Maxim Garant Rousseau: Doing The Ambassador Thing

Our buddy MGR tells us about his early days as one of the longest serving Loaded ambassadors, touring Europe, the scene in Quebec and and John Barnet’s bacon.

 

caserne-180-nose-grabBonjour Maxim, how are you?
Feeling awesome, and you?

Super stoked. Where are you from?
Québec city, Canada.  Now based in Montreal.

Fun place to grow up?
Pretty good. Longboarding wise, it’s pretty hilly. Real close to the Montmorency falls for your information. Beautiful otherwise.

How did you get into longboarding?
I had already been skating since 2001. Sometime in 2006, one of my friends bought a pintail from the local shop, I tried it and got instantly hooked by the efficiency and the speed of this way of transportation.  It was getting me to the local park faster!

Is there a big skate community in Quebec city?
Pretty big!  Our local skaters kill it, and we’ve also got one of the best slalom scenes out there (Krispy Hill Racing Team).  Not to mention the Free For All crew who were the some of the best downhiller in town.
maxim-toeside-syellow-shirt

Who is in those crews?
The KHRT is basiclly the original fullbag skateboards crew, including Miguel Marco, Louis Ricard, Julie Boulanger, Danilo, Stef, Zoon, Pâte and so many more.

The Free For All Crew is and was the original team of the FFA Skate Shop that unfortunatley closed their doors last year. The crew is still there and features some of the best skaters in the province, including Kelian Duplain, Sam Chastenay, Pâte Brassard, Maxime Robitaille, Gab VC, JFT and Louis Ricard.

Who started Free For All?
Dominic Pérusse started the shop back in 2008. Super great all around skater that wanted to make his passion his job.  Unfortunately some bad luck made him close the shop!  FFA for life!

Do you ride slalom?
A few years ago, I met Louis Ricard at a ski resort. I liked his style and start skating with him the next summer.  He quickly got me into slalom and then racing skateboards. At that time, I didn’t know he was going to be one of the world’s best slalomers!

Nowadays, I don’t do much slalom, but my skating still got influenced by the slalom technique.  Shout out to the worlds best DHers who come from Slalom; Zak M., Patrick S., Brian P and so many more!
mgr-louis-ricard-fullbaggers

Who is Louis Ricard?
«Just a slalom guy» from Québec city, but one of the worlds best in the game right now!  He got a pro model on Fullbag skates and he’s now fully committed into powsurf.  He also carves like no one else!

When did you get your own ride?
As soon as I got my pintail, I quickly start looking for what was online.  I obviously fell on the Adam Square and then these guys came with the Loaded newsletter challenge. I did the first edition to earn my 50% of my Vanguard Flex 4.

hommies-ludo-mgr-kevin-dim-charle

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How important was media to the young Maxim?
It was key. In my early skateboard years, we were already documenting everything we were doing on VX200’s.  The  transition to longboarding was natural.  Especially cause the sport was new, we really needed to show the world what we were doing.

Do you document your personal skate journey?
Oh yeah!  I do it on my social profiles, especially on Instagram, my personal blog in french, maximgarantrousseau.com and sometimes on the ambassador blog.

What did you like about Adam and Adam?
Their style, creativity and dresses.
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Are you more Adam or Adamina?
Why have one if you can have both?

What were you riding those days?
Montreal has a few hills, but I ride most of it on a double-kick deck.  Most of the time, I ride a Kantaka setup with Gullwing Shadow 9.0 and Keanus.

DH setup is Tessaract, Gullwing Munkaes 50 front, 42 back, Venoms, and Kegels.

My track bike is an Argon 18 Electron, I dig it!  That’s how I stay in top shape and it could possibly be the secret of my push skills!

Do you do any push races?
I did a few when I started to get into racing. I placed 2nd behind Paul Kent in my first ever push race in Montreal. I even won Urban Assault 2009 in BC….  Push races are a big challenge!  Not as lazy as DH!
pushing-blue-skies

Is your push your secret weapon?
Oh yeah. Not exactly the brazilian push, but not far off!

How did those videos inspire/influence you?
I always been impressed by how smooth and fluid both the Adams are.

Was it hard completing that first challenge series?
Some tricks were pretty hard. It was a good way to learn new tricks.  I still recommend them to begginers.

Did skating change after you got your Vanguard?
Not really. Got me stoked but it was too flex to do anything different than my pintail!  The change really appeared when I got my Dervish after winning the challenge Series 2.  Even if the Dervish wasn’t exactly a stiff deck, I started to bomb on it!

