The Follow Up: John Dilo

John Dilo Follow Up Jeff Davis 2000Photo: Garcia

The first time I met John was on a trip to Mexico. We clicked pretty instantly over a 12 pack, nerding out about the good, the bad and the ugly of skateboarding—basically talking shit for six hours straight. After that, I proceeded to watch John skate the most hectic spots for 11 days while enduring some of the hardest situations I’ve been through. Finally, on the very last day after everybody was completely broken off or robbed —literally and figuratively—there was John still attempting to take us on some mission with a busted foot. My only thought was, Fuck, this dude loves this shit more than anybody I’ve ever met. I think that’s the best way to describe John. He really can’t stop doing this even if he wanted too. Through injuries, board sponsor deletion and everything else that’s been thrown his way, he isn’t going anywhere. So sit back and enjoy, because he has just begun.

A tight deadline, a healing leg and an untested new company, the pressure was on but Dilo delivered. Watch him work

Lets jump into it, at what point did you know that you were going to attempt to become a professional skateboarder?
I had just graduated high school in Florida and my friend invited me to just hop in the car and go with him. I just remember being with my parents and grandparents at my graduation ceremony and them asking me the typical questions of if I was going to community college and what I was going to do. I pretty much just told them my friend Steak is driving to California and I am hopping in. Pretty much for the next three years I was living on Steak’s floor at different apartments.

JohnDilo Kickflip EastLABumptoBar2 Spitzer High above Steak's floor, chest-high kickflip    Photo: Spitzer

Wasn’t there a point where there were like 10 of you dudes all living in a two-bedroom apartment together?
Yeah, that was when Jamie Foy moved out here. It was like Nikolai, Josh Douglas, Christian Henry and Mikey Glover who was a filmer from Florida. Fuck, so many people came through. Jamie invited me to stay there, and I just setup camp behind the couch. I had this little camping pad that was my bed. When we would go on skate trips, I would just bring that thing with me—just bring my whole bed on the trip! It would get kind of crazy at certain points. I remember trying to just not think about it and to skate.

Do you still have the camping pad?
Dude yeah, I brought it on our last Jacuzzi camping trip!

John Dilo Pullquotes It was just the saddest string of text messages ever 2000
John Dilo Nose Manny Nollie Flip Macba 750Back on board and steppin' to Macba's big blocks with a nosemanny nollie flip

We might need to make that thing a board graphic. I don’t know if we can figure out the technology to make it inflate though. So fast forward a few years from then, you crank out a few dozen video parts, turn pro and have a hugely productive year. Then you get seriously injured. What happened?
That whole day was the beginning of a lot of things going downhill. I broke my leg skating this spot in Downtown LA and I remember grabbing my phone to call my girlfriend and the only text I have on my screen is from you telling me you got laid off and I just replied with, “I broke my leg.” It was just the saddest string of text messages ever. I didn’t even know what was happening with Dwindle at the time. It’s just crazy how much everything changed since then yet here we all right back where we all started!

JohnDilo SwBs180 BuckheadGA PhotoPendry 6 John figures out a way around the knobs, switch back 180   Photo: Pendry

JohnSwmannySequence2000A manual guy and a jumper? Dilo does it all with this switch manny   Photo: Garcia

It all came full circle! Not to go too in depth on the whole Dwindle thing but it must have been a pretty crazy feeling being laid up in cast not being able to skate while hearing these rumors of your board sponsor going out of business. How was that mentally?
Honestly, in a weird way it was probably better that I was hurt. I was just so hyper focused on getting healthy and physical training that I didn’t really focus on it. I was just doing everything I could to be able to skate again and be happy. I came to terms with it all when I went pro, like, I’m so lucky to have however many days I’m given of this dream of being a pro skateboarder.

John Dilo Pullquotes It could have been called Shit skateboards and I would have been down 2000
JohnDilo NollieBack180 HighlandPark SpitzerJacuzzi's probably a better name, but this nollie back 180 is still the shit     Photo: Spitzer

So, after that Louie and I call you up asking if you want to ride for this nonexistent skate brand that we can’t tell you the name of nor whose riding for it. Yet you didn’t hesitate whatsoever on saying yes. What was going through your head?
I think the first thing out of my mouth was, “You know I’m recovering from breaking my leg, right? This shit might not work anymore.” It was just really motivating to know that you guys didn’t think that the injury was really going to affect me, when I’m sure a lot of other people thought otherwise. I just trust you guys. It could have been called Shit skateboards and I would have been down! Also, Louie has fully lived it. It’s nice to be able to turn someone who has had a long career in skateboarding that you can be able to ask for advice. Someone whose kind of like a mentor to help you navigate this thing that is pro skateboarding. He’s just so helpful all of the time. He has got an answer for everything and that’s a rare thing.

John Dilo Siwitch Heel Manny Macba 750 Dilo's in a league of his own on this thing, return hit switch heel over to manual

So, we finally “turn the jets on” this company and announce it to the world. I pretty much gave everyone four months to film for this video. You had almost no footage and told me you were going to film a full part, not to mention that ender. Did you feel like you had something to prove coming off an injury? I remember just waking up every morning to three or four clips a day while you were out in Europe.
I think it was just more of something I needed to prove to myself. I don’t want to be a sham pro where I just have my name on a board and sit back while I let everybody else do everything. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I want to do with my skating. I just needed to prove to myself that I was still physically capable of doing it.

We got to go on a few trips before the video. How was it traveling with a new team? Was it love at first sight?
We had kind of all weirdly went on this PHX AM trip back at Dwindle with a lot of the kids, minus a few people. Fuck, even Louie was on that trip randomly. We were just this crazy melting pot with Joey’s craziness, Dan’s crazy, the chemistry just all really worked. We just kept it going!

JohnDilo NollieHeel Burbank Spitzer Undeniable snaps, nollie heel over      Photo: Spitzer

Yeah, I got to say the first trip going to Copenhagen was just really easy. Everyone fit together so perfectly.
Yeah, we knew it was going to work! I just really appreciate when people are just as fired up as you are or just as excited to be out of the country. I just never want that feeling to get old. So having people like Matt or the kids there really makes you feel like you’re doing it all for the first time again, which is important.

John Dilo Switch Heel Bump Hollister Photo Jeff Davis 2000Big bump to bars and soarin' switch heels will never get old   Photo: Davis

So now that we've had the premiere. How was the video? No one had seen the video until the night of the premiere. How’d that feel watching in for the first time along with everybody else in the room?
The premiere was crazy. It was definitely way better than I could have ever expected. I just love how it all came out. Obviously, I trusted you guys, but it was weird being a part of a video I didn’t know anything about. I was inviting my friends to the premiere of a video I didn’t really know fully existed. You hear a rumor that there’s a Louie part and then you see it at the premiere and you’re like, Holy shit this is real! It’s just crazy to think of all of this coming together after everything happening—for it to be in the cards to rebound and just start new with the brand!

Any last words here?
It’s good for our family.

JohnDilo Front180 BumpToBar SantaMonica SpitzerHigh steppin' front 180 in Santa Monica. Take your hat off to Dilo one more time for his killer comeback and closing part for the new Jacuzzi      Photo: Spitzer
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