Inside the Minds of Pro Skaters Eyeing the 2024 Olympics

In a little over 100 days, skateboarding will return to the Olympics after its 2020 debut, drawing in 80 athletes to compete across park – a hollowed-out concrete bowl with a kicker in the middle and a multi-height border full of rails – and street, a flat course dotted with handrails, ledges, and funboxes, kickers and more. Skaters in both contests will be judged on factors like the quality and difficulty of their tricks and their ability to use all of the obstacles on a course. With park, each will perform three individually-scored 45-second runs for a panel of five judges, with their highest score as their final mark. For street, skaters perform two 45-second runs and five single tricks. The scoring system for street has been overhauled for Paris 2024 so that now the best of the two runs and the best of two tricks will count. Eight skaters will advance to the finals, where they’ll compete for a spot on the podium.

Given Olympic skateboarding is still in its formative years, there’s no typical profile for an Olympic skater — at least compared to the ultra-regimented training of professional gymnasts or swimmers. While Tokyo 2020 hosted a few industry heavyweights like 19-time X Games podium finisher Nyjah Huston and gold medalist in street, Yuto Horigome, there were also competitors as young as 13-year-old bronze medalist Sky Brown, who still doesn’t have a coach and teaches herself tricks using YouTube.

Making it pro as a skater takes drive and grit, but also a love for the sport so fanatical that it pushes one to take on tricks head-on, risking falls and bruises and maybe even some broken bones. Among this year’s crop of Olympic hopefuls are Jagger Eaton, Roos Zwetsloot and Kelvin Hoefler — all Cariuma team members who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and Olympic newcomers Natalia Muñoz and Agustin Aqila.

Three months out from Paris 2024, Hypebeast caught up with the gang of pros to talk training, goals and the difference between contest and street skating.

2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot
2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot

Just a few months ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, how do you feel and what does your daily training routine look like?

Jagger Eaton: My daily routine looks like this: ocean plunge, breakfast, read/write, physical therapy with my coach, skate for an hour and a half and golf. That’s a perfect training day for me!

Roos Zwetsloot: I’m busy with training and going to contests. When I’m not traveling, my daily routine in the Netherlands includes eating healthy food, stretching, training on my skateboard, sometimes doing a bit of studying in between, cooking and seeing some friends in the evening. Two times a week I’m also training off-board in the gym and that keeps my body healthy and strong.

Natalia Muñoz: My daily routine varies depending on the training plan, but it revolves around personalized physical preparation tailored to skateboarding, physiotherapy treatment to keep my body in the best condition possible, and many hours of skateboarding with my coaches and friends.

Kelvin Hoefler: Basically, my daily routine is to get a good breakfast, check out some news, see what’s going on in the skateboarding world, and get ready for the day. Usually, I go to a local park in the morning and skate at home in the afternoon. Do some workouts to keep me strong and going during the week. I play video games at night when I’m at home chilling.

Agustin Aquila: Waking up, having a good Italian breakfast and then going outside to skate, picking up some friends on the way to the skatepark and enjoying the morning. Then I’ll eat something, go for training and chill out a little bit. When I finish the day, I come back home, read some books, put on some music, and start to cook something, enjoying the time at home.

Skateboarding only made its Olympic debut during the last Summer Games in 2020. Does it still feel surreal that you’re competing?

JE: Being able to compete for something bigger than yourself is every athlete's dream.

RZ: I still feel honored that I was able to compete at the very first one in 2020. Now my focus is on the Paris 2024 one and hopefully, I will be there. It would be amazing to skate in front of friends, family, and fans in an amazing spot in Paris.

NM: Watching skateboarding in Tokyo was amazing. I still can't believe that this sport made it to the Olympics. I never imagined I could compete in the Games, but every day it feels more within reach, and that really excites me.

KH: The last Olympics didn’t hit me until I was there. Before I went, I just thought it was a regular skateboarding event I was going to but when I arrived and saw all the villages and the flags I was like, “wow it’s awesome that skateboarding made it this big.”

AA: It's shocking because I moved to Italy almost 3 years ago from my birth country of Argentina. I began competing with Italy’s national team only two years ago, getting into these contests at a level I never saw before.

2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot
2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot

Do you view skating through a different lens when preparing for a contest?

JE: My mindset is always on contests and I really enjoy that. Skating will always be fun, creative and exciting but competing for your country adds another level of importance. I like that each trick, session and tournament matters.

RZ: When you’re preparing you’re focused on a couple of hard tricks and you’re not 100% “free” skating. You don’t want to get injured either, so you’re more aware of that. After a contest I always need a couple of days to chill, give my body some rest and recharge for the next one.

NM: When I'm skating with my friends, we have a blast without any worries but when it comes to competition, it's a different story: I need to focus, study every corner of the skatepark, plan out tricks for each obstacle, and time everything perfectly... always aiming for that flawless run.

KH: I’m just hoping I can land my tricks. That’s all I think about when I’m preparing for an event. It’s very different. I love street skating because it’s more fun and I have more time to film. If I don’t land a trick, I can always go back until I get it. Contest skating is a little stressful sometimes cause we only get one chance.

AA: It’s way more focused, serious and linear because I still feel nervous or anxious when I’m competing. I don’t like to mess up. When I’m skating regularly, I feel more free to do what I want, to enjoy different things, and to take it more chill in my head.

What will you consider a “successful” Olympic trip?

JE: A successful Olympic trip means medals… preferably gold medals.

RZ: When I’m returning home with a positive mind and the feeling that I gave it my all. If everything works out the way I want of course I will be really happy but the priority is to be in the moment and to give 100%, then we will see how it goes.

NM: The mere fact that skateboarding’s in the Olympic Games is a huge opportunity for me. Getting there would help to open many doors and allow me to receive more support to keep skating.

KH: Being able to do my best, landing my tricks and giving it my all.

AA: Just being there, finding some friends on the trip, seeing amazing skaters doing incredible stuff, skating around, enjoying the contest and Paris – and possibly a good result. A top 10 spot would be really nice.

2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot
2024 paris olympics pro skaters cariuma interview competition park street natalia munoz jagger eaton agustin aqila kelvin hoefler roos zwetsloot

What are you most excited about besides competing?

JE: I’m excited to be back in the Olympic Village. There is seriously nothing like the Olympic spirit. You wake up inspired by the greatness around you and it truly makes you a better athlete. I can’t wait to be back there.

RZ: Definitely the skatepark's location. It’s an amazing location in the center of the city, and my family will be there to enjoy the moment with me.

NM: What excites me the most is experiencing the Olympics from the inside, meeting as many Olympic athletes as possible and representing my country.

KH: There are a lot of exciting experiences there, like seeing everyone coming from different countries and getting to meet all these amazing people. But to be honest? To go home after and have a regular life, skate for fun, and do it all again.

AA: Watching all of the Olympic Games going on, the excited people, the opening ceremony, the trip with the national team, the food and to show it all to my friends and family. I really don’t know what to expect since this is a new thing to me. I used to watch the Olympics when I was a kid, but I never imagined skateboarding in it.