You won it, as in you were the first in the world to complete it?
The series 2?  Naaa, it was full of riders! Even Dane Webber was in this thing! Challenge Series 2 was hell of a battle!
Dane Webber’s : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMgCmtVpiBc

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Was that kind of skating popular back then?
While I was boardwalking on my Dervish 2008, a bunch of BC dudes were bombing hills since the early 2000’s and Mike McGoldrick was already skating switch. I guess it really depended of the terrain you had access to.

What adventures did you and your Dervish get up to?
We were playing around town, commuting, sliding, pushing and discovering DH!

When you joined Loaded, what were they about?
Bamboo, Fun, stoked & progression.

Has that changed over the years?
Same original guys, still the same roots.

How did your relationship with Loaded develop through the series?
Winning the newsletter challenge got me in the family.  At that time we were only a few riders on that team, including, Adam C and S, Louis and few others, which means I really got to meet everyone really well!
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Was getting sponsored an important objective for you?
Not at all! Longboarding was so small that you couldn’t really hope for anything! I was so surprised when I received that email telling my I was on the team!  Could’nt believe it.

Aside from the Adam’s are you the longest serving member?
Nah, the Loaded history is huge!  These guys have been around, pushing longboards since 2000’s!

What Loaded videos have you been in?
In a few! My personal favorites are French fries and dogs eyes in tandem with Jacko and the Chubby Unicorn videos, especially the starting part, where I skate the bank walls.  Eurotour videos were pretty cool to!
garde-a-vous-montreal

What was your role in the family?
Pretty much everything a rider should do. Create media content, skate at events, do the ambassador thing, get people on longboards and teach them how to ride safe!  I also got special roles as French/English translator, good vibes expert and I created the expression ‘’do the ambassador thing.’’

What kind of media were you making?
I always had a love-hate relation with creating media. As much as it was good for me and the sport, it was a lot of work inside, in front of computer. If I had a choice, I’d rather tell a story through a blog post than a video. I also have a lot of footage on OSL’s dead laptop, the one that burned on fire in B.C.
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Were you the first Canadian on the team?
I think so!

What led you to the decision to race in ‘09?
I started racing in Quebec Fast Freddy’s Street Missile races in 08 and I end up placing pretty well in a few of them. I was also getting addicted to speed and the trills of racing! It gave me enough confidence to make a move and spend a full summer on the West Coast of Canada and USA, learning how to go fast and speak English.
Back then, I travelled a bunch with Jacko and James Kelly. I couldn’t understand the Aussie accent and the NorCal pronunciation-less English; mixed with my strong French Canadian accent back then, it was hilarious!

Do people assume you’re European?
I guess some people do. They’re mostly confused by my accent. French Canadians probably have the best of both worlds?

Most of the time we hear about racing in B.C, is there a lot of racing in Quebec?
Not as much.  We’ve got a few legit ones.  There’s more racers than races!

What did you like about racing?
Racing skateboards is like playing chess with a dragster.  There’s a lot of strategy in it and shit can go wrong quick.
180-s-ontario

Racing skateboards is like playing chess with a dragster.  There’s a lot of strategy in it and shit can go wrong quick.

What races did you do in that summer?
So many… Danger Bay, Jakes Rash, GoldRush Challenge, the Wack Attack, a few slide jams, Urban Assault, a stop in California and then back to BC where I raced Vernon DH, hoped on the Loco Express to the Sullivan Challenge where I popped my left shoulder there in the semi’s.

After 10 weeks on the road it was the end of my trip, just before Paskapoo in Caglary, where Dubes placed my suit in the finals, haha!
Shout out to Zak Maytum who took me to the hospital with Raggie. I forgot my suit in the trunk of his Trans-Am, fully high on pain killers.
racing-with-zak-pat-mattk

How does your slalom background help your DH racing?
Back wheel traction mostly, pretty helpful everywhere, especially good on Maryhill.

Did you do well in those races?
It was my first summer racing. I did horribly in most of my first races. Then I went to Cali and learnt a few things related to bombing hills from the original Skate house dudes. I went back to BC way better!  The level of riding there is so high that it’s really hard to place. I still managed to get in the semi’s at Sullivan challenge.

