COLLAPSE « 15/36 »
GREG POISSONNIER INTERVIEW
FISE UP JULY
Interview : Ben
Picture : Greg
Lukas, droppig first at 15 y.o. ; Bastien, the last at 36 y.o. ; a generation gap that evaporates at the sight of this 15/36 video (re)launched via the FISE UP label and produced by cOLLAPSe, an indie French skate brand led by Greg Poissonnier. You have probably already heard the voice of this big guy who comments on skateboarding, on TV or on the recent FISE Montpellier; it's time to read more about him, a good way to talk about a lot of things related to the rather brilliant state of skateboarding in 2022.
Can you introduce in a few lines your pretty dense background in snowboarding and skateboarding, as a rider and then involved in the industry? Hi, Greg, 49 years old, I started skateboarding "seriously" in 1987 after a few years of BMX. After stopping school I left for the winter seasons, one thing leading to another I found myself being paid to snowboard, I obviously always skated and surfed at the same time. Once my career was over, I worked for Globe/Dwindle Europe for 4 years as Team Manager France and Marketing Coordinator Europe, then I was hired by Burton Snowboards to manage the Gravis and Analog brands in Europe. Since 2013 I have been working on my own, with my company Slappy Agency, I do marketing consulting, specialized communication, content production, events, event commentary, production and marketing of my brand cOLLAPSe skateboards and since 2018 we have been doing skatepark programming for communities: from assistance to project management...
Tell us about the advantages of the Southwest area of France ?
Originally from Paris, I arrived in the south-west in 1985...this area is the best, but you mustn't say so! The mountains nearby, a couple of hours only to be on the lifts, the ocean and its waves of course, and skateparks, you want them here; the small downside concerns the street spots, there are obviously spots but not really a place that runs well where to chill all afternoon, that said the proximity of Spain largely compensates for this deficit!
How is the region evolving in terms of spots, culture, events?
The skate scene is exploding! There are more and more parks, more and more pro skaters settled in the area. The presence of big brands in the industry contributes to maintaining a whole event and cultural component around skateboarding, so a lot is happening.
And the relationship with visitors, I understood from some side mirrors destroyed that tourists were not always welcome on the local waves, what would be your opinion on this?
It exists, it's true. Surfing is an ultra frustrating activity, it represents hours in the water for a few seconds of wave, suddenly some guys don't like to share too much, even if the same people are able to go surfing at others' in winter ... Personally, I don't surf anymore, just a little in the summer, but the atmosphere in the water got the better of my motivation (even if fortunately this is not always the case); I find the atmosphere much better at the skatepark, and then the wind can turn, it won't spoil the session;)
Looking back a year, how do you see the transition from skateboarding to the Olympics?
Honestly, I find that skateboarding made a remarkable entry into the Games, there was a certain expectation and curiosity from observers, and apart from the street format which may have disconcerted some, I think that most people appreciated, it brought a little freshness. And at the same time, skateboarding remained itself. The IOC did not seek to transform it, on the contrary they went to find skateboarding for what it is, for what it represents, and that goes through its codes, its own modes of operation. For example, skaters were the best dressed in the games!
What should be improved in the future in your opinion?
The format of the street event will be slightly modified: from now on the riders will do 2 runs and 5 single tricks, the scores for the best run and the 2 best tricks will be kept. Each pass will be scored out of 100 points, so the total will be out of 300 pts. The big change is the obligatory taking into account of a run, which means that no one will be able to win only thanks to their single tricks...which is, in my opinion, rather logical, the essence of skateboarding being the movement, sequence, fluidity and what trick to do to get the next one. In short, it's a good thing I think, moreover it will be more understandable for neophyte observers.
Personally, how was this experience of commenting on a major national channel like France TV?
It was crazy! The “covid” context meant that we were super privileged, as a media I had access to all the competitions. Since the skate street was at the very beginning and the bowl at the very end, I had 8 days between the two to go from stadium to stadium with the other consultants and journalists from France Télévisions, an incredible experience! Otherwise for the comments it was not very complicated, you just had to remember that we were not talking to connoisseurs. It was necessary to be understood by the curious while remaining credible in the ears of riders. It went pretty well, I don't think I got screwed on the social networks, on the contrary I had lots of compliments and people from completely different backgrounds, so it's cool! The hottest was the live on set, Stade 2 and Tout le Sport (big sport show), especially since with the time lag you do that around 1 a.m. Unconsciously you tend to tell yourself that it's cool it's a late hour, there are not too many people in front of the TV, except that in France it is 6/8 p.m. and that there are 7 millions of viewers haha! But everything went well, I liked it, can't wait for the next time!
From now on we can listen to you commenting on the Street league on MCS in France, there is a difference I imagine?
Yes nothing to do, the tone can definitely be different, the language too, we are a little more freestyle and we talk to connoisseurs!
You take care of the communication of the skate commission in France, do you have a special editorial line to cover this very sporty aspect of skateboarding?
No not at all, here again, we represent the federation so there are certain things that we must pay attention to, but in general we try to communicate as a skate brand would do.
You could tell us a few words about Vincent Milou and Aurélien Giraud and their respective development in this new Olympic situation. Do you see a medal potential for them in Paris…?
Yes, in any case I really wish them! Vincent and Aurélien have really different personalities, their approaches to preparation and competition are also quite different. Vincent really likes everything to be well framed, to leave nothing to chance, right down to the color of the t-shirt; Aurélien works more by feeling, by affect; he likes to be able to prepare himself as he sees fit; if he needs help he will ask for it but he prefers to be able to manage his preparation times in his corner... Anyway, both have real chances of medals.
Tell us about Collapse
cOLLAPSe was born in 2011 following a session with a friend, Boul Rostan. Him artist, me in the industry, we thought it would be cool to do our own project, our graphics, our team etc... The idea is to promote the skateboarding that we like, skateboarding in the wide sense curve street, tech, old school. I don't want people to be able to say cOLLAPSe is a bowl brand - even if I've heard it before - but to equate it with Skateboarding in the broad sense...I also want us to have fun doing it! So we do trips when our schedules, pandemics and finances allow it, and then we offer meaningful graphics sometimes! I also like to do events outside the skateparks so that kids can see skateboarding and think that's what they want to do...The team is constantly evolving but today it looks like this: Bastien Marlin, Romain Covolan, Gaëtan Ducellier, Arthur Fontis and Lukas Larrue, we also help Thomas Courteille from a little further, he calls himself a filmmaker, which is true, but he is also an excellent skateboarder! Ah and yes, we also have the "Geriatric Division", the old team, with Alexis Jauzion, Mathias Thomer, Etienne Pinon and myself...
How about we let you end with a remark of your own?
Simply saying or recalling that skateboarding is multiple and that everyone is free to go there and find what makes them happy, I hear too many remarks or criticisms from people who certainly have the impression of holding the only truth of skateboard, but these people have forgotten the primary values conveyed by skateboarding, namely freedom, tolerance and sharing...
Arthur Fontis / @arthur_fontis
Bastien Marlin / @bastienmarlin
Lukas Larrue / @lukaslarrue
Romain Covolan/ @grosvolcan
Gaëtan Ducellier / @wolftang999
Mathias Thomer / @mthsthmr
Alexis Jauzion / @alexis_jauzion
Thomas Courteille / @stoopide
Greg Poissonnier / @dongrego @slappyagency
montée par Alberto Scattolin @alberto_scattolin_ / @blk.mark_studio