A very enjoyable chat with a talented rider skating in Paris. The guy in THOSE amazing Bhangra photos. Read on to find out how he got into longboarding and his love for Sushi.
Hey Lotfi, where are you from?
Hi Gbemi I am from Casablanca Morocco and I live in Paris.
I still haven’t seen that movie. Is it any good?
Haha me neither! The only thing that I know is that it has nothing to do with the City!
What’s the city like?
Very urban, not much green spots out there, you have to drive a little far from the city to find “Nature”
Is that where you started skating?
Not at all, I started longboarding 3 years earlier here in Paris
Does anyone in Morocco skate?
Yeah! The skateboard scene is well developed out there, especially in Casablanca. But unfortunately I didn’t see any longboarders and that makes me really want to promote this awesome sport there.
You should! I think South Africa is the only country in Africa with longboarders.
I will! That’s one of my future projects. It needs time. Right now I’m trying to get in touch with people who have big influence in the skateboard scene there to help introduce longboarding.
What do you hope to acheive by this?
First I need to spend much more time there in my hometown to meet people and talk about this. I realise that it’s not so easy to build a moroccan longboard community only on the internet.
Have you ever longboarded in Casablanca?
Not yet! Well, I did on a short trip to Marrakech, but the traffic there in comparison with Paris…yiiiiha it is wild! haha
What other projects are you working on?
For now I’m trying to balance between my job and my other passions specially longboarding. So for the moment I’m enjoying doing photos and videos for my sponsors Loaded Boards, Orangatang wheels and Paris Trucks, spreading the stoke all around me and sharing the love of longboarding with people!
I’m working these days on my second longboarding video for Loaded, and I’m getting some advertising video proposal here and there. I’m very excited about all that!
How did you first get into longboarding?
3 years ago my ex girlfriend talked to me about skating big boards and she showed me hers, I tried it and… how can I say… I fell in love with this bunch of wood haha.
Was this your first time on a board?
Yeah it was. I used to do rollerblade before.
Haha I’m happy you’ve seen the light
Haha yeah sure, my feet are grateful for that.
How did you get sponsored by loaded?
It happened naturally I would say. some friends around me like Marc Perivier and my friend Mike Girard talked about me and my skating to Loaded guys and then you know, internet is a powerful tool. The Loaded guys have seen some of the photos and videos I put online here and there and when I went to Los angeles last April I met them, skated with them and had a lot of fun. Then they asked me spontaneously to represent the Loaded family here in Paris. I’m really proud and glad as many of my skate mates to be a part of this great longboard family.
Happy 1 year anniversary!
Oh! Thank you man! I didn’t even notice that it’s exactly 1 year! Yeaaaah! Wait, let’s celebrate it, at least virtually haha
Hmm I have some swiss roll here, I will eat a slice in your honour. And some bacon for breakfast!
Haha i’m honored man that is an original and healthy way to celebrate!
Bacon is the best fuel for skating! For sure.
SUSHI man! SUSHI also !
Has anyone made the joke about a guy from Paris riding Paris trucks?
Actually I just saw a comment on my first Loaded video “move those feet” which says exactly the same thing! It’s the only one. What is funny is that when i put my paris trucks shirt with the big Paris Logo, people must think that I’m a tourist or something haha.
There are a few of you from Paris who ride for loaded? You and Mr Spiky Helmet! Anyone else?
Here in Paris there is only the two of us Laurent and I, yes.
What videos have you made?
For the moment I’ve only got one for Loaded it’s called “Move those feet”. These days i’m working on a second one in which i’m trying to bring all the beauty of Paris by night with the help of my friend photographer and video director Alvin Sandel Reyes.
Did you go to LA for fun and meet them by accident?
Actually i went there with a friend of mine just to discover California and have a good time. But I got in touch with my friend Adam Stokowski before I went there and he was very kind and welcoming. Then I met the slide magician Kyle Chin and THE monster Adam Colton who were all really great with me. I remember after skating Adam C took us to a Veggie restaurant to eat a weird vegetarian fake chicken and then headed to a big rock climbing club that was hell of a night.
A rock climbing party with alcohol?
Nah , those guys are healthy! That’s what made me more convinced to be a part of their family
What new habits did you learn from them?
