Olivier Durou – Royal Flush

Video filmed and edited by Luc Mazières.

Photography from Boucle’s trial piece (originally featured in 🔴 issue 47) by Clément Le Gall.

Answering the prosecution on charges pertaining to the false advertising of a legitimate career in skateboarding you have before you Olivier Durou. The defendant has chosen to conduct his own defence, taking accountability for his actions in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Mr Olivier ‘Boucle’ Durou, at the age of 36, following several attempts at having a real career in the field, and with a current professional status only awarded on the grounds of compassion, if not to say pity, do you truly find it legitimate that you were finally granted a few pages in the pan-European publication known as Free Skate Mag?

Mr Durou (the defendant): For my defence, I’d like to underline that I started skateboarding at the age of 13. I’ve before my very eyes witnessed baggy pants turn into spray-on jeans and then back into baggy pants again. I’ve seen tricks that were once considered stinking become today’s staples and have been subjected to the revival of all the music that in my day was considered garbage.

In other words, I believe that I have at least some legitimacy, as a witness to the turbulent history of this discipline…

In addition to this, I’d like to reassure you that I highly doubt many people read the print version of this magazine and that their community is instead predominantly made up of fans of Instagram loops.

Exhibit #1 brought forth by the prosecution: photo of a slappy backside tailslide

Slappy backside tailslide, Bordeaux.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Mr Durou, could you tell us a little bit about this photo? Are we not looking here at a simple ride-on backside tailslide? Do you not think the fisheye of your accomplice Mr Clément Le Gall might have played a part in deceiving the editors of this magazine into believing the incline of this one was more impressive than the spot actually is? Or were you simply once again looking for aesthetics rather than difficulty? Were you by any chance under the influence of Leo Valls at the time of the events? And if so, why not have gone all the way and matched your outfit with the spot?

Mr Durou (the defendant): Objection your honour, the prosecution’s line of questioning is clearly Magentaphobic!

Judge: Sustained.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Could we then instead dive into the topic of why your equipment was covered in black spray paint? Were you by any chance embarrassed by your skateboard’s graphic? Something I could understand given the last few seasons from Rave Skateboards, but granted, it’s neither the time nor place for the trial of a company of such questionable taste… I will on the other hand though point out the absence of stickers from your footwear sponsor. Are you maybe not quite comfortable with the idea of skating for a huge sportswear multinational? What do you have to say for your defence?

Mr Durou (the defendant): Let’s start at the very beginning, which in this context is of course ‘where a kicker ends and a wallie begins’. According to my research on the Slap forums, the 45° angle seems to be the cut-off point, so with this incline being at a very acceptable 56°, to me, the spot is undeniably legit no matter the manoeuvre, with the fisheye only being used to accentuate the size of the obstacle, which, I’d like to note, is also very reasonable.

Moving on to your next point, I can’t help but feel these defamatory, out-of-place remarks about Rave’s graphics have a bit of a hidden agenda… One that aims at promoting Album, one of the company’s competitors. Especially with Mr Arno Wagner, one of the brand’s lobbyists sat right here in the front row…

Concerning what was said about the Swoosh –  whose representatives were unfortunately not able to make it to today’s trial –  it’s common knowledge that this is a company that only provides very few stickers to its riders, probably to tackle the increase of excessive photo incentive requests they’ve been dealing with as of late.

Finally, for a more objective appreciation of this photo’s popularity, I’d like to invite the members of the jury to rather simply refer to the number of Instagram likes and comments, which I expect will be quite consequential at the time of its publication. The number of reposts could also be recorded upon the jurors’ request.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Durou, that will be all for now.

I would like to call upon Mr Clément Le Gall, your honour.

Mr Le Gall, are you the photographer who took this shot of Mr Durou backside tailsliding?

Mr Le Gall: Yes, that is correct.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Did Mr Durou come up with the idea for this photo or was this your initiative? Could it be that you were in fact the person who found this spot and decided it could make a good photo…?

Mr Le Gall: I’d like to clarify to the court that I currently reside in Biarritz and not in Bordeaux, unlike Mr Durou, who, if I remember correctly, told me that day that he had unearthed a spot that had supposedly never been skated. And to be perfectly frank, I could very well have passed by this spot without even noticing that something worthwhile could be done on it. In the Basque country, we are more focused on gaps and handrails… You know, the skate-boarding of real men if you don’t mind me saying.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Yes, I’m aware of your work, notably of your imagery showcasing the exploits of renowned Olympians such as Vincent Milou.

