09/03/2009 | by Onboard
Photo: Matt GeorgesAh Monsieur L’Arrogs, ze French legend, ze king of style, ze cunning linguist, ze master debater, ze rider wiz a ‘je ne sais Bang’… How does he get to be so stylish, even when he’s chomping on onions? Here are some of his trade secrets…
Sponsors: Bataleon Snowboards, O’Neill, Smith Optics, Celsius, Elm Company, Pull’in, Ridespirit (snow & skate shop in Paris), Nixon, Da Kine, Union Bindings.
Stance: Goofy foot with a 58cm wide stance, + 21 degrees on the front foot and –12 at the back.
First off, how did you get to be so hip?
It’s because I like to cruise around in Speedos and I do whatever I want with my hair [laughs]. It’s the influence of my forefathers, bro, oh yeah baby!
Which board did you chose to ride this season from the Bataleon range?
After practically testing the whole range, I didn’t need to think twice about opting for the Bataleon Evil Twin 155. For someone with a skinny ass build like mine (1.79m and 61kg) it’s ideal! This stick is a real peach, it has loads of pop, and it feels like it’s remote controlled when I’m on it! A toy that responds to everything I ask it to do. Plus the smiley graphic has a good positive vibe, just like me yeah! [ha, ha!] Basically, this board is the bees’ knees, I’m telling you! It goes super good in all sorts of terrain.
What do you most look for in a snowboard?
It has to be responsive, you should feel comfortable on it, and it should be easy to ride. I don’t want to ride a board that’s going to be hard work.
How important is the design graphic on your board to you?
When I was a wee whippersnapper, I used to just choose my boards by the graphics. I really didn’t give a damn about the technical specs! But now it’s a little different, plus you can’t really see anything anymore anyway with all the stickers you have to plaster on top – it’s all the same! However, I definitely like to have a base graphic that stands out. It makes a big difference in photos and video parts!
Do you ride a different board outside of the snow parks?
At the start I’d change board depending on the terrain I was riding: backcountry or park. But now I keep the same board wherever I go, whether I’m in the park, pow or other conditions. Occasionally, I do like to try out a board that’s a little more rigid for hitting kickers in the backcountry, in which case I’ll take the Bataleon Riot 155. Perfect for stomping tricks with in the powder so that the landing doesn’t look forced or hard work.
As far as your stance goes, do you just go with what feels comfortable or measure everything exactly?
I like to ride a wide stance, I find it’s more comfortable and looks better. That said, it depends on the day and how I’m feeling. I might tweak it from time to time but it’s very rare.
How long did it take you to get used to Bataleon’s Triple Base system?
It was easy, pretty much by the time I’d got to the bottom of my first run! At the start it does feel a bit weird to have a board that’s so much more responsive. But once you’ve tried it that’s it, you don’t want to ride anything else.
What about your boots? Which do you prefer out of the Boa or normal lace-up systems?
My favourite model is hands-down the Celsius Cirrus Double Boa and to tell the truth there’s no way I’d go back to riding a traditional lace-up boot. The Boa system is by far the fastest and most functional, but also the most effective too. I like the fact the system holds your ankles in really tight in the boot, it makes riding so much more responsive!
Do you prefer a softer or more rigid boot?
I’d say something in the middle. If my boots are too rigid then I feel like I’ve got ski boots on, and if they’re really soft then I feel like I might bust an ankle on every landing. As I was saying earlier, as long I have my Celsius on to hold my ankles in place then I’m all good!
What about your technical outerwear?
I’m into the whole of the O’Neill range – they have some real technical pieces with real functional materials. As far as colourways go, I’m aware that I have my own particular preferences, but I always find something in the range that I’m happy with. For the slacks, I’m more into the slim fit style these days. That’s right, slim is in at the moment and I love the rock n’ roll style! Otherwise for the jackets, I like them to be a little tapered at the waist and very long.
Do you wear technical first layers when you’re on the mountain?
All the time! In the winter months I won’t go up the mountain unless I have my first layer on. I catch cold super easily, which is kind of annoying for someone like me who spends most of his life in the snow. In fact, my mates often take the piss out of me for it! For example, if I take a heavy wipeout off a kicker in the backcountry (which tends to happen on a regular basis – scorpions are one of my specialities), then you can nearly be sure that I’ll decide to call it day, and that I’ll be a shivering mess for the rest of that day.
What goggles do you rock?
Generally, I’ll use two models from the Smith range. The Phenom is super comfortable, and there’s a new model, the I/O, which you can swap lenses in like 20 seconds which can be really practical!
What about gloves?
I mainly shred with either spring or summer gloves. O’Neill has some super lightweight, thin gloves. I don’t like to wear big bulky gloves or mittens.
Do your sponsors like to get you involved in developing their range?
I shared some of my ideas with the clothes designers at O’Neill to develop a new line, the Amph series. It’s pretty cool to work with them, because they listen to what you’ve got to say, and as a result I really like what they’ve done and what I get to wear. In fact, I’d like to work on a slightly more slim-fit outfit with them for next season, something a bit more rock n’ roll, yeah!
Do you ever wear a helmet of a back protection?
I’ll sometimes wear a back protection, depending on the spot I’m riding. Otherwise, I have a Smith Holt helmet that I’ll don for certain contests where it’s compulsory to wear one, which is becoming increasingly common.
What else to do take with you when you head out in the morning?
As soon as I head out-of-bounds, I always have my trusty Da Kine backpack with transceiver, shovel, probe, phone, iTouch, bottle of water, screw driver, spare pair of gloves and goggles (with various lenses for changing weather conditions). You can never be too prepared – or at least I prefer to be packing too much rather than too little.