Ethan Loy's "Pro Debut" Interview

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Going into 2020,
Ethan was all set up to release his blockbuster part in March, but the year had other plans. After switching editors, getting shot at in New Mexico and adding some hairball, last-minute hail marys, Element’s newest pro is ready to show his work. See how he hits the homestretch of this dreadful year in stride.

EthanLoy photo 1Ethan avoids the shitter by locking into this back Smith. 

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So, you're in physical therapy again, what the hell?

I always just got aches and pains in my body. I strained my PCL a little. I tried to redo this ollie on the channel gap in my part. There’s been this whole thing about the brick channel gap in Downtown LA. It was my element ad awhile ago. The one in the part is actually the first one I landed with Miner. But the past two weeks I've been trying to go back and just fucking land in the transition. It's no easy feat. I strained that ligament just slamming and running back. I'm still glad with the one I have, and if people don't like it, fuck them. I tried. I fuckin' tried. 

When your interview came out in the February mag, you were just putting the finishing touches on your part, and then what happened? Why are we just seeing it now?

Yeah, so I got back from Hawaii with my friends and I was feeling good with maybe an updated ender and maybe some filler tricks. Then March 15th hit and everything kind of went to shit. That first week everyone was like, “Everything is on hold and we don't know when it's coming back. You're just going to have to wait.” There was a period where we couldn’t get boards. Everything was crazy in the skate world.

The wait is over. This man is pro as fuck!

Did you have to go buy an Element Cookie board from the shop?
No, I wish. Thank God I salvaged some extras. I had like seven boards left and I was skating the last one when the new box finally came. The shop was closing and reopening ‘cause someone in there maybe got Covid. It was kind of gnarly.

You were originally working with Miner, but that got changed up too, right?
Well in January Miner basically had the part laid out. Everything was there, you know, with maybe just a couple things missing and so I was just thinking, Let's go out and get it maybe two or three tricks. We went on a trip to New Mexico shortly after which should’ve been the end of it. Once we got back, Covid broke out and Element had to make some hard decision, which meant Miner was no longer working there. So things were kind of in the shitter for a second. I was so bummed ‘cause having Miner edit your part is like the highest honor. Luckily we're picking stuff up over there now.
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Fakie ollie shifty past skate stoppers, signs and parking blocks

What happened with getting shot at with Papke in New Mexico?

Yeah, dude, that was bad. It was at Alamosa Park. Alex Olson skates it in the intro to Fully Flared. It looks really cool. It doesn’t look like a skatepark, it just looks like a bunch of spots compiled together. We decided that we should warm up there one morning knowing that the area it was in was pretty damn hood. The guys were stretching out and getting their legs warm and I was setting up a board near the top of the park with Miner and Cookie. Out of nowhere, a car comes through and starts popping off shots. Then another car comes out, drives past that car, and then they start popping off shots. They were shooting back and forth at each other in the intersection maybe 30 feet away from us. We immediately looked at each other all stunned, didn’t know what was happening at first, then just dropped to the ground. We kept hearing more shots. They were just popping off right there. My adrenaline was pumping, everyone’s was. Once everything stopped we rushed to the van to get out of there but Cookie had some fans walking into the park as we were leaving and he got caught up talking to them. He was talking to them while we’re freaking out in the van and we’re all screaming at him, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” There were cars circling the block all sketchy. It was a harsh vibe afterwards.

EthanLoy photo 2Shots fired! Back lip to back lip in the ABQ

Were you bugged out for the rest of the day.
Dude, I swear we all had PTSD for the day. The next day the homie Jake The Jeweler was showing us around and he was surprised we were so mellow for getting shot at the day before. We had totally forgotten about it. But it was the worst thing ever; it’s nothing to really joke about. On a skate trip you kinda just forget where you’re at sometimes.