What was the highlight of those 10 weeks?
Ben Dubreuil was also doing a similar trip that summer. After Jakes Rash, it was raining cats and dogs, Ben and I ended up travelling in Dillon’s bad ass van for almost two weeks all over B.C. Dillon couldn’t understand a lot… It was somehow really dirty and epic.
thiago-dillon-mgr-daluaWhat were the lessons you learnt?
English. I’ve also learned that being nice to people help you get where you want to go. Really helpful when travelling. I made so many friends throughout that trip that I still get to skate with nowadays.

Did you not speak English growing up?
I grew up speaking French and learned a few basic sentences from school years and cereal boxes.

Do you enjoy Van life?
Van life is a pretty epic way of living. Travelling where you want, when you want means a lot of freedom. It also comes with a lot of adventure, not always good food and possible mechanical trouble.
Actually, I enjoyed it so much, especially through Eurotour 2011 & 2012, that I bought myself a van for the upcoming summer! I will be travelling out West with my girlfriend, attend a few races on the way, hike mountains, ride bikes and camp everywhere I want in America.

After that epic summer in 2009, did you have a vision of what you wanted from life?
Yeah! It really helped me become who I am today.  It made me learn a ton of things and shaped my actual career in communication/marketing.
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What future did you decide to chase?
I learnt a lot about social media throught my experiences with longboarding, mixed with my communications studies, it was a perfect mix to become some kind of a social media expert!

How do you use your super powers to spread stoke?
It’s all about using the social media platforms for what they’re good for! Also, making sure you tell a good story and don’t over post (crap). With my super powers, I like to spread the stoke to people & media that would not normally know about our sport.

What do you do today?
I spend my days browsing, thinking, brainstorming and creating content that is relevant for the users. Nowadays, my main goal is to complete a crowdfunding campaign, who will help us create a new social network that is dedicated to help students to find their life goal, the job of their dream, by relating them to adult who practice theses jobs etc. Right between Facebook and Linkedin, but fun.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/contribuez-au-futur-des-jeunes-avec-academos

That sounds pretty good, linking kids to Tony Hawk!
Haha yeah! Speaking of which…  I said in a blog post for C2MTL that I would like to have Tony Hawk as a mentor! http://www.c2mtl.com/blog/community/maxim-garant-rousseau/#!8849
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What did you get up to in 2010?
Kept on livin’ the dream!

When did you first skate outside North America?
Back in 2005, when I went to France. More seriously, my skating went to the next level in 2011 when I did the Eurotour with the Otang guys. Kick ass trip!

Was the tour as fun as you hoped?
Amazing!  Probably one of the best summer of my life.

Where did you get to skate?
The World cup races and everything in between. Europe is amazing: The hills, the food, the culture, the party and the history. Doing the euro tour is a great experience!

How did you in the races?
Got taken out first round, against Mischo & Niko Desmarais at Kozakov, did alright at Insul and ended up 3rd place at the Padova Grand Prix! First world cup podium!  That was awesome!
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Did you document either of those Euro trips?
Oh yeah! I did on my personal blog. We also did a video series with the Otang crew call the Eurotang tour! Good times.

What were your favourite moments in Europe?
That podium in Italy was pretty epic, especially the party after the race. The roads are generally amazing, so is the landscape. Not to mention after party of Peyragudes in 2012 got pretty rad, Max Dubler told me I was rad enough to be on Venom at that time.  Still waiting for my t-shirt dude!

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Is there anything from Europe you wish you could bring back with you?
The wine, the beer, the cheese, the chocolate & the bread, and cheap price of all those things in Europe.

Where else did you skate in 2012?
I got lucky enough to go to California to film for the Chubby Unicorn video. And then went to Maryhill, spent some time on the west coast, quick stop in Montreal and then out in Europe for my second Eurotour. It was another awesome year full of travel.

Did you have a role in developing/naming the unicorn?
I tested early protos in 2009 and then again during French fries and dogs eyes video shoot in 2011 and skated a full season on the final stage proto of 2012. Every time I had the chance, I gave input on the deck and tried to destroye it as much as I could!

I can’t get any credit in naming the Chubby, it’s pure Loaded office craziness.
Ollie-Chubby-unicorn

What made 2012 memorable for you?
It was the busiest year of my longboarding life. What makes it unforgettable is that our friend Maxime Benoit died in a tragic longboarding accident while I was in Europe with OSL. Mann, the worst thing that can possibly happen, happened to one the best humans I know. It’s sad, sooo sad. Since then, it completely changed the way I skate. RIP Max B.

