New year, same old habits: we write down resolutions, projects and goals. For most of us, living by these intentions for a whole year gets kind of tough and we rely on excuses such as being victims of hereditary laziness, lacking time or having alcohol–induced memory impairments to make ourselves feel better. But that’s fine. We’ve been lying to ourselves since our first day of school. We all used the ‘my grandma passed away’ excuse to get out of doing homework. Some even pushed their luck by using the notorious excuse multiple times. I’ll get back to this later. Skateboarding has its share of personalities. You will find the good guys, the ones who chill, the party-animals, the shy fellows, the road-trippers... the list goes on and on. Ultimately, it all comes down to this: different personalities rhymes with different positions on issues and debates. Here in Montreal though, one fact unites all skateboarders: our outdoors skateparks are far from great and, frankly, I’m being nice here. Think of all the unusable or uninteresting parks in the city that have been built in recent years. Speaking of which, Vincent Letellier (mastermind behind Ethernal Skate Films) recently listed all defective parks and plazas around town. While the document’s length is no shocker, it does makes you question how the funds are being used when building these projects. It also makes you realize that the city is as bad as each and every one of us when it comes time to make new year’s resolutions. As skateboarders, we are constantly told things will improve and hard work will be put into finding ways to include skateboarding in the city without clashing with police. Yet, with little improvement, many skaters feel the city's spiel is beginning to sound like a broken record. Then again, we did enjoy a few wins in 2014:
- New parks in the Montreal surroundings
- David Boots’ victory at Peace Park
- P45 getting more recognition and hype than ever
- Rumours of a DIY skatepark project to be built on the Plateau
- Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie working hand-in-hand with skaters towards an situation improvement over at Père-Marquette
- Verdun’s city councillor Sterling Downey pushing for skateboarding to be accepted and seen as any other mean of transportation.
On a more personal note, my faith in humanity is restored when I see young skaters invest time in projects meant to improve Montreal’s skateboarding scene. Félix Patry is one of those skaters. Only 17, the hype surrounding this kid has been trending up for a year and he’s been featured in Exposé Magazine, Concrete Wave and Concrete Skateboarding Magazine. On a day-to-day basis, he gives skateboarding classes to kids at le Taz skatepark, goes to school and works on Project 45. Félix is super chill to talk to and hang out with. He’s a smart thinker with good values. Supporting good and humble fellows like him feels like the right thing to do. Whether the kid can make it as a pro skater is irrelevant because you can tell his passion will keep in the industry no matter what. I met up with Félix Patry at Le Taz after his shift. What follows is his take on skateboarding and what it brings to him.
N.B. The following interview was adapted from french to english.
Get Born: You started skateboarding when you were 10 years old. In what circumstances did that happen?
Félix Patry: I started skating because… well I was already snowboarding and doing wakeboard and one goes with the other. If you can snowboard, you can skate. My friends were skating and I wanted to try, so my parents signed me up for summer camp at Southpark when I was in third grade. I never really stopped going to Southpark after that. I wasn’t going every day, but every week I would try to skate as often as possible. The people over there helped me a bit back then and even today (Southpark has reopened last week) it’s still as friendly as when I used to go.
GB: 7 years later, what does it represent for you?
FP: Well I do have friends out of skateboarding, but I work in a skatepark, everywhere I go I’m checking for new spots. Almost everything on my newsfeed is related to skateboarding, even the music I listen to. So yeah, my life is pretty much set around skateboarding.
GB: Do you remember your first board?
FP: Yeah, it was a ULC board. At first, I wanted to try scooter and my dad well… he didn’t want me to do that. So he just went to Starlette, which was a skate shop owned by the guys who ran Southpark, and he bought me a board. It was a ULC with flash pink Thunder trucks and some random wheels.
GB: What do you ride now?
FP: I don’t have a board sponsor so Rollin’ Boardshop hooks me up with boards from the shop. I skate 139 Indy trucks, and my board is a 8.25”. I skate a wheel company named Sml. Wheels. and ceramic Bones Swiss bearings. I like having good bearings and I don’t mind paying more for them because I know they’re going to last.
GB: Let’s say you are having a skate session with some friends. The whole sesh’ is off-cam. What’s your skating like?
FP: I mean, I’m going to have fun skating even when I film, but it depends on the situation. If I’m skating at P45, I’m always going to skate as usual you know, but if I’m not filming, I won’t eat shit for nothing. I’ll go for bigger tricks if my friends are taping, but still, I can have good sessions and put myself out there without a cam. Sure I don’t just roll around town going over stair sets… I need a photographer or a filmer for that. I would do it for the love, but having it on tape is motivating.
GB: You have gone on at least one team road trip. Tell me about one of your best memories?
FP: The last trip I did with Rollin was in Toronto and Gab Lalande (from Atlas) was also there. We had a lot of fun. I didn’t party as hard because I’m younger but the guys went to bed at like 7:00 am when we were all skating the next day. I went skating with Dan Mathieu, but the spots were huge and I wasn’t used to that. I’m not down to throw myself over 20 stairs like Gab or whoever. They went to big spots and I didn’t get much photos, but I had fun. Alban Bachand is the greatest guy; he’s hilarious!
