Luis Tolentino

January 28, 2017
photos by James Reres

Whats up man? How you doing?
Good mang, good. It’s saturdayyy. How you doing my g?
Good man, ready for this weekend. So what you been up to today?
I was working, just got out. I service coffee machines. ha!
You get free coffee?
Yeah I actually got two bags in my pocket right now! It’s pretty random.
You get snowed in during that storm?
Yeah man, looking at snow right now. Mad snow. We got snowed in so crazy man, I knew it was gonna happen too. It was too nice. It was like springtime weather through December and January. (sounds of skating) But I’m still cruising right now, on my way to the train station, I’ma skate somewhere quiet so we can just chill.
You like the snow at all?
Yeah because I can like go out and walk, and just chill. It’s kinda like a vacation. It makes the pattern change, and everything changes, but change is good.
Hell yeah, so you lived in Queens yr whole life?
Pretty much. My family first moved to Manhattan and then we lived in LES. Then after that my parents split up and we moved to Brooklyn, and then (sicklaind)? over there and that was like, I think it was the 80’s and the beginning of 90’s and then we moved to Queens.
Sick, whats the best thing about Queens?
Well the best thing about Queens is that it’s kind of in the middle of everything. It’s in between Brooklyn, Long Island, you still got the option to go into the city. It’s kinda quiet, but not as quiet as Long Island. You’re kind of still in the heart, but you’re not haha. But you still got the options over here. You can be in the mix or not. Too much in the mix is bad, but so is too little, haha.
Whats yr favorite place to skate in the city?
Ummm, I don’t know yo. I don’t know right now. I just like to skate around and just find stuff mostly. If I go to the skatepark, I feel like i’m getting in peoples way or something. But I haven’t been getting in the way for a long time so I should get the pass now.
You been on any trips recently?
Nahhhh. Wait, I went to the Dominican Republic but that wasn’t skate related. That was just with the fam. Most of my family is from there.
Thats sick, whats it like out there?
I’m from the country so we live in the heart of the country. Kind of like a farm, but not a farm, just in the mountains. Very chill.
Do a lot of kids skate out there?
They skate like towards the city and stuff like that. In the country there’s not really any skateboarding going on. In the city there’s a lot of skating though. They just opened up a skatepark in Punta Canta at this resort, like a hard rock cafe. One of the biggest hotels in the freaking Caribbean. And it’s pretty ridiculous what they’re gonna do. They’re gonna open a Woodward skate camp out there.
Yoo, thats crazy.
It’s gonna bring a lot of skateboarders, and lot of big names I think. Theres gonna be like big time skaters like Tony Hawk being over there. They’re gonna bring a lot of traffic you know, and then it’s gonna branch out from there and I’m hyped about it. They actually hit me up to go out there to film for like a commercial thing, so they could go show it around. They had all these little go pro helicopters flying around and shit.
So what other skaters are Dominican?
There’s this kid from DR, he’s actually in New York, his name’s Carlos (Calezano) and he’s out here right now going in. There’s this other kid and he’s out in California, and he skates for this company…Man I forget the name. They skate bowls and shit, I don’t remember if he still skates for them but he’s pro. They skate a lot at the beach…
It’s like an OG company.
Word, so how’d you get on Shut?
