Meeting… Hugo Liard!

Interview and photos: Benjamin Deberdt

Antiz skateboards had planed to end it all in a bang, by dropping the video celebrating their 10 years anniversary on the 21st of December, at happy hour time… A really bad idea, as the world as we know it is still going his strange and sometimes tortured path toward the future. And here we are, still breathing: Hugo has no excuse to avoid reminiscing on the story of that two-headed company, one being a skull, the other an owl…
He still needed a pontoon to accost… Never an easy task when you’re cruising a galleon in 2013!

 Benjamin Deberdt

Who had the idea of Antiz, actually?
Well, I did have that idea to really start a board company… To keep it short, I’d say it is a bit similar to pirates. I had to find a boat –the brand– and then get a crew: Loïc Benoit, Julian Dykmans and Juju Bachelier. From there, we were all in it as equals, because if the boat did sink, we would be swimming in the water…

How does that transfer to real life?
One must copyright the name, and then register a company. That’s where you check the box that says you’ll only loose what you brought in at the beginning, if it all goes wrong. That’s the legal side then, to get on with products; you start by writing ANTIZ with a marker pen on your cap, while persuading yourself it’s on. Then, you buy a series of boards from another brand, and slap ANTIZ on it. All in good spirits with your buddies, while drinking one and skating… And when you’re drunk, you finalize future t-shirts or board graphic ideas.

You always had a rather homogenous image, how did you develop it? Any specific influences?
The main thing is keeping true to you, so we never cheated, which later makes it easier to keep it all consistent. Nowadays, many brands develop realms where they don’t belong… But Antiz is who we are, ourselves: simple humans that want to skate to the max’, with little needs and none for superficial stuff.

 Benjamin Deberdt

Handmaking the very first Antiz t-shirts with Julian Dykmans, during an inspired Barcelona night. 2002.

How one carves his room in the Antiz team?
Exactly like that, by being active, skating tot the max’, participating in the group and the brand life, and certainly not by being an individual with oversized needs… We’re not difficult, and our brand doesn’t work for complex personalities that need a lot. A board, a knife, and pair of pants, and we’re content!

If you could get back one Antiz rider that is gone now, who would that be, and why?
That’s a tough one! Well, to not make anyone jealous and keep it simple, I would say Tony Hawk… Oh, no, wait, he never got on the team! No, but I would mention the first one to ever leave the boat: Love Eneroth. Just for nostalgia and friendship sakes, but every one that has skated for Antiz has been a strong human experience. I would love to see them all skate for Antiz again, but life goes on.

A word for each of the current riders that just survived an apocalypse and a New Year Eve…
Juju, which course are we taking?

Dominik, this is a great treasure you just brought us for the New Year!
Hirschy, hoist up!
Michel, what are those spices you just brought onboard?
Rémy, we need a lil’ one to get up there, only you can do it.
Gabeeb, the crew is tired, cheer them up!
Sam, prepare to attack!
Samu, get the rowboats ready, we’re going to pay those islands a visit…
Julian, your class and height will help us during our adventures.
Teemu, welcome aboard! Now, wipe this deck…
Steve, prepare the gunpowder and sabers, we’re going to show them!
Dallas, your wine and food have gotten the crew back on its feet.
Furones, the Spaniards are attacking!

 Benjamin Deberdt

Frontside disaster, rolling out on that weird angled piece of metal, in the now defunct La Friche spot in Lyon, where Hugo used to live in. 2010.

Explain to the readers what having your own company means in terms of schedule…
Nowadays, Juju and I are the two joint managers. We are in the office from 9h30 to 13h00, then 14h00 till 19h30. We take care of absolutely everything that makes the brand, apart from pressing the boards. We work Monday to Friday, in our little office with everything in there: gear, boxes, computers, a mattress and some boards… We pay loads of taxes, work fifty hours a week, pack boxes with out feet while simultaneously sending billions of emails, getting graphics for all sort of things done, calling forty skateshops in a day, plus dealing with all the red tape all this implies: accounting, mail, bank and more… We deal with mishaps, that slow down other things that make it that we cannot do as much as we would want to. We create, evolve, progress, get ahead and never stop… And when there are a couple free minutes, we go skate.

Antiz often travels the less beaten roads, why?
Doing a trick on an over waxed spot, already destroyed by everybody, that’s just performance, when skating a virgin ledge is an adventure… Whoa, that sounded cool! [Laughter]

What is the most intense moment you have lived, personally, via Antiz, along those ten years?
For me, it was the ten years reunion, seeing my family go from four to thirteen deep, well, officially! [Laughter] It is incredible to see people like Peter Molec, Axel Cruysberg and many others that respect enough Antiz to want to be part of the trip. Here, that’s my greatest satisfaction: doing something for the pure practice of skateboarding. If we could, we would have everybody on the team, but we try to take good care of our riders… But some new projects are coming!
There was also that time on top of a mountain in Argentina, or in the middle of Mongolian steps, or deep in Hong-Kong… Every moment has been incredible. Let’s say the Oregon tours are branded in my memory: beer, skateboarding, freedom!

In the end, was Antiz a good idea?
Of course, the best! Everyone develops amongst the brand, and in the meantime, helps the brand develop. Antiz is our boat, and we all do what it takes to take it to new horizons.

What about the ten next years?
There will be many new faces, a new brand, maybe, many projects, shitty web clips or hour-long really cool videos, more beers, maybe some rum and more adventures… We are going to try to make our boards better, our gear better to fit the crew needs. That’s where we will be, and if we leave the boat, it’ll be fine. More will come to take the helm…

Ten years, four minutes of memories and thirteen of new footage:

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