Maxime Genin Interview

From the streets of Grenoble to the Tampa Pro finals!
By Greg Poissonnier

Max has been on quite a journey since he first stepped on a board aged 11. The V7 Teenage Tour contest in 2003 was the first manifestation of this young talent with a weakness for big rails. From there on, everything gelled and he never really quit the limelight, accumulating press coverage and contest results along the way. Not everything has been that easy on the sponsorship front, but with a solid part for DC France last year, he just reached the finals of the 2 biggest pro comps in the world, Tampa Pro and CPH Pro. Always motivated, when we asked him about this interview and exclusive part, we didn’t have to wait for too long before getting his answer.

Maxime Genin
Maxime Genin © Florian Lanni

Hey Max, how are you? Where are you right now?
I’m doing good, how about you ? I’m at home in Barca chilling, all good, we’re going on skate missions during the day or going to the beach if it’s too hot- living the good life !

How’s your summer going?
I’ve travelled here and there- the summer circuit, you know? I went on a few tours also but now I can take it easy all of August, half resting as I’m still skating!

You had two big contest results this year (12th Tampa Pro & 8th CPH Pro), did you notice a change in the way the other riders, and particularly non-Euro riders, look at you since then?
Honestly? Yes really, obviously more from the Americans. I’ve known the SPoT dudes from way back when I was on Volcom and I used to enter the Damn Am comps and stuff, but still I was estonished that they’d let me through to the finals in Tampa. There are a lot of big names that didn’t make it, and usually in Tampa it’s quite ‘business’, it’s really important for them to have the bigger names in the finals… so I was really happy and didn’t have any pressure, all the pros who were in the finals were really cool to me. P.Rod would always come past and say ‘So cool that a Euro made it in the finals, it’s too rare’, they’d high five me, everyone just super mellow, I felt at home! All the ones I’ve seen again in CPH came to say ‘Hi’, they remember now!

Maxime Genin, Backside Overcrooked
Maxime Genin, Backside Overcrooked © Florian Lanni

And does it slightly modify your relationship with your sponsors?
Not for now, but I hope it will in the near future, because I put a lot of energy into going to all these contests… it can be boring sometimes, I hope I’ll get positive feedback ‘cause what I did is demanding, there aren’t a lot of people who’d travel by themselves to go to a comp in the US. I did a mission once to enter the Street League selections at the DC Embassy, I was in the US, flew back to try my luck, then flew back to Tampa, even though some people were saying it might not be worth as the level is so high… but I wanted to go and at the end of the day everybody was happy I did!

Was the fact that you’re riding for an unknown brand in the US a problem for entering these pro comps?
Not at all, I showed them my pro board on the internet and they said ‘OK, no worries’, it might also be because they know me for a very long time…

What’s your take about the X-Games coming to Europe with Street League and so on… do you wish that it’d be more open to Euro riders, and what about the possible creation of a world tour circuit like in other traditionnal sports? Would it be a good or a bad thing?
Well it depends from where you’re looking at it, for example, for us sponsored riders, it shows skateboarding to a lot of people, grows the market, it’s positive, and people who don’t know skatebaording won’t see us as marginals anymore. Of course, purists will consider that it’s becoming like football, depends where you stand. On my side I think it’s cool, we’re more considered by people, they don’t see it as a kid’s toy any longer…now a world tour I’m not too sure about, it might get too close to ‘regular’ sports…

Maxime Genin, Switch Frontside Flip
Maxime Genin, Switch Frontside Flip © Florian Lanni

Ok, enough contest talk- you released a pretty heavy part last year for the French DC