‘Bon Voyage’ – Cliché Skateboards

Filmed/ Directed by Boris Proust

BONVOYAGE_DVD_clicheskateboardsCliché has come a long way and travelled a lot of miles since its first video Europa was released some 10 or so years ago. Bon Voyage is the latest leg of their fantastic journey and there are noticeable changes in the team line-up and general aesthetic. The premier international team boasts Daniel Espinoza, Kevin Bradley, Paul Hart, Joey Brezinski, and Pete Eldridge from America; Sam Winter and Andrew Brophy from Australia; Lem Villemin from Germany; Javier Mendizabal from Spain; Adrien Coillard, Max Geronzi, Charles Collet, Lucas Puig, JB Gillet, Flo Mirtain and Jeremie Daclin from France.

Mark McKee, Eric Frenay and Boris Proust take care of the production side of Bon Voyage and the end product is a very clean and fluent film. Boris has done well to differentiate himself from his predecessor, Fred Mortagne who single-handedly changed the way people see skateboarding. It’s good to note that Cliché also include their army of flow riders who are each given a few seconds to shine during the closing credits. This sort of recognition is a positive stance that too many skate brands bother to take.

So, the 50 minutes flight time of Bon Voyage begins with their newest pro Daniel Espinoza. Shots of Daniel in his supped up sports car, smoking cigarettes and staring into the distance conjure up a sort of 2 Fast 2 Furious vibe, but to be honest my impression of Daniel and his skating was anything but fast and furious; more of an asleep-at-the-wheel approach. He’s talented on a board, he can spin backside 360 bigger spins just as easily as he can grind long S-shaped rails fitting the cookie cutter mold of today’s über-ams. You don’t see many skaters go pro these days from one major video part, some may feel as though this was premature, but make your own mind up from his section. I’m sure he will be a firm fixture for the future of skateboarding.

As Daniel slides and flips his way off the screen, two OG street masters, JB Gillet and Pete Eldridge step up to bat. You really can’t go wrong with either of these guys. They have both cut their teeth at legendary spots during skateboarding’s golden era of the nineties, so why-oh-why did the accredited music coordinator think a limp electro love song would work well with their swagger and clout? Seriously, the music is so ill-suited to Pete’s powerful switch pop and JB’s smooth operations that I just can’t sit down and enjoy this otherwise gem of a section. Paging Quartersnacks for an urgent remix please!

Max Geronzi, Paul Hart and Adrien Coillard represent the next generation of rippers. You probably don’t recognize their names but you will remember them once you’ve seen their part. All three of them have been fixtures in their respective minor leagues and now their sitting nicely at the top of their class ready to graduate to the majors.

Lucas Puig – Nollie inward heel skill. Ph: Dave Chami.

lucaspuig_nollieinwardheel

Joey Brezinski rides in on two wheels and rides out on two wheels. The combos get crazier, the balancing gets better and the quirky sense of humour is kept at a minimum. Honestly, Joey is a white crane martial artist performed the most insane balancing acts on his board and deserves to be mentioned in the same breathe as Daewon Song or Rodney Mullen. I just wish we could get to see a few more regular tricks from the guy.

Charles Collet, Andrew Brophy, Lem Villemin and Javier Mendizabal cruise through the film at their respective speeds and heights. If it’s smaller than 3 feet tall, Brophy won’t skate it. Charles is a still a gnarly bohemian and I think Lem was injured during the making of Bon Voyage, but that didn’t stop him from pulling out some suave tech treats.

Javier really doesn’t have enough footage and it would have been great to see him cruising around that crazy glow-in-the-dark bowl structure at night. Oh well. There is a brief interval where the team takes us on their Trucker tour of Europe unearthing even more insane terrain set to the sounds of Cassius’ ‘I Love You So’. Those funky Euros love their electro and this video is full of it. Thankfully, most of it sounds alright.

Lucas Puig (assisted by a brief Jeremie Daclin cameo) brings us back to Cliché’s French roots with some solid street annihilation set to the score of Oxmo Puccino. Lucas gets a free pass riding up to ledges in Adidas tracksuit bottoms because he’s so skilled on a skateboard. I can see street purists are going to pick up on this loose fitted fashion statement.

Sammy Winter is a visual treat and some might say he’s more deserving of that pro spot than his cohorts. Plenty of pop and finesse describes Sammy’s skating. There’s even a brief clip of recently passed Lewis Marnell sharing some good vibes with his Australian brethren. Lost but not forgotten!