GB: Who was your first sponsor and how did you land it?
FP: It was Ultimate Boardshop, in Granby. I’m not really sure about how I got to be sponsored by them. I think I had made a video with Casey MacDonald at Southpark when I was 11 and I got an email or something. I did their contests and all. I was young, an okay skater and I’m not bragging, but I must have been okay for an 11 year old so they asked for my footy.
GB: You have competed at JACKALOPE and AM Getting Paid. What's on your mind before a competition?
FP: I don’t do a ton of competitions. I like it and all, but I don’t do skatefests anymore. I find it’s more for the people who want boards and stuff and I prefer the important competitions such as AM Getting Paid, JACKALOPE or the jams I feel are important. I’d like to do AM competitions and internationals contests, but I skate for the fun of it. I don’t feel like I have to do competitions. I don’t think stress gets you anywhere in life anyways. I just do what I do on the regular and it usually works. I don’t take it serious because I know I don’t really have any chances. Not that I don’t give my 100%, but I just hangout and do what I got to do. My sponsors pay for my competitions fees so I don’t want to sit and do nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do my best but I don’t have expectations.
GB: What do you aspire to? Are you working on turning pro?
FP: Actually, I’m in school doing a Sports Marketing & Management course so yeah, I’m trying to go forward with skateboarding while having fun. Eventually my name will be known and then I’ll be able to work in the industry. It would be crazy to turn pro! I’d prefer skating than working like crazy and going to school, but I know that it probably won’t happen. Working in the industry is all the same for me. Being a rep or whatever could be fun!
GB: Concrete Magazine has already put it out in the wild: you're a young blood with a cool attitude and great skating skills. Tell me about your involvement in the P45 DIY project and at Taz skatepark?
FP: I find Quebec parks suck and I think people need to do something about it instead of just bitching. Projet 45 worked great, it’s known worldwide and gets featured in magazines. It shows that it’s legit, it’s not a deep countryside DIY. P45 is fun because you build something, you get to skate it, which is a good feeling. Then you see other people stoked about riding it so that’s cool too. I’ve only been at P45 for about 2 years, but when you think of Phil D’Aoust or Sebastien Petit, they’ve been there since day 1 and they did a sick job. Maybe some day me or someone else will have the keys to the place. I’m not taking this too seriously but it’s a good crew. We chill, do barbecues… You don’t have to be good to hangout there, as long as you like skating and you’re down to help. Taz is a sick job! I prefer that than to be working in an IGA or something. I really don’t mind giving classes. I’m always open to that. Plus, when you get a motivated kid, it’s easy to see him progress. It’s easy to see what he does wrong or whatever. I’m just as stoked when a kid lands an olli , as I am when I land a new trick. It’s an accomplishment for both of us, he can land a new trick and it shows my tips helped.
GB: What’s your preference in terms of skating style?
FP: Everyone who rides with style is just nice to watch. I mean, what guys like Nyjah Huston do is mental, but it’s too robotic. It looks easy because they always land their tricks, but it just isn’t…. flawless. When you look at Riley Hawk for example, you’ve got huge style, fast skating and exaggeration. It’s not on purpose, but when I see that, it influences my skating.
GB: If anything was possible, who would you want to spend the day skateboarding with and why?
FP: John Cardiel… the guy is way too gnar. Unfortunately, he got injured so he’s not skating anymore. I met him and he’s really chill. He exaggerates everything, has the best style, rolls fast… he’s the best.
GB: What’s one spot you definitely wish to hit up one day?
FP: Ditches in California look sick, but since I skate transitions and banks, Barcelona would be the best for me. I definitely want to go there soon. Every spot over there is made of natural transitions and banks. We don’t have that in Montreal! Here, I would be willing to make a 2-hour trip just to get to a perfect bank and skate it, while in Barcelona they’ve got them at every street corner.
GB: How would you define skateboarding?
FP: Skateboarding is fun… It’s a way of living, a lifestyle. That is, if you’re really serious about it. If you skate once a week and your life doesn’t revolve around that, then it’s not a lifestyle. For me though, most of the time chilling with friends means going skating and then just hanging out. It’s a different way of living life.
GB: Can you ever get too old for it?
FP: Never! It keeps you young. I’ve got 35-year-old friends that still skate. I can have a good conversation with skate OG Oliveiro Fontana who’s probably in his thirties and I can skate with a dude like Anthony Arelle who’s thirteen. To me, it’s all the same because we speak the same language and live the same lifestyle. Skateboarding is an all age thing.
Words of wisdom from this young man : if you’re unhappy, don’t just wallow in your misery. Get up and make change happen! Also don’t stress; just have fun. Life is too short to get caught up with stuff that’s out of your hands. Best of luck in your future projects, Félix.
Félix Patry is sponsored by Asbury, Ekumenik, Emerica, Helas and Rollin Boardshop.