Hey man, where are you from?
I’m from Geneva, in Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate and money!
When did you start skating?
I was, I think, 12 years old, just cruising around with my skateboard, I couldn’t land tricks so I used my board just to move around. Then when I was 16 I picked up my first longboard and this is when my love story began.
How has your story developed since?
I first had a flexy board for cruising around town, made by a local skateboard shop. I liked the feeling of riding smoothly on the pavement and what I prefered the most was to go down the biggest hills around my house. Then I learnt about DH longboarding on the internet, and it got me stoked. My sister’s boyfriend was one of the first to ride on a longboard in Geneva and he had stopped longboarding at that time. He gave me my first DH board and my first full face helmet which saved my life a lot of times. I started to ride every day alone. I tried to find people to ride with but it was too hard. There weren’t any crews or forums on the internet. But I finally found some longboarders and we made the Geneva Longboarders group which now is an association and we will try to organize some events from now on! I’ve been racing since the 2011 season and I am trying to get the faster!
Are there many people building boards in your country?
I don’t think there are many shapers in Switzerland, you can probably count them on the fingers of one hand, still there are some big famous brands like Fibretec and Airflow Skateboards, and smaller brands, more local or specialized shapers, like 9.81 made by the Robert brothers, Anticonformiste from Lausanne and others. And they all make quality stuff!
What’s your role in the Geneva Longboards group?
I am the treasurer.
You steal all the money.
Shhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone!
How old is the association
The association is new, we just made it last february, we had a meeting with the riders who were most involved in the longboarding community in Geneva and then decided the roles. Also we broke a door because one of the participants was stuck in the toilets, which made the meeting memorable haha.
What notable things has it done?
Aside from breaking doors? haha we haven’t organized anything yet, but we are planning to do some events. Right now the association gives us more weight in the municipality and the people who wants to ban longboarding on some roads in Geneva.
What events are you planning?
We were thinking about a slope-style and maybe a freeride, that we would organize with the help of other associations.
Who is trying to ban you guys from skating?
One of our favourite spots is located in the richest part of the city, and apparently some local residents don’t like us and “fear” us. The problem is that you can’t talk with them, they don’t want to listen when we try to explain them. Police are okay with us, they let us ride, but those people have contacts and put pressure on the municipality to ban longboarding at some of our favourite spots.
What is your relationship like with other associations?
I don’t know any other swiss longboarding association, but since we are from the french part of Switzerland, we always travel to France and we are more close to the french longboarding associations and the scene. We have a licence in french associations since we race at their events and we always participate in french freerides. Switzerland is a country known for its mountains, but surprisingly not many events are organized, this is why we always travel to France and french associations always welcome us with their arms wide open. If we ever organize a DH event we will probably ask for their help.
Why aren’t there many events organised?
There must be as much riders as in any other country like France or England, but people don’t try to organize anything, I assume they just want to skate. I think there is also this thing that Switzerland is divided in 3 parts which are characterized by their language, there is the French part, where we live, the German part and the Italian part, it makes things a bit more complicated. It’s a small country so it’s not a problem for us to travel to events organized in other countries. We still have some sick freerides where you can see all those people – we have the Bukolik Freeride, which is held on a road near Vevey, the Giosteka Freeride, which is happening on the famous San Bernardino pass, and especially this year we have the IGSA European Championships in Lausanne, I think this must be the first IGSA event in Switzerland.
Will this be your first IGSA competition?
No I was at the Verdicchio Race last year, that was an awesome event!
Do you skate with the Swiss Germans/Italians?
We never really had a session with them but we often meet them at events around Switzerland or on the IGSA Circuit. I personally don’t know them well but I know Bruno Fuchs is a good friend of theirs!
What do you ride?
Actually I’m on a Earthwing Belly Racer with Paris Trucks and I’m mostly riding DTC Wheels. But I’ll be soon riding for 9.81 boards.
Is this your first sponsor?
Yes! I actually have a special contract with DTC Wheels for whom I make videos too.
How does that work?
I am just making videos for them and Alex Ulrich, the creator of DTC Wheels, sends me some stuff!
You’re a film-maker?
Yeah I think! I am mostly a videomaker, but since I made “Stand Up”, I think you call me a film-maker lol. For now I only shoot longboarding videos, but I will try some other things later.
Do you prefer shooting skating or doing it?
Haha nice question! I love skating but I’m only a downhill guy, I don’t really like and don’t know how to do freeriding stuff, so I am always taking my camera when I join my friends on a freeride sesh. But because I love downhill skateboarding, it’s hard to shoot a DH video, because you have to decide whether you are filming or skating, you can’t really do both on the same time if you are shooting a serious vid.
What videos did you make before?
I did some videos for me and my friends, I like to do videos of freerides, races and sessions, my favourite thing is to try to recreate the exact same atmosphere that was in that same event, so that people could see what they have missed and those who were at that event remembered those moments.
What inspired you to make Stand-Up?
The first thing was that I always wanted people to understand our sport. I’ve always heard the same reactions when I spoke about longboarding – “You are crazy”, “reckless”, “You’ll have a big accident” and so on. People don’t realize that our sport is safer than it actually looks like. We aren’t reckless, as they say, we always think about the risks, we use proper safety equipment. The second thing was that I always wanted to make a “movie”, especially about longboarding. I wanted to make a long video that would make longboarders stoked, and I wanted to share the way I live and I feel my passion. We had to make a school project where we could choose the subject we want as long as it has a solid idea and organisation. For me it was the perfect occasion to make that documentary about downhill skateboarding.
