What The Hell Is A Skate Loop?

By Nick Shields

Grant Fiero was one of the first interviewees we ever had here at Shieldless. You may remember him from his role as co-host on the recently discontinued Skate Fillet podcast. Although he’s no longer delivering weekly banter about skate news and gossip, Grant is still serving up timely content for the masses. His most recent endeavor, The Skate Loop, started as an Instagram account he created to showcase his love of simple, fast, well-done, and just plain old good-looking skateboard tricks. Earlier this year he transformed the account into a full-fledged blog with segments, stories, videos, and more. The Skate Loop shares mesmerizing loop format videos that seek to bring attention to tricks that might pass by the average viewer’s attention span unnoticed and unremembered. We caught up with Grant to talk to him about his upcoming pop-up shop at Slappy’s Garage in San Diego, as well as all things loopy.

Grant doing his thing capturing David Reyes at a Thunder Trucks event earlier this year.
PHOTO: Papke

What’s up Grant? How are you doing? 

I’m good, just chilling, hanging out with my family right now. 

Staying safe in a pandemic? 

Yeah, been safe for sure. I work from home at the moment, so pretty much I’m around the same little group of people.  Getting out to skate here and there, but that’s always outside and usually not around that many people. 

Good to see you skating again!

Thanks! Yeah, I’m psyched to finally get back on my board after that injury, it’s been super fun, getting everything back and relearning tricks. 

Hell yeah. So let’s get straight into it man. What the hell is a skate loop? 

It’s basically just a clip that’s repeating over and over. It’s like you’re watching the same trick on loop. The way I do it is, I take one trick, usually cut it pretty quick right before the trick has popped and right when it’s landed, and then it’s just on repeat over and over. 

How did the Instagram @theskateloop come about?

It originally started about a year and a half ago. Whenever video parts would come out, or anything that I was stoked on, I would always be psyched to post a story and just start a conversation with friends. The way I would do that is, I’d just pick my favorite clip and make a little loop of it and then put it on my story. Then there was one, in particular, I made of Bobby Worrest doing a back three on flat. I just thought that it looked cool and sounded cool [in a loop]. I was like, all these loops might as well just exist in one place instead of this thing on my story and disappearing. So I made a little Instagram account for it and then earlier this year, right after my knee surgery, I turned it into a website and found a way to create some of my own content. 

What determines a loopable trick? 

There are certain tricks that tend to be loopable in my eyes. A lot of quick ledge tricks can loop really sick. A really long handrail or something like that tends to be a little boring to loop because it’s just too long. So, things that can be quick, like a really good flatground trick. It could be down a gap or something, but just something fast is definitely what I tend to look for. It doesn’t need to be the gnarliest trick. 

Can you loop a slow-mo clip?  

I prefer not to, but there are times where it works. There have also been times where there’s a clip in slow-mo and the clip would loop so good if it wasn’t. Thankfully I’ve been able to actually reach out to some filmers and get the raw footage. Shoutout Alex Kissinger, he’s a filmer for Primitive and he filmed Miles Silvas switch heel back tail down this rail in their new video Fourth Quarter. I loved the way that it was filmed and the way Miles did the trick but it was in slow-mo. So I hit him up like, “Yo, is there any way you could send over this clip without the slow-mo, I love the way it looks,” and he said,  “Yeah, I got you!” Then he sent it over, I made the loop, and I was so hyped. It’s cool that people are down to help out because that dude’s filming for Primitive, he doesn’t have to send me a clip for my little website, you know? That’s just him being nice. 

Yeah, that’s so rad! Okay so slow-mo is a no-go but can a line be a loop? 

I’d say it can, but I’ve never looped a whole line. I posted a loop of Gustav Tonnesen that’s a three trick line but I made it two loops. He does two flatground tricks no push, no setup, a kickflip into a nollie front three right away, so I looped that. Then I looped the ledge trick he does after. They were separate but it did come from one line, so kind of. 

