Interview: Douglas Dalua, World Champion

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Douglas Dalua is the first World Champion to come from outside North America or Europe. The day after he was crowned champion, Marcelo Mariozi had the opportunity to interview him. Here we have that interview translated to English. The original can be seen here: LongboardRepublic.com
Marcelo Mariozi: Douglas Rodrigues da Silva, aka Dalua, World Series IGSA Champion 2012… Congratulations!!! This is something you have been pursuing for a long time and today you are the first racer outside Europe and North America to hold this title. When did you realise that this was your chance to get it?
Douglas Dalua: Well, everything started on the beginning of 2012, when I said to myself, “This is my year, and I need to change.” The first change was my physical condition, then a lot of dedication and training. My first year with my pro-model, the Rayne Amazon, was at stake and this also counted a lot.
How was your training?
I was very heavy at the end of 2012 with 117kg (257lbs) and this limited me, and when I saw the biggest defect in my base/tuck I started the change. I changed my food, started daily workouts, and started to lose weight and getting a better physical condition. Beyond that I was training with the skateboard 2 or 3 times a week with my friends. Today at the end of the series I am at 90kg (198lbs) and much better resistance. I stopped looking at the others as idols, and that helped a lot. I was the most constant racer in 2012, from the start I was always at first or second in the ranking, this is a statement of how well I was this year.
And the big season started in Australia, how was it at Mt. Keira?
Australia was the beginning, there I saw I really could be world champion. Mt. Keira was a very difficult track, the first days it was too wet, but when it dried I dominated from start to finish. But at 5 minutes to the final it started to rain again and I ended up in third place. Racing in the rain is like a lottery, me and Patrick fell 3 times in that final, another boy dislocated his shoulder on the the first turn… but Alex went on and took it with merit. It was a good start but I was left with that feeling of “I want more!”, I REALLY wanted to race that final on a dry track.
But then it dried up for Newtons on the next week… 
Newtons Nation was perfect, in 2010 I was top qualifier and was dominating the race but it also rained on the final. All I wanted was the chance to race that again in perfect conditions, and I got the chance. Did an excellent race, tried to play the best way I could, but there was one guy with a better game than mine. On qualifying I wasn’t that good but in the race I was perfect until the final. In that final I was racing against the guy that’s for me the “bullet man” in the world. Mischo is a hell of a player and his tactics were perfect, overtook the other guys at the right spot, and got me at the right spot. I took second place but could not enjoy it, my friend and sponsor Norberto from Faceskate needed my help at the hospital. He had taken a fall on Saturday and was taken urgently to the Sydney Hospital with a broken vertebra. This left me worried, but thank God I soon found out it was nothing too serious.
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Then Maryhill, the biggest classic in world skateboarding downhill. How was Maryhill this year?
Maryhill is still my dream to win, I was second place in 2009. This year I was with my deck and different trucks, Ronin gave me a lot of confidence on the turns. I top-mounted my Rayne Amazon and went on to the race, it was just good things. On the first day of timed runs, I broke the track record. On the Saturday I lost to Zak by hundredths of a second and ended up second. The race was amazing, I was perfect leading from start to finish until the final when Alex got on the inside and used his hand not to hit me. This displaced me and I ended up falling out really bad and finishing at fifth place.
From Maryhill the series went to Europe, starting at Kozakov. How was the European adventure in 2012?
Dream trip!!! 30 days with 5 friends traveling in Europe… Kozakov, a punk slope and really fast. Did the second time and was racing fast, but I lost concentration in the quarter finals and fell by myself. In an easy turn I made a mistake on the footbrake, hit the hay and was out of the race. This was a good lesson because after Kozakov I made almost none of those mistakes on the other races.
Kozakov to Padova, another crash.
I have this ongoing thing… I raced the whole year with an inflammation on the Achilles tendon. I wasn’t 100% in Europe, but was focused. I have had good results in Teolo before and I knew what to do. I managed to keep a high performance and did the fifth time riding fast on training runs. On the race itself I reached the finals, started really well, and when I got to the first “S” I was too fast and did not brake enough, ending up in the hay again with Ramon. I managed to grab my skateboard and finish the race ahead of him without one tennis shoe! Not easy because I had a injury in the heel bone at the crash, this left me for 2 weeks without riding in Europe.
