you are always skating. I have even seen you skate alone on the mini ramp. What motivates you to stay skating so hard?’
What’s this kid’s name again? Love?

Fuck okay… Hmm I just wanna skate I guess. I get bored really quickly. If I’m not skating I’m probably doing something else. Right now it’s winter so we’ve been playing this game a lot, it’s called Left For Blood or something. It’s on PlayStation, it’s pretty good… I like playing a lot of Zombie games, like Call of Duty: Zombies and shit. But I try to stay pretty occupied because I don’t do anything else, like I don’t have an everyday job.

Okay, 16-year-old Vincent Ax from Malmö submitted: ‘Adidas and Palace seem like a perfect fit, but who would you ride for if it wasn’t those two?’
Hmm. Nobody.
Yooo these questions are like… I’m really trying to put myself in these people’s heads but it’s hard. Uh… I don’t know, I just feel like I’m not crazy about many brands that are out these days.

What about if it could be any brand ever?
Hmm then maybe I’d wanna skate for Shorty’s or some shit?

‘What skater or skaters have influenced you the most?’ This one’s from Simon  Wulff who’s 17 and from Höganäs.
There’s so many… I watch a lot of skate videos. I watch a lot of Ishod Wair; I obviously watch a lot of Keenan Milton. Oski, Grant Taylor, Kyle… And then just the rest of my friends, which is maybe a lame answer but it’s true. I could mention a bunch of people but I’m too fried in my head right now…
How many questions are there?

Haha, I dunno like 10/15? Alright Ivan  Thorelius 17, from Lund: ‘Many of us see you as a style icon. What and who inspires you?’
I watch a lot of music videos and movies… It comes from a bunch of different shit, I really like Hip-Hop, Techno… If I see a good fit in a movie it might come out later but it’s not something I’m really conscious of so it’s hard to say stuff in particular. I guess I’m watching this show right now called Black Mafia Family and they’ve got some real nice furs in some of the episodes I’ve been watching, so I’ve been thinking about furs…

Backside nosebluntslide gap-out, London.

This one cracks me up: ‘I know you turned pro in a Malmö parking garage, what is the biggest difference between being a ripping amateur to becoming a pro skater?’ That’s from Karsten Andersen, who’s 16, from Drammen.
Literally no difference I must say. I got a little raise but besides that… Yeah I can’t really think of anything else. The party was sick though, the moment and the way it was done, but I don’t get too carried away with the title if you know what I mean? The feeling hasn’t changed. They probably think I woke up in a new Bugatti or some shit ha ha.

Theodor  Håkansson who’s 17 and from Lund says, ‘I’m currently recovering from knee surgery. I know you have had knee problems too. How have you coped with injuries?’
I feel like I haven’t done as much as I should have… I try to stretch and to do some exercises but I need to get my shit fixed as well. It is what it is though… You should just tell him to do what his doctors tell him to do.

Ha ha yeah no shit.
I’m just saying that because I know I’ve been slack in the past so I know for a fact you really need to keep doing that shit. I don’t know, I don’t really have too much to say about that… Doctor’s instructions you know what I mean?

Okay Lars-Andreas, 16 from Gjøvik wants to know what you think about Norwegian brand Shit Skateboards?
Yooo! I come from a city where there was a friend of mine called Martin, and he was my idol when I was a kid because he was sponsored by Shit. And then I got some boards from him, like a flow ting at some point… And I don’t know too much about it other than that was the shit I wanted to be on when I was a kid. Oh and I remember they didn’t turn people PRO, they turned people BRO ha ha. And so what, he asked me what I think of it?

Nah man, that’s a legendary brand!

Crooked grind tailgrab, Malmö.

Leo  Emanuel who’s 16 and from Stavanger submitted: ‘What was it like to come from a small town like Haugesund and come to Malmö, and what was the scene like there?’
I feel like I’d been skating for a long time in Haugesund and when I left for Malmö there weren’t really that many people skating there anymore, which is also one of the reasons why I wanted to come here. And when I got here there were also a bunch of people from Norway, from Denmark, from all over, so it was kind of refreshing. I definitely started skating a lot more when I got here. Yeah I don’t know, Malmö is sick; I met a lot of great friends here and I’m still not out of it so…

How long have you been there for now?
Four years maybe? But in between I lived in Copenhagen for like two years. But it’s still this area…

How come you came back?
Because of Covid. Sweden had really chill rules and I wouldn’t have to lock down if I came to Sweden, so on the last day it was open in Copenhagen I convinced some friends to come get my bags and take the train back with them, and I moved to Malmö into my friends’ place over night like that. But as I said I like being here too so I don’t mind.

Alright back to these guys’ questions: ‘The Forum shoe was your pro model before it became the shoe on everyone’s feet. How did you pick the model and could you see the popularity it would gain?’ That’s from Marcus  Tingvold who’s 16 and from Gjøvik.
It just comes from a basketball shoe and I was brought up watching skate videos from the 2000s and everyone skated shoes that had like the colour cut and then the white inside you know what I mean? So it’s basically just that, bringing back something I liked from being a kid. And other brands have that shoe too but I feel like adidas didn’t really have any big shoes like that, which is why I wanted it. But yeah I didn’t really expect people to like it that much, especially because I didn’t think it looked that different from other shoes but I really loved it! It’s nothing new but it’s just something I like, you know what I mean?

Kickflip, Belem.