Charles Collett – Lien Disaster. Ph: Dave Chami.

charlescollett_liendisaster

American teen Kevin Bradley delivers by the bucket load. Kevin’s skating is very reminiscent of a young Bastien Salabanzi mixed with a splash of Lavar McBride. He attacks gaps, rails and plazas with speed and style. Even the snippets of bravado and hand gesturing seem fairly fun and positive so I hope to see more from Kevin in the future.

Finally we finish with Flo Mirtain. Relatively unknown for some, Flo just joined the pro ranks and this part is a pretty good stamp of approval for that position. Please note the recognition from Marc Johnson as Flo manuals his way around one of the master’s spots in LA. Flo is a tech powerhouse who seems quite mute, but in return his skating does the talking and it screams pretty loud that you need to keep an eye on this guy and his approach to this great pastime we call skateboarding.

There you go. That’s it. Bon Voyage, an epic journey around the world with a truly international team of thoroughbreds and future prospects. It’s recommended. Go get it from your local skate shop this weekend or from iTunes in two clicks.

Ralph Lloyd Davis

Adidas roll out The Obstacle in Paris

silas_baxter_nealRich ‘Badger’ Holland introduces his latest design work at the Paris leg of The Obstacle as rolled out last year by Adidas in London.

Watch Lucas Puig, Silas Baxter-Neal, Mark Gonzales, Benny Fairfax, Nestor Judkins, Lem Villemin, Seb Daurel, Vivien Feil and more skate the warehouse that also hosted an art exhibition here.

Cliché Skateboards UK Bullseye tour footage

cliche_skate_logoIf you have not seen this footage yet, sit back and take in the UK Bullseye Tour from this spring courtesy of the Cliché Skateboards team. England and Scotland were visited by Sammy Winter, Lucas Puig, Javier Mendizabal, Joey Brezinski, Flo Mirtain, John Tanner, Jeremie Daclin and Charles Collet.

Adidas team in Greece

The country of Greece maybe in the news for the wrong finanical reasons right now but it didn’t stop the Adidas skate team from visiting this summer to shoot some pics and skate the many spots on offer in Athens and Mykonos.

Watch footage of Dennis Busenitz, Silas Baxter-Neal, Lucas Puig, Tim O’Connor, Pete Eldridge, Benny Fairfax, Nestor Judkins, Lem Villemin and Jake Donnelly here.


Lucas Puig’s Pro Spotlight video part is live

lucas_puigLucas Puig is the first skateboarder to enjoy a full Pro Spotlight over at Transworld this week and merits Edit of the Week here without questioning.

This edit took 8 months to film and should be well worth the wait. Find out for yourself below.

Adidas presents The Obstacle in London Town

Last weekend was by far the busiest so far this year for skateboard events in the UK. The Manny Mania final was held at Bay 66 with Manchester’s UK Lloyd McLeggon taking the wedge, War of the Thistles attracted the bowl riders in Scotland, “The Heart Of Skateboarding” memorial jam for Bingo saw locals session hard at R-Kade Skatepark in Redcar and The Obstacle comp from Adidas was a highlight for many down South at the Central Foundation Boys School over in East London. Unfortunately it was also the same day as Crossfire’s Barfly curation at the Camden Crawl so David Woolley headed East to report on what went down in that schoolyard.

TradeMark Gonzales

This get together was kept pretty much on the quiet with the location announced only a week before kick off but as word spread through the web, select shop teams were planning their journeys for a memorable jam session whilst the Obstacles that were designed by Mark Gonzales, were being primed by Rodney Clarke, Dave Chesson and friends at the Pioneer park in St Albans.

Boots nails a blunt

After a warm up sesh a pro demo kicked off proceedings featuring Adidas team riders and of course, the one and only Mark Gonzales who has been spotted more times than Animal Chin skating London’s parks and street spots over the last 3 weeks. Not only will the Gonz be 43 years young exactly a month after this very event, but he’s still got the steez that he is famous for as he hucked out super smooth 5.0’s, trademark fs board slides, bonelesses and classic knee boarding tomfoolery! To have such a legendary skateboarder turn up to our country weeks before a comp to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy British culture is nothing but an honour and as usual he was the gentleman everyone has admired for so many years.

Lucas Puig tames the schoolyard

Nestor Judkins had front tail’s on lock, Pete Eldridge took a box of tricks home from the session alongside the impressive Lucas Puig whose tech skills just have to be seen live. The UK contingent was led by the gifted Chewy Cannon and Stereo’s smooth operator Benny Fairfax whose huge backside flip over the barrel backed up the hype on why he’s one of the most talked about UK skaters in the US right now. It’s funny to think that he walked away a winner at one of Crossfire’s very first skate events 8 years ago but no surprise that he’s up there with the best of them thesedays.

