"RIDE HARD, REST WELL" : AN INTERVIEW WITH THE 2017 FISE FLATLAND CHAMPION
09 Oct 2017 15:12
Name: Jean William Prévost
Date of Birth: Year of the Tiger, Virgo (1986), August 30th
Place of Birth: Montréal, Canada
Place of Residence: Montréal, Canada
Weight: 168 lbs
Frame: Banana Color Far East Cycles Turbo Fork: Custom Narrow Fareast Turbo
Cranks: Fareast Cycles Titanium Turbo
Bars: Reklamation Jason Plourde Signature
Pegs: IGI (JWP’s brand) microphone
Pedals: IGI SweetSPOT
When did you get your first BMX and was it a Flatland ?
I got my first bike when I was 5 or 6 years old, it was a gift from my godmother. It was red, it had 20 inch wheels like a BMX - not sure it qualified as any of the above. Also I remember having a second-hand smaller BMX, also red and it had a coaster brake on it. I had so much fun on that one skidding around the neighbourhood.
Was it clear to you that you were going to ride BMX Flatland?
I got into BMX without even knowing about Flatland or the difference between disciplines. There came a point where it occurred to me that Flatland might save me from hurting myself as I tend to lose my bearings when I leave the ground. I bruised my kidney once riding dirt and from then on I steered my riding towards parking lots and other flat surfaces!
What was the Canadian scene like for Flatland when you were starting out?
There used to be about 50 riders in 4 separate classes back at the earliest Toronto Metro Jams I remember attending. We have about 20 riders overall now. Also, I had a solid crew of five and we rode together at every opportunity. Those were the good old days. Though I couldn't do much, I was very motivated to ride and learn with that crew in Montréal. They helped shape my riding to this day.
Do you think the scene has improved today?
The number of riders has decreased, but I’d say the skill level is quite high still. We live where winters are intense, so it's hard to find spots to ride Flatland during those months. I rented a place at $5 an hour for the past three winters. It gets expensive overtime.
You honed your skills early on in China, sometimes doing as many as four shows a day. Do you think this is a good way for young riders to develop?
The opportunity to go to China to do shows at an early stage in my riding career helped shape my style in many ways. Gain confidence in front of a crowd, have a more dynamic flow and find ways to entertain the crowd in other ways than only through spins. My first months doing shows were challenging. I wanted applause and hard work brought me that. Most riders who do the shows nowadays come out of these contracts strong and ready for the contest life.
You have a pretty aggressive riding style, how did this come about?
I think it came from the lack of getting a crowd reaction when I first started doing shows. Also, training with my good friend Jason who was already a very fast-paced rider. A few things combined motivated me to up the ante and do things my own way.
Is your bike setup specifically for this style?
I'd say the length of my bike being a bit shorter than others’ keeps it easy to switch directions (we call spinning back and forth ‘turbines’). Also, the pegs I ride are of my design and have a sphere at the end of the peg which locks me in and makes it easier to know where I stand and can go faster from it in between pivots. It anchors me into the tricks and the bike.
Where do you think the balance lies between originality and executing the big, crowd-pleasing tricks in contests?
Originality is the foundation of the evolutionary process of our sport. Crowd-pleasing is more for show. Though subconsciously I am pretty sure that the crowd response affects the judges. There definitely is a need for both, but I am more inclined to build new tricks and techniques to push the sport then to get claps. If you can do both then you are a great chemist.
You are 2017 FISE World Series Flatland Champion. What was the series like for you this year and where does it stack up in the world of Flatland contests?
I swear I never saw this coming, still buzzin’ off these results. This year was such a blessing, FISE has created the platform that is shining a light on Flatland like never before. It has given me the opportunity to show the world what I can do on the bike. It is the most reliable and prestigious championship series in the Flatland world. No doubt about it.
What do you see in the future for Flatland?
I foresee the sport becoming more and more dynamic. I find that ‘flow’ is what defines the sport, combined with original moves. Tricks will become longer, like back-to-back without any filler. It will be hard to define the borders between tricks and names will almost be impossible to give to new tricks. ‘Fractal’ would be a good way to describe my feeling for the future of Flatland.
Finally, what advice would you give to young Flatland riders?
Don’t look up to riders, look ahead of them. Create a path where your flavour and style will thrive. Find out what makes you tick in Flatland, stick to it and work hard on it. Idolise discipline and perseverance, not other riders. Find pride and motivation in isolation and dedication.
Ride Hard, Rest Well.
Thanks for everything FISE!
Follow JWP on Instagram @jwilliamp and be sure to check out his new BMX Flatland project IGOTIT