The Lucas Puig Interview
So we got in touch with Lucas to talk about Away Days and the interview went on for way longer than expected. So to keep it all in, let’s get right to it. It’s not like this guy needs an introduction anyway.
Interview by Arthur Derrien
Hey buddy how are you?
Lucas Puig: I’m all right… Just in Toulouse doing a load of physiotherapy at the moment.
Oh yeah I heard you hurt your knee again…
Yep. Tore my ACL again, same knee as last time.
So you’re getting another operation?!
Yeah, but since the Away Days premieres are quite soon I can’t get the operation right away.
So you’re just getting it after the premieres?
Yeah and in the meantime the doctors told me to do loads of physiotherapy so that when I do get the operation I won’t have lost all of my muscular mass. I can’t really do any sport between now and the operation so I’m strengthening all of the muscles around my knee so that it holds.
For how long are you going to be out?
About seven months. I’m going to have to be patient… At least I know what to expect since it’s already happened to me before. I’m not going to have a nervous breakdown… Plus it’s skateboarding, there are risks.
And it could have happened at a worse time. At least you’ve basically finished filming for the adidas video.
Yeah but when it happened I was still devastated. It came at a point when every time I’d go out filming I’d get footage, I could feel that I was going through a good phase and then boom I fucked myself. I remember thinking ‘damn it’s over, I’m done, I’m actually too old for this now’. But then I came to my senses and realised that the last time it happened to me was three and a half years ago and that I’ve been skating non-stop since then. It was inevitable. I maybe could have tried to skate a bit less, take better care of my body, eat healthy, do more physio, etc. But you know how it is; once you start skating again you’re transported back to when you were a kid. You don’t want to hear about stretching or physio or anything like that, the only thing that matters is going out skating with your friends.
Did the knee give in because it was still fragile from the last time you hurt it?
No that’s the ‘good’ thing about this. According to my surgeon it was unavoidable given how I’d slammed, even with a brand new knee.
Do you get access to high profile sports doctors or physio-therapists through adidas?
I think I could if I wanted to but I have everyone I need in Toulouse right now. I have a good surgeon and I go to a rehabilitation centre that all these footballers and rugby players use.
I bet that’s interesting…
Oh yeah. Especially being the only professional athlete there. They all have normal full-time jobs, families and stuff but are REALLY serious about their sports (even though when they play them they play them at the lowest possible level). I guess that’s just because football and rugby are those kinds of sports. In comparison I’m super chilled about it so when they see me they’re always like ‘what are you doing? You’re a professional athlete, why don’t you ever do any press-ups? You should be working on your upper-body muscles, you need to be a lean, mean killing machine!’ I constantly have to explain to them that it’s not what I’m there for, that I just want to be healthy and keep skating for as long as possible.
If only they knew how most skaters treat their bodies…
Yeah! They’re already outraged when I tell them I’ve skipped breakfast before coming in.
Two worlds colliding.
Yeah. The best is the weird looks I get. Like they’re torn between jealousy and confusion. I’m a real enigma to most of them. ‘How did HE make it?!’
You happy to be back in Toulouse for a bit? It seemed like you were really non-stop on the road for this one.
Yeah it was quite intense… Plus you don’t even get to skate that much when you’re constantly travelling. It’s a bit frustrating. We only started skating a lot on trips towards the end.
Yeah but you’re kind of special, I swear you skate way more than most dudes out there.
No honestly it’s just that when there’s a lot of you on trips a big chunk of time gets taken up by waiting for people. Sometimes I’d feel like I was 14 again, just lurking at a spot eating crisps until everyone would show up… I hate looking at how many trips I’ve been on and how much I’ve chilled on each of them as opposed to skating/filming. Makes me feel like I’m not making any progress.
So you find it easier to film at home?
Yeah if you’re at home you just go to the spot were you want to try the trick with the filmer, lose your mind over it for a bit then it’s done. No distractions. Most of the time when I show up at a spot I know that the lines I really want will take over an hour and a half to do, so I often end up simplifying them or taking a trick out when I’m on a trip.
Because you’re afraid of ‘wasting’ other people’s time…
Kind of… It just puts you in a tough position, especially if you don’t really know if you can actually do the trick or not. Believe me when you’ve got Mark Suciu and Dennis Busenitz behind you waiting to tear up the spot, you don’t really feel like telling the filmer “want to film? I’m going to play around with a few of these, maybe I can do it”.
But you’re satisfied with what you managed to get though right?
Yeah definitely, especially since they’re just keeping the very best stuff. Although sometimes I can’t help but feel like it might not reflect my true level, like I should have set the bar higher. I bet when you see my part you’ll think ‘it’s cool but he can do better than that’.
I doubt I’ll say that, haha.
Either way we’ve been on loads of trips so watching it is going to bring back so many good memories! Having the crew out with you when you are trying something is the best. It brings a different kind of hype than when you are trying something alone. It can be so motivating.
You did look like you were having fun with your JLBees… Can you explain what that stands for?
It stands for Jet Lag Brothers. It’s this sick little thing Günes started on an adidas trip. He’s made hoodies and stuff but we keep trying to get him to make more.
Was the constant jet lag ever an issue for you on trips or did you somehow get used to it?
It was a bit for me because I put quite a lot of pressure on myself. If I’m on an adidas trip it’s to film and nothing else so if I can’t skate as well as I’d like to because I’m rinsed I get a bit bummed. It’s not the end of the world though. I’m getting flown around to skate world’s best spots so I can’t exactly complain.