I was about to beg somebody to edit the part.So when Miner wasn’t on the project anymore, what did that mean for your part?
Well, that part sucked. I was kinda scrambling. There wasn’t really anyone to take it under their wing and make it their own. Eventually I mentioned it to my really good friend Kris Burkhardt who worked on the Hum video. I was just like, "Could you help me out? I’m in dire need." I was about to beg somebody to edit the part. I’ve known him since we were babies, we played hockey together, so that was only natural. That was a fuckin’ relief.

But the credits say it was edited by Jesse Alba.
That’s the joke. Kris was on a trip with all these Frog guys, like Nick Michel and Jesse. And Jesse was always just giving him shit for editing the part while on the trip. So he just threw Jesse's name in there.

So Pavement is having a moment right now, whose choice was that?
It's my choice actually. Kris also likes Pavement, but I've been a fan of them for a long time. My older brother Bryce used to play them for me when I was younger, and I wasn't super into them until he passed. When that happened I revisited on a lot of bands that he was listening to. For the last five years, it's just been on repeat. It's something really meaningful.

There's kind of '90s resurgence thing that's still going on in skating.
It's funny that that whole era is coming back, but soon enough it's going to be early-2000s stuff. Actually, I'm already starting to see it. We’re about to start seeing Smash Mouth come into play.

You're going to need to get some corduroys out.
I'm on top of it, I got like six pairs of cords on Depop.

EthanLoy photo 4Grind to grind, surfing it

So moving through the lockdowns, were you skating in the beginning?
I ended up quarantining with Nick Garcia the whole time and we built a little ramp and a box. It's a steep quarter pipe that is the exact dimensions as the one at Mesa park.

So the summer comes and we realized it wasn't going to go away like we hoped it would. What was your plan then?
Yeah after three weeks I couldn't stop the itch, and the quarter pipe wasn't enough, so we just got back out and started filming. As shity as it sounds, we thought we could take advantage of the situation. I mean businesses were closed down and it was like a skater's paradise—plus we weren’t really surrounded by people. Honestly, I feel like we were better off than the people who were meeting up doing team activities. We were going out with the same crew of people everyday, just a really tight group. It was just me, Dave and Nick mostly.

So you're dealing with how to skate during the pandemic and then the protests erupted. What were your feelings? Were you paying attention?
I was definitely paying attention to all the events that were going on. I take it really seriously. It’s definitely time for a change. It's way overdue. I was able to show up and support with some of the protests, just to roll out and be there to hopefully try to add to the voices.

Yeah, it's good if you are able to get out safely and play a small part or provide backup.
Yeah, I definitely didn't just want to sit on my ass. There were like three actions that were skate protests around Long Beach. The circumstances were obviously shitty, but it was rad that all the communities came together.

Yeah it's important to have that. We’re skaters, goddammit. Some of us might not know the extent of what other people are going through, but we know what it feels like to be treated like dirt by the people we pay for. It was inspiring to see that the skate community at-large was overall down for the cause.
Yeah, absolutely, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm proud of the community that we are a part of.

EthanLoy frontFeeble photoPAPKEEthan frontside feebles with a few feet of vert

So, a nation in turmoil, a board a shortage, an economic collapse, a plague coursing through every fabric in our life and you're just sitting on an amazing part. Were you trying to get it out while everything was falling apart?

I wanted to put it out eventually, but I didn't feel a rush. I just figured I could keep skating, and actually I have almost a whole other part now. I couldn’t just sit on my ass for eight months. I have just such an itch to skate.

You've been able to keep a pretty positive mindset through all the setbacks over the years, with injuries and other life events. Do you think it’s gonna be better in the future?
Honestly, now, I'm not sure.

EthanLoy pullquote I hope everyone has their jobs back and I want to be able to skate and travel freely. Is that so much to ask?
What does your dream 2021 look like?
The dream here is for everybody to get along. Mellow out the differences and the politics that get in the way. I really would just like it back to normal. What I'm saying is, I hope everyone has their jobs back and I want to be able to skate and travel freely. Is that so much to ask? It’s a pretty simple 2021 that I want, but I don't think we're reaching it.