You did nevertheless choose to capture this particular stunt with a fisheye rather than shooting it long lens, is that correct?

Mr Le Gall: Yes, that is indeed also correct.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Was this your initiative or something that was forced upon you by Mr Durou?

Mr Le Gall: Hmm… To be honest it’s more that Mr Durou became very nervous when he saw how little interest I showed in the spot. Even if he didn’t explicitly ask for it, I immediately saw in his eyes that he wanted me to take my fisheye out of my bag. After a few seconds of hesitation, I complied under duress, one might say, but above all so as not to come into conflict with him.

He then got on with his business as if nothing had happened, even almost sending his board into the lens several times! I remember feeling as if all of a sudden I was dealing with someone else, almost as if he was in a trance, with only one thing on his mind: coverage…

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I would like us to focus now on this photo of Mr Valentin Bauer, published in the same magazine, but two issues before that of the defendant.

Would you agree that this is the same manoeuvre as that of your friend Mr Durou?

Mr Le Gall: I was not present in one of these two instances so only the footage will be able to prove this.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): The video footage circulated online in November 2022, in which it can clearly be seen that both of these are indeed the same trick. Now as the professional in this field Mr Le Gall, can you confirm to us that the photo taken by a certain Rafal Wojnowski was, on the other hand, shot long lens and not fisheye?

Mr Le Gall: I’d like to start off by saying that I greatly admire the work of Mr Wojnowski and would like to salute his effort with the long lens. But for my defence, lying down at the bottom of a kicker, at night, in the carpark of the Pessac’s healthcare co-operative was probably slightly more uncomfortable than being sat facing a pole-jam in London at golden hour…

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): The mistreatment of photographers is unfortunately quite a common occurrence in our milieu… Mr Le Gall, did you by any chance have Mr Bauer’s photo in mind whilst shooting Mr Durou’s?

Mr Le Gall: Absolutely not! We were not aware of this photo for the simple and good reason that this is one of the first photos that was shot for this interview, and that it dates back to February 6, 2022. I invite you to cross-check this with the raw file’s metadata if further proof of this is needed.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I see… And what was your and Mr Durou’s reaction to the discovery of the existence of Mr Bauer’s photo in the same magazine?

Mr Le Gall: It came as a complete shock to both me and Mr Durou, but it’s part of the game, you find yourself confronted with these situations quite often. I did nevertheless reach out to Mr Durou to share with him the unfortunate news, and I must admit that I instantly felt his stress levels increase, and his knee-jerk reaction was to start talking about the scaffolding photo. He was afraid someone might have had the same stupid idea… But visibly it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Le Gall. No further questions for this witness your honour.

Ollie, Bordeaux.

I’d now like to once again call upon the defendant, Mr Olivier Durou, your honour.

Mr Durou, your photographer, Mr Le Gall, evokes situations where you’ve lost your temper. There’s also video evidence of you in very extreme states of rage while exercising your supposed profession, at times even going as far as subjecting yourself to bizarre forms of self-harm…

Do you often lose control and give in to anger whilst riding your skateboard Mr Durou? Do you not think that as a 36-year-old adult, you should be displaying a little bit more maturity?

Mr Durou (the defendant): I must admit that I sometimes have a little trouble managing my emotions and that sometimes something as insignificant as my board bouncing on the ground in the same way three times can be enough to trigger a loss of control, sometimes inflicting myself, what at the time feels like perfectly deserved, punches in the face.

And it’s not for lack of having a whole bunch of caring friends who repeatedly tell me that there’s no need to put myself in these states… It’s just that when they do it seems to have the opposite effect on me, and I find myself then three times more annoyed than before their interventions. But at the same time, this tends to occur in a context where they’re sat there drinking cans and smoking ciggies while I’m out there on my day off risking my poor, tender ligaments between two construction jobs. The only times most of these guys leave the skatepark is to hit the off-licence, so sometimes it’s hard to hear from them that I should relax… That being said, deep down I know they are right: getting angry is pointless. However, I try not to be too disheartened about not having a life as serene and filled with wisdom as them, out there waiting for the benefits office to validate their income support.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Speaking of income support, I read in your file that you get up every morning at 7am to work on construction sites. How do you explain that a so-called professional skateboarder has to get up early in the morning to work? At the same time, Mr Durou, I can’t imagine it being easy to make ends meet with so little photo incentive and no competitions won since 2004…

