The Follow Up: John Dilorenzo
By John Spitzer
Let’s give everyone the basics: what’s your name, where are you from, how old are you and who are you skating for?
My name is John Dilorenzo, I’m from Jupiter, FL, I’m 25, I skate for Almost, adidas, Volcom, Venture, Spitfire, Shake Junt, Andalé and FP insoles
I always tripped out as a kid that there was a town in Florida called Jupiter. What is the skatepark there called?
Abacoa! I’ve only been there once a very long time ago. I was taking photos for this grom contest and I just remember seeing Zion there ripping at who knows how young. It was a trip. I remember that park being not that great, though.
Dude, it’s actually really good if you skate tranny, I think. Look at Zion. He flies around like he grew up with a vert ramp. Pretty much we would all go there and refuse to wear a helmet, so we would get to skate the park for like 30 minutes until they got on the speakers and kicked us all out. There were these hockey rinks with super good ground next to the skatepark, so we would all just retreat there and drag benches and trash cans in there and skate for the whole night.
Ah, the ol’ hockey rinks! That was a goldmine as a kid in Florida—get a couple of butter benches and, boomm you got your own little skatepark. A few household names have come out of Jupiter, right?
Yeah, Brad Cromer, Joey Ragali and Zion. Hope I’m not missing anyone.
Jumpin’ Jupiter! Clearing the car lane with a kickflip Photo: Hammeke
What Inspired the move to California? You weren’t always living in Long Beach, right?
My friend David was moving out here and invited me on the cross-country trip. I’d just graduated high school, so I was like, Fuck it. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life yet. I hadn't premeditated the thought of moving to California. It’s like the opportunity was there and I knew I wanted to just skate, so I dipped. I lived in San Diego for two years. I love that place. So much skate history and buck-ass spots. I still take trips down there as often as I can.
So, you’re on Almost now! That’s sick. I’m extremely happy you got a board sponsor; it’s always boggled my mind how you weren’t am for someone. You’ve been killing it for so long. How did that all happen?
Dude, yeah. I’m feeling a whirlwind of emotions, honestly. I’m obviously stoked, like, dude, I used to get flowed Almost boards when I was 19. I’ve always been a fan of the brand, but they've held themselves to such an elite standard as far as who gets on the team. So, in my head I was like, Oh yeah, fuckin’ right. So, to sit here now and have this part, this interview, an ad—it’s just surreal.
Hops and drops, John takes his frontside flip for a freefall Photo: Spitzer
I bet. And I’m sure it’s comforting to know you will have steady income. Not to call you out, but for as long as I’ve known you you’ve been scraping by just to make it work.
Yeah, dude, you know how it was. About a year ago I was starting to accept the reality that skating wasn't working out as far as making a living. Not to sound like a sob story, ‘cause skating at all is such a privilege, you know? But it was probably two months of restless nights and having these vivid depressing dreams, like I was a fool for ever trying and that I should have stayed home and worked for my dad’s business. It was just so specific and eerie. I’ve never been a negative thinker, so to wake up sweaty at 3 AM like, You’re 24. What the fuck are you doing with your life? felt pretty gnarly. But I also looked at it like, Okay, my time to be able to skate is so precious, I’m going to skate my ass off for as long as I can. Fuck it. While filming this part as well as the last one, my mindset was that this is all for my own satisfaction, not for attention or a cry for help, just to contribute to skateboarding and the culture with all I can. That’s what has always been important to me—pushing myself for video parts and having photos in mags, just the discovery of it all, you know? I’m all, Is it possible to do this, kickflip this table to nose manual? as well as just having those moments to look back on. Then, right when I mentally threw in the towel, all this presented itself to me. So crazy. Youness, Luis, Max, Yuri, a million thanks to all of you, seriously.
Depressing dream? Nah, joyful reality—fakie 5-0 fakie flip. Hard work pays off Sequence: Spitzer
That’s rough, man. I’ve been there before, struggling with doubt, but we got to stick through it and do what we know is right. And look, sometimes it works out.
Yeah, you just got to be willing to fight for it. This shit isn't going to just fall in anyone's lap. Going through that struggle really helps develop a sense of value for so much—my health, my opportunities, the value of a dollar. It taught me a strong work ethic. You got to be willing to make sacrifices and bleed for something you want and chip away at it every single day. I'm just super grateful now for the way it’s all worked out.
