Heitor Da Silva's "Move Viral" Interview

Heitor Title v3

What is the secret to getting a signature shoe with a global brand like adidas? Could it be a surplus of natural ability, fluency in four languages, a stoney-yet-amiable disposition or maybe even a whispy mustache? In Heitor’s case, all of the above seem to play a hand—well, maybe not the mustache, but the confidence to pull it off sure helps. On the heels of his new shoe release, we caught up with the Brazilian-Norwegian to trace his origins, discuss Swedish skate school and how he navigates the pandemic with a positive approach.

h5 Heitor Da Silva Switch Heel Rafal WojnowskiCatchin' nice air, Heitor sends a switch heel on a Greek double stack 

I always marvel at the amazing platform we have here—you are literally talking to the Thrasher readership right now, all across America and the world.
Yeah it is surreal. Since when I was young, I’ve always been hyped to get my hands on a new Thrasher magazine. That shit’s the bible.

I can hear that you’re now rolling down the street there as you’re doing this interview.
Yeah! Okay, now I’m walking though. I’m walking! I was just leaving the basketball place. I was just there for a little bit, na’ mean? Shooting a little hoops. We just been in all day, so it’s good to get out and catch some nice air.

Heitor pullquote 1 One of my biggest inspirations is Keenan Milton
Of course. Do you look to older periods of skateboarding a lot?
Oh deffo, man, deffo. One of my favorite skaters of all time is from way back—well, not way back, but around the '90s and early-2000s. One of my biggest inspirations is Keenan Milton. I guess he’s old-school now. I like whatever, though. I’m not always watching skate videos, but when I do, I be watching a bunch—some new, some old. The old ones are banging though, so I always come back.

I wanted to talk a bit about how you’ve grown up in two places that are very far apart and very, very different.
Yeah, I was born in kind of a suburb of Fortaleza in Brazil, called Maranguape. I lived there ‘til I was about six years old with my cousins, my grandmother, grandfather—everybody, really. My mom was quite young at the time so she was still doing school, dating, traveling around and stuff. When I was about six years old she came back with my new stepdad, and we decided to all move to Norway, I suppose to make things easier for us. So we moved to Norway, to this town called Haugesund. It’s like the suburbs of Haugesund so it’s called something else, but just to make it easier let’s call it Haugesund. I lived there until I was around 16 years old—so about 10 years. And then I applied to this school called Bryggeriet in Malmö, Sweden. I moved there with my friends when I was 16, and I’m still here now.

And you applied to Bryggeriet because they teach skateboarding there, right?
Yeah, at that time I’d never really been all that excited about school; I just tried to get through it. And my parents didn’t really get it at first—me wanting to go to this school in Malmö. But later, they figured out that going to a school where you can skate was kind of the best option for me. Obviously, I did everything else like math and English and all that. But with the skating, I had something to look forward to at school.

Heitor Da Silva Frontside Crooked Grind Rafal WojnowskiFew can pull off the Tom Penny headgear, but Heitor's front crook and smooth style make it a natural fit

Malmö’s quite a long way away from Haugesund isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s a long way away and it’s mad different. When I came from Norway to Malmö, I was like, whoa, but in a good way. I also met a lot of people who I’m still friends with today.

I think you need to explain a bit about this school situation. Having skateboarding actually on the syllabus is a pretty far-out concept for a lot of people to get their heads around.
Yeah, okay. There was a guy called John Dahlquist—he was my skate teacher at the time, when I went to Bryggeriet. He was one of those people that founded it, bringing skateboarding into the school program. The program had already been around for maybe eight years or something before I got there. So it was already a thing. And it’s not like a mad competitive school; It's like art, photography, film, and the skate program. It’s quite a laid-back school in a way—like, they only serve vegan food at the moment.

Heitor Da Silva Frontside Bluntslide Rafal WojnowskiHe knows four languages, and the secret to killer front blunts. You can't teach talent

But they still do all the regular school stuff too, right?
Yeah, for sure. It’s a real school. But I think the reason they brought skateboarding into it was so that some students who aren’t super academic could have something to really look forward to, something that gets them into school, I guess. With the people that are involved, some of them are skaters, but not all of them. The guys that teach skateboarding are the OG skateboarders.

So how did the average skate class go down?
Skate class used to be like once or twice a week. And you get there and it’s all the homies in the classroom, maybe you watch a skate video and then you go skate.

h11Always lookin' forward to something 

Sounds ideal.
Yeah. But then sometimes you’d have to do a test, based on injuries and shit that’s related to skating. We learned what you should do if you get a rolled ankle or whatever, just basic shit. Not really that tech, but shit that is good to know.