Mr Durou (the defendant): If you had checked your records properly you would have seen that I won something in Montauban in 2012 actually… But in the wider context of this line of questioning, that’s not even relevant. What is relevant, on the other hand, is that I chose to work in construction and renovate flats long before my status as a professional skater. Although it must be said that I’ve always dreamed about fully embracing the pro lifestyle, on you know, the 10 euros a day flat shares in Barca where you get to sleep on the corner of a couch, the weeks of blanked emails from your TMs when asking if they’ve finally unlocked the budget needed to get you a train ticket somewhere or reimburse you for the last ones you fronted, endlessly talking shit on all the young prodigies who have their eye on your spot without even knowing your name, having to sell your stuff at MACBA in order to buy yourself an Estrella or a Bisma, not being able to sleep because of a pain in the knee that refuses to let you catch a break, but most importantly, losing sight of the reasons you first fell in love with skateboarding, that feeling of freedom, and being able to do it wherever you want whenever you want, only for it to be replaced by the burden professional duty… Shit, where do I sign?!

Frontside nosebluntslide, Bordeaux.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I’d now like to look into the nature of this professional status so much of this trial seems to hinge on, specifically your pro model Mr Durou. Could you explain to us how you were granted this sought-after distinction by Rave? Had you been warned in advance of this development? Was it following a request on your behalf? Or maybe even a decision that was taken internally in order to grant you a bit more credibility in the eyes of your other sponsors who undoubtedly would have considered letting you go during COVID?

Mr Durou (the defendant): To be perfectly honest I myself struggle to explain it… Maybe the fact that I fractured a rib at Amélien Fourès’ pro party was interpreted as a call for help… Plus PJ Chapuis, the brand’s owner, owed me… After all, I was the one who had the contacts at Sugar skate mag.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Durou. I would now like to call upon Mr Pierre Jean Chapuis to the stand, your honour.

Mr Chapuis, it seems that you are much more than Mr Durou’s simple Team Manager, you are also a close friend. Could you tell us about how the two of you met? Both being from good families, could it have been during a ball that one of your respective parents might have organised?

Mr Chapuis: No, it was not during a ball that I met the accused, but rather during an Emerica tour in Barcelona. This was probably in about 2010 I would say. We didn’t know each other at all, but we both skated for Emerica and I was admittedly a bit apprehensive about meeting the defendant because already at the time, his video parts showed very concerning anger management issues. I will not hide from you that the defendant was quite scary on the sessions… But surprisingly we became friends very quickly.

If I remember correctly Olivier was not yet living in Bordeaux at that time but we stayed in contact, and once settled, the defendant really became a good session partner and eventually even a friend. Him being a part of Rave was only the continuity of this friendship.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): How moving! Unfortunately, I doubt it’ll be enough to make the jurors bring out the Kleenex. Teaming up with close friends is commonplace in skateboarding and it’s well known that Rave Skateboards has turned pro certain key players of their team in order to avoid them getting snatched up by competitors. We’re of course talking here about young skaters, full of promise and extremely influential on social media, both because of their skateboarding output and their way of dressing.

What about Mr Durou though? I think we can all agree he absolutely does not fall into this category; don’t you think? Mr Chapuis, was turning the defendant pro a token gesture of your continued friendship? Or was it the result of certain ‘pressures’ from the defendant?

Mr Chapuis: Admittedly it is true that Mr Durou clearly does not fit into this category of person that you were able to mention. He is neither young nor booming and I won’t even start on his management of social media…  That being said, I do appreciate the professionalism the defendant has demonstrated during the many projects he has been able to carry out to fruition, and it is also worth noting that Mr Durou is currently preparing a part for his own defence, which will be published online alongside the interview at stake here.

Finally, and most importantly, we’d like to make it clear that only the defendant’s nickname has been printed on a board. As you can see here, only the word ‘Boucle’ is inscribed on the piece of wood, and not Olivier Durou.

Can we therefore really speak of a pro model?

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Chapuis, I have no further questions.

Exhibit #2 brought forth by the prosecution: photo of the melon grab to backside lipslide.

Melon grab to backside lipslide, Paris.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I now call upon Mr Luc Mazières, also known as ‘Lucci’.

Would you prefer to be referred to as  ‘Monsieur Lucci’ or ‘Monsieur Mazières’?

