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Skateboarding News

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garçon! A Beer, a hot Résumé and a Cliché Express!

Interviews Express with the Cliché Team.

Story written by Xavier Lannes

Did you know that the Cliché Team is in California? I mean Jérémie Daclin, French Fred, Lucas Puig, Javier Mendizabal, Charles Collet, Flo Mirtain… They have been very busy shooting street pictures at undisclosed street spots for skateboard magazines, they have been shooting for Fuel TV, they have skated Koston’s Berrics, they have been doing demos in skateparks which is a remarkable, because they generally don’t like skateparks Oh, and they were also at Huff Los Angeles, at Fairfax Avenue drinking lots of beer when they were supposed to signing the new Résumé book.

Do they like California?
Well, frankly not that much because although “it is cleaner and it smells better than in Barcelona”, they have been sacked from virtually all the secret L.A. skate spots and they are tired playing Speedy Gonzales with the cops.

Because playing hide and seek with the law enforcement is not great way to take pictures, because all of this was kinda secret or maybe because they had an exclusive with the Californian skate magazines, I have no new pics to show, except the one I shoot myself between two shared beers on a cool night in the Miracle Mile, the place of the multiple skate shops, including Supreme and Huff.

But, before they go back home to their European street skate dreamland, I managed to plant a mike in front of them to try to milk out some fascinating words from them. That was just about time for the premiere of the new Gypsy Tour video, renamed Gypsea Tour this year, simply because their wandered close to the sea the whole tour.
Here is the milk shake:


Lucas Puig

Who are you?
I am Lucas Puig, I am 22 years old and I live in Toulouse.

How long have you been skating?
About 12 years.

How long have you been sponsored by Cliché Skateboards?
About 7 years…

How did you start with Cliché?
Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of my friends, I was living in Toulouse, the same city, we were often going places with him, to skate spots and stuff, I met people from Cliché, they started to give me free boards and the rest is history…

What are your other sponsors?
With JJ Rouseau, I think we were lucky, we were at the right place at the right time, so I have Lakai, they came for a tour in France, I skated with them, then they asked me to do the tour with them, and that's how it hhappened.

How many Gypsy tour (now Gypsea Tour) have you done?
I have done to 3 Gypsy tours.

Which one was the easiest of all the Gypsy tours?
The last one…

The most difficult?
The second one, it was too cold, we were not going to the best spots to sleep, that was not the best spot to live the gypsy life …..

What’s best, a difficult trick landed with no style, or an easy trick done with style?
Definitively the style. It really does not matter if it is difficult or not, if the trick is well done with style, I respect.

What’ the trick you are trying to learn?
Switch Backside Nose Blunt in a mini ramp.

What’s the best part of being a pro skater?
I do what I like, I travel a lot, I am with nice people all the time. I like all parts of being a professional skater.

What’s the worst part of being a professional skater?
You have to skate a lot. People are expecting a lot from you because you represent the brands; you always have to be at the top ….. You have to have a great physical ability because it is very demanding. If you don’t have a sponsor you have a tendency to let it go, you don’t care, but being a pro, there’s no mistakes to make.

Do you train a lot?
I skate everyday, but I first skate for pleasure. If you skate for pleasure everyday, then you train and you enjoy what you are doing at the same time.

Where do you usually train?
In my hometown, in Toulouse, with my buddies, that’s cool. We do a little bit of skatepark, a little bit of street, et voila…

What’s your best spot?
There’s a place I want to go, that Love Park at Philadelphia It’s a big plaza where I never went and it seems like its kinda rad.

Did you badly hurt yourself while skating?
I broke my scaphoïd (the wrist). I could not skate for about 3 months. No skate at all!

When was that?&
About 2 ½ years.

Do you like Los Angeles or the United States?
It’s cool. It’s very different from Europe, everything seems easy here.

What do you mean easy?
Here, you always have a cameraman to shoot you, even if you get sacked all the time from the spots, there are very good spots, lots of photographs everywhere, all the magazines are here, all the skate business is here. It’s easier to be a pro here than in Toulouse, where I live, because there are no cameraman, no photograph…

During this week that you were touring in L.A. , in general how long did you stay on the spot before being evicted?
Just the warm up. No more than 15 mn and after the cops are coming. It’s been like this all the time. But that’s like it everywhere. Just don’t believe that this happens only in Los Angeles, In France if you go skate in front of a back you get evicted. Same as here.

