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France

Hugo Maillard in the Sugar x Pulsar video
Interview

Founders Interview: Bertrand Soubrier of Haze Wheels

If my math is correct, you’re turning 40 this summer right? Any big party plans?
Exactly! Nope, no party’s planned but something closer to depression! Haha, I’m kidding of course. My birthday date is on August 25th which means plenty of time to get something like a secret party managed by my girlfriend & friends, who knows!

By the way, tell me: is there really something like a midlife crisis?
Yes I think. But then it also depends on your past. Like if you succeed to do everything you wanted while you were young, I believe such a crisis should be less intense and probably occur later as well. On my side I feel it coming but in a very light way. So I don’t think it’ll be a big thing in my case and by the way I still feel like a teenager thanks to skateboarding 🙂

Haze Wheels logo

I read somewhere that you first skateboarded in the year 1987, I was born that year haha! What do you keep in mind about skateboarding in the 90’s? And in Paris?
Ah funny! The 90s was one of my favorite times, since I was just starting. It was very essential and memorable. The good side of it is, like today, I get a true revival feeling because the trend nowadays is really 90s/2000s based. At the end of the day this is just some cycles and I’m happy because I’m still riding and kind of made a whole round.

Are you nostalgic sometimes or not at all? You enjoy skateboarding right here right now as much as back in the days?
Hell yeah I love skateboarding as much as at the beginning. Even though physically speaking it’s not the same story unfortunately. Yes there is always a part of nostalgia but you know, I believe nostalgia is a luxury… so I’m happy to be nostalgic 🙂 and the great thing in skateboarding is that there are so many different tricks that you’re always learning, no matter how old you are.

I’m curious: what exactly made you fall in love with skateboarding?
It’s this kind of activity where you’re single but in groups; the self-taught spirit as well and the total freedom that comes with it. Oh and also the artistic side of it; the fact that the playground is literally unlimited and not everything is based on performance.

Well, I dug too fast so you know what, let’s start again: can you introduce yourself?
My name’s Bertrand Soubrier, I’m born and raised in Paris, I’ve lived here my entire life. I think I got my first pro-model in early 2000, some wheels from Tikal. Then I skated for some brands, like Cliche (I was in their flow team for a while), DC Shoes for 7 or 8 years, Converse in early 2000, Mekanism Skateboards, Tikal Wheels co, Square Wheels, V7 Distribution, Eastpak, Creme Skateboards (I got some pro-model with them), Follow Skateboards where I got last year a veteran pro-model etc. Now I skate for the Parisian skate shop Nozbone and the french distributor of Lakai gives me some shoes.

Apparently you were already announcing that you’ll launch your own brand at some point while you were still a pro, is it true? Why? Was it the logical path to take for you?
Yep, indeed. I even said this long before turning pro. I remember a discussion with my aunts when I was 17 or 18 years old and they asked me what I wanted to do as a grown-up. I told them that after skateboarding I’ll launch my own skate brand. That was definitely the path in my head yes, I was sure about that. And the reason was simple: I’m way too much in love with skateboarding, period. Maybe one day I’d want to make something else but until then, skateboarding is all my life.

JP Villa in the Blaze Supply movie ‘Ceremony’

JP Villa in the Blaze Supply movie ‘Ceremony’

Ok, so at what time exactly did you start your own brand?
I decided to launch my first wheels brand with a friend right after the 2 biggest French wheels brands—Lordz/Square and Tikal—shut down. Since I’d skated for Square and then Tikal, that seemed logical for me back then to start with wheels; and the investment was lower too.

You started with the wheels but then launched some hardware (Screwheads), some bearings (Pulsar), some griptape (Creep Grip)… tell us: when will you launch the complete Basementhill haha?
🙂 You know I already make boards sometimes (Creepn Crawl) with my friend Steph (art director & graphic designer for Basementhill) so yeah we just lack the trucks… Graphics wise, Steph (alias Koolfunc’88 alias Turs.) does everything.

Can you talk about your team? Do you pick the riders yourself?
Yep, and I love the fact that they all have a different style. I mean they all have this very special board control but if you think about Michael (Mackrodt) or Oscar (Candon) or JP (Villa) they all have their own way of skateboarding.