So you're putting out an October release which means it's almost SOTY season. Do you think about what goals you hope to accomplish in skateboarding? Do you think about your legacy? Are you more shortsighted?
I would like to think a little more shortsighted, but I've got a lot of long-term thought in what I do. I have another job where I work on the side. You got to make money, you got to pay rent and pay bills. I know where skating is and it's not all peaches and cream, kids. The industry is not what you think it is. It's not so easy and in some ways you might be let down. But if you do let them get you down, then get the fuck out, ‘cause that's not why you're here. I'm not here to make money; I'm here to skate. That's all I want to do and that's all I care about.

EthanLoy fsNosegrindOverGap photoPAPKENosegrinding over a serious gap for the love

So you don't have your heart set on thinking that at 30 you're going to be Ethan Loy, professional skater and two-time SOTY winner with four game-changing parts under your belt?
Come on, don’t get me a wrong, maybe when you knew me as a kid, I thought one day I could win SOTY and be a big pro skater, but that was a long time ago. I just think it should either happen naturally or it's not going to happen. Just fighting for it seems a little weird. I may not be competitive in that way. And the whole race to try and push to be Skater of the Year maybe seems a little jocky for me. Don't get me wrong, anybody who does get that trophy is all time. That's got to feel like the sickest shit ever. But just hunting for that, that's not who I want to be.

It seems like some are able to get it just a little more naturally, that's true. Like Ishod doesn't seem as intentional with his skating as others. He's just constantly doing it and he's untouchable. Doesn't seem like there's a lot of spot or trick lists.
Yeah Ishod, Evan, Mason and Louie, they're just full-on skate rats. That's all there is. They're just putting in the work. They're putting three parts together in a year which is just insane. They're just so naturally talented and it doesn't even matter. It doesn't seem like it's just in pursuit of accomplishing that feat—they're just skating. Some people treat it a little differently but I'm not going to name names. Those guys that I did mention just do it right.

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So what's up with that Heath Kirchart hubba. Why did you want to go for that?
Oh man, that's like a spot that I've grown up passing by. It's just a huge bust you can never even step foot on the property without a security guard kicking you out right away. I've admired that clip and Heath for so long—just the way he works, he's a silent killer. That's probably the coolest part about how fucking badass that guy is. I love that approach to skating and I love that spot. It was just my way to maybe pay some homage. He skated it one way, and I just wanted to try and touch base on that little piece of skate history. I asked so many people before I did it if it was OD, and I was like, Am I crossing the line? Everyone was like, “Dude that was 20 years ago.” It’s not like I'm trying to take the dude out two decades later.

Ethan Loy 5050 750 pxTwo decades later, Ethan pays homage to Heath

Did you get your ass beat skating it?
No! I got out unscathed. I handled that more professionally than I do most tricks. I went to Santa Ana park and did grind-ollie-grind on the 11 hubba like 30 times before I drove to Fashion Island. And the first one I got on top of and made over the knob was the one I rolled away on. That was fully hairball! I ended up while hanging up on some of the knobs a little—clipped a few. Just by the grace of God, I rolled away

You handled it and it got me hyped. You locked down the former Woodward counselor demographic. Anything else you want to address or anyone you want to thank for this interview?
I’d like to thank Miner, Andrew and Andy over at Element, Karl at adidas, Kris for getting getting me over the finish line, Rhino and Gavin over at Indy, John, Nate and Frank at Spitfire, Luther and Matt over at Hard Luck, Tim Tim at Active, Vince and Mike Mo at Glassy and Ryan and Dave for filming me over the years. But most importantly I want to say thanks to my family—mom, dad, David and lastly Bryce Loy forever! And if anyone needs help, please reach out to your loved ones. Talking through it is some of the best medicine we've got.

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This year's been a long ride, but Ethan knows how to handle those