Mr Lucci: In light of the current situation, I would prefer if we kept it Mr Lucci.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Ok then Mr Lucci, you have for several years now been Mr Durou’s designated filmer, and we owe you, among other things, the ‘Boucle’ video published on the Free Skate Mag website in May 2021, is that correct? Could you please tell us about the process of capturing this backside melon grab to backside lipslide with Mr Durou? A report dating back a few months shows that a slight coordination problem led to a bit of a grievance between Mr Durou and you. I would like to have your version of the events Mr Lucci. Are you at fault here, or was it yet another excess of anger from Mr Durou?

Mr Lucci: It is true that I have known Mr Durou for a few years now, and that we have a relationship as a filmer/skater. This has indeed led us to the production of a video called ‘Boucle’, Mr Durou had the last part of the video, which explains this choice of title.

Concerning the melon grab to backside lipslide… It’s a long story.

The shoot took place on the 27th of July last year, in Paris. Mr Durou couldn’t get that spot out of his head; it was a real obsession… From the first day, in fact, the order was given: ‘Stop Bir-Hakeim! Bump/Barrier spot!’. But this first day was a real failure for Mr Durou who struggled, as usual, for nearly two hours to land his trick. Only the obsession then worsened, and to my surprise the next morning Mr Durou’s objective was to go back to this spot! Which seemed like a rather questionable idea knowing that our stay in Paris was only for three days… Long story short, here we were back on the spot, with this feeling of déjà vu, our arguably ‘professional’ skateboarder on the sidewalk and myself on the bike path, praying that this day would bless us with a different fate than the one that preceded it. Quite quickly Mr Durou felt that he was going to power through, even if at times it looked like the desire to punch himself in the head might get the best of him. As for me, my task was simple: chasing Mr Durou with a fisheye that is worth more than a car. It was requested that I film it ‘bien Jap’, which to be clear your honour is French slang for filming up close and dynamic, in reference to the Japanese visionaries that perfected the use of this type of lens. Unfortunately, my filming was not at the height of the trick, which eventually ended up being landed perfectly. Mr Durou’s board completely disappears from the frame when he lands in backside lipslide… A bit of footage that remains puzzling by all accounts. A result I’m sure the mere mention of will have the defendants’ fists clenching.

So in all honestly, Mr Colucci, I think I have a share of responsibility in this story, but that said, his choice of trick may not have been the most adequate, and his scary mood swings certainly destabilised me. I can’t hide from you that it is still quite difficult for me to relive these traumatic events, when I rewatch these images I get flashes… These are painful memories… I just hope that one day we’ll be able to turn a page on the incident.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I understand how difficult it must be Mr Lucci, thank you for testifying. Now beyond this filmer/skater relationship you described, would you say you share an emotional connection with Mr Durou? Something that could possibly even pertain to friendship? Or do you support the stress inflicted by our defendant solely because of the financial gain? I imagine that you are handsomely remunerated for this work, are you not Mr Lucci?

Mr Lucci: So yes! There is a friendship that exists… But I’d say Mr Durou has his own, very distinctive way of expressing his affection. Making me come back to a spot eight times to watch him roll around on the ground and scream, that’s his special way of being with me… And as far as the money is concerned, we both agreed early on that one pre-packaged sandwich per stacked clip would be the going rate. An arrangement that worked fine at the beginning, but which has, in view of everyone’s progress, become unacceptable… Recently Mr Durou has been paying me in socks from his shoe sponsor, at least it’s getting better!

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Lucci. No further questions, your honour.

Pupecki grind, Bordeaux.

I would now like to call Mr Alex Richard to the stand.

Mr Richard, were you friends with Mr Durou before being teammates at Rave Skateboards?

Mr Richard: We met before the brand was launched, yes, and started skating together then.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): My records show that you are the team manager of a specialist retailer called Riot, in Bordeaux, is that correct?

Mr Richard: That is indeed correct, but I also undertake the roles of salesman and torturer of interns.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Was adding Mr Durou to Riot’s roster your decision? If so, what was your reasoning behind this decision?

Mr Richard: It was my decision, yes. Mr Durou has been an integral part of the Bordeaux scene for years now, so it only felt natural that he’d join the ranks of the skate shop. It was also an opportunity to show that our company in no way shows signs of discrimination and ageism towards more mature riders.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Is the word you are looking for not ‘older’? I’m not under the impression that Mr Durou is someone who displays much real maturity…

Mr Durou (the defendant): Objection your honour, speculation.