Sam Partaix, ceiling wall bash

Sam Partaix, ceiling wall bash. Photo: Savate

One thing I noticed about your team—apart from the fact it’s a big one—it mixes a lot of different generations. I mean, did you mix someone like Jeremie (Daclin) and Victor (Campillo) on purpose?
Yes I think we have to get a team with different generations in order to ‘resonate’ with every skateboarder out there. While you mention Jeremie, did you know he was the very first person to sponsor me back in the days? Like the very first time I earned some money from skateboarding! Hence my desire to get him on the team, especially since I’m really fan of his work and he inspires me a lot.

Some shout outs?
Thanks to you first for this opportunity. KrakBox is a very cool concept, and thanks to you: skateboarders in the US will discover for the first time Haze and Screwheads. And thanks to my entire family, my friends, the people who helped me along the way, the skaters/shops/distributors/media who support Haze, Screwheads, Pulsar, Creeep Grip, Creepn Crawl, and above all: a big up to skateboarding!

Well, a big up to you Bertrand, we wish you all the best for what’s next, and I look forward to our next session together in Paris. Peace.
I look forward to it too.

Haze Wheels graphics

Cover image: Hugo Maillard in the Sugar x Pulsar video

This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 12 that shipped with the Winter KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

cOLLAPSe – Greg Poissonnier
Interview

Founder’s Interview: Greg Poissonnier of cOLLAPSe

If you don’t know Greg Poissonnier yet, here’s your chance to fix it. We’d include him easily in the French OG list.

Pro-snowboarder first, he now lives in Hossegor (South West part of France) and his pool-skills are still on point. No question he’s truly in love with skateboarding. Judge for yourself: he founded cOLLAPSe Skateboards few years ago; he’s in charge of the Red Bull Skateboarding content for France & Benelux; he’s the editor of the french skateboarding website Dammn.fr; he’s involved (and still commentates) a lot of skateboarding events; he distributes Muckefuck Urethane wheels in France… and the list goes on!

Greg was the first one to introduce the KrakBox concept in France and now we’re psyched to partner with him and include some very special cOLLAPSe products. Big up. k.

cOLLAPSe – Matt Débauché

Matt Débauché, B/S nosebluntslide. Photo: Clément Le Gall

When did you launch cOLLAPSe?
cOLLAPSe skateboards saw the light on the 12th of august 2011 (the day we received the first batch of boards). We created it with my friend Boul Rostan (he’s not involved anymore…), he’s an artist, a video maker, photographer, tattoo artist, and he skates a bit. He was really into the idea of expressing his art on boards and as I’m working in the skate industry (Gravis/Analog marketing manager back then), we thought we could try to launch our own little company with no other goal than making something we like. To this day, I’m still running it for the fun with no expectations of making a living out of it!

What’s the story behind the name?
We were looking for a name that would sound cool in different languages, that was available and which possibly had a meaning. Us being around 40 years old when creating the brand and still playing on the wooden toy, we thought, “yeah it makes sense cause it looks like we’ll be skating until we collapse…”

cOLLAPSe – Romain Covolan

Romain Covolan, F/S rock. Photo: Clément Le Gall

Is it the first time you’ve played with your own logo?
In such an obvious way, yes.

What was the main reason behind that game?
Coming up with something different than we’d been doing so far. We’ve always had a logo deck in the range but I was getting tired of it and I wanted to come up with another logo. As I’m not creative enough I thought it’d be easier to steal an existing one 😉

cOLLAPSe – Pauliana Laffabrier

Pauliana Laffabrier, B/S smith. Photo: Clément Le Gall

How did you get the idea of the ‘tribute to Cliché’ one?
I was in the morning office (the one with the white pierced seat and no desk) reading a skate mag when i saw the Cliché “merci” sticker and thought it’d be awesome to use the same font for the next cOLLAPSe logo deck. And of course at the same time it would be a tribute to a brand (and crew/team) I have a massive respect for. These guys put French and European skateboarding on the map, which wasn’t really an easy task when you think about it! Unfortunately Dwindle decided to shut it down before its 20th anniversary but the legacy remains 😉