Something else?
Yes: watch for young Flo! Flo Mirtain, he is the future of skateboarding…


Charles Collet

Who are you?

I am Charles Collet, I am 24 years old, I’m French but I live at Barcelona…

Barcelona is in Spain, isn’t that far from home?
That’s the best place for the weather and the skate is too top…

How long on a board?
About 10 years, maybe more…

Why did you come to California?
No choice! I was forced to do it… Laughs… Seriously, I’m here because Cliché was bought by Dwindle and we needed to show what our level is. So we had to come…..

How long have you been with Cliché?
It’s been a while… At first, I was in the flow team and then, pro. So, altogether, that’s about 7 years.

Other sponsors?
Etnies, Volcom, Spitfire…

How Many Gypsy tours?

What’s the worst one?
Probably the 1st one. For starters, we went to crazy places, for example we camped in Chamonix (in the French Alps) It was so fucking cold! But that was also the one I had more fun. The third one was really too easy…

What’s the best part of being a skateboarder pro?
To live from what I really love. No doubt. And also we travel a lot

What’s the worst part of being a skateboarder pro?
The wait! You always have to wait for something. You wait for your buddy to land his trick, you wait for the last buddy to leave the bathroom so everyone can go in the Van and leave, you always have to wait for someone that’s missing, because he’s buying a sandwich, So, you wait, you wait, you wait. You wait too much for people

Where you badly hurt while skating?
Yes, all the time. The worst was when I broke my leg when I was a kid. It was only 1 year I was skating and I broke my leg.

How long where you immobilized?
I’m not sure, but I think that was a bout 6 months before I was able to jump back in my board, that was all summer. Then, the following summer, I broke my other leg, but that was with a scooter…

You like the States?
Los Angeles, not really. You really see that the street skaters here don’t really enjoy doing it , then, it’s much more difficult here to skate on the street than in Europe. There are not enough spots, they are very far away one from another and if you really compare the size of Los Angeles with the size of cities in Europe, there’s almost nothing here. At Barcelona, there is virtually a spot every 3 meters here you have one spot every 10km, so you have to take the car, you got evicted…..

What’s the best place to skate?
In Europe

Yes, but I have done all the spots there. I like it in Barcelona, but Berlin is coming up strong. As soon as the hot days will come, that will be good, so I think that this summer if you want to skate the best place in the world, you would have to be in Berlin, there will be a lot of skaters.


Flo Mirtain
Who are you?

My name is Florent Mirtain, I am 20 years old and I live in Lyon.

How long have you been skateboarding?
About 10 years

How long have you been sponsored by Cliché Skateboards?
I entered the flow team about 2 years ago and it’s been 1 ½ years as an amateur.

Other sponsors?
I also have DVS, Matix, Spitfire, Venture, Ballzout, Mabasi.

How many Gypsy Tours?
Because I’m new with Cliché, I only did the last one.

How was it?
Kind of funny.

You will do the next one?
Of course, if there’s another one I’m on it!

What’s best, a very technical trick landed with no style, or an easy trick with style?
Frankly, I’d rather see a skater doing an easy trick with style.

Have you been hurt while skateboarding?
I never broke anything, just superficial bruises.

Is that your 1st time in the US?
No. I already came last summer in New York City, for about two weeks. I was on a tour, but not with Cliché, with another skate brand.

Do you like it here?
No. I prefer new York.

The ambiance is different, the spots are different, the way people skate is different and the mindset is different. Here, that’s just OK. It seems to me that California is just like in the movies: all fake. New York is the shit. And on top of that, it’s much more European than the West Coast.

Did you go to other countries with Cliché?
We went twice to Italy, in Croatia…

Where are your best spots?
Definitively the Hotel De Ville at Lyon, my hometown

That’s where I go everyday because I live there. I know all the homies, I lime to skate there. I have my marks there.

With who do you skate?
My buddies in Lyon and JB Gillet…

What’s the best part of being with Cliché Skateboards?
Lots of things. I’m a European and I love it, plus Cliché is at Lyon and that’s my hometown, ….. I love European skateboard style and I love skating for a European brand

What’s the worst part?
There’s no worst part. I like being a pro.


Javier Mendizabal
Who are you:

I’m Javier Mendizabal, I am 33 years old, and it’s been 21 years since I started skating.

