Haze, and Bertrand Soubrier!

We often discuss “characters” in skateboarding, those making our little thing so unique, in the diversity of its roots and its fates… Bertrand is one of those. In all modesty and certainly against his own will. But he is that, and has been for what seems forever… As a “Sponsored skater” first, a status first granted by Jérémie Daclin and Film Bearings, until now where you can still find him at the spot(s), sweating his load. But also, at the office, every morning, to keep his business Basementhill running. Because it has been five years now that Bertrand has stepped up to the other side of the mirror, to work in skateboarding, or should we say for skateboarding. His early passion is now his life, and through Haze Wheels, he shares what has made him a fixture in the French scene, and a bit more. A character, sure, but a lovable one, mainly.

Photos: Flo Lanni (unless noted)


portrait: Marie Jubault


What made you say, one day: “I am starting my company!”?
After a while, you realize that you love what you do, but now matter what, you will not be able to skate all your life. At one point, your body won't allow it and you will have to make a living like anyone else, so for me, it was natural to work in skateboarding. I remember at family parties, my aunts would ask me what I wanted to do with my life, and in my head, it was so clear: start a skate company. From there, what made me start with a wheel company, was that back then, Tao and I were sponsored by a wheel company, Tikal, and when it stopped, we naturally wanted to keep it going. We actually wanted to buy it, with Vincent Bressol, but the owner didn't want that. Then, we started Travel Wheels with Tao. It lasted two years and a half, until we parted ways. So I kept the Basementhill company and started Haze right away. The first wheels actually came out in May 2010, then Screwheads hardware, Creepn'Crawl skts (that is Steph's baby), Pulsar Bearings and finally Creep Grip.


Oscar Candon, nollie flip


You always have been a rather tech skater, but your team is really diverse, in their type of skating and also the generations represented… How do you pick up a skater for Haze?
I know it surprises a bit the people that have known me for a long time, but you have some good in everything, and that applies in skateboarding. With someone like Rémy Taveira, we clearly don't skate the same spots, but he's got something I like, and he has class in the type of skating he does. That's what will make you love watching him skate, even if you might be more into P-Rod and Nyjah, instead. It is all about tastes, but they all have something, and rip in their very own way.
As for picking up riders, Steph does influences me a bit, also! He is more of a rocker, an 80's skater, he's old… Just kidding! Anyway, even if I always loved the Girl/Choco World/Blind days –before Rocco sold it all– and the end of the 90's, I did start skating in Bones Brigade days, so at the time when skaters were into thrashing everything! That also has an influence my choices, obviously…


Hugo Maillard, kick flip
If you could get any skater, from any era, to join Haze, who would that be?
Choose only one is too difficult! I'll get you five…
Guy Mariano, before his come-back.
Lucas Puig, any era, even the Teenage Tour era! [Laughter]
Mike Carroll, any era, also.
Seb Corde [French 90's underground legend, Ed's Note]
Natas Kaupas, Street on Fire days.
I would have add JB Gillet, but he declined my offer, two years ago… Damn!

Bertrand Soubrier, heel flip varial pivot
In 2016, what keeps you fired up? To skate yourself, but also to run an independent business?
I just love it, so 2016, or 1996, it's just the same! On the other hand, 2016, for an indy brand, might not be the easiest time… Then again, it is the same thing as going skating, I love it so much that I keep doing it. Reynolds once said in an interview that a skater would rather sell his house to keep his company running, where a business man would just can it… He was right. And love is blind, isn't it!? I think that is the reason.
I was wondering how you connected with Func88 who draws all the imagery for Haze and co…
Steph and I had common friends. Someone introduced him once during lunch, and he had came with a full series designed, on paper, that was SHREDD! He also loves skating and is passionate, so it just clicked with no need for long discussions about that how we could work together… We are on the same wavelengths for many subjects, so that helps a lot.


Jérémie Daclin, 5-0.
You have been pushing an imagery that could once be found under boards in the 80's, I would say… Do you dig in your own memories?
Sure. AS I said, we started skating at that time, and the Marc McKee or Jim Philips boards, they were quite something. All the World, Blind, 101, and before that the Powell and Santa Cruz designs were pieces of art, honestly.
What are your new projects?
Keep on doing what we do! And try to expand in foreign countries a bit. Then, we have a new pro coming in, and a new model for him, for March according to plans. And tomorrow, we got the promo, as a LIVE exclusive. Finally!

photo: Guillaume Martinez
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