It did seem like you went everywhere for this one…
Yeah I mean we hit Argentina, Brazil, Chile, The States, Spain, Croatia, London, China…
Yeah… What’s sick is that they figured out that with such a big team it would make sense to split us into crews of people that skate the same shit. For instance they’ll organise a trip to Shanghai with a bunch of dudes that want to skate ledges because there’s loads of marble there – or a trip to the Basque Country with the dudes that skate bowls, etc. You don’t really end up with people that don’t skate the same spots as you.
That’s pretty smart.
Yeah it’s the brand’s German side. They are really good at the organisational side of things.
So when I saw you in Barca last time with the whole team that was an exception?
Yeah totally. It was the only time we did that and you could tell it was difficult to manage. It was worth doing though. Seeing Mark Gonzales and everyone there in one place was incredible.
How did they decide who was getting sections and who wasn’t?
The main decider was just how difficult it is to film a proper full part just on trips. I think a lot of the guys from the European team will have shared parts but with only the very best stuff. They’ll do it in a way that makes sense though, like they’ll group the people that actually skated together over these last three years… Then yeah obviously there will be some full parts too as some of the guys really fucked shit up.
Who impressed you the most?
I’d say Miles and Tyshawn…
I heard Gustav Tønnesen got some mad stuff.
Yeah I mean anything he does is incredible. He’ll show up looking a little tired, you’ll expect him to chill but by the time you leave he’ll have filmed the best thing that can possibly be done at the spot.
Did they regularly show you how Away Days was all coming together?
Yeah. Right now they’re in the final stages of the editing process but before that we had this system in place where we’d mark our footage. A would be for the bangers, the tricks you really want in your part, B for the stuff you don’t mind them using, the ‘filler’ I guess and C for stuff that can go straight to the Internet.
And they are going to stick to what you’ve said?
To a certain extent… I mean you know how it is; it’s hard to be objective when it comes to your own footage. You tend to give yourself a load of Bs and Cs when really the stuff isn’t that bad.
What about music? Did you get to pick your tune?
Yeah but again it’s not as straightforward as that. Adidas being the huge company that it is, things get extremely complicated when it comes to acquiring rights to songs… Plus a lot of us wanted to use hip-hop tracks from mixtapes, only we couldn’t because the artists don’t have the rights to the instrumentals they use on those. So we could only use ‘official’ songs that have been on albums, stuff that’s on iTunes.
So if you want hip-hop it kind of has to be something relatively famous…
Pretty much yeah.
Adidas have been pretty secretive about the way all this is going to be presented. Can you give anything away?
That’s normal though, you want to keep it a surprise! All I can say is that it’ll reflect the brand. Adidas is European and I think that’ll definitely come across in the way the video is made. It won’t just be banger after banger, there’ll be a lot of emphasis on the skaters’ personalities and probably some sort of little storyline.
Another thing is that quite a few of us have our own brands and that’s something adidas have really been trying to support. Günes has JLBees, Nak and Tyshawn have Hardies, Blondey has Thames, Jake Donnelly has Dads…
You have Hélas…
Yeah and for instance when we were filming the intro they told me to wear loads of it and even to get a box sent so that all the others could rep it as well.
That’s crazy. Brands usually do everything they can to get their riders wearing their products exclusively.
Yeah, here it’s the opposite. They’re encouraging us to use this video to boost our own companies. That’s what I was getting at earlier when I said the video was going to reflect the brand. You can tell they see things differently. Why try to hide that someone has their own brand? It just adds to the skater’s identity. We’re not robots…
Sounds like they are being really smart about it.
They really are. And they make time to explain all this to you. When you put too much pressure on yourself to get tricks they sit you down and explain that there’s more to it than that, that for them capturing the vibe is just as important, that I can relax.
I can’t wait. What about the Hélas video?
Oof… There’s a new mixtape coming out very soon but the big Hélas video won’t be for a while, we really want to release something proper. It feels like even more of an ambitious project than the adidas vid, haha. The fact that we’ve got about 75 dudes on the team probably doesn’t help… So yeah, we’re going to take our time with it but when it does come out it’ll be a heavy one.
So what are you going to do for the next seven months then?
Get my driving licence, do some work on the flat I recently bought, hang out with my girlfriend, take care of my mum, Hélas… The last chunk of that time will also be spent getting into shape. I’ll be cycling, running and stuff. I won’t be doing anything as cool as skating, but I won’t be bored.
It’s good, you’re being positive about it.
Yeah. It’s just that sometimes it feels like the world stops turning when I can’t skate… I think about skating so much that when I try not to think about it, it does something horrible to my brain.
As I said earlier you do skate a lot. Even at the actual session I feel like you spend more time on your board than others.
Yeah it’s true, I’m always giving it everything I’ve got. Maybe it’s time to start taking it easy…
Unless you’ve got the Luypa Sin syndrome that allows you to keep going full speed ahead forever.
Nah he’s an anomaly. I really don’t understand how his body can still function…
Any plans for when you get back on your board after that?
I’ve been focusing on adidas for a while now so I’ll probably start working on some Cliché stuff again. It’ll be nice to get back in the van with those guys, share a six-pack with Flo, listen to Gégé’s (Jérémie Daclin) stories…
Thanks, I think we’re good. See you in London for the premiere!