An Interview With Ben Chadourne

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Photo by Manuel Schenck

Words & Interview by Zach Baker

It seems like yesterday that we were blowing on cassette tapes and using t-shirts to dust DVDs off. Even shitty 240p YouTube videos feel like they weren’t all that long ago. Technology has evolved at a downright sketchy rate over the past couple decades, and it’s fun to watch society transform in its effort to keep up. The ways in which we waste money, photograph our own genitals and ingest media have changed drastically, and both we, along those in charge of doing the creating, have found ourselves adapting alongside them.

Skateboarding’s past couple years have been defined by the Vimeo auteur’s surge in popularity. Guys like Johnny, Peter, Nick Von, GX — without sponsorship from a larger company or any real promotion — have been able to go out, film their buds and throw original, quality edits up on the web for anyone to see. Skaters meritocratically recognize what’s tight and show these things enough love that it has gotten to the point that these guys are actually turning their creative side projects into full-blown careers. They have not only shined a light on lesser-known scenes, skaters, spots and tricks, but in using the tools at their avail, upheaved the traditional means by which a skate video is made and watched. The industry has been forced to keep up with them, and shit, even hire them.

Ben Chadourne has been on a serious tip lately — belting out HD edits of the Blobys, the Converse team and most recently, the Bobby Worrest/Hjalte Halberg edit for Nike SB, a love letter to skateboarding’s greatest plazas by two of the best ever to skate them. And Chadourne, with his admittedly useless art school degree, taste for Rod Stewart, and familiarity with the state of New Jersey, couldn’t be more on-brand for this site. We FaceTime audioed all about it while he paced up and down his street in Bordeaux, watching the people pass by and being self-conscious about his English, which is nearly perfect.

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What’s the last trick you learned?

Damn, I haven’t been skating that much anymore, that’s not good. I don’t know. Fuck. I’m doing the same. I’m working on my v flips because they’re trendy now.

What’s your favorite trick?

Fakie flips and ollies!

You’re from Bordeaux?

Yeah, it’s like a little Paris. It’s southwest, forty five minutes from the coast, three and a half hours train to Paris. You can refresh really easily compared to Paris; you can escape. That’s why I stay here.

What are a couple of your favorite French films?

You know this movie called L’Argent? It’s five short films in a movie, from different French directors. I like that, and La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz. I like Raymond Depardon as well.

When did you start skateboarding?

I started at a skate spot called Malraux, it’s like a skate plaza. I started with guys who were way older than me: I was 13 and they were around 20. They helped me out all the time, gave me boards and stuff.

Weren’t you sponsored?

Yeah, I used to ride for Nike SB and 5Boro. The first time I came to New York, I was 16 and I went to Tombo Colabraro’s house in New Jersey — the big skater house with the Ax Throwers, Andrew [McLaughlin], Willy Akers, Danny Falla.

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