But these weeks weren’t so bad with a visit to a special mentor… How was your time with Manu Antuna??
It was good to stop and rethink a lot of stuff. And to meet the guy that I inspired me was one of the biggest prizes in my life. When I started I had Kako Max as the biggest example for DH, then I identified myself a lot with Manu, always trying to do the same stuff, correcting my positioning, watching his videos.. and I ended up in Europe staying at his house being really well treated. This compensated everything, it was INCREDIBLE!
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And by the looks of it was of great inspiration because Peyragudes was a different story then…
I learned a LOT with him, everything he said we paid a lot of attention, this experience with Manu was incredible, completely renewed our vibe. And then I went to Peyragudes, a new and fast track, there I made history. From 25th in the qualifying to first place, with the luck on my side this time. In the finals I did a perfect race, started in first but was soon overtaken by Patrick and James. On the second turn James fell and I went hunting for Patrick until the last straight. There was new asphalt there and I was really fast in that spot, then it was me and him. I took the draft, overtook him and led until the end. I was very confident this day. Lessa was always at third place, and he was the one I feared most, in every moment I expected him to overtake me. I was lucky as it’s not everyday that you win from the World Champion and a new athlete lots of talent… it was my day. On the Sunday the race was cancelled due to the climate, there was no visibility and as there has been a race on Saturday, the race was validated and I was declared the winner.
After Europe you came back to Brazil and decided not to race the World Championship Race in Calgary. What made you take this decision?
I don’t like that hill, bad asphalt with speed bumps, this is not downhill. I decided not to spend this token, and by what I heard it was worth it. It was a complicated race, full of problems. The only good thing is that I lost only one position in the ranking. I went from 1st after Peyragudes to 2nd with James’ victory in Calgary, just 4 points behind. I even joked with Jacko on the day saying I saved $4000 with the trip and had only lost 4 points!!! He joked back I was the real champion of Calgary… hahahaha.
Then the series gets close to home starting at La Bajada in Bogota where it rained again, how was it?
This year I was much more focused on having fun. Because the forecast was for rain all the time, I just wanted to ride. And I managed to do it. Did a good race on the timed trials, but on the race there were really heavy rain showers!!! It was animal to race in the rain like it was… It was surfing not skateboarding. I did a safe final, I was not aggressive because I did not want to get hurt, gave no trouble to Dillon and Patrick just held my third place.
From La Bajada to the title defense at Snake Skeleton, how were the Pampas this year?
This was a race where I had real chances. I did the first time, was racing fast. But on Sunday I was just too tired, don’t know why but wasn’t with my mind 100% on the race, but even then I was strong. In the semi I started strong but was overtaken by 4 riders and was in 5th until the last turn. We all got there together and I took the inside and spit out in third, but another racer used his arm to touch me and robbed all my energy. I ended up fourth without reaching the finals. This did not change anything in the rankings, it was basically a lost event.
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Then Teutonia, fastest race in the circuit. Everyone was surprised by the results this year, what happened?
It happened that there were more competent people than me. I did my best, I was with the second time and racing fast. Friday I was riding really well, but did not keep the same rhythm on Saturday and Sunday. When I was eliminated on the third heat… It was good, like the mistakes in Kozakov it was good to have lost Teutonia. It helped me work out my thoughts.
It certainly did!!! But what was the story of that trip to the desert? Did the trip and training in Dubai help you to go to Africa in better shape?
Before going to South Africa I was invited to go to Dubai, and to ride the desert roads. So I went to the sand land to see these magical slopes… What to say??? Jebel Hafeet is one of the best roads I have ever rode in 15 years of skateboarding. Of course there is one hill for every moment, but this one is the one that when you get to the bottom say: “Well, I am renewed for a week of hard work”… that was AMAZING.
From the desert finally to South Africa, the last race of the season, all stakes were on. Just 2 points separated you from the leader. And you had the chance you did not have the year before. How were the racing days at Hot Heels?
Well this was the worst mission of all. Several things happened in 2012. I could have gotten to Hot Heels as a champion if the bad things had not happened, but in the end it was good, it made me hungry for the title.
