Subcultures can arise from just about anything. Skateboarding, along with surfing, are prime examples of that phenomenon. Originally thought of as derived from a punk subculture, the sport has broken free from its roots with the surfing culture to form its own cultural subgroup.
Though many have claimed credit for its invention, no one really knows who is behind skateboarding per se. General consensus agrees on three things: first, skateboarding’s roots are in the surfing culture. Second, it was born somewhere in California and last, it all started back in the 50’s. Peaks and dives in popularity marked the 60’s and skateboarding took a forced turn into the “Do It Yourself” mentality as companies slowly died out. Then, during the early 70’s, Frank Nasworthy introduced new urethane wheels sparking people’s interest for the sport. Then came 1978, a real game changer in skateboarding. A young kid from Hollywood named Alan Gelfand lands a no-handed aerial and calls it an “ollie”. The trick revolutionized skateboarding as we know it. Despite creating the most important basic maneuver, Gelfand’s fame has been dwarfed by the now legendary Rodney Mullen. Holding a track record of over 35 created tricks, the flatland king is considered as one of the most influential skateboarders in history. Our current generation still manages to re invent and innovate (think of Tom Schaar with his first ever skateboard 1080), and that’s part of what makes skateboarding incredible: it’s a never ending journey on which pushing back limits is mandatory. There is something beautiful in devoting countless hours perfecting tricks for the simple goal of self-satisfaction. Antony Cribier, a 17 year old fellow friend of some Montreal skaters I know, was kind enough to give some of his time to have a conversation with me. What follows is excerpts from our friendly afternoon chat.
N.B. The following interview was adapted from french to english.
Get Born: Let’s start by the basics. When did you start skateboarding and what got you into it?
Antony Cribier: I started skateboarding almost 5 years ago and got into it because I lived right next to a skatepark. It allowed me to blow off steam. I would go everyday after class… After that… well, after that I moved to Montreal. That was 2 years ago. I used to live in Nantes, but I was born in Paris.
GB: An artistic edit of yours for Natifs skateboards recently surfaced on Facebook. Why choose an artistic part over a raw part with plenty of bangin’ tricks?
AC: From the start, that edit was intended to be very artistic. It wasn’t filmed for the figures or tricks, it was just for the artistic experience. As for a regular edit with tricks and all, I already have one project from this summer coming up… so that’s that. “Planche à roulettes” was my friend’s project. Participating in it gave me the opportunity to do something different and artsy. I mean, I already have so much edits… it’s fun to try something new. I really enjoyed the project, it’s a lot of hard work because you really need everything to be absolutely perfect, but it was cool.
GB: When no one is filming you for an eventual part, what’s your skating like?
AC: Haha, it’s way more relaxed. It’s just my friends and I over at Natifs skateboards chilling and skating street spots.
GB: What’s your approach when it comes to skating a new street spot?
AC: I obviously look around, but to be honest, I usually try it out without really thinking about it. I just go. Nothing makes me hesitant; I’ll be up for skating anything at any given spot.
GB: What do you do, if you can’t land a trick even after working endlessly on it ?
AC: I try it over and over… aaaand over again, sometimes up to a hundred times. At a certain point, I just stop, try something else and get back to it the next day.
GB: Any success with that technique?
AC: It works! Sometimes, It takes a lot of time, but that’s part of the game. Some tricks are harder to land. It’ll get on my nerves, but the annoyance is temporary and it’s quickly replaced by joy once I actually land it.
GB: Sky is the limit: who would you want to spend the day skateboarding with and why?
AC: I don’t know… that’s a tough one… I think I’d like to hang out with the guys from Converse. They are really cool, have a good style and I like the way they skate. Other than that… it’s hard to say. I like Luan Oliveira. He’s really cool too.
GB: “I’d die in peace knowing I would have done…” ?
AC: I want to go skateboarding in China. Everything filmed there, both past and present, looks perfect. I’ve been to China before… I just didn’t skate at the time.
GB: Do you see skateboarding as a way of living? Can you get too old for it?
AC: I don’t think you ever grow too old to skate. Everywhere I’ve traveled I met older guys, even 60-year-olds, still skateboarding. They don’t pull off the tricks of their youth, but they still skate and ride bowls or pools.
GB: If you could go back to one moment in skateboard history, what would it be? Why?
AC: I would go back to the time when tricks were being discovered. It would of been great… and probably lots of fun.
GB: In the future, say something like 5-10 years, where do you see yourself going?
AC: It’s not easy to work skateboarding into a career, but I would like to do so or at least keep the sport in my lifestyle. When I got here from France, the skateboarding level here was way higher than back home. It was great because it helped me improve a lot faster. Now, when I go back to France, I see a difference. I think it’s a lot easier to make it in France as opposed to over here in Canada where there’s so many crazy talented skateboarders already. USA? It’s even worse.
GB: If you had one statement to do on skateboarding, what would it be? Why?
AC: “It’s a way of blowing off steam, to escape the day-to-day life.” I could have a rough week, go skate, see my friends and everything will fall right back into place. Skateboarding makes me forget about everything else for a moment.
Antony Cribier is a kid who rides with style and most importantly, for himself. He doesn’t ever seem like he wants to prove something to someone. Sponsored by KREW, Natifs skateboards and NDJ skateshop, he competed in the last AM Getting Paid and VANS Riot Shop editions. Cribier is one of those shy fellows whose name won’t stay on the low key for long.