Meeting… Javier Mendizabal!

Portrait & interview: Benjamin Deberdt

"I would say, to the youngsters… Do whatever makes you feel good!"

 Benjamin Deberdt

Javier is amongst those true individuals in skateboarding… And this secures his special place in our collective heart.
Not necessarily under the spotlight continuously, he will appear when suited and remind you that he rules at riding that thing. Sometimes coined as “the transition guy”, he will surprise you with ledges skills honed during his nineties childhood in the Basque Country. Basically, Javi has all skateboarding bases covered, because this is how he grew up, and he can use that knowledge with undeniable power and finesse, at will. And, he will, too. To all spectating happiness…
Grace is strong, friends, never under estimate it!
As Javier is looking at a busy year, which should result in great stimulation for us, we thought it'd be smart to ask him what he had in store for us…
Benjamin Deberdt

Where are you, right now?
I am in my house in Capbreton, in the South-West of France.

So, you live in a new place? When did that happen?
Yes… I am still keeping my place in Barcelona but I spend most of the time here in Capbreton, now. I was coming around this area quite often because of Quiksilver… And then, I met Carine over a year ago so, then, I was coming even more and more often until I decided to move here, with her… One of the best transfers I have ever done, from my flat in the center of Barcelona into a proper house right on the beach. Less social life, less bar-life, less bullshit… More skating, more nature, more productive!

I understand you still have roots in Barcelona? You still co-own that bar, there, right? What's the story of that?
Don't get me wrong, I love Barcelona, I will always do. And I really would like to keep a place there, no matter what… I really think that as far a s living in a big city, Barcelona is one of the best ones for sure. But the fact that I was living there for the last 15 years, and that I have my own bar around the corner from my house, it all made my decision of coming here easier. I opened Lalola Bar two years ago. We are three partners, long time friends, and it has been –and it still is– a fun project. But it's just one of us, Patrick, who runs the bar. I don't do much there, beside drinking and talking to people.

This is a bit of a cliché question, but do you have any good resolution for this new year?
Yes: to learn French!

 Neil Chester

Backside ollie. photo: Neil Chester

It seems like this is going to be a busy one for you… Let's take it in order: what prompted you to join Converse?
I have been good friend with Pontus for a long time… Sometimes, we don't see each other for awhile but we have always been in touch… so I knew he was on Converse and about the rest of the stuff he does, and I liked what he was doing with Converse. When my friend Pali, who does Converse in Spain, asked me if I wanted some shoes to try them, I didn't say no! I don’t know… It was pretty natural! They support me in many different ways… No just by giving me some shoes and sending me on tours. I been on the team for less than a year and we have done so much stuff together already!

Another big thing coming up is that Thomas Campbell movie you are a big part of. We will speak about it in depth soon on Live, but can you tell a bit about it to people who wouldn't know?
OK, so to explain Cuatro Sueños Pequeños in few words… I would say it's a 23 minutes skate movie, filmed in 16mm, where dreams and reality get mixed in a really creative way, with an original soundtrack by the world famous band Chiwoks. The movie is finally coming out next month and it will be available on iTunes and there will be a book with drawings and photos from the movie plus the DVD, which has the two different making offs with interviews with Thomas, Madars Apse, the musicians and myself. The book will be in some of the main skateshops all over… Run and get a copy!

In between the Converse part and Cuatro Sueños Pequeños, it seems you have been filming a lot with Fred Mortagne, lately. Can you describe how it is working together on such completely different projects?
Even if the projects are a bit different, in the end, we go out in the morning in search of cool spots and we try to come back home with some cool tricks… I don't know, there is always an original plan of what we wanna do on this or that project but that always changes during the process of making it happen. We just try to get creative and we have a really good communication on this… Giving ideas and listening to each other. He knows my skating and how to get my best. And I trust 100% his photography and work, so it's easy!

 Neil Chester

Frontside blunt photo: Neil Chester

Actually, what does Txabolism stand for?
“Txabolism” comes from Txabolo, which is a funny nickname that my old friend Fernando Elvira gave me a long time ago. Fernando has been, and still is, a big influence in life… So this video is a way to say thanks for all his inspiration on what I do: skateboarding, traveling and photography.

Another upcoming project of yours is a book about La Kantera. How is that going?
Well, I have been working on this for the past two years, on and off, but finally we –Jon Amiano, Fernando Elvira and myself– have synchronized schedules to all meet up in Barcelona and finish the book. This will happen next month. So, hopefully, we are ready for printing by March, and have the book out in stores by April. For those who don't know what is La Kantera, it is one of the oldest and the most legendary skatepark in Europe and part of the universe… And this year it is its 25th anniversary, so we are trying to show through this book the history of this epic place and its people… You don't have to run to get this one… Give us some time!

Cliché dropped a full length video in 2013. What are the plans for 2014?
There is a new video coming out this year… Not sure when. I will have some tricks in it… I just have to film them!

In general, do you already have your year lined up, or at least the next months, or are you taking things day by day?
I normally have my next months lined up. There is always some space for improvisation, but the main projects or trips have to get organized with some time so you don't fuck up too much!

Are you still heavily in stretching and yoga? What would you say to the younger skaters about that practice?Oh yes, I am still into it… It makes me feel good so there is no reason to stop doing it! I would say, to the youngsters… Do whatever makes you feel good!

What are you going to do after this?
I am going to sleep right now. There is a storm coming tonight, so the beach will be full of driftwood tomorrow morning.

Let's just not wait any more to see what Txabolism has to offer, in terms of Grace:

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