Man, I got on Shut.. That’s a crazy story yo. I was riding for Official, this Queens based company. It was me, Rodney Torres, Dan Howe, Germain Neives, yeah and it was crazy and I had to leave and tell Rodney I was going to Shut and I didn’t know what to say. It was a weird transition for me, and then it was Alex Corporan who asked me like ‘yo you want to be a part of a company from the start and watch it grow into something from the beginning?’ And I was like ‘Yeah, that sounds cool I’m down. From there that’s how I met Felix, cause Alex took me out to goofy vs. regular back in the day. In like 2005, I call that back in the day haha. But he was like you want to come to this contest cause I used to get flow for etnies, and get all the promo sizes. I got lucky and I was size 9 haha. And Alex was hooking me up through his budget you know, he said he was just looking out for me. So thanks to him I got to go see California and see how skaters skated out there, and see how they had to bail and shit out there. I mean I knew people bailed cause I was kind a fan of Zero at the time and I used to see them bailing and eating shit. And I was like ‘damn this
is what I gotta do to get better at skateboarding.’ So I used to just try crazy shit and jump off everything haha. But yeah, Alex Corporan got me on Shut. Then I met Rodney Smith, and Rodney got me a cell phone and he was like yo, you gotta start being more professional and that’s how it all started going. And then I met Felix at another contest and thats how I got on Famous. Cause I didn’t have a clothing sponsor and I was needing to make some income. Cause I used to just be a mover, I would move filing cabinets and
shit, with the files inside of em! That was a crazy job, I used to work with a bunch of ex-cons and stuff, just getting out of the joint. it was wild, a good experience though.
What’s the worst job you ever had?
I don’t know man, I don’t think any job was the worst you know, cause every job you learn from it, so I can’t say any job is the worst job. I used to think like that, but now I look at it like, there’s a reason behind it. I gotta go through this shitty part of my life, or whatever might seem shitty, but really it’s just gonna make you stronger. Because you’re lacking, and you have to deal with that. That’s how I look at it.

Hell yeah, thats a good way to look at shit. So, what’s the best substitute fr a pillow?
Haha, shit your skateboard! Lay that shit upside down and lay on it.In the airport or whatever, and you’re good. Or a jacket and sneakers.
Whats one of yr favorite video parts?
Shit. Jamie Thomas…No! Mike Maldonado, I used to like watching him. Jeremy Wray, Sean Sheffey, a soldiers story. The Jeremy Wray part where he front three’d that grass gap in a line. I forgot what it was. Ray Barbee, ban this. Frickin Daewon, whatever from him haha.
So obviously you got a world record setting ollie. Who do you think has one of the best ollies?
Shit man, Brophey yo. That man’s got some shit going on upstairs so he’s trying to pop the shit out of his board. Westgate, one of my favorites to watch skate, he’s just retarded.
You ever skate with him?
Yeah I used to be on 5boro with him yo! Before Official I rode for 5boro, they were my first board sponsor.
Is there any other world records you want to break?
I don’t know man, I don’t know about no world records or whatever. If it comes, it comes. If I get inspired I’ll try some shit, but right now I’m just like working and getting inspired again to skate. I was skating the other day on this mini ramp and I was having so much fun. I almost forgot what it was like to just focus on skating, and trying stuff. Instead of thinking whats going on around me, or things that happened in the past that were hindering me from moving forward with my life. Now, finally I’m starting to realize you just
have to learn to forgive yourself and forgive others, and move forward, and just not think about judgement so much. You know? When you’re skating you’re always thinking about who’s watching you, or even when you’re by yourself you just kind of forget that fun. Now I’m more chill, thank god.
So do you like skating contests man?
Haha!!! Ahhh! Yo I used to go in, I was on my Nascar shit for a while. But then I don’t know what happened, I started trying to just slow down my life a little bit. Might get a shorty, a family type thing, so I just started slowing down. I don’t know man, I just started losing it. I used to have fun at those things, just going around like a nomad and shit. It was fun and it was productive. I mean I would do it again but I feel like I gotta lot of homework to do.
So whats yr favorite skatepark in the city? Or do you not really like them?
I don’t know I feel like I’m at a damn contest every time I go to one to be honest, haha. There’s so many kids…
Go out street skating with the homies is more yr style?
Shit I haven’t even been doing that much recently. I’ve just been skating that Black Bear mini ramp.
That’s that bar right?
Yeah, it’s mad fun.
So any places you miss skating in NY that aren’t there any more?
Yeah I miss the banks. I just like going on the wall ride at least, and just passing through it.
Do the wall ride, keep it going. I miss it.
If you had to live somewhere other than NY, where do you think it’d be?
Ummm…Probably…Damn I don’t know…
Whats one of the dopest places you’ve ever traveled to?