How long did it take you to make?
I began the organisation and the scheduling of every shooting during March 2011, and I started to shoot in april. Since then I used to film at about every session we had and the project started to grow and to take shape. I filmed during the whole season, mostly in France, in Geneva and during the Verdicchio Race. I took all the interviews during this whole time and in all those places, and I have travelled a lot, so I was pretty happy to live this experience. We shot the last sequences in December 2011, which made the intro of the documentary. Finally I edited the whole thing and the documentary was out in the end of January.
Who else was involved behind the camera?
Aside from all the shots with the GoPro, which were taken with the help of many of my friends, I was almost always behind the camera. But a lot of friends helped me in the making of this film, Mathieu Quehen, he is a teacher in a filmmaking school and a longboarder, he taught me a lot of things and gave me a lot of advice on how to shoot, he lent me some stuff and I think the movie wouldn’t be the same without his help, so I want to thank him for that! I mostly worked and filmed riders from Geneva Longboarders, Djul, Jules, Bruno and so on, and it was a pleasure to shoot them, they are always stoked.
What was the hardest thing about making it?
The interviews and the sound haha I had trouble capturing proper sound, at that time I didn’t have a good microphone or experience so I had to make do with what I had, so I’ve learned a lot of things. In the beginning I wasn’t feeling very comfortable with making interviews.
How does it feel to be the one being interviewed this time?
Haha it feels great! A bit strange too haha
What do you think is the most important question to ask in an interview?
There isn’t really a “most important question”, but I think you have to concentrate on the best “capacities” of the person you’re interviewing and ask questions about what concerns them the most, what would make this person react. It’s really important to interact with that person, so in the end it’s like a conversation.
Will we see more skate films from you?
Yeah probably! I am preparing a film that I am planning to shoot this season. This time it would aim longboarders and my principal goal is to recreate the exact same atmosphere as in every sessions and events, but trying to make something more artistic and with better sound haha.
Can you give more detail about this project?
Haha it’s a secret. No I’m joking but for now it’s just some ideas on a piece of paper, it will probably begin with a longboarder’s dream, then he wakes and follows his struggle to survive life’s boredom. I will not tell you more as I don’t have much planned yet and I don’t want to spoil the plot of this future movie. But there sure will be more good skating and better filming this time!
I’m excited about this! We need more film-makers.
Yeah I agree with that, I love watching longboarding films!
What is the most important thing about capturing the stoke on film?
I would say it is an equation combining lifestyle sequences, good riding with good actions and good music! In fact, I think the music is the most important part in the video, at least it’s the case for me, I always search the best music that would fit the images I’ve taken, it can take me hours and then I find THE song that has to be in the video. It helps me a lot to structure everything and I think it helps to recreate the atmosphere needed. Of course, the videos are important, but they are as important as the sound and the music.
Have you had any formal film training?
No, I haven’t, I am a self-taught person, I like to learn things myself, using the internet and asking questions to other people, analysing movies I watch and getting inspirations from my favourite videos!
Which film-makers do you look up to?
Mostly I would say Yvon Labarthe haha. I love his videos, they always get me stoked to ride! I also like the videos from the guy who makes the Abec11 and Arbor videos, Perropro too.
Yvon was in ‘’Stand-up’’, as a rider or film-maker?
As a rider, I wanted to feature him as a film-maker first but finally I didn’t know what questions to ask and I thought people wouldn’t be so interested about it.
We are interested, next time interview some film-makers!
Haha sure I’ll do!
How do you see the future of Longboard film-making?
Now everyone knows how to make a longboarding video, when you go to an event, everyone has a GoPro on their head, and more and more people buy DSLRs to make more “serious” videos. There are still not many film-makers involved in longboarding, but I hope they will someday try to make a longboarding film because we all want to see some! But this year there was a lot of longboarding series, like Greener Pastures, and I have the impression we will see more of this in the future!
It would be great to see more collaborations between European film-makers
Yeah I agree! I’ll ask some to see if they are interested in collaboration of that type, Greener Pastures is a good example and it was very good!
What are your plans for this season?
With some riders from Geneva Longboarders we are planning to make a skate trip from Teolo to Peyragudes, and I’ll be doing some freerides from time to time and prepare the next film! I don’t have enough money this year to do all the events I wanted.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I make videos, study, “do my homework” hahaha, play music with my band, see my girlfriend, sleep, eat, arrive late at rendez-vous… miss finals and jump from trucks, I think some may know what I’m talking about hahaha
Choose 3 numbers between 1-26
2, 17, 21!
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot ?
Mmmh a wheel for a foot, as long as I have slide gloves and don’t have to footbreak hahaha
17- Do you prefer skating without socks or without underwear?
Haha without any of that, it’s easier to make love to your board mmmmh hahaha
21 – Would you pick the red or blue pill?
Oh I don’t know, I would take the red pill because I am not sure there are longboards and good hills in the real world.
Man! It has been an absolute pleasure spending this time talking to you. Thanks for your patience. I look forward to sharing your future work with Europe!
Yeah it has been a pleasure for me too! Thank you for the interview! I’m stoked, all the best wishes for the next.
First I want to thank my parents who… no just kidding, I’d like to thank all my friends who helped me in the making of “Stand Up” and those who believed in my project, all the people that have watched the documentary and shared it, all the riders who were involved in the film, and that I hope to see in the next movie! And of course thank you for this awesome interview!