From the Belgium plazas to the European Mecca of skateboarding in Barcelona to the cold Montreal streets, Héloïse Wathelet has a lot of miles and hours of skating under her belt... and the meanest nollie back heel in town! She’s one hell of a shredder and we’re beyond stoked that she is now part of our skate team!
From her humble beginnings in the streets of Liège to the "MACBA life" all the way to the snowy Winters and humid Summers in Canada, we hope you'll be as hyped as we are to hear more about Hélo’s story.Sup Hélo! First off, where are you from exactly? I’m from Liège, Belgium. Is that where your started skating? Pretty much, yeah. I learned how to skate on the street in front of my parents house. They lived in the countryside and there was only one paved street, which I learned to skate flat ground on. Then I moved back closer to the city, that’s when I started to hit the real spots. So you grew up skating street exclusively? Almost only streets, yes. We had an indoor park that we went to when it was raining, but it was a 2 hours drive to get there, so as long as there was no rain, we were skating the streets of Liège.
What was your go-to spot in Liège? Is there some kind of Peace Park or Parc Lafontaine over there? Absolutely! Our spot was Place Saint-Lambert. it had stairs, ledges and a bunch of other stuff. Classic plaza vibe, with the usual homeless and drug addicts crowds mixing with the skate crowd. This actually reminds me of Peace Park a lot! Were there a lot of girls skating over there? Yeah, there was about 4 other girls skating regularly. I would say half of them skated for real like me, but the rest were mostly there to roll around and hangout with the boys, which was also alright. The scene was great and inclusive. Skaters were friends with BMX riders and people teamed up to protect others from getting robbed or beaten by tweakers. It was cool to be part of something like this.
Sounds like a solid scene. Why did you decide to move to Barcelona? The main reason why I moved to Barcelona is for work. I was in my 20s, just finished school in tourism, but there wasn’t a lot of work back home. Belgium’s got 3 official National languages and if you don’t happen to speak all 3 perfectly, it’s kind of hard to find work in tourism. I had traveled to Spain before and already loved the place, plus it’s one of the most touristy region in Europe, so I decided to move there. Skating is definitely the reason why I chose Barcelona and not another city in Spain. I knew the city was great for skating, had plazas all over the place and a great scene, so that’s where I went. I Found a job at a hotel, skated a lot and lived the Barcelona lifestyle for 5 ½ years. You were a MACBA Local for years. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen go down live at the spot? I saw a lot of tricks happen there from a lot of different people, but the one that pops to my mind right now is Tiago Lemos switch backside tail on the high ledge. That thing was crazy.
Can you tell us the story of when Spanish Mike (the old Primitive Team Manager) posted a clip of you doing the most perfect Nollie BS heel in Lacoste flip flops? That clip went viral! Yeah, that was pretty crazy. It was during the Street League Barcelona days in 2015 and a lot of pros were in town. It was just another day in Barcelona, I was chilling at Macba, but I didn’t have my board or skate shoes as I was just coming back from the beach. So many people were there and I started to feel like skating a bit. I was sitting next to Carlos Ribeiro and he let me use his board so I could cruise around. Skated a bit and did one of the best nollie BS heel I ever did! Haha! Just so happens that the Primitive TM Spanish Mike filmed it on his phone and posted the clip and I guess It got seen a lot. My phone went crazy with notifications that day.
What happened after that? Did you skate with the Primitive guys again? Yeah, I skated with them a few times. Even skated with Spanish Mike and the squad in LA while I was on a trip there. Mike once asked me If someone was giving me boards, and I said yes as I had a local Barcelona hookup already and wasn’t really thinking about quitting. A few months later, my board hookup shut down and I tried to reach Mike, but he wasn’t the TM anymore at that point. It’s all good though, I enjoyed skating with them a lot, it was a great experience.
Fast forward a few years later and you are in the Montreal Canada. Skating Taz Skatepark in the dead of Winter. What made you want to move here? To put it simply, I needed more space and a calm atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I love Barcelona, but at some point, I kind of got sick of it. I love calm environments and this city is everything but calm. There’s always people in the streets at all times of the day or night. When I had the opportunity to get a Visa for Canada, I thought: “why not?”. Quebec seemed like the place to go. People speak French and the place isn’t packed and crazy like Spain. I like it a lot. Sucks because we can’t really skate because parks are closed due to Covid, but other than that, I like the place a lot.
If you have any shout-outs or thank you's to throw out there, now is the time! I would like to thank my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my Local Bastards, Asiplanchaba and everyone who has supported me all these years and of course, Empire for giving me this opportunity here in Canada! A special thought for my Godfather, Laurent (RIP). Much love y’all !!