Florentin Marfaing interview

Half French, half German. Living in Barcelona but trotting the globe. Flo still lives the life.
By Eric Mirbach

35 years of mind-blowing technical skateboarding: Flo Marfaing is and always has been one of the household names of German… no, French… no, European skateboarding.

From Nollie Backside Nosebluntslides on handrails in shabby indoor parks way before his time, to a legendary Puzzle part with a couple of never-seen-before manoeuvres down the ‘Le Dome’ hubbas in Paris, to pro-models on Seek and Santa Cruz… and back.

We are honoured to be able to bring you this little 'what’s up' with one of our leading lights.

Florentin Marfaing
Florentin Marfaing © Julien Deniau

Hi Flo. What’s up and where are you right now?

I’m in Barcelona, Spain.

You live there, right? What’s your take, how has the city changed over the years?

Barcelona has this special vibe going on. Always has and always will, I guess. Lots of sun, it never rains and there are new spots popping up in the suburbs everywhere, so yeah – Barcelona still has it!

Things didn’t work out – but I always try to see things positively, you know…

Flo on parting with Santa Cruz

You have a wife and a kid in Norway though, right?

Yeah, but we’re together a lot, the distance doesn’t matter too much. I’m just sitting on planes a lot.

There are days when Florentin Marfaing is spinning on Facebook all morning, a couple of sunny gangster tunes to set the mood. So I take it you’re regularly digging in the crates, two turntables in the living room, that’s your thing?

[Laughs] Damn right, that’s my living room, two turntables and a nice selection of vinyl. Talking genres, I really like rap because I grew up with it, but I’m very open-minded and like all styles of music, really.

I like listening to funk, jazz, soul, rock, reggae or ska, but rap goes great with skating. I love rap beats! Luckily, my neighbours all seem to be slightly on the hearing-impaired side of things…

Florentin Marfaing, Switch Backside Heelflip
Florentin Marfaing, Switch Backside Heelflip © Julien Deniau

How often do you manage to visit the old hood of Mülheim an der Ruhr in Germany?

I used to still have a flat there back in the day, but finally had to give it up. I stay in touch with my friends, though. I don’t manage to visit too often, even though the whole region is pretty cool.

You’re getting boards by Blaze Supply. So no more Santa Cruz, then?

I’m on Blaze for a year now and, from where I stand, it’s one of the best brands in Europe. The shapes and the quality is top notch. I’m pretty hyped to have enough boards to go out and shred again.

Santa Cruz was cool though, I had great times with Alex [Carolino]. Things didn’t work out in the end, but I always try and see things positively, you know.

With Blaze, maybe things are a little less complicated now. They’re close friends after all, and the crew are just great!

So you’re through with American brands then? Seek going down, now Santa Cruz didn’t work out…

Not completely, I’m still skating for Satori and these guys are my friends and I’ve been on the team forever. I have my own pro-model now, it’s called 'Sagrada Familia'.

Florentin Marfaing, Frontside Noseslide
Florentin Marfaing, Frontside Noseslide © Julien Deniau

If I might ask, how do you make a living nowadays, as a European skateboarder, what with the economy down the drain?

I’ve been riding for Vans Europe for a very long time and these guys have always supported my skating big time. I’m really grateful for that. It’s not too easy to get a shoe-deal nowadays. I have to say, though, I’m not too sure how long I’ll be able to keep skating professionally.

… and you have plans with your griptape company Souljah anyhow.

I lucked out on that one because I just have the best partner ever. Simon was my filmer back in the day, we started working together 14 years ago and he always had my back. He was more stoked to go out and film than I was on actually skating myself at times.

One day, we figured we’ve known each other for such a long time, we could totally set up a small brand – of sorts. I’ve been talking with Alex a lot, too, and we finally opted for griptape because, at the time, most griptapes on the market pretty much blew. Little to no grain at all.

So we wanted to change that. Alex will take care of South America, Simon and I cover Europe and the rest of the world. It’s a lot of fun. I mean, it’s our baby. Check out our website!

When was the last time you saw Alex?

Only seven weeks ago. We had a blast! We went skating every day and the vibes were just great. We started in Paris and met Franck Barratiero and all the boys from the Lordz camp from back in the day.

It was just like the old days; we’ll try and meet more often in the future, that’s for sure. I mean, we Skype on a regular basis, but going skating together? Not so much.

What are your plans for the new year, Flo?

I just want to go skating a lot, put in some more work to make Souljah grow and prosper, maybe travel a little if possible and spend the rest of my time with my daughter.

We’ll see what’s next. I love it when life’s a freestyle. Greetings from Barcelona, everybody! Peace!

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