Brazilian phenomenon, Luan Oliveira started turning major heads as an amateur when he won the illustrious Tampa Am contest two years back to back in 2008 and 2009. Turning pro shortly thereafter, Oliveira entered Tampa Pro in early 2010 as his first professional event and wound up in a respectable seventh place in that event and then went on to win last summer's Copenhagen Pro besting several top athletes in Street League in the process including Torey Pudwill, Sean Malto and Shane O'Neill.
As one of two new additions to the Street League ranks for the series' second season, it seems like Luan is already heavily favored to do very, very well. We caught up with him to get his take on the contest and what his approach to it will be. Forgive the short answers, English is not his first language and he's still just a kid.
You've been pro for just over a year. How has your life changed since turning pro?
It didn't change. It's the same still ... having fun, skating and filming a lot.
As an amateur you were the only skater to ever win Tampa Am twice. How do the am contests compare to the ones on the pro level?
I think the pro is harder to win, you know? It's pro level not amateur, so I think it's harder.
Last summer you won Copenhagen Pro and placed well in other contests including Tampa Pro. What is your strategy in contests? Do you fine-tune a line or do you see what's working the day of the contest?
I do care about contests but if you take them too seriously, you can't win, you know what I mean? I just figure out what I'm going to do when I get to the contest and then I just go for it.
You're one of two new editions to Street League this year. What made you decided to compete in Street League exclusively instead of getting yourself involved in other contests?
Street League is different and seems really fun. The courses look amazing and I got big respect for Rob Dyrdek.
What about Street League's format of trick attempts appeals to you? Is there any aspect of the format that you dislike?
I don't really know about the format but I heard that is a really easy contest. I don't know, though. It seems really hard ...
Did you watch the Street League contests last season on television? What was your impression of the first year?
I didn't watch it on television. I saw on YouTube a few weeks after that and it was pretty impressive, the gnarliest tricks ever, great courses and the skaters did really good!
This year Street League is live on television. Do you think that will change the contest dynamic at all? Does the idea of your skating being on live television get you excited or nervous to compete and why?
Really it will be on television? That's crazy man! Well, I don't think I'll get too nervous. I don't get too nervous in contests because there are lots of friends hanging out and having fun!
What will you do with the money if you win one or more of the stops of this year's Street League?
I'll just give half to my dad and save the rest in my bank account ... or spend it. Ha ha! I don't know. If I win the contest I'll let you know!