What about setting up a board? Did they teach that?
Nah, we never had a class about that. It was more about doing a particular type of gym class. You know when you go to gym class, you do football or basketball or whatever, and then sometimes you have to do a test or something a bit more academic? It was kind of like that. Skate class was just a way to get some energy out, like gymnastics or something.

Heitor pullquote Not everybody was going HAM in the skate class
Were there any exams, or anything like that?
In skate? Nah, not really. We had some games and shit sometimes, to make it fun, but most of the time that class was just to have some fun, I think. We had some exams like I said based on injuries, but that was only one or two exams over the whole course. It was super mellow, really. I never felt “rated” about how good I was at skating in that class. It’s not really like that over there. Not everybody was going HAM in the skate class. It was super nice. There were also so many good skaters in my class though. We had some crazy sessions in skate period.

Heitor's decision to fly to Greece instead of Norway plays out for your benefit in this awesome adidas part

A load of the photos in this article are from the trip you took to Athens. How was that?
It was just a last-minute skate trip we took. It was kind of a vacation too, because we went there on just our own initiative. I was in the pub in London with Austin Bristow two days before I was supposed to be leaving to go back to Norway for my little sister’s confirmation. But that got shut down because of the COVID, and also I would have had to quarantine for two weeks. So I just thought, screw that, and I booked a flight straight away to Athens, leaving the next day. It was me, Sam Sitayeb, Austin, Rafski Wojnowski and Julian Kimura. We were only supposed to be there for about a week originally, but we extended it because it was just too fun. We ended up staying for two weeks to enjoy the good spots, nice weather, beaches and Sangria. It was all banging.

Heitor Da Silva Frontside 5-0 to fakie Rafal WojnowskiQuick up the curb and across the crusty stone work, Heitor's 5-0 to fakie is somethin' to smile about

Athens seems like a great town to visit.
Yeah, it’s sick. It looks really unique too—graffiti everywhere, a lot of old buildings and old statues. It’s just a cool looking place. There were some restrictions because of the COVID, like if you’re in the bars, you have to go home at maybe 12 or 11 even, but even that’s mellow. And it was perfect because we skated every day, but we were able to take it at our own pace. Some days we’d just skate one spot, then go to the beach or get some food, keeping it mellow. I had to get some footage for this shoe that I did with adidas, but it that too came about naturally. I didn’t have to think twice about it. That’s why it was so perfect.

Let’s talk about the shoe. You’ve got your name on an adidas shoe at only 21 years old. That’s quite the achievement.
Yeah, it still feels funny. It’s only recently that I’ve started talking about it. I’ve actually had some of the shoes for quite some time, actually. I’ve tried to keep it quiet, but now I’ve been posting about it, so it’s kind of sinking in. I don’t really know what to say about it, but it feels good—it’s trill!

Heitor Da Silva Backside Tailslide Rafal WojnowskiYou shouldn't tag over someone's work, but back tails are in the clear

You deserve it, Heitor.
Thank you.

How do you see the next year panning out for you?
I don’t really know. The most exciting stuff I do comes out of nowhere. I could tell you, “It’s not gonna happen. I’m gonna stay in Malmö and chill with my friends,” but then maybe next week somebody’s gonna ask me to come on a trip, na’ mean? So I’m just trying to move to Malmö, get a new crib, maybe invest in a crib, do something nice. I just kinda roll with it and see where it leads. I don’t got too many plans. I’m just gonna do the same thing I’ve been doing, but just more viral.

Heitor pullquote why do they say it’s your oyster?
The world is your oyster!
Yeah, that’s what they say, huh? I don’t even know what that means. I guess I kinda know what it means, but why do they say it’s your oyster?

Yeah, I don't know. I suppose it just means that out of nothing can come something really beautiful and precious, like a pearl—out of the dirt can come a fucking jewel.
Ah, that’s true, huh. That’s what it is, yeah—a jewel. In my head an oyster was something you eat.

Yeah, but I think pearls come from oysters. Like every so often you might find a pearl in one.
It makes sense. I seen that shit in cartoons before, so maybe it is like that. As long as it makes me satisfied and happy, then all good. I’m in a good place right now—lots of good friends, going to different places in the world. Time just goes by very quickly, if you’re doing so much fun shit all the time.

Heitor Da Silva Nollie Inward Heel Rafal WojnowskiWhen the world's your oyster, you never know when you might find a pearl, or some other jewel like this bird-shit-covered bank. Nollie inward heel, well above the dirt
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