Judge: Overruled!

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Between distributing the hottest brands and running raffles to win the right to buy the most coveted sneakers of the moment, Riot looks like a very lucrative company.

Have you seen the store’s sales figures increase since Mr Durou joined the team?

Mr Richard: No no, mature was unequivocally the term I wanted to use, in the sense that Mr Durou, in addition to being a practitioner in his thirties, also knows how to show, through his attitude and his career, a real maturity in his behaviour as a human being. Many practitioners these days love to show, in their way of being, that they are ‘OGs’, all the while demonstrating attitudes and behaviours sometimes worthy of elementary school playgrounds. I’m under the impression that, unlike most big names in major cities, Mr Durou continues to perform well, whilst also remaining very humble and normal because he knows that deep down, skateboarding is nothing more than a toy for young teenagers. (Chill out guys)

In terms of numbers, the skate industry is currently in the midst of a crisis, so the addition of a serious and responsible asset such as Mr Durou has only improved our performance and the influx of customers in the store.

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you Mr Richard, I have no further questions.

Exhibit #3 brought forth by the prosecution: photo of a backside lipslide.

Backside lipslide, Bordeaux.

I’d like to once again call upon Mr Durou to answer some questions, in hope of adding this third piece of evidence to the file.

How is it possible that such a gloomy and lifeless photo was selected by the number one European skateboard magazine? Cheerfulness really isn’t your forte, is it Mr Durou?

Mr Durou (the defendant): Objection your honour, the prosecution is referring to my struggles with anxiety and depression, conditions which are entirely unrelated to the charges!

Judge: Objection overruled!

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): I have here the a signed affidavit of your teammate and friend Mr François Tizon, coach within the French federation of skateboarding and rollerblading since 2021. Mr Tizon states in the document that this supposed backside lipslide would in fact only be a backside disaster!

Can you Mr Durou, truthfully affirm, before this here court, that you actually slid this backside lipslide?

Mr Durou (the defendant): I remember this day well, all of my colleagues were in exceptional form, particularly Alex Richard and Amélien Foures, and several clips were logged that day. But when it got to the end of the session, the whole crew turned to me and Clément Le Gall uttered a sentence that still rings in my head like the slamming of a prison cell: ‘So Boucle, shall we hit this Tom Knox spot?’ Even though the bastard, excuse my French, knew very well that the KFC I’d ingested at lunch still weighed heavy on my stomach and legs, as the sweat that streamed down his temples showed clearly that he himself hadn’t finished digesting it… Trapped, I accepted, hoping that the multiple trips to the shop to stock up on cans might kill enough time for it to get dark before we’d get there. But I was all out of luck: the spot was closer than I remembered and before I knew it, there I was waxing this dusty ledge and repeatedly splatting off that drop, in hopes of miraculously squeezing out a make. Very quickly out of saliva, I somehow managed to force myself to get it over and done with, took the photo make, and sent Mr Le Gall back to his Photoshopping to correct the badly adjusted light or possibly add in a pigeon that wasn’t there in the first place. And that is why this back lip is unlikely to make it into the #QSTOP10…

Mr Guillaume Colucci (the prosecution): Thank you for bringing up the #QSTOP10. My records show that following the example of Mr Victor Campillo – who may I remind you has a droit de seigneur over the entire editorial team at Free Skate Mag – on May 7, 2021 you did actually manage to land yourself a spot in their ranking with a line made up of a wallie and ledge trick, on a spot in Bordeaux usually known for high-flying stunts. I’d like to point out though that you were relegated to the 9th position, unlike Mr Campillo, who was placed in 2nd position of this same Top 10, with one of the only ever filmed lines of him wearing a t-shirt.

I’d like to remind you Mr Durou that a new video part, hopefully with a slightly less egotistical title, is scheduled to be released alongside the article we’re currently discussing. So my question is, given your angry nature Mr Durou, how are you planning to deal with the possibility that a guest in your next video part might once again do better than you in this coveted ranking, or even show more impressive results on social media?

Mr Durou (the defendant): Like all rankings, we like to say we find them useless and meaningless, but then when it actually comes to it, we are never against appearing in them and preferably in the pole position. Regarding Mr Campillo’s line, you would have to be blind or the organiser of a contest in Dubai to not rank his line five places before mine. But to make sure this type of incident does not happen again, I’ve taken a few necessary precautions, notably making sure that I’m not sufficiently well dressed to stand a chance of entering the ranking again, and selecting solely average tricks from my most talented friends in order to maintain the illusion that I’m in fact the better skateboarder.

