Really great chat with one of the young Europeans doing really well on the IGSA circuit. Get to know the frenchman from the Alps.
Salut Gabin! Where are you from?
I’m from France, in the Alpes! A little village, “St Hilaire” at the top of the mountain “The Chartreuse”
When did you start skating?
It’s difficult for me to answer, I was young! Maybe I started skating when I was 12 or 13 just for fun, but I started snowboarding earlier when I was just 7.
Do you skate more than snowboard these days?
Here we have a saying “When there is snow, nothing other than snowboarding exists.” But today the snow has melted and now it’s the start of the longboarding season!
What is the longboard scene like where you live?
The longboard scene here is like a big family, we have a really friendly vibe. There are as many veteran skaters as young skaters and all are very close, like in a family. For me, that is the longboard spirit, sharing a passion.
Damn right! Who are these veteran skaters you mentioned?
Do you remember the mystical freeride the Downhill Jamboree, organised by the DDE? The organisers are our spiritual masters. Downhill Jamboree was a really really big FREERIDE organised until 2006, between 300 and 350 riders on the road of Chamrousse, 10 kilometers of crazy curves. I think it was the best longboard event of ALL time!
Wow! Why isn’t this event held anymore?
Organisers have stopped organising this event because that was too much work for them. And the roads are not practicable today, the asphalt is very bad.
What is the DDE?
DDE was an association of skaters localised on the area of “Grésivaudan”, a big crew of friends who loved freeriding! My older brother (Guillaume Piton) was one of theirs, and he gave me the will to go fast on my skateboard and always still smiling on my board like when I see boobies.
Only a few people know them (Bastou, Chacha, TontonGui, Alex, Ber ), they aren’t famous riders but in 2006 their style was already like the style of 2012, No foot-break!
What are you learning from them right now?
A lot have stopped skating… But for my brother, on the technical side today it’s me who teaches him.
How many years have you been skating?
6-7 years but only 3 years in competition and 2 years freestyle sliding…
What competitions did you enter in your first year?
I must tell you that all this history isn’t only mine, since the beginning I rode with my best friend Pierre Conan, I have shared all my sessions with him! And we have learnt to ride together in harmony.
So the first year WE tried competition, we participated together at the Peyragude Delux Cup and we took the first and the second place in the IGSA junior class!
After we went to the Graveyard Call, no junior class but we took a nice place in the Open class. During the same year, I also won the slide contest of the Chuyer Gold Trophy.
Where is Pierre from?
When we were younger we lived in close villages but this year we live together with 2 friends in a colocation.
You guys live in a Skate House?
Yes, we can say that but we have more beautiful mountains than in California Haha. I hope to visit and skate in California with the SkateHouseMedia guys in the future.
What is the junior class?
Junior class on IGSA competition is when you are under 18. Actually there is junior one, and junior 2… He was competing in Junior 2 I think.
Are there many groms racing in France?
No at all, in 2009, we were the only ones who traveled AllAround Europe to go to the IGSA races. But today in freeride there are more and more groms in France.
Is there a big tech slide scene in France?
In 2009, the tech slide scene in France wasn’t big. But that was the beginning of the stand up slides and all kinds of freestyle longboarding… But now! Tech sliding has exploded! I am really happy with this evolution in the french scene and today we have a lot of really good tech slide skaters in France.
Who is your main competition in sliding?
There aren’t lots of competitions in tech slide here and there isn’t a competitive spirit between us. But Loic Marechet, Pierre Conan, Hugo Besset, Nicolas Brunet, Laurent Perigault, Hugo Madignet, Pierrot Faucheur are really good in tech slide for sure.
When was your first season of racing outside France?
During my second year of racing, I went to the IGSA world cup races in Kozakov (Czech Republic) and Padova (Italy).
Did you have fun?
Kozakov is the best race I have ever done: fast, technical, people are really cool and parties are crazy. Padova is a cool race but it’s really more boring than Kozakov. BUT we eat very well in Padova!
Haha aren’t you too young for the Kozakov party? I’ve heard some crazy things about it!
Oh, I was 17 for my first kozakov and that wasn’t my first party
Are there a lot of other European juniors who do the Eurotour?
During my travels I have met a lot of juniors with whom I have developed really good friendly relationships. But only a few can do all the Eurotour.
How was the 2011 season for you?
Crazy! I travelled and skated a lot. Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Italy… A lot of intense times shared with riders from around the world.
What races did you go to?
It started at the French Championship- Yzeron. I was only a junior but I won the first place riding with the adults. After, we went to Kozakov with my older brother (That was his first race! héhé ) and Pierre Conan, we skated the IGSA Kozakov race which was a rainy race but with a crazy final run in junior class. All the riders in this run were friends I had met during my precedent tour: Fredrik Molin, a Swedish boy who had come to stay with me last year at my family home, riding the french mountain with other Swedish young riders, Spencer Smith the fast American with whom I shared lot of races and Oriol Gàlvez Calico with whom I shared my first final during the Peyragude Delux Cup. Crazy run, I finished third so happy.
After the race, we visited Prague. We then went to Italy for the race of Padova, a lot of heat, sun and wine. Pierre Conan won the race and I was third, so cool to share again a final with my best friend. Before the next race we went to a secret spot in mountains of Dolomites in Italy, 15 hairpins! Crazy! We still had the race of Verdicchio, a perfect road where we shared lot of crazy run with Olivier Bareaud, Nicolas Robert and Yvon Labarthe.
Again a race with a crazy party, I like a longboarding race, crazy skateboarding in the day and crazy parties at night shared with crazy people. Pierre won the race again, I crashed during the final, and finished fourth. Finally we came back to France with a position of first and second in the European IGSA Junior class.
Big congratulations for finishing second! You must be proud!
Pierre finished first twice in the world cup races and twice in French Cup, congratulations to him!
What do you ride?
My board for downhill is the Mitclan by BE SQUARED longboards, Surf rodz trucks and the orange Inheat wheels by ORANGATANG, in freestyle the Medecine by BE SQUARED longboards, Paris trucks 180 and Orange Stimulus by ORANGATANG again !
I also slide with these two boards, it depends on the gradient of the hill…
You don’t slide with hard wheels?
No, I like to slide with the orange OTANG wheels, they slide well, they grip well they are fast! I love these wheels.
What is BE SQUARED?
Be Squared is a french mark an artisanal shaper. His boards are perfect combining reactivity and solidity in beautiful shapes. Look! (http://b2longboards.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=53)
He has been our sponsor since 2011 and I love their boards more than all the other I tried in the past.
Who are your other sponsors?
Be squared are one of my sponsors, like Orangatang, longboardshop.de, Alpha Longboard and Icaro.
Lucky boy. When did you get sponsored?
Yes I’m a lucky man! Longboardshop.de is my sponsor since 2010, Be squared since 2011, Alpha longboard and Orangatang since 2012!
That’s awesome man! So what are your plans for this season?
Thanks bro! For this season I’ll go to Kozakov, Peyragudes and few freerides and French Championship events. Not too much racing this year for me. I want to freeride, skate on beautiful mountain roads and make a lot of videos, pics… SKATE!
You’re a film-maker?
Yes I love to make videos. I love to shoot videos and pics and also edit them.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
A lot of things- rock climbing, mountaineering, slacklining, playing music, studying, organizing big parties.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-26
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot ?
A wheel for foot for sure !
19- What is/was your favourite video game?
I don’t often play video game but if I have to choose one, Mario Kart!
24- Favourite movie?
Snatch or maybe Pulp fiction
It’s been great talking to you bro! Stay radical.
Cheers to L’oreal Liz for editing the interview.