Can only sponsored skaters get looped? 

Oh, no way! I’ll loop anyone that does something I’m hyped on! 

So you have a segment called “Out To Get a Loop,” how do you go out to get a loop? 

I go meet up with someone, skate with them, film some warmup clips, shoot a couple of photos, and then we brainstorm [a loop] together. It’s a collaborative process in that sense where this skater is getting to think of a trick but they also want to know my perspective. They’re like, “how can we film this? What’s the trick that would loop cool?” Once we come up with it I film them until they land it and usually I’ll just make it into a loop right there on the spot with my phone and then we can check it.  Maybe we’re hyped on it, maybe we think we should film it differently, or maybe we think they should just come up with a different trick.  But that’s pretty much the process. 

Monica Torres pinches a front crook in between looping out.
PHOTO: Fiero

Is there a particular episode of “Out To Get a Loop” that you would recommend people to check out? 

I’d recommend checking out John Dilo’s, we did it at Cherry Park in Long Beach. John’s trick selection is pretty mind-blowing and in person the consistency was insane. If you watch the clips from that day, there’s a lot of manual tricks and he flips in and out of manuals within a handful of tries, no problem. Then the skatepark got pretty hectic when he started trying the trick that we looped. It was a back nosegrind nollie back heel on the ledge. He handled that craziness of a skatepark pretty well,  just stayed relaxed, and then he did the trick perfect. Also, this episode only had a couple of photos in it, but I liked that switch flip photo over the hydrant. 

What is the “Behind The Loops” segment all about? 

I wanted to focus more on the filmer, because “Out To Get a Loop” is very skater focused, I’m filming those clips myself. But the filmer plays a huge role in a trick looping cool as well by the way it’s filmed and the angle they choose. So for “Behind The Loops” a filmer can choose any clips that they’ve ever filmed, turn them into loops, and then write a little backstory about those tricks. It gives them a chance to explain how it went at the spot, if the cops showed up, if they had to go back five times, or maybe the skater got lucky and did it first try. You never know what goes on behind a trick itself. Personally, I find that really interesting because when you see a clip in the video part and it goes by in two seconds, the skater might’ve tried that for six hours, or maybe he was scared and thinking about that trick for weeks ahead of time. It’s cool to hear the filmer’s perspective as well as just be reminded that this clip that goes by so quick, a lot of thought and time and effort went into getting it. 

So what’s up with the pop-up shop you got going on next weekend?

So we’re going to do a pop-up shop Saturday, December 12th at Slappy’s Garage in Linda Vista.  This was something I originally thought of because I love video premieres and those haven’t really happened much this year with COVID. I was trying to think of something I could do to bring people together, hang out with friends, and still make it COVID safe. So I thought it’d be really cool to make some merch and have a little video to show. Jason [Carney] and Eduardo [Sanchez] at Slappy’s are always down to help out. I’m going to have some new colorways of the hats, as well as our first t-shirt and a new edit.  It’s a “best of 2020” edit, so all the clips are from the “Out To Get a Loop” series. 

“There’s so much effort put into skating, this is just my way of highlighting it”

People should definitely check that out. My last question is, what are your goals for the skate loop?

I definitely want to just keep building the couple of different series that I’ve started with it.  I want to continue to collaborate with different skaters, and I’d love to work with some brands and create cool concepts,  nothing overly serious. I just want to go skate, create some stuff, have fun, and just highlight the fact that whether it’s a flatground trick in a line or the hardest trick in the part, all those things are important. There’s so much effort put into skating, this is just my way of highlighting it, so I just want to continue doing that.

JP Souza warms up for the loop with a proper noseblunt, no pads.
PHOTO: Fiero

Follow The Skate Loop on Instagram @theskateloop and check out the blog HERE.

Read Dropping In With Grant Fiero.

Hear Grant on our Quarantine Call podcast.

Watch loops from the Slappy’s Garage full-length video Limbo.