So in theory we shouldn’t find ourselves in this situation again. But you never know… In the unlikely event that an ollie accidentally flaps around my feet a little, or that a rollaway happens to be just sketchy enough to be labelled cool or spicy, I might unexpectedly find myself propelled back into the ranking…

Backside nosebluntslide, Bordeaux.

Mr Colucci’s closing arguments:
Your honour, members of the jury… It is impossible to end this in any other way than by effectively highlighting the essential parts of this terrible trial.

Never before has deception been seen on such a large scale. Mr Olivier Durou is an impostor, cheating us in order to feel like he exists in the world of skateboarding.

If nothing is done, this is the kind of usurper that will live on in printed media and leave us with a sense of shame… and depravity!

The hour of the final judgement has arrived and if the case I present seems tough, if it seems ruthless, it is only because the evidence is too.

Fuelled by hatred, the defendant is possessed by Kerry Getz.

The outbursts of our defendant’s anger give rise to scandal, self-harm and unforgivable insults which have time and time again killed the vibe at the spot, often even traumatising those sharing a session with him for life… Just like his photographer, who continues to act under fear of reprisals and his cameraman, who, for his part, films under constant pressure, incessantly repeating trips to the same spots, with the aim of one day satisfying the frustration of a cantankerous skateboarder.

Mr Durou, nicknamed the ‘poor man’s Sylvain Tognelli’ by the most objective critics of the always extremely balanced and fair Slap forum, makes a better impression under the pseudonym of ‘Boucle’. Hidden behind his little vintage polo shirts and his innocent smile, our defendant is not afraid to manipulate to get what he wants. And it’s not his girlfriend, Fanny, who will tell you otherwise. This poor, innocent, young girl was repeatedly forced to leave comments under the defendant’s footage, only to increase the social media visibility of our narcissistic pervert.

Today, before this court, the defendant has claimed that he is not guilty of having planned, executed or conspired to commit this long list of tricks that weren’t properly slid, or popped, on spots dull and unimportant.

This man stands before you as if he had never hypocritically storied a pair of Dunks he’d never wear, whilst remembering to thank his team manager, who only leaves Olivier Durou a spot on his sought-after Excel sheet out of commiseration.

How is it possible in 2023, to defend a person who exclusively feeds himself 3D-branded crisps and drinks only blue-coloured Powerade, which is supposed to represent red fruits?

How can this Vengaboys and Blink182 lover, with a bag of flatground tricks as consistent as Brian Wenning’s Tampa run, have a legitimate career in skateboarding?

Your honour, members of the jury, saying that Olivier ‘Boucle’ Durou deserves his place in the pages of this magazine equates to saying that anybody does…

Backside 180 to switch crooked grind, Paris.

The defendant Mr Durou’s closing arguments:
When you look at me, you first see a 36-year-old man trying to hide his incipient baldness with beanies and his lack of consistency with trendy trick selection.

But beyond these pertinent observations, I ask you to try to see in me the 13-year-old boy who managed to distract his diseased brain with an obsession healthier than any addiction available to a kid of that age.

From this obsession was born a passion, followed by the desire to be part of this world body and soul. Admittedly, the ratio of infeasible tricks in my repertoire is less impressive than that of Jeff Wong Song, but my re-learning of how to kickflip after five years of skating, just to be able to do it with the same foot placement as Andrew Reynolds should bear witness of my commitment to trying to do things well.

Admittedly, that child’s very pure motivation to, again and again, feel new skateboarding-related sensations has been replaced by counting likes and chasing clips, but I can still catch myself enjoying trying to learn how to backside disaster on a shitty quarterpipe during a morning sesh with Mr Le Gall… I also think that just for not having given up, when this same Mr Le Gall was selling my favourite photos to Stoops magazine, I deserve these few pages in Free Skateboard Magazine. So, when the time comes for you to decide my fate, ask yourself the question: What if this man was me? Put yourself in my shoes and ask yourself, what if my friends had decided to make my childhood dreams come true by turning me pro, despite it still taking me 30 tries to land a decent 50-50 on a quarterpipe? If a serious magazine did not see the sham hidden behind each of my photos and decided to publish my interview, what am I to do?