In each Time Capsule, we salute those who have paved the way for modern skateboarding. In this first installment, we shine the spotlight on one of our favorite Frenchmen, J.B. Gillet.
Who is J.B. Gillet?
Back in the mid-’90s, if you were a skater from Europe trying to make it in skateboarding, it was a given that you had to head over to the US. Alongside Enrique Lorenzo, Daniel Lebron, Alfonso and Jesus Fernandez, Jean-Baptiste “J.B.” Gillet was among the first wave of European skaters that moved to California in search of smoother ground, year round summer weather and California’s legendary spots.
J.B. in the New Deal Promo “Ninety Six”(1996).
Learning English from listening to Tupac?
“Damn, that’s good shit.” – J.B. Gillet
Originally from Lyon, France, J.B. first arrived in San Francisco in ’96 in the final bust-free days of EMB and just as Pier 7 was starting to blow up. After learning English from listening to Tupac, plus a little help from the Pier 7 crew who doubled as English tutors, J.B. continued to pick up sponsors, stack footage and eventually moved down to Los Angeles where he became roomies with Enrique Lorenzo. From riding for New Deal, to Alien Workshop flow to a stint on World Industries and almost becoming a part of the Chocolate family, J.B. turned pro for Daewon Song’s Deca in 2000(that first pro model World Cup graphic was fire!).
J.B. in “Rodney vs Daewon: Round 2″(1999). Check out that switch front heel tailslide at HdV!
The master ledge technician, as evidenced by his ridiculous footage from Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville(HdV), Pier 7, the USC benches and the West L.A. Courthouse, J.B.’s been straight killin’ it for more than 20 years.
J.B. in Cliche’s “Freedom Fries”(2004).
Now riding for Jeremie Daclin’s Cliché skateboards(now also part of the Dwindle family), J.B. has indeed come full circle. These few videos are just a tiny sampling of J.B.’s amazing skateboarding(you can see that he was way ahead of the times) and testament to his longevity. And yes, style really is everything.
J.B.’s “Day in the life”(2012) in China.
Thanks for the inspiration all these years, J.B., and for introducing a generation of skaters to French hip hop!!! Much respect!