Vert Champion Will Cortez

Will Cortez is giving a (half-pipe) Vert demo (2:30pm to 5:30pm) at Klyde Warren Park's Nissan Spring Fling presented by Nissan in Dallas on March 10, 2018. Thanks to 4DWN Project For working with Spring Fling to bring vert skating to downtown Dallas.

Will Cortez, 20, might be DFW's own Clark Kent / Superman combo. He is a college student pursuing a degree in Business Administration with the goal of someday owning his own business. In between his studies, Will tours the country competing in contests as a sponsored pro skater. Will is one of the best “Vert” skaters in DFW, and we had a chance to learn about his experiences growing up and competing as a high level pro skater.

Will Cortez kkating the park

“Vert” skating got its start during the 70’s California drought where kids started skating empty pools, and has evolved over time to include numerous forms including the quarter and half-pipe. As the skills have increased, the “Vert ramps” have gotten bigger to enable even bigger tricks; the X-Games vert ramps have been 60 feet wide, and have 11.5 feet walls, with skaters flying well above the platform on their tricks.

To many, Will burst on the scene as a 15 year old, when he won the southwest’s Regional Amateur Tour Vert contest, demonstrating his strength and ability to go big at a young age. In 2017, Will took 2nd Place at the Florida Vert Series and has a full competition slate planned for 2018. We were glad to get a chance to catch up with him.

Video filmed at 4DWN skatepark in Dallas

SP4D: I remember first seeing you skate at Roanoke skatepark and had never seen someone skate that bowl with such speed and power. You have competed in numerous national and international vert skateboarding contests and have experienced many different skate scenes. We wanted to get your thoughts on the DFW skate scene and Dallas’ future Bachman Lake skatepark.

First off, what age did you get your first board and how did you get interested in skateboarding

Will Cortez:  I got my first board at eight or nine years old. I didn’t even want to skateboard. Being a spoiled kid, one day my aunt called me and asked if I wanted a skateboard for my cousin’s birthday. It we as follows:

Aunt: “Do you want a skateboard for your cousin’s birthday”

8 Year Old Will: “Hmmm, no not really”

Aunt: “Are you sure?”

8 Year Old Will: “Hmmm, idk, not really”

Aunt: “Are you positive?”

8 Year Old Will: “Hmmm, actually, sure, can I have one?”

and as soon as I stepped on a board, I was hooked.

SP4D: Who have been your biggest influences in skateboarding?

Will Cortez: Tony Hawk was my main influence. I saw a picture of him skating and it made me want to do airs like him. Then some skaters like Shaun White, Bucky Lasek and Bob Burnquist inspired me. Chris Wilkinson is my personal friend and mentor who helped me learn to skate like I do now.

SP4D: With much of skateboarding focused on street style, why did you choose to focus on vert style skating?

Will Cortez: Once I saw the stunts being performed on vert, I decided that I wanted to do vert. It is also a lot harder and made people go “WOW”. It was a challenge and I like a challenge.

Will Cortez in the sky

SP4D: You competed in Europe last year and Florida this year, among other places. What thoughts on your own skateboarding and Dallas skateboarding in general did you come away with after those experiences?

Will Cortez: I have realized that Dallas doesn’t have what I need to train. So it is likely that I need leave to California to train so I can be the best. If Dallas would build more big parks, we could have contests like the ones around the world that bring people to watch them.

Will Cortez

SP4D: What are you favorite skateparks in the metroplex and why?

Will Cortez: My favorite park is Lewisville skatepark because it is built and designed better than the rest. The flow of the park is exceptional. You can go from one side of the park to the other without traffic.

SP4D: You spoke of skateboarding’s benefits and the need for a modern skatepark, at one of the Dallas City Hall Bond meetings several months ago. You are part of the reason we got the Dallas Skatepark in the Bond Package and now have $4 million to build it. How did that feel standing up and repping on behalf of Dallas skateboarding?  What can you tell other local skateboarders about that experience and how they might advocate for skateboarding in the future?

Will Cortez: I feel happy to be able to represent my fellow skater. I feel like it is partly my responsibility to get this park built now that I am getting older. For the benefit of our youth.

Will Cortez helping the next generation of DFW skaters

SP4D: What are your plans for 2018

Will Cortez: My plans for 2018 have already been filled with travel and skating. I have been to Florida twice, and Kentucky & Ohio for skate trips and events. I plan on going to Sweden, California, Maryland, and North Carolina to compete and train in my discipline.

SP4D: You won a vert contest at 15, and have been traveling the world to skate competitions while going to school for a business degree. What would you say you have learned from juggling all of that at one time, and what would you say to a younger person looking to compete in skating to help them get ready for the adventure?

WIll Cortez: At 13, before winning my first contest, I would say I learned four very important things that helped me on my journey:

  1. Treat everyone you meet, regardless of position well and the same
  2. Always give 120% no matter what you are doing! Go above and beyond!
  3. When you are completely overloaded with work, take a second to meditate in your own personal way to relax
  4. Life is too short to waste every experience, so live in each and every single moment, don't let it pass by

Thanks to Will Cortez for taking the time from his busy school and competition schedule to talk with Skateparks for Dallas. We are especially appreciative of Will joining us to advocate publicly for the park. Let your friends know about Skateparks for Dallas' mission to build a great skatepark in Dallas.