Best & worst: Léo Valls

Interview: Benjamin Deberdt
Photos: Ben Gore

 Ben Gore

Every day comes with its share of suck and its part of luck… Those are the experiences that shape us slowly, or way too quickly sometimes. Here is a feature to try to get real life answers from our favorite skateboarders.
Celebrating the release of Magenta’s Hill Steet Blues 2, we questioned Léo Valls on his two loves: San Francisco and the art of negotiating its infamous downhill runs… Raised on the 90’s videos coming from that area, his many visits have never been spent localizing any “official” spot of the city built on more than fifty hills, but rather going down anything that could be rolled upon, with anyone sharing the passion for this other way to skateboard, between absolute control and a hair away from disaster… A big subject that should be treated more in depth another time!

Worst idea to have, when going down a SF hill?
Put your hands in your pocket while whistling, thinking you’re cruising some pink marble plaza…

Best way to stop, in case of danger?
Backside powerslide, with your legs jointed!

Worst slam you have ever witnessed during a downhill?
Filming on a “double flavor” one –two down hills in a row– with Yoan. He hit a crack, just after turning into the second one and fell on his camera. The fish-eye just popped out and pursued to go down, on the glass side. Nice!

Best downhill memory?
There would be too many! I do remember a day Ben Gore took us to the top of the Twin Peaks neighborhood. We skated down for more than twenty minutes, going through Lower Haight, all the way to Downtown. The colorful houses were passing by so quickly; it just looked like Kandinsky painting!

 Ben Gore


Worst area of San Francisco to try to skate?
Probably those grey ditches that are almost outside the city… All of San Francisco’s neighborhood got so many beautiful spots in comparisons!

Best time of the year for a visit?
The weather is quite strange, and it’s never really cold nor really hot. But, I think April-May or September-October are more prone to perfect weather.

Worst touristy thing you have done there, nonetheless?
Go to the bottom of Golden Gate Bridge, and watch Léo Loden swim in the freezing water… He’s a sea lion!

Best advice you could give to someone planning a visit?
Find Evan Kiore, the most Parisian of all San Franciscans, then find a session with Ben Gore, Carlos Young, John Lindsey and the whole crew of hill bombers. If you are really lucky, you might end up at a photo gallery, near Dolorès Park, with Isaac Randozzi. Who knows?

Worst cliché about SF that your stays have proven wrong?
That San Franciscans are all hippies… A good half of them would make good Texans.

Best burrito spot?
Little Chihuhua for burritos, and Puerto Allegre for Mexican food at large.

Let’s stay in the mood and watch once again SF Hill Street Blues 1,
and if your skateshop doesn’t stock the 2nd chapter, you can order it here.

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