Your part was really dope, man. I love the way you skate because you’ll do a mind-blowing manual and then jump down a 16 or something. You’re also somewhat of a wizard off the nose. That kickflip nose manny was one of my favorite tricks in the part. What got you into skating like that?
My interest in skating that way all started with dudes like Youness. He was one of the first people I saw bridging that gap between tech skater and gnarly skater and just seeing that is was possible really inspired me.
Sailing switch over the corner pocket, gnarly indeed Photo: Spitzer
It’s really cool that Youness is someone who has inspired you so much and now you guys are on the same team. You recently went to Europe to skate with him. What was that like? Any culture shock?
Such a trip. Yes, it was epic. Culture shock, for sure. Originally it was just for a contest and then it evolved into a mission to find Youness. Ha! I started in Paris, which was interesting, extremely rad city, but the people were hard to read. I meant to go to Belgium after that but Youness went MIA and I ended up in London the same week as Street League so I kicked it with all the homies. Conveniently, Mark Suciu and Justin Albert were sticking around for ten days following the contest to finish up his video part, so they invited me to stay and film, which was so fucking sick. I loved the spots in London—great manny spots. From there I headed to Copenhagen where I finally found Youness. That place is magical, really. The city is so lively—bike rides to every side mission, cash in hand, straight to the after party. The sun goes down at, like, 10:30 PM then rises at 3 AM so it’s so easy to lose track of time and just stay up all night and do it all over day after day. I started feeling crazy at the tail end of it. Max Geronzi hit me up and asked me to come to Barcelona and skate, so that was where I headed next. Spent three days there just kind of hanging out, then hopped in on a Gronze trip to Perpignan, which is Max’s hometown and a two-hour drive from Barci. I could tell it was rugged in some places, but the spots were so sick. The trip was a dope squad, like, 17 of us in a French palace. Thanks again, Max. After that trip I had to tap out at seven-and-a-half weeks around Europe. I just got my film developed from the trip so I never forget anything.
Whoa, that sounds like a hell of a trip! I thought you were gone for a while, but I didn’t realize it was over seven weeks. You were able to do that trip because you won a contest, right? I’ve been seeing you sneak your way into winning a bunch lately. Are you trying to be the contest king?
Ha, yeah. I almost left for Europe with a one-way ticket and only $300 in my account. The weekend before I was leaving, I ended up winning 5K at the Daewon contest at Lockwood. I don’t even want to know how the trip would have gone if I hadn't won that money. I’d probably still be out there, gypsy style. As far as the contest king, you’ve got it so twisted. I only go to contests now that there is money up for grabs or if my sponsors are inviting me. I only sometimes walk away with money if it’s some best-trick type situation. The chances are higher if it’s something I can manual.
Kickflip 50-50. Is that a Joe Dirt wig? Photo: Hammeke
That’s great how it all worked out. You can always count on a manual, huh? Didn’t you just make a whole manual video?
Yep, our second one. This time with some homies. It came out cool, I think. I get pretty obsessive compulsive over those projects.
Yeah, I remember you hounding everyone about getting tricks and finding spots. I went out on a couple missions with you guys. I even had a clip in the video! Manuals can get pretty neurotic. Do they usually come quick or are you pulling your hair out three hours in?
Manuals are pretty situational. If we're talking a crazy flip-in-flip-out combo yeah, it'll be hours, maybe even a trip back. Sometimes those can be therapeutic feeling for me, though, like weird physical algebra or just exciting problem solving. I don’t really get tangled into those situations too often. I’m more of a nose-manual-up-down-or-around-an-unorthodox-place kind of guy.
I remember seeing old videos and you would ollie a bump to bar and land in nose manual and it got me so juiced! I had to start trying those. You seem to inspire a lot of people with your manuals.
I remember one day about a year ago my homie Dan tagged me in an Instagram video of him doing a nose manual over a barrier on flat or something and it opened the floodgates. All day kids were sending me clips of them doing manuals, like, flatground style or ollieing over stuff to manuals or just nose manny nollie flips. It was insane. My DM request box was maxed out with manual tricks. I was tripping. It was super sick, though. It still happens a couple times a week I’d say. I love to see them, though. Keep them coming, kids!
