Let's start with the basics. My name is Gauthier Rouger. I am originally from Biganos and live in the center of Bordeaux now. For those of you that don't know France, it's in the south west, not too far from the beach.
How old are you? I am twenty-two now.
How and when did you start skating? I started together with my brother when I was really young. My dad bought us a board and we started skating in front of our house. There was nothing to skate at first. Later on we discovered skateparks.
Both of you had a board? No, we shared one board.
Does your brother still skate? No, not at all. He doesn't care about skating anymore. Now he's into music and just lives a normal life. Skating didn't last long for him.
What was your first board? I got my first real board from my mom. We went to a skateshop and I got to pick a deck, trucks and wheels. I got a Flip board. That was when I was eleven years old.
And your first real skatespot? We only really had one spot in Biganos. It was an empty warehouse that was completely abandoned and a bit messy. We skated there and built things like manual pads and ledges from steel doors. The floor was good and we had a roof over our heads. That was when I was thirteen.
When did you start traveling for skating? I did little trips to Bordeaux with David Manaud (photographer) when I was riding for Lyrics, the local board company back then. We would go out every weekend with his car and skate the spots in the region.
Did you learn fast? Not at first. I was really happy when my wheels came of the ground with my first ollie. My first kickflip took me forever.
And ten years later we are doing this interview, to go along with your éS advertisment and the video part. The éS ad with the frontside feeble?
Yes, that's the one. How did you end up in Cyprus? It was a trip of the American éS ams. I was invited to join them for a week of skating. Of course I was stoked to go. It was in the middle of winter and the weather is really nice down there. A really good trip!
Did you have any idea what it's like there? Did you see any photos or footage? No, I hadn't seen anything from there. Eric (Antoine) the photographer had been there and knew some of the spots and some local skaters.
Did you think you could do a trick on the spot when you first saw it? Not really at first sight. The ground is not really good and it's quite high and dangerous.
Were you really scared to fall on the other side? That was my first apprehension, falling over into the big drop. This fear helped me stay on the inside and luckily nothing happened.
So there wasn't really an attempt where you almost fell down? I think there was one attempt that was kind of sketchy. But I tried for quite some time, so that's not too bad. I had to fight for this one.
It's true that it took you a while. Did you try the frontside feeble right away? I tried a tailslide quickly to test the spot with a trick that's safer. But the tailslide was actually scarier than the frontside feeble so I went for that. It took me about an hour to ride away from it.
That's not something you do all too often. You normally don't struggle too long for tricks… You know it happens sometimes. The frontside feeble is a trick I don't do all the time and the run up was bad. I was not able to get the right speed. It wasn't simple.
How many times did you think about giving up? I thought about it a few times. After one hour I took a ten minute break and tried again. And finally magic struck and one of the tries worked out. I don't even know how I pulled it off.
There were quite a few things going on around you… It's true. Everyone was watching and chilling under the trees in the little park next to the spot. But they were skating as well on the little bump. So I wasn't too disturbed by them. And I already got on well with everybody so it was ok. Not too much pressure.
Did hanging from the swing set help you make the trick? No, that was after I made the trick to stretch my muscles and stretch my brain as well. I needed to calm down after so many attempts.
Which other spots did you like in Cyprus? It's been a while ago now so I don't remember it that well. But there were the schools with the big blocks where I did the switch ollie and there was a nice marble plaza in Nicosia. That plaza was amazing. We skated all day and no one bothered us.
Did you get along with everybody? Anyone in particular? Yes, no problems, everybody was really friendly. Tyler Surrey and Kellen (James) were super cool to me. It was a really good crew. The trip was amazing.
So back to some general questions. Why do I get the impression that you are a bit slothful sometimes? Maybe that's because I am generally a laidback person. People notice that. But it's not all the time. But in general it's true that my attitude is quite nonchalant most of the time.
But it's also a question of motivation for you a lot of the time? Yes, sometimes I really don't feel all that well and it's quite visible for other people. But if I am with the right crew under good conditions it's much easier. If there's a good vibe I am much more active.
Is this typical for where you are from? Like the cliché of people from the south being lazy?? No, I don't think so. I don't know a lot of people who are like me. The only one is Jean Phi. He's a phenomenon of laziness.
How many hours of sleep do you really need each night? Well I go to be quite late and I don't get up too late. I try to get up at noon or one at the latest.
But that's also because of your job… Yes, I work until eleven at night, but not every day. I work three nights a week and don't go straight to bed after work. I go out with my coworkers and friends.
Are you going to be in the "Minuit" video that's coming out soon? Yes, I filmed for that and they are editing it at the moment. I am not sure if I will have a full part or share it with someone. There are quite a few people, including the Japanese skaters that came to Bordeaux.
What are you up to at the moment? Are you skating much? I just started again because of the accident. It's getting much better.
That's right, almost forgot about that. The photo looks scary! What happened? I look like Quasimodo! It happened on the way home on a Saturday night. I was driving the scooter with a friend on the back and just slammed going around a corner. I was driving and I got messed up.
But no broken bones? No, only my head got it bad. Luckily we were only 50 meters away from the hospital. I got four stitches on my temple that's all. I have been really lucky!
So you are going to be more careful on the scooter? You also use it for work? Yes, I have been working for Sushi Shop in Bordeaux for one year. I deliver sushi 3 nights per week on my scooter.
And you get to eat a lot of sushi? I can take some every night after work, but I'm not the biggest sushi fan. I give some to my friends and sometimes I eat some of it. But not more than a few, mostly the vegetarian ones.
What's your preferred food then? I have no specific preference. I like Spanish food and Italian is really good, like pizzas…
What about wine? Your region is known for it… Yes, I like wine and I learned quite a bit about it in my studies. Forgot most of it in the meantime though. I only drink red wine, no white or rose.
So if we dropped you in a supermarket with 15 Euros you would be able to choose a good bottle of whine? Of course, no worries. Even with five Euros you will get a good bottle of wine here in the region.
What about music? What do you listen to? I listen to a lot of rap, some old rock n roll and old reggae as well. The rap stuff is mostly French because that way I understand what they're saying. With American rap I don't understand the lyrics. Maybe one word per song.
What are your favorite movies? All of them are French films that don't translate too well but here's the top 3: 1. La cité de la peur 2. Le grand detournement 3. Les démons de Jésus
Do you watch TV? Any series? No, I get a headache from it!
Where would you like to travel to? For skating or just on a vacation… Japan seems like a cool place for skating, but it's a bit far away and there's always loads of people, not too into that. Marocco is a place I'd like to visit no matter if it's for skating or not.
You mentioned your studies earlier. What did you do? Yes, I did two years of studies in the hotel industry, with multiple internships. I didn't get my diploma in the end, but I could probably get a job in that sector.
Is that what you want to do later? Or do you have other plans? I don't really know. At the moment I have my life in Bordeaux and quite like it. No projects for later on at this point.
What's the funniest or craziest memory you have from skateboarding? There were a lot of funny and crazy situations when I lived in Tarnos (near Biarritz) in a house with 3-4 other skaters and we built a miniramp in the livingroom and a curb in front of the house. We had an improvised driving range at the house as well. We tried to hit the soccer stadium that was at the bottom of the hill.
Which one is your favorite éS shoe of all times? Which one do you skate now? I have always liked the Accel, but now I like the thinner shoes more. I skate the Duran and the Square Two, the thinnest ones to have as much board feel as possible. Even if my feet suffer sometimes…
Any last words? The thank you list? I'd like to thank 242 Skateboards, SAP Clothing (Bordeaux), Edyaoner Bearings and of course éS.