Bigger Spin / EP 004 - Bertrand Soubrier

Bertrand Soubrier has been on the board since the late eighties, and never once did he step off since.
 
A man of phases, he's been a ginger, a Le Dome local, a professional, a tourist and more, successively, throughout the years.
 
Beber is the man in charge behind the Haze Wheels and Basement Hill scenes, in addition to handling the fatherhood of his boy martin.
 

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Jérémie is some superhero of the French skateboarding scene of sorts. The Lyon head has been skating forever and eventually founded Cliché, Link Footwear and Film Trucks, all the while making use of his lunch break sessions to single-handedly relaunch the slappy technique, a contest based on which he will start organizing as soon as next September.

Jérémie used to sell rugby polo shirts manufactured by the early 1990's brand Absurd to Bertrand back in the day, thereby prompting a young him to listen to the voicemail messages Jeremie would leave over fifty times in a row, as stuck on loop. Now, twenty-five years later, they are touring from skateshop to skateshop together, to try and push their respective brands and products all the while continually staying updated on the realities of the French skate industry.

 

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The beginning.

 

As the existence of the above photo demonstrates, Bertrand was effectively brought up in the fourteenth district of Paris and had to make do with the few spots he had at his disposal at the time. That's some French ghetto shtick we're talking about.

 

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Claus Grabke's board, maybe (?)

Anyone remember the photo of Claus Grabke doing an invert in whichever French skate mag that was, back in the day? Well here, Claus is portrayed skating the Trocadéro, most likely on what will soon become Bertrand's first ever board. Claus left his set-up at the local skateshop before heading back to Germany that one time, which in turn the shop chose to sell to a young customer - a classic move at the time.

 

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The Go Sport skateboarding handbook.

Sporting goods chain Go Sport once produced and release this bible of a type more relatable than Thrasher for the French at the time: this small handbook would come brimming with all sorts of explanations regarding tricks, styles and stories. Photos were also plentiful, including one of a very young Olivier Saint-Jours launching off the most iconic jump ramp the fifteenth district of Paris has ever known, to this day.

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"La Def"'s very own Ghetto Wear-sporting, nosebonk-performing Marco, shot by Tofman.

 

Above is the photo anyone under thirty-eight of ages has most likely never seen. Marco was a La Défense and Fontaine des Innocents local, notorious for being from « Montpar' ». 

Effervescent amidst the Paris scene in the nineties, Marco's look was always the sharpest and freshest in terms of gear, tricks, fashion and style. He went to EMB during the peak era of the spot, now runs Elephant Print, and knows a thing or two about rap music.

 

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French for "TG" is "Tégé". Real 49ers deck, 1991.

Marco had one of those he'd carry under his arm and another one he'd skate, and ollie up curbs on. Real was founded by Tommy Guerrero and Jim Thiebaud and Henry Sanchez was one of their very first pros, before leaving for Blind Skateboards. This deck was a must-have of an instant classic back then.

 

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Hardware of a different type.

Versailles' Matelot Skatepark was one of the few indoor skatable places around Paris at the time, and eventually turned out to breed the likes of Toni Brossard, Franck Barattiero, John Martino, Marc Haziza...

Bertrand was a regular as well, until his ankle eventually made it clear it was retiring from enduring non-stop modular attacks.

(Shouts out to the owner and the park, and his wife!)

 

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Le Dôme.

"Le Dôme", aka. Palais de Tokyo in your average folk's lingo, is home to Paris' Museum of Modern Art, Florentin Marfaing's ledges, a notorious 3-flat-3, an infamous 3-flat-4, the most famous sets of three stairs in the world and one massive ledge. Bertrand pretty much lived there for a while, sometimes showing up in a taxi as to make sure none of his precious time at the spot was ever wasted!

Whenever he wasn't skating right into Franck Barattiero, you could always ask him for wheels, trucks, goodies or Emerica Marc Johnsons that ran a size or two too short, if anything to help him rehearse for the future.

 

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JB is another Lyon head, and a longtime friend of Bertrand's. Never heard of him? Really? Then please do yourself a favor by the means of Youtube and marvel at his supple, easy-going style. Now in his forties technically and still an artless kid mentally, JB just dropped a video clip for Nike, and should show up for his very own Big Spin episode, sometime by 2020.

 

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Video days.

 

"Propaganda" by Powell Peralta, "Hokus Pokus" by H-Street, "Children Of The Sun" by New Deal : three videos that have drastically changed the course of Bertrand's life.

Skate videos were a rare occurrence at the time, with one or maybe two coming out every year - quite the event, every time. People would get together to buy copies, or dub them, or rent them to dub them; regardless of your style, one thing was for sure: the gaping silence suddenly taking over as soon as the tape being inserted into the VCR, as everyone's excitement would give way to a certain anxiety for the so-far-unknown miracles they were just about to uncover the documentation of.