I’m going to back track a little here. Your name is John Dilorenzo but I feel like not a lot of people know that. Everyone calls you Dilo. Is it pronounced Dee-lo or Dil-lo?
Its Dee-lo but a bunch of people butcher it. I'm not tripping, really. I hate when people pronounce it Dil-lo though. Like, dude, did you just look at my name and think of a dildo and take the d out of the middle?
John Dildo—ha! Dilorenzo is Italian, right? You got a mean spaghetti-and-meatballs recipe or some good baked ziti?
Nah, I hardly even fuck with Italian food like that. I’m not big on tomatoes or red sauce. I love pizza, though.
Frontside 180 with heavy hangtime. Bellisimo! Photo: Hammeke
I remember a while ago you were getting Cliché boards and even Deathwish at one point. I feel like you’ve jumped around a bunch when it comes to getting boards. What other companies have hooked you up in the past?
When I was 17 it was Organika for a bit, just shop-flow style, then James Craig hit me up about Almost. I never felt it was possible for me to get on Almost and Cliché was my absolute favorite brand, so I made the switch to Cliché and rode that out ’til the bitter end. After that I felt kind of lost, honestly. I was happy with Cliché. I wasn't on the team, but it got me stoked to go out and push myself each day repping something you hold so dear. I got hit up by a few people, but nothing felt right, you know? It goes back to what I was saying about making sacrifices. I’ve made so many sacrifices that led me up to that point, I refused to just dive into something just because of the opportunity. I wanted to be into it and stoked on the brand. So while I was drifting along, Andrew and J-bone said it was cool I grabbed boards when I needed, just to keep me skating. Probably like four months of that, then Louie reached out about enjoi, a trade later and here I am.
This is like the third interview you’ve had in the last couple of months. Are you running out of things to say?
It’s definitely feeling like I’m regurgitating some stuff but with each one we’ve been shining light on different aspects of my life. There’s always something new to talk about, you know?
Breathing easy with a switch heel down 13 Photo: Hammeke
Which comes easier, breathing or doing a switch heelflip?
Breathing. Although depending on my current shoe and board set up and certain allergy conditions, that could change.
We have been getting a bunch of photos lately and you’re starting to get more and more coverage in the mag! Do you remember what your first ad was?
My first ad in a magazine ever was a Shred Shed ad in a ForTheKrew mag on the East Coast. I think I still have it actually. It was a switch flip down a mulch gap.
Voyeuristic view of a frontside half-Cab flip—don't see that every day Photo: Spitzer
Are you sure it wasn’t a shared ad with Zion?
Holy shit, it was! Wow. I kind of always wrote that one off because I didn’t land the trick, switch flip down this seven stair in Miami. Pretty sure Derick Glancy shot the photo too. Can’t believe you caught that.
Derick did shoot that photo! Was it the Citi Bank seven?
Nah, it was Tile seven with the over rail. I was too scared to try it over the rail.
I remember Tile seven. That was such a sick spot as a kid. There's another Miami spot you skated recently, the 13 with the fence at the end. Jamie Thomas ollied it around '02 but I don't think anyone has made a trick on the stairs since then and you just switch ollied it.
That spot is scary, dude. We ended up there so random with no intention of skating it, just looking at it. You only get like ten tries max before security comes out and I thought I could switch ollie it in a try or two but it took probably seven or eight. First try I bailed and just felt it through my whole body. I jump off shit kind of often and I never really had the first try hurt that much so I was pretty shook. My next six tries I was just so in my head about everything, thinking about how high I was coming down on my board thinking it was going to just explode if I stuck it. Finally I manned up and nearly busted a switch manny off the curb which I thought was suitable.
Manualing even when you don’t want to! It's so sick you skated that spot. I always thought it was so gnarly. Well I'm at work and I think they're starting to realize I’m not doing my job so let’s wrap this up. What’s next for John DiLorenzo?
Just going to keep on keeping on. Got this Shake Junt part in the pipeline, going to wrap that up and see what we can get into. I want to just get on more trips and dive into this skate shit headfirst, not take a moment for granted, you know?
Hell yeah, dive on in! That Shake Junt part is going to be sick. I've seen some of the stuff you got so far. Well shit, man, thanks for talking to me about all this. It's been sick. Let’s be to field soon?
Yes, always to field.
Beauty of a switch flip—St. Marys double set. Dilo got steelo Photo: Zaslavsky
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