Death Skateboards pro Boots was also on form and on third try took a sick backside noseblunt whilst Karim Bakhtaoui‘s massive shuv’s over a thigh high barrier made palms come together from around the school yard. It was an impressive session with fun in mind and that’s exactly what came from it, thankfully there was more to come.

Benny Fairfax takes Three Stripes over the bin

After the pro demo a shop team competition kicked off featuring many team riders from independent skate shops from around the UK. 10 minute jam sessions were organised for 3 shop teams to skate together with 2 riders representing each shop. Skaters from Note, Exist, 50:50, Natterjacks, Detour and Slide impressed amongst many others before a best trick jam ended the day on a high with the soon-to-be Fresh Blood ripper Manuel Lopez taking the free trip to Barcelona as the main prize with a 5-0 Varial Flip out. Watch that in Harry Garcia’s edit and more from the day in Tidy Mike’s clip on this page. It was a great day out and unique to the London event calendar so well done to everyone involved.

WATCH HARRY GARCIA’S FOOTAGE

WATCH MIKE PEARSON’S FOOTAGE

Kidcam footage of Cliché team at Mile End

cliche_skate_logoLondoners turned out to see the the Cliché team skate over at Mile End last Saturday before their signing session at Slam City Skates. Watch a few tricks of Charles Collet, Lucas Puig, Flo Mirtain, John Tanner, Sammy Winter and Joey Brezinski filmed by a stoked kid here and look out for an official team edit from this week’s Bullseye tour coming soon.

In the meantime check out their Spring catalogue here and if you are planning to attend this year’s Manny Mania final event at Bay 66 Skatepark in London on April 30th you will find Joey Brezinski lurking there as special guest this year.

Benjamin Deberdt Pause Mag Interview

Benjamin Deberdt has done a great deal within the realms of skateboarding both in Europe and America in the last 15 years: founder of Sugar magazine, founder of Kingpin magazine, and now founder of Pause, the new French word on the street complete with English online editions. Here is the skinny from the man himself.

Portrait Right: Benjamin outside his favourite café in Paris, shot by Éric Antoine.

So tell us about Pause then…

Ehhrrr, it’s a magazine? About what makes skateboarding something worth sacrificing a lot for?

The idea is to speak about the characters, the builders, the behind-the-scene guys, the unsung heroes alongside the rich and famous. If you have a story that is worth telling, we’ll try to find you!

Can France support another magazine?

This seems to be the main question I get these days! And I have no answer to it, to be frank. But, maybe that is not the point of Pause…

Pause also produce top shelf postcards!

Your naturalistic style of photography wins plaudits and criticism in equal measure- can you tell us a bit about why you shoot in the style you do and what you think its merits and shortcomings are?

For people to either hate or give mad props, they should know I even exist! I doubt there are that many people that are aware of me… but I can appreciate the “naturalistic” comment. When we started Sugar with my cousin Seb Caldas, back in the days, I was still learning what the hell I was doing, and also experimenting quite a bit to get different kinds of results and not have the magazine filled with only one type of photography. Which I sometimes regret… but, yep, I’d say I have always been interested in showing what I would see, in the most natural way. This is probably coming from Tobin Yelland’s work, back then. He was shooting the whole San Francisco scene during the EMB days, but in a super gritty way. Everything was super crafted and perfectly printed, but what you saw as a reader was the real deal. Glimpses of those people’s everyday life… the glamour was there, but it wasn’t posed. It was real. And this is what I really go for, more and more: just showing the people for who they are and what they do. Which probably clashes sometimes with the manufactured image skateboarding is aiming for, these days. I understand the need for commercial images, and I certainly don’t judge it, but this is not what I find interesting doing, so I’m going my own way. And there are a whole lot of people out there still documenting skateboarding for what it is. Man, we are part of this world that doesn’t need fantasy; it is already fascinating for what it is. Look at all the characters out there, who needs sunsets in the background!?

Another major influence for me has been, obviously, Thomas Campbell, to this day. His photographic style could be described as more thought through, to make the most visually striking image possible, but in a very organic way. As in to use whatever is lying around to enhance reality and make it a bit more magical, which clashed a lot with my French way of looking at life, then. Thomas taught me everything, really: “Benjamin, you’re going to go to New-York, buy a FM2 and a fish-eye, and then, you’ll be professional…” Haha!

So, yeah, apart from countless other influences, I could say that these two had a great impact on me, then, and still do to this day. Oh, and Ari Marcopoulos, for the genuine feeling of his photos, whatever times and scenes he documented. Another great inspiration, there.

What is your single all-time favourite photo that you’ve shot?