 

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1992. Ten minutes of skateboarding wrapped up in the plastic casing of a VHS tape whose price would go as high as a whooping three hundred francs (roughly sixty bucks); but to a lot of people, that was a fair deal as Guy Mariano had three traumatizingly pioneering tricks in the intro, then a Tim Gavin part filmed around the Venice Beach curbs, setting a trend that is still current today: the old man's slappy.

Henry Sanchez. Word on the streets is the whole editing process of his segment consisted in Henry entering the room with a chronological order for the part's timeline, and instructions regarding the music, the exact moment it should come in, and how the sound of the EMB bricks had to be audible, as to pay tribute to the place where he pretty much invented modern street tech in the company of a fellow Mike Carroll.

 

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Alongside JB, Malik, Gary, Raphaël and many more, Julien was one of the « kids de Lyon », as people used to refer to them back then.

Over the years he found himself gradually moving on to other stuff, but people still remember him for his skate prowess to this day.

 

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Lavar was a consistent, technical, ambidextrous skate child prodigy from San Francisco, California.

He's also Marcus' brother; Marcus used to run with quite a few of the same sponsorship deals as JB. But that is something you'll hear more of as soon as it's JB's turn to speak on the mic.

 

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Bertrand's « Vos Gueules » check-out in SuGaR magazine. Them incentives, baby!

Just for the record, Beber sporting a Film Bearings shirt in his SuGaR magazine "check-out" profile eventually earned him a nice three-hundred-euro check. Incentives!

Some more years later, it is the front cover of a further issue of said mag that he will see himself scoring.

And a nice-looking one at that!

 

 

 

Wheel company Tikal was one of Bertrand's first sponsors.

Consequently, he had a full part in their video, entitled « Guideline ». One might spot (or miss) Mathieu Levaslot - another solid, tech skater from the early 2000's - at the beginning.

 

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Bertrand has had a few boards with his name on the bottom coming out on Crème Skateboards. He even went to China with the whole crew once. Wild times.

 

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All Access.

Although that one bit got cut in the audio mix of his Big Spin interview, Bertrand used to skate for All Access, a small chain of Switzerland-based skateshops.

Jérémie Daclin (again!) eventually happened to open one of them stores in Lyon, yet another plan Bertrand was part of.

Of course, the Lyon shop used to stand right next to Hôtel de Ville. Sweet era.

 

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Travel Wheels.

Basement Hill is a company founded by Bertrand and Wilfried "Tao" Mandereau back in 2007, in order to sell Travel brand wheels, at the time.

Eventually they parted ways, and Bertrand had to start over from scratch with a new baby: Haze Wheels.

 

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So, here we are: Haze Wheels is Bertrand's wheel company, established back in 2009.

Bertrand has been working with a tight network of friends and locals as far as projects, team roster and collaborations, for nearly a decade now and hopefully more to come!

Recently, Haze issued a wheel bearing the name of Nicolas Dewasmes', the local hero.

 

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Func88 is Haze's, and other Basement Hill-related projects', graphic artist.

He also used to dabble in music and graffiti.

He's way into Jim Phillips' style, and so is Bertrand, making the pair a total match. Coherence, yo.

 

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Both notorious French skate filmmakers.

Guillaume Grilladin's hair turned gray just about before everybody else's.

Meanwhile, Ludo Azemar's never did, despite having left on tour with Antiz a few dozens of times or so over the past few years.

Anyway, Bertrand just recently awarded both of them with their own, respective, individual wheel model. Thanks - on their behalf.

 

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A NYC rapper now nearly entering his sixties, partly produced by the French Junkaz Lou, Kool Keith has a colorful persona and written some fancy raps over the course of dozens of albums, and a hundred of aliases.

Such a wonderful type just had to collaborate with Haze Wheels.

 

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Sewa is a powerful, super technical skateboarder Bertrand got to recognize the talent of just about before anybody else really did.

He's won one Battle At The Berrics championship game, and got pretty much screwed over by the guy in charge at Ricta. 

 

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Rémy recently left Haze to, instead, get on Spitfire; that doesn't mean you shouldn't try and brave his chanting spoken French, as immortalized in his own Big Spin episode (the second one ever).

And if you really can't get a grasp of the language, then make sure not to miss his Bigger Spin!

 

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Mike Carroll's segment in « Modus Operandi » is Bertrand's choice for a favorite video part of all time, if only one had to remain.

Honestly any Mike Carroll footage is self-explanatory, due to it oftentimes featuring Mike Carroll. Just watch and learn.

 

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A bonus feature was in order, so we requested that Bertrand should come up with his own mixtape of French rap.

Well, it is with great disappointment that we have to announce that he didn't end up including his own tracks in the mix... But one day. Hopefully.

Now, Malik from Lyon is the man behind the mix, technically. One of the « kids », more specifically the local « Shiloh Greathouse », friend of Beber's, besties with JB since day one and a regular DJ at events.

He had the style and the tricks, till a bad knee injury eventually forced him to call it quits. Then he moved on to live in Paris for a few years, and as Bertrand likes to put it: "He was only supposed to stay at my mother's place for a few nights, and he ended up staying for a year and a half!" 

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