Real Street 2017: Vincent Alvarez
The following interview is one in a series of profiles on our Real Street 2017 skateboarders. To vote for Vincent Alvarez and his filmer/editor counterpart, Joe Monteleone, in this year's video competition: click here.
It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since Vincent Alvarez went pro and became the face of the legendary Chocolate Skateboards brand. Yet the body of work put out by the Los Angeles native in that time is undeniable and he shows no signs of slowing down. In 2017 alone he'll be releasing a new Lakai part and working on new Chocolate and TransWorld parts -- all in addition to his Real Street part. They say seven is a lucky number and perhaps all of Alvarez's hard work has been leading to this moment. We caught up with him to discuss his upcoming Lakai project and the question everyone wants to know: Will we see a Rick Howard and Mike Carroll part in the video?
XGames.com: Would you consider yourself contest guy?
Vincent Alvarez: I would consider myself to be a skateboarder. I will do contests sometimes, but I never considered skateboarding to be a competitive sport when I got into it. I don't think I really appeal to contests because in skateboarding there isn't really a best. Of course, consistency is something that stands out to the average person but creativity and style will always overrule something that has been done numerous times.
What's your take on skateboarding being included in the 2020 Summer Games?
Skateboarding was meant to bring the whole world together, not segregate each other by seeing which athletes from every country are doing the greatest. Or maybe it was. I don't know, and I don't think I ever will because, at the end of the day, if dudes are getting paid to skate, and dudes who still love skating have jobs, then let's all eat together.
What was your initial reaction when asked to be a part of this year's Real Street?
Excited to work on something that I never thought I'd be a part of. The roster is so diverse that I'm always excited to see the parts when they go up. And you don't have to get dissed by other people at the contest when all you're trying to do is say, "hi, nice to meet you and good luck."
What was your approach to filming this Real Street part?
I had to keep telling myself that it only had to be one-minute long. Video parts, for me, have always been at least two minutes, so I had to choose wisely on what clips I wanted to get for this part. I also had to limit myself with lines, which is something I've always enjoyed seeing in parts. I never really paid attention to how long a clip or line is until this part. I usually just filmed stuff without thinking that the clip was going to fill in the five-and-a-half seconds of blank space.
Any stories from the filming of this part?
I feel like we've been everywhere with this part and luckily don't have any bad stories, besides not landing a trick. Oh, wait. One time these cops kicked us out of the building that the mayor of this small city worked in, but they gave me a few more tries first. While I was rolling up on the last try one of them screamed out, "You got it right here, man!" I stuck it, but didn't roll away, but that was pretty crazy to see how accepted skateboarding is now in certain areas.
What trick took the longest for you?
The switch 270 front board slide on the bank to curb. That switch ollie up right before was the hardest part about the whole trick because if my feet weren't right when I would ollie up it's pretty much a wasted try. So it wasn't even the trick itself that was taking me a while to get it, it was more of the approach to it and trying to figure out the spot.
How important is the ABD list when you show up to a spot? Do you care if someone has done a trick before?
If I'm going to film something, and it's going to be put out on a broader scale, then of course I want to do something that hasn't been done. But if I'm just skating and not filming I could care less what anyone else has done. It's filming a part and wanting to progress and do better that makes me want to do something different. It may not be a harder trick, but at least it's something that hasn't been thought of before. That's what made me want to skateboard in the first place.
You are synonymous with LA but it's always amazing to see you skate spots outside your area. In this part you hit some legendary NYC and Canada spots. How important is it to leave your home base for a part?
I don't think it's really important to leave my home base for a part, even though it is really exciting and I love traveling and skating spots that I've always seen in videos. To get a trick at those spots is a feeling nothing can take away, ever. But since I've lived in so many different areas of LA, I know so many spots that I don't need to travel to film a part. It's actually pretty cool to do something new at a spot that's been around forever.
Have you watched the other Real Street parts in the past? Who were your favorites?
Yeah, I've actually watched almost all of them since it started. My favorites were probably Silas' and Daewon's. Those dudes always come up with the most creative skateboarding. The way they use the spots and the tricks they do, it just stands out to me and that makes me wanna go skate and try something new and fun.
Who do you think is going to win this thing?
Dude, I have no clue. All of the skaters in the contest are so different it'll be hard to tell who wins. That's what I like about this contest.
If you win what will you do with the prize money?
I would take Joe Monteleone out for dinner to Red Lobster, and then save the rest.
If you could see a new minute-long part from anyone past/present/future, who would it be?
Keenan Milton. I've never met him, but from videos and photos and stuff it seems like that dude was the best on and off a skateboard.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Lakai video?
It's going to come out in June, I believe. We've all been skating with each other a bunch and it's a rad experience to be skating with new people. I feel like I'm 14 years old again every day that we go out and film. I filmed a lot of lines for this part. A lot of the spots we been going to look so cool that I didn't just want to do a single trick, because you can't really get the whole aspect of what's going on around it. I've always been a fan of East Coast videos and Mark Gonzales' parts, how he goes up the curb all fast to start off a line.
Will there be a Carroll and/or Howard part in the video?
I've been with them when they filmed some stuff, and they've been pretty sparked on filming, so I think so. Skating with those dude is the best. They hype you up so much to have fun and joke around, be serious, not serious -- it's seriously a whole day of excitement and joy when skating with them.
What's coming up next for you?
I think a Girl/Chocolate video and some things with Dickies, as well as a shared TransWorld part.
For more on the other skateboarder and filmer/editor contenders in this year's Real Street, check out this handy gallery:
Real Street 2017 contenders
Real Street, the all-video, all-street skateboarding contest, returns for another year with eight skateboarder/filmer teams vying for Fan Favorite accolades and X Games gold. Parts drop and fan voting begins on May 17. The medalists will be announced on an hourlong, behind-the-scenes "World of X Games" show airing on ABC on Sunday, May 28. The Fan Favorite will be announced here on XGames.com on Monday, May 29. Now, let's meet the skateboarder/filmer team contenders for 2017.