Luan Oliveira – ‘I just want to skate, have fun, and enjoy doing it!’

Words: Miljan Milekić

In my books, Luan Oliveira is easily one of the best to ever pick up the wooden board with four wheels. The perfect combination of gnarliness and technicality, with the style that made him look like he is floating through the air. And the determination to never give up, no matter what. He started as a ten-year-old kid in the ghetto of Porto Alegre and never stopped. Now, he is starting a new chapter of his already massive skateboarding career, joining the stacked, and still-growing Cariuma team. And we were lucky enough to catch up with him for an interview.

Hi Luan! First of all – Congratulations on joining Cariuma! How does it feel to finally break the news to the world?
Luan: It feels great. We were waiting for a moment to make it happen and let everyone know, but it happened at the best moment possible. I am so excited to be joining this team and working with Cariuma.

Which shoes will you be riding? Are you still testing different models, or did you already settle on a particular one?
Luan: I really love the Catiba Pro. I have tried all of them, and they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever had, but I will skate the Catiba’s just for being a simple shoe. All-black suede, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Along with the news, we saw you in a short and sweet Welcome video. Is there something bigger in the works we should be on the lookout for?
Luan: Yes, for sure. I have a plan of doing a video part every year, and hopefully, it will be happening for the next five years.

Brazil is known for the insane number of skateboarders coming from the country and storming the world. How important is it for the skate scene in the country to finally have a significant player like Caruima?
Luan: I think that Cariuma is doing an amazing job with the skateboard world. Investing in new talents and events. They’re a new company, but really smart, and know how to make things happen for skateboarders.

READ MORE: Check our interview with Danish skateboarding legend Rune Glifberg

As I just mentioned, Brazil has a massive and incredibly diverse skateboarding scene, with new amazing riders popping up every day. What do you think – what is the reason for skateboarding is so big in Brazil?
Luan: First, I think just because we wanna make it, you know? Things in Brazil have always been tough. So, just to have an opportunity to skate at a good skatepark and have a chance to show our potential, we don’t waste time!

Luan Oliveira / Photo: Zezeh Luiz

So, can you tell me more about your growing up in Porto Alegre and skating there? How did you get into skateboarding in the first place?
Luan: Growing up in Porto Alegre was tough. I grew up in the ghetto of Brazil and started skating when I was ten. I Found out that there was a professional skateboarder living in my street, so I went to talk to him to get some stuff like board, trucks, and wheels. Luckily, he helped me out, and that’s how it pretty much all started.

And now, in 2023, from this time distance, how does it feel to look back and see everything you accomplished in your life and your career as a skateboarder?
Luan: It feels great. Kinda crazy, to be honest, because I’ve never thought of going this far. I’m really blessed to be next to amazing people that helped me be here today.

I know this one is a bit random, and it may still be too early for it as you still have many years ahead of you, but with everything you went through, did you ever think about writing an autobiography? I know I would be the one to buy it, but I think it could also be very inspiring for many young people coming from similar backgrounds around the world.
Luan: I didn’t think about that, but if it would inspire at least one person, I would do it, for sure.

READ MORE: Check our interview with American skateboarder Christopher Hiett

I only had the chance to see you skate once, at the X Games Norway back in 2019, where you took the silver medal – but I always loved your style. You were never afraid to try big and gnarly stuff, but even doing that, you are always so technical. Where do you think that uniqueness is coming from, and who were your main influences in skateboarding?
Luan: I’ve always been a fan of Rodrigo TX, so let’s just start there. (laughs) I always loved seeing Rodrigo doing these flip-in and flip-out tricks, so I guess I got it from that. Bastien Salabanzi, too. So many people, but they were my favorites.

Luan Oliveira / Photo: Fernando Menezes Jr.

You are known for your video parts, but you are also known as one of the best contest skaters in the world. Why do you think that is? How different is the mindset you have on contests, and what motivates you to constantly be so dialed on every event you ride?
Luan: I don’t know. I just skate in the contest as I skate at a park with friends, or in the streets filming for something. It has always been like that. I just want to skate, have fun doing it and enjoy it!

I am a big fan of the Battle At The Berrics series, and you were always one of my favorite riders to watch at those events, which you managed to win in 2018. How fun is that event, and how different it is compared to every other contest out there?
Luan: It is pretty fun at a certain moment. It gets really gnarly at semis and stuff. It is a good pressure for people that really like that kind of pressure (laughs)

So, to finish it all off – what can we expect from you coming forward? Any plans you can share with us?
Luan: I’m gonna be skating and having fun with it. I have some plans for the future, and hopefully, it comes to reality – which is to film an NBD video part of 10 tricks, but we’ll see!

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*Interview edited for length and clarity

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