‘A lot of skaters have an image and seem super cool on their social media, but have you ever met someone who has been really disappointing when meeting them in person?’ That’s from Halfdan  Godtlibsen  Johansen from Stavanger who is 17.
Hmmm I don’t know… Nah I don’t think so, everyone is cool to me.

‘Liam  Isenberg who is 17 and from Kalmar says: ‘Seriously, how do you get that
good and that stylish? Please take us through the steps!’
Man! Ha ha ha what is this shit! I’m too hungover for this… I don’t know, uh, ‘keep skating?’

‘Everybody has tricks that come hard for them, what is the one trick that you can never seem to learn?’ That’s from Elvis  Bjerke who’s 16 and from Visby.
Hmm. I’ve got to think… I don’t know, I think I’m pretty satisfied, you know what I mean?

Ha ha ha
Well, like if I want to learn something I’ll probably learn it. I’m not talking about like tre flip crook or some shit but for like the basic shit…

Lars-Andreas  Tingvold, who’s 16 and is from Görvik asked: ‘What was it like to skate with Gonz and other big names on your first film projects?’
Pretty terrifying the first time… Like every time I meet someone when I already know who they are it throws me off a little bit, but then you get to know them and they’re people too, so it’s chill. But then obviously when I’m skating with Gonz I’m a bit like, shit, this man is like 50 years old! I always think like damn, he’s probably seen so much, you know what I mean? He’s been doing it for so long… What was the question again?

Ha ha. He was asking what it felt like to skate with people like Gonz or other famous pros on your first few big video projects.
Yeah well I guess just from being someone that appreciates skating it’s amazing but as I said it was terrifying too. I also sort of started doing this shit kind of out of the blue and hadn’t practised my English too much… So just articulating myself was hard and then meeting someone or being put in a situation with someone that you already know something about, at times it would be too much for that little head of mine. But eventually I’d talk and it’d be chill.

Benjamin  Köhling, 20, from Haderslev: ‘When did you realise that skateboarding could be your career?
When I started getting paid.

Switch backside tailslide gap-out, Valencia.

This one’s actually from one of your old teachers, Jonas  Wildros. So he says – actually first, what did he teach?
He was like my contact teacher, so Swedish and stuff like that… I don’t quite remember.

Ha ha ok. ‘I would love to know what you got out of being in my class, but as a football fan I am even more curious about what it was like to meet the Juventus team?’
It was fun but I remember having to wake up at eight in the morning to get there, then get these passes to get into the stadium… It felt like we were entering this secret government building or something. We had to put stickers on our phones and shit because we weren’t allowed to take pictures. Then we had to wait for them for like two hours or something in the locker room… I remember we were trying to go to the pitch to have a look and maybe kick a ball around or something but got sent straight back to the locker room. And then when they actually came… I don’t know, I don’t really watch football so I didn’t really care that much. But Chewy and those guys, I don’t remember who it was but someone was making little girl sounds when they came ‘like oh my god aaah’ but I didn’t have a clue who anybody was so… But I still kinda felt a bit nervous just from hearing them sound like little girls. Like secondhand nervousness, but it was pretty chill.
I think they probably have to do this kind of shit quite a lot, like I was just stood next to this guy and he wasn’t really that talkative so I wasn’t that talkative back either. It was really early in the morning too so I kinda just wanted to take the picture and go.

Alright this is the last one and then you’re free to enjoy the rest of your hangover in peace. It’s from John  Dahlquist, who’s the school’s vice-principal. He asked: ‘In a time when there are social media skaters, Olympian skaters and everything in between, how do you see yourself and your place? Or: what do you hope to get out of your pro life?’
For me questions like this, just make it become more and more… I don’t know… I don’t like to look at myself and think ‘where do I fit in on this spectrum?’ I just feel like I like to do video parts and… Nah fuck that I just like to do what I do and I might wanna skate, and I might wanna film but it’s really simple. I don’t want to blow shit out of proportion and say I’m different from any other skaters or whatever. I just want to get the most out of travelling, and obviously skate… And that’s it really. I don’t try to make it too complicated in my head.
I see where he’s coming from though with this, but I don’t know, it sounds like politics or something to me. And when you are a kid you do put skaters in these categories sometimes, but when you meet people you realise that we’re all in the same fishbowl. I mean some people might be different, but then whatever!

We say our goodbyes, hang up, and I start to think about why we chose to do this… I guess it was an excuse to ask the kinds of questions we never usually ask in interviews, and we were really seduced by how pure and innocent they all were. Heitor is only 22 so although he’s busy living his life like a movie right now, just a few years ago he was one of these kids attending that skate school;
or at least that was our reasoning here. But was he really ever one of these kids? If they are asking him these types of questions it’s obviously because he’s kind of one in a million. And he skates like he knows it, that’s the best thing about it. He rolls away from everything like he’s Stevie Williams and has just landed the fakie hardflip at the end of that line in the Chocolate commercial; like he could very well reach down to grab his nuts at literally any second. It takes a very special kind of focused spaceman to be able to get into that zone every single time they step on a skateboard, but also to make us all want to emulate that. Because yeah, skateboarding does feel 100 times better when your special bar is cranked up to the max, and watching him makes you want to chase that feeling rather than tick tacking away at your 2-mile an hour game of skate. I’m not exactly sure what we expected from this interview, but one thing it certainly has done is give us some insights into the inner workings of the very unique brand of fried genius that produces this magic.

‘I don’t know, I think I’m pretty satisfied, you know what I mean?’

Boardslide, Lisbon.

Special thanks to John  Dahlquist for gathering these questions.