And how did it come to life then? who designed it? Was the original Cliché team involved?
So that same morning when I got to the office (the real one) I gave a call to Jérémie Daclin straight away explaining the idea I had in mind. I also told him that he should feel free to shut me down if he thought the idea sucked, but he liked it and gave me Rico’s contact (Eric Frenay) so he could help me with the design. I called him straight away and he also thought it was a rad idea so he basically created the board for us, just like it was a Cliché deck but with the cOLLAPSe word instead…thanks a lot guys!

What about your other logo, the ‘badaboum’ one? who designed it?
The artist behind the “badaboum” logo is a London based artist called Tom Guilmard, I got to meet him through my snowboarder friend Niels Schack. He took Tom to my office as he needed a board, he liked the deck and the brand imagery so he offered to work on some graphics. To be honest I wasn’t a super fan of the first graphics I saw and had a hard time visualizing them on decks, but then the graphics became more complete and when showing them to riders and friends they all thought the were super cool! The only guideline I gave him was to try finding something that would illustrate the cOLLAPSe word, that’s how he came up with that graphic and logo. Then when it came to find a name for the series, it reminded me a lot of that game called “Badaboum” that was around when i was a kid, as simple as that!

What’s your opinion about the logo diversion as a whole?
I’ve always liked it, I like logos – the skate industry always played with corporate companies logos, I think it’s cool. What makes me smile is when the skate industry feels offended when a corporate company does the same with a well known skate related logo, if you see what I mean!?


What are your future plans for the year?

We’ll be celebrating cOLLAPSe 6th anniversary in August, and as with every year, we’ll put an event together. The last couple years we had street events on the main beach and in the center of Hossegor (birth place of the brand). This year should be more transition driven, most probably in Biarritz’s “cité de l’ocean” rooftop bowl…then there’s a little video project based around Matt Débauché and a picnic table but he’s injured at the moment. And after that possibly our annual tour somewhere sunny and with a skateboarding friendly architecture!

Any must-do / -think for someone who wants to launch his/her own skateboarding brand?
Don’t think you’ll make a living out of it!

Thanks a lot for your time Greg. And your dedication to skateboarding for so long. I can tell you: you’re an inspiration for us. 

The following interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 14 that shipped with the Euopean KrakBox in July 2017. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

History Clip, Spot

Bercy, Paris

Last update:

You might have heard of the name “Bercy” being thrown around as one of those legendary European spots on the list of every visiting American pro, or even remember Andrew Reynold’s  superhuman frontside flip down the Bercy 4 block (and his even more ridiculous backside heel down the 5). Bercy has seen some very significant moments in skateboarding history and deserves its place in skateboarding’s rich cultural history. Historically, Bercy is primarily a wine warehousing neighborhood.

In 1982, the City launched a vast program to revitalize the east of Paris, starting with the official opening in early 1984 of the Bercy Arena (originally known as ‘Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy’), which is primarily an indoor sports arena and concert hall. But as skateboarders, it’s this aspect of Bercy’s architecture that specifically interests us.

Palais_Omnisports_de_Paris-Bercy

The Arena itself is shaped like a pyramid with its walls covered with grass. Remember when Ali, Bastien and Arto butt slid down the grass wall in the Flip ‘Sorry’ intro (see 1:12 in the link below).

This feature offered the perfect playground for the inner street skater inside each of us. I went to Bercy the first time I went skating in Paris, and I was hyped! Although there were a lot of people, due to the size of the place you were still able to enjoy it and also have enough space to try stuff.

While the Bercy ledges are world famous and frankly pretty insane, it was really the blocks (4 then 5) that attracted  pros from all around the world.

Unfortunately, the Bercy complex is now truly part of skateboarding’s history books in a very literal sense because the area is being redeveloped but should reopen at the end of the year. Treasure every spot now, as you’ll never know when they will become a ghost of skateboarding’s seasons past!

newbercy

Agence DVVD / Populous

 

Featured image = © Steve Shupe