How is it to be a pro at 33 years old?
You know, it’s my passion. It’s the same spirit as when I was a kid. When I do a hot trick, I feel happy, satisfied. Of course, it’s not as intense as when I was 20 years old, but that’s what I like to do and I think I am lucky to be able to do it. Skating everyday, traveling all the time…

Why is a Spaniard with a French brand?
It started as a French brand, because it started in France, but there no doubt now, that Cliché is an international brand. That’s a brand that is recognized not only all over Europe but also here in the United States and I was skating for the Cliché Distribution Company in Spain, they had Deluxe and other brands. I came here when I was 18 years old, I went to San Francisco, I meet people at Deluxe. Of course, in that time, it was very different from now. In Europe, it was impossible to think that you could live in Europe and live from being a pro. I’m from the Basque county, and then, I went to Barcelona, I met Alex a photograph who is a very good friend of Jérémie, we started to take pictures, and through Alex I started to know more about Cliché…. There was a lot of brands in Europe, I went with Cliché, and now it’s been 11 years.

Did you do all the Gypsy tours?
Not all of them.
Which one was the easiest one?
The easiest was the last one. It was very hot, but we were lucky. The most difficult moment of the Gypsy tour is when comes the night, you have been skating all day and you have no clue where you will sleep. So you have to find a place to sleep and that last year, we where very lucky with the spots to sleep. We were also lucky because it did not rain at all, not even one day, because when it rains, you have to find a deserted place. In this last Gypsy tour, we slept in amazing places, close by the sea. You wake up, you go swim in the ocean. So this was one of the easiest.

What was the most difficult of the Gypsy Tours?
That was the one we did about two years ago when we went to Malaga in Spain, because it rained a lot and, I tell you, when it’s raining that’s terrible. The problem is if it’s raining all day, you can’t skate because there’s no spot to go. If you are in your hometown and it’s raining you stays home, but when you are on a tour, you have no home, you can’t stay in the Van all day. Your schedule is dependant upon the weather. If it rains, that’s a pain.

Sometimes, I skate all day, trying to land a trick, and it’s not coming, so I give up and just skate for fun, is that the same with you?
Yes, of course, first I skate for fun. When I did not have any sponsors, and even now, It’s the same, I skate for pleasure. It’s a question of overcoming. That’s one of the things that skateboard gives you, adrenalin, you are scared to do something, but you badly want to do it… For example, today, it took me one hour and half to make a trick, but at the end, I did it. Skateboard is overcoming.

What’s best, an amazing trick with no style or an easy trick with style?
Style is the basis of skateboarding. That’s the most important part. Today, there are a lot of kids that can do amazing tricks, they are 15-16 years old, but at one point they all look the same. As a skateboarder, I am waiting for someone that’s doing something different. To me, when I see someone that brings me something different, that’s what I like. And that difference between a good and an amazing skater is the style, not the difficulty of the trick. To me, even if a difficult trick is something that’s important, style is above technique. You see, what they say is true in skateboarding: “It’s not what you are doing, but how you do it”.

I’m asking the question because I see a lot of people landing amazing tricks, but I don’t like watching it because it’s so forced that they have no style, it seems that they just do it because they have to do it but they don’t enjoy doing it.
I think the same as you and that’s how I am doing it… I’m not able to train for hours and hours trying to land a trick. Maybe I’m older now and maybe because I am coming from another culture where ramps where the nom, flowing was the norm, style was the norm, that’s the way I skate and that’s the way I like skateboarding: with style!

Did you hurt yourself in skateboard?
I broke my two ankles. They had to operate me…. The first one when I was 20 years old and the second one when I was 26 years old, and now I’m 36, but I still have enough energy to skate even right now if you want.

Do you like it here?
I prefer to live in Europe. I like where I live.

For the skate or for the way of life?
Definitely for the way of life. I’m from Europe and I like to live in Europe, but I like the US. I come here twice a year. I have very good friends here, and when I’m coming, I like it to be here. I come, I stay 2 weeks, 2 months whatever, but I like to have my hometown in Spain.

Remember, you can’t stay here more than 3 months!
(Laughs) I know, I know, I know. But you know what, I wouldn’t like to stay here 3 months straight (laughs)…

The last word?
I’d like to remember everybody that we have a new book with Cliché. That is to celebrate the 10 years of Cliché. It’s actually 11 years. We have done and excellent job with the book (Résumé) and I recommend the book to everyone.

All pictures Xavier Lannes and Cliché Skate Website.

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