PREMIERE / Diligent "Queen Mary II" / Flo Bavouzet / INTERVIEW

We were foretelling you just yesterday: the year two thousand nineteen is prone to be packed with video releases aplenty, as visibility now makes for the most critical sinews of war. This time, it is Lyon, France-based Diligent Skateboards that is presenting you their newest production (marking the second clip from a French company to drop in just two days since New Year's), and they're making it clear that the aforementioned war is none of their concern. Their full-length "Queen Mary II" is a pretty blatant demonstration of just that, so LIVE Skateboard Media went to catch up with Diligent founder Flo Bavouzet, pretty credible in the role of the French underground O.G., in order to chit chat about what he cared about instead.

LIVE Skateboard Media: Yo Flo! May you please introduce yourself to our readers, where and when are you from? What's going on with Diligent?

Florent Bavouzet: My name is Florent Bavouzet, originally from Châteauroux, I've been skating since I was twelve and now I'm forty-one. I first started out as a street skater, then I became a lot more well-rounded as I started skating vert and participating in contests a lot - something mandatory back then to have a reason to leave one's small hometown.

Then I went from city to city for a while and ended up in Lyon in 2006, where I started mostly street skating again, then in 2013 I launched Diligent Skateboards out of the blue with the help of graphic artist Jean Lambert, who helped me a lot with the original art direction before we gradually started involving other graphic artists who had more of a background in skating.

Florent Bavouzet, f/s wallride early grab out. Ph.: Grozeye

I'm handling everything spontaneously, we have no business plan, no real marketing campaigns, we don't worry about whether or not this or that graphic might sell. We just want to do something different that would be our own.

I've been trying to do just that for five years now, all the while primarily working as computer engineer on the side.

LSM: How did you get the team together? How did you end up meeting all those guys, and what would you have to say about each of them individually?

Flo: Really, at the very beginning we relied on social media to spot our first couple of heads and then, since, maybe, three years ago, we've just been adding people just as we met them. We try to help out talented, humble individuals who love skateboarding and don't really get to shine, far away from any hype.

"We'd like to visit shops a lot more, too"

I'll caricature them all:

Sammy Idri: a man from the South (Nîmes), he makes skateboarding look like four-wheel driving, with an unexpected trick selection, very humble and as kind as a person can get!

Ben Raitano : the kid from Marseille, laid back, tech and gnarly on a board; he's like Nekfeu [editor's note: ...], and skates his decks to the ground, he doesn't care and just rips!

Ben Raitano, frontside 50-50. Ph.: Maxime Bordat

Arthur Fontis: he's eighteen, learns new stuff every day, never stops skating and does amazing in school!

Arthur Fontis, frontside kickflip. Ph.: Louis Ain

Mathieu Sabourin : also our community manager, he's always hyped to skate, takes it very seriously and enjoys a crazy night just as much as the next Lyon local!

Mathieu Sabourin, frontside 180 ollie. Ph.: Johan Verstappen

Rémi Larnould: originally from Montpellier, he relocated to Lyon a while back, very laid back and quiet, yet he can handle gnarly spots, he actually enjoys slams and oh, crazy nights too now then...

Rémi Larnould, boardslide. Ph.: Johan Verstappen

Florian Bac: the ladies' man, with slick style, and many a trick in his bag...

Florian Bac, bluntslide. Ph.: Matt Budjinski

Victor Naves: a good skater who's into smartphones, music gigs and people - Victor loves everybody! He manages his own skate page: SkateDaShit.

Victor Naves, tribute frontside 180 to Boulala. Ph.: Johan Verstappen

And then we have Adam who's more discreet, and Alex in Bordeaux - the chicanos!

Finally, Romain Gerlach is our filmer and editor; let's hear him speak.

Romain Gerlach: The first Diligent people I met was Mathier, through common friends.

We filmed a part together and once he got on Diligent, I kind of went on with it; then after working together for a few months, we realized we maybe could handle a new video project.

I mostly filmed for the first year of the process, because I've been working a lot on the side, also on skateboarding stuff such as the "Next Spot" Antiz clips (all the episodes are on Thrasher). I've also had a kid in the meantime, which doesn't help as far as spare time!

So I mostly focused on the editing for this, curating the clips and making everybody's part feel complete, thanks to the skaters' input. We ended up with a much bigger video than we were originally expecting, and we're all stoked on the results.

LSM: What's the story behind this video? How much time did the filming process take, and if it had to have one message what would it be? 

Flo: There really is no story, we're skateboarders, not philosophers. If we had to have a catch phrase it would be "never not ready", to have fun and skate together that is.

"I mean, I can only like Excel so much..."

Making a video is easy when it is in your riders' DNA to film, shoot and improve.

Something (maybe) worth mentioning is that the title of the video is a reference to my van, a 1985 V8 Chevy that's our very own two-and-a-half tons-heavy diligence!

The filming was a two year process I think, as we all have side jobs or the youngest still go to school. So it's been hard to all meet up, and even Romain is very busy and works week-ends, so eventually I had to handle the organization of the sessions myself.

A message : skateboarding, friends, fun, searching for the next spot even if it's just a rock or a grass gap.

LSM: So what's up next?

Flo: Not much right now as we just got done with this video, our second one in five years so I think from now on we'll be focusing on smaller clips for a while. We'd like to visit shops a lot more, too.

I may be looking for somebody to help me with the company, so we can eventually it push it one step further. But then again I enjoy being small as then one gets to operate however they want, without any pressure and most importantly you get to skate and have fun a lot more.

I mean, I can only like Excel so much...

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