Skate, skate, spread love, spread hapiness, skate,skate..oh and eat good food and then…SKATE again haha
How was skating in LA?
Unfortunately i didn’t get enough time to experience the legendary Californian downhills. But skating in the streets AND of course on Venice beach is just awesome!
What’s it like compared to longboard scene in Paris?
There are no big hills here in Paris, so a lot of riders are more interested by cruising or dancing. you have to drive away from Paris to find a big downhill scene! There is also a lot of support by television media as Canal+ or France télévision or also some local skate magazines and blogs as the UD mag and “i-love-that.com”
What is Canal+?
It’ a french private television channel. They have a program which talks about all the Xtreme sports. They covered some longboarding events in Paris like the “King of Parking” and the “longboard video party”
What did you ride before you got sponsored?
My first board was a Cosmic hole Sector 9 then I discovered the joy of riding Loaded boards. I first rode a Loaded pintail, then I got a Tan Tien and finally I found the board that fits me the best: the Bhangra that i still use until now.
So even before you were sponsored you rode loaded boards?
Yeah that’s it. I think sponsoring is like when you get a job, if you’re not convinced by the job before getting it, you’re not going to be fulfilled in it once you start working.
What is your official title in the loaded family?
I chose WoodWalker. I found that it’s the closest to what i do on this bunch of wood haha
Haha sounds like a spy name. Ambassador WoodWalker?
haha let’s say Lotfi . it’s simpler
Do you have any responsibilities for Loaded?
I would say that our main responsibility, and I’m talking about all ambassadors all around the world, is to promote the longboarding and make it more and more popular!
What does woodwalking involve?
It’s mainly about dancing and freestyling
Who do you skate with in Paris?
Many of us ride here in Paris and I still meet new people every time I go to skate! But more often I skate with the “Trocadero” team, it’s our favorite spot.
Do you have a crew?
Not specially, but when i began longboarding i met my 2 friends Florian and Alex in Trocadero and we were, back at the time, the OutlawZ. Haha I know it can sound ridiculous but we are proud of it especially me, because they were both the first who welcomed me and taught me the basics of some tricks! Thanks to Florian, an awesome french skater!
Do the OutlawZ create any events in Paris?
No, but there are other people who organise events to gather riders , like the King of parking(Antoine “Babar”), the giant slalom(RiderZ) , Longskate video party(Marvin Thine/Pappy Boyington). Otherwise, my friend Laurent and I organised what we called the Tang Tang contest last year which was a great success thanks to all the riders who came all over France and Europe.
What is Tang Tang?
It was inspired from Orangatang wheels haha. It was a dancing/sliding contest made to gather the maximum of riders and also people who wants to discover longboarding by having some riding initiation. Behind this contest is of course the desire to share good times.
We made up 4 categories : dancing, sliding, technical slide and mix catégory.
Sounds like fun. Will there be another this year?
We’re excited already to do the Tang tang 2 this summer! Meanwhile, Alex and I are organising every Saturday the “Good morning Troca” based on Alex’s idea to gather more and more riders in our favorite spot Trocadero to have fun riding, learning new techniques and testing boards!
How can people visiting Paris find out about these sessions?
For all longboarders who wants to ride with us, YOU just have to join us on facebook :
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Well, skating, meeting new riders, having fun, making videos and photos and organising events!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I’ve got a full time job which takes me the whole week. otherwise I try to catch the free time left to make music which is my main passion.
5 – What is the strangest food you’ve eaten?
the vegetarian fake chicken !!! haha
24- Favourite movie?
oh man that’s a hard question… let’s say the lords of dogtown
Lotfi! You are the man. Thank you so much for staying up late to answer all my questions. I had a fun time. Haha representing the Africans in Europe!
Thank YOU Gbemi it was really fun!
Do you have any thank-yous?
Well first thanks to Loaded who made all this happens, to all my french longboarders friends,and those from All Around the world and to you for giving e me this opportunity to introduce myself to people through that interview!
For everybody who wants to stay tuned here are some links you can check to follow us
For those who missed my first video, and wants to have an idea about some spots to ride here in paris you can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC2UEqEzZbs