You know DR, you know what I’m saying. It’s amazing. Costa Rica, Barcelona are
amazing. I don’t know where to pick. Costa Rica was so nice…
When’d you go to Costa Rica?
I went on a DVS tour. DVS is the best.
So who do you see out there killing NY right now?
Jordan Trahan, yeah I’ll just leave it at him bro hahaha. Oh and this black kid that skates LES all the time! I forgot his name, shit…He’s a lil G.
Do you believe in aliens?
Oh mannnn, I believe…why not? Whatever alien means you know, extra terrestrial, of something not from this territory. Like alien can mean immigrant, they’re not from this land, and a different planet is a different land, it could be like a country. You could look at a planet like it’s a country, what if a planet is a country you know? But they need to get their papers to come out here though…But yeah, why not? Why can’t there be some weird cactus guy that chills on a weird planet just like ‘yooo man, I’m a cactus guy, and I can’t move, but I can talk to you if you want. I’ll be here, in cactus land.’ What if they got all these plants from different planets and earth is just a big ass aquarium you know? What if? Who knows yo! Let’s go to cactus land, or camel planet.
Haha, you ever play sports growing up?
I mean we used to play pick up football or whatever you know. We’d go play with random people and tackle the shit out of each other, who cares. I don’t really do any sports like that. I never been on a team or no shit like that, except soccer when I was a real little kid. I wanted to do baseball but my parents didn’t have no money. I did do boy scout camp for a while through my church, so that wasn’t too much cash. And I learned some survival skills and shit in the woods. How to use an axe and that shit. Something you would never know how to use living in the city. But finally I just told my mom I just wanted to skateboard. I remember skating through the streets in my boy scout uniform! Eating shit tryna ollie a sewer cap, haha. Nobody skated in my neighborhood at that time, and then I ran into some kids, my friends Udonis, Omar, they were skating some raggedy ass ramp and I came through and just ollied off that thing as fast as I could. My boy Joey, who taught me how to ollie, he was always telling me you have to go fast when you
skate, skateboards are meant to go fast. So everything I tried I would always go as fast as I fucking could. it made so much sense to me, just like when I would go do stairs I would just go sooo fast for no reason. People were like whats wrong with this dude!
Yo you ever skate Philly? or Love park?
Yeahhh, I have! just last month. But it was right when they started putting the fences up and there were mad cops around and shit, so I was late
You ever get skate tickets in NY?
Yo one time I got arrested yo, for skating in this park. This cop freaking wanted to make an example out of me. And he got me so pissed…I was like sixteen, and you know when you’re young and you get so mad you start tearing and shit? That happened to me yo, I was so upset. Cuffed up, brought me in, put me in a cell at sixteen for skating in a park. Like what was I doing yo!?

Where was that at?
At Mcdonald park, on Queens blvd. ohh shit, there’s a little homie skating right now.
-Yowhats good g?? You know how to skate yet?- Ohhh snap yo, yo my mans is learning how to skate right now. His board is mad wal mart. Ohhh snap. You gotta go to the city, downtown LES. Just go hang out over there, that’s the skateboard world. And go look for this company, Shut. Hey I’m on the phone right now brother, but it’s ni ce meeting you brother, what’s your name? -Lloyd- Alright Lloyd, peace. You look like a
skater homie, keep doing your thing.
Good shit, you told him whats up.
Yeah man you gotta do that shit He needs to know. Thats some back in the day stuff, you see a skater and say whats good. That guy was cool man.
Yeah people don’t even do that any more. People just skate on by.
Nah, he looks like he’s gonna be one of those passionate dudes you know.
So you got any advice to kids tryina come up in skating?
haha, I think that you just can’t worry about what anybody thinks around you. Just go skate and do what you’re feeling. Like if you feel like doing something just go do it, don’t hold back, cause when you do that you might hurt yourself mentally or physically. Keep going. You wake up every day son! That means you got a chance.
Any shout outs?
Shout out to god, shout out to my mom for not giving up on me, and to everybody out there who has always supported me. Shut, for always looking out for me through weird times and through good times, always being there and having patience. And that’s about it.