Leo Ruiz Is the Brazilian Skater Who Goes Big
Brazilian skater Leonardo Ruiz moved to California just a few years back specifically to become a pro skateboarder -- now he's traveling the world competing in professional skateboard events, including the Nitro World Games in the semifinals on June 24, where he'll face a field of the world's best big-air skateboarders. A vert expert (he won the Brazil vert tour, a prestigious national title), Ruiz hit two big-air contests last year: Nitro World Games and his first ever X Games big air comp. Despite being a relative newcomer to this style, he's gearing up to throw down in Salt Lake City.
This year the athletes worked directly with NWG organizers to improve the ramp setups. "This year the ramp is better than last year," he says. "We made some adjustments, and I'm pretty sure that the skateboarding level this year will be even higher than last year." We can confirm that. Even in practice, the 2017 semifinalists were dropping huge tricks and dialing in their comfort level on the NWG setup. Check it out:
Ruiz has been skating since he was 12 and has been a pro for several years now, but despite that, he still gets nervous before competitions, he says. "Almost everybody gets at least a little bit nervous as well, but I think it can help us sometimes. It's a mind game." Winning that personal mind game is what has led him to success as a pro. He was dubbed the Brazlian kickflipper for his successful quest to land a kickflip melon 540. So perhaps it's fitting that one of the tricks he's planning for Salt Lake is a kickflip mute 360. To see if he sticks it, make sure to watch live on NBC or at NitroWorldGames.Live on Saturday, June 24.