My crew-Max Benoit photo

My crew

How was last year for you?
I took a pretty chill 2013 year.  After two good summers on the road, I took that one for me, to heal and relax my bad shoulders and to work on other projects. I got that new job, moved in with my girlfriend, did some skating with my closest friends and spent a lot of time cycling. I even entered a few races, did good at some of them and I got on a bike shop team! Couldn’t believe it.

At the very end of the season, my friend Brian Davenport invited me to the Acme Extreme DH race, in the town of Port-Jervis, a few hours south of Montreal. I went there to see the skate family and ended up winning it!  The start was a key factor on that track, and my kick was on top of it’s game after biking maybe 4000 km that summer.  The track was real fun, smooth and the party was rad. Definitly going there again this year to see if I can defend my title!

http://www.loadedboards.com/2013/09/acme-extreme-dh-a-new-east-coast-classic/

1237454_523333947738333_636282320_oWhat setup were you competing on last year?
A killer combo :

Loaded Tessaract

Gullwing Trucks – Winged Munkae/Venoms

Orangatang Kegels 80a

Jehus bearings with fancy precision spacers

RDVX Griptape

Are they all your sponsors?
Loaded, Orangatang, Gullwing, Harfang Wheels and Vélo iBike are my sponsors. I also get some love from a few other brand like Ojoom Pucks, RDVX, DC Shoes.

RDVX. Is it any good?
Dope grip, steazy clothes, nice people!

Claudio Uribe photo

Claudio Uribe photo

You’ve been in the community for a long time, do you have any comments on recent evolution?
Sometimes, I guess I’m nostalgic of the good ol’ days, back when longboarding just started and back when I first started in 2006. It was awesome to go chat with unknown person that were riding longboard as well!  Huge shout out to the OG’s from Quebec and BC.!

Isn’t it better now with more people in it?
It’s good to have a sport that grows so well, you can’t be against it! It’s awesome that people can actually live off longboarding.

What’s the funniest thing a grom has said to you?
‘Your spring break trip with Patrick was weird.’ People still think it was us. Shout out to Dane and Stokoop!

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You’ve been with Loaded forever, why aren’t you switch sponsors every year like we see so often?
Cause the fit is awesome with Loaded. I love this company, the guys and how they push longboarding foward, how they support the community and their riders.  They made me grow so much as a human and ambassdor.
I guess the only other company I would ride for are companies from Quebec; Fullbag, Kebbek or Restless.

What are you hoping for this year?
No mechanical problems and not getting hurt in my upcoming summer van trip with my lovely girlfriend @AnnJulie_V.  #NosViesSansLundis

What do you do when you’re not skating?
Just like everyone else! I work (referred to earlier question) I do a few classes in advertising at Université de Montréal and I bike with my homies.

Is there good bacon over there?
Of course…  but I’m slowly making moves to become vegetarian, which means less bacon. The best bacon in Canada is surely made in Ontario by John Barnet, at the Club 54.
john-barnet-maxim-europe

Pick 3 numbers between 1-20.
1, 7, 19

1 – If you had to be a bad guy in a movie, who would you be?
Is Han Solo considered as a bad guy?

7 – why did the chicken cross the road?
To run away from the the slaughter

19 – Who would be in your dream race heat?
I like to skate with everyone and mostly for fun, but a race heat with Matt K, Adam Persson, Jeff Spicolli, Patrick Switzer on Kozakov or Newton Nations would be pretty sick.
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Haha Maxim! Congratulations on completing this Herculean task, really nice to chat to you. Best of luck with all the things. #TeamBacon!

Any last words?
Shoot out the ones who keep it real. To my close hommies Dim, Ludo, Kevin, OSL. To the rad people who make it happen in the sport like the Push Culture guys, Coast Longboarding, IDF dudes, SHM dudes, Wheelbase, Skateslate, DGM, JP Rowan and every other companies and people who make shit happen.
I also wanna thank all the people who work behind the lens, especially my buddy OSL.

Much love to the companies who support me with bits and pieces: Loaded, Orangatang, Gullwing, Harfang, Ojoom, RDVX.  Since FFA skateshop is closed, I don’t have a boardshop to rep anymore. Hit me up!

SKATE SAFE KIDS.  Plaisir et Sécurité.

Links
instagram.com/maximgarant
Twitter.com/MaximGarant
Facebook.com/MaximGarantRousseau
Linkedin.com/in/MaximGarantRousseau
YouTube.com/user/maxporsche

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