A skate photo might be the Lucas Puig water gap kickflip… Or Javier Mendizabal nosegrinding up a ledge in Casablanca, for all the stories that are told in that one image. I don’t know, really. I don’t think much about my own photos…

As for a “non-skate” photo, I have even less of an answer! I have been pretending that I’m consolidating my archives (I believe this is how you’re supposed to explain you’re opening plastic bags to discover they are full of sequences printed in 1998!), lately, and I have found some images which, then, did not mean much to me, as in: “Oh, I can’t use that in next issue of the mag…” but have grown very fond to me, as they now tell a lot about a time long gone. This tells me how much a photo ages a bit like wine. Some turn to vinegar really quick, and should be consumed right away. Others bloom with time.

When I was digging through for Résumé, the Cliché book, I found some gems, that’s for sure! Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking “Did I throw away those pictures of Ricky Oyola rolling a blunt at his house in Philly in 1996!!!???? Because they were a bit blurry!!!!!!????”, haha! Actually, I want to start to work on some book projects, I think. The time has come.

Lucas Puig’s Watergap flip shot by Benjamin Deberdt in Cliché Résumé

The Lucas Puig water gap photo from Greece put you onto a lot of people’s radars outside of France, can you tell us a bit about the context of that shot?

I’ll be frank, it’s all Fred Mortagne’s fault! I would have probably shot a boring picture, but he was already knee-deep in the water, all up in what I thought would be my frame. It was the end of a long day, and the spot looked great, so I was probably cursing him under my breath, when I looked up and realized there were two more stories to that unfinished abandoned mall. I ran up, made sure there was an angle, ran back to put up flashes, screaming for everybody to wait for me, ran back up and shot probably a couple frames of Lucas’s flip and a couple more of Cale Nuske’s backside flip. This being before digital, so it’s only a week later, back in London, that I realized that the reflection showed everything you couldn’t get directly, like the board, Lucas’s face, etc. I also realized that my fish-eye was damaged and that all the pics shot with that lens on the trip were out of focus! But, yep, Lucas’s photo was a total accident. Thanks Fred, let’s get on the road again, sometime soon!

The Kenny Reed Kingpin cover was described by Steve Caballero as one of the best he’d seen in 25 years of skating; what were the circumstances surrounding it?

Really? That’s very kind of Steve! Where do I start with that one? Let’s say this was the end of another long day spent on the border of the Black Sea, for what must have been the first skateboard trip to Bulgaria, from what I believe, unless Rodney Mullen did a Swatch demo there in the 80’s! So, yep, we had a great crew from all over the world, including Kenny. You and him came back from behind some bushes to tell me about some possible spot back there. We went and Kenny told me about the trick he wanted to try. I looked around and told him that by the time I’d be set up it’d be getting dark, he said “let’s do it!”, so I started rushing around… sure enough, he did land it in almost total darkness after being fully blinded by my flashes. Jedi mind trick on that one, and another great surprise at the lab a week later!

You remain the only person to have shot a legit Belfast article for a magazine- what are your memories or impressions of the city and the skaters?

It was a very interesting trip, for sure. We were in town for a few days only, and it was quite filled with action, to say the least. Us getting attacked by about fifty children on glue was a highlight, in a way. I was so convinced that this type of behaviour is not rationally possible, that it just did not register for me. I was just standing there as people were running all over the place… Then, I saw you open the door of a van and scream for me to jump in and I did. Full A-Team style!

In many ways, these four days were very surreal for me. As a French man, religion is not part of my way of thinking, and being confronted with a place where it was all other the place was strange. Just like we were in Jerusalem… But to get back to Belfast, what really stood for me was the kindness of all the people I met, skaters or not. It did have a small town feeling, in many ways, where everybody knows each other, which did not compute with my memories of growing up and seeing Belfast on fire during the news on TV. This was very interesting for me: how can you even have a war going on in such a small town? I understand the roots of it all were centuries old and very deep, of course.

Now, what I want to see is some young Belfast photographer to step up and shoot a sick report on his scene. Let’s see it! Oh, and I want Conhuir to make a comeback! Come on, son!

Pause will have an online dimension in English, what is the deal there?

We just posted issue 01 almost entirely translated on our site. The idea is to give people outside of France the option to also read about the people we think are interesting in skateboarding right now. That, and since nobody really reads English in my slightly autistic country, it can’t really hurt our sales, ha!

What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?

There was a great portfolio of Ari Marcopoulos in Transworld, in 1998, I believe, mixing pictures of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julien Stranger or Ryan Hickey with some advice he was giving to young photographers. I’ve had that one taped on a wall everywhere I’ve lived. Try to find it! Because, what the hell do I know, really?

Click above image for the full-size image of Ari Marcopoulos’ article…