This year the event was held over 4 days. The first day was only freeride, I already knew the track and was just getting it under my 2012 setup. In 3 drops I was ready with the track on my mind. Friday we did the first timed trial and I was able to keep my riding fast with the best time. Saturday they swapped the time trials for freeride, I did not want to ride a lot and be tired, so I decided to rest and be fit for the race Sunday. My adversaries were Patrick with the 5th time and Alex with the 7th. Saturday night I spent 3 hours working on the ranking to double-check my chances, races possibilities and what I needed to do on the race. Like I said, it was a complicated mission, other than fighting for the world title with 2 monsters of downhill, there were also half a dozen top athletes racing under no pressure at all. Guys like the World Champ, Eric, Kyle that was coming from a win at Teutonia, Adam from Sweden very technical and fast, Malaga a total racer, Jonas the king of draft and 3 other guys from South Africa coming very strong. It would be complicated all the way.
What about the race and heats? What can you tell us?
I managed to lead the whole event. On the semi I raced against Patrick and I don’t know how I did not fall! He came very strong behind me, got into the main turn right behind me and I don’t know what happened to him… he fell and hit his foot on my rear left wheel. The wheel was satined blue from his foot. I held my Amazon with all strength and took the hit from behind ending up in the finals without the main contender. On the other tree Alex ended up crashing as well. Then came a film in my mind, “what do do?” Now it only depended on me.
Racing that final and crossing the line as World Champ, what was going on inside the helmet?
When it started I never pushed so hard. I think I had the strength of all my friends cheering for me because I came out really fast. I just kept controlling my breathing from start to finish. Did not feel a thing, no pain, nothing. Was in the lead the whole race, and when I crossed the finish line a movie of 10 years on the circuit in less than 30 seconds came to my mind, with everything from the very start until that very moment.
I fought really hard for this, made many mistakes, lost friends… I was always a very determined guy and that made many people uncomfortable during my career, but nothing and no one made me quit this dream. Quitting is weak, I fought and I won. Made history in the sport that became my profession, and I know this will be remembered for everything I conquered for my country… Man this is VERY emotional and gratifying. I can’t wait to go back home to my family.
This year was complicated, people I thought were my friends stabbed me on the back, but here is the answer. I always proved it on the asphalt, that’s the best place to clear your doubts about a skateboarder.
Historical, guys in Brazil are dying for info!!! Congrats once more!!! Last question: 2013, what’s next?
Historical, today I can say I am a complete athlete. I won all rankings I raced in my life. Won all state events in my state, all national championships in my category, 2 time South American Champion. For the last 4 years I have been getting better and better in the World series, fifth then fourth, then second and now champion. I think I could retire and say I did my best and was victorious in my sport.
2013 only God knows! If the world does not end on Dec. 21st I will start to think for next year… now I have to enjoy  the moment, relax with my family, my daughter… Marry Treice for once, and stop postponing it. 5 years already, it’s time now, hahahaha.
Dalua, thanks for the time, giving us this interview the day after winning the title while still in South Africa. It’s your space now for thanks, messages, links whatever you’d like to say.
I would like to thank you for the support, for Dubai… really cool guy with a beautiful family.
I could dedicate this win to a 1000 people, but I have to dedicate it to my uncle Leomar that passed away Thursday during the Hot Heels. I was in the slope when I got the SMS from my mother. He was my eldest uncle and I was deeply touched… but I ended up getting the victory. I am sure he’s proud with this farewell.
My sponsors are the best families in the world! All are very special, and were fundamental in my trajectory, this is a win we will all celebrate a lot still!
I just wanna see DH growing more and more. This will make me happy. The rest will be for the most competent.
I can’t wait to come back home, rest my head and thoughts and sleep. I still haven’t slept!!! Since yesterday I was thinking and forcing myself to sleep, I still haven’t figured out I am the champ… just wanna see my daughter, my fiancee and my mother. People I love and will always want to be close to.
Peace brother, have good drops in São João do Deserto and all the best for everyone in the south and your family!!!
SJD is my place, just by dropping that hill, it renovates me… gets me new again. You have your mountain, and I have mine… one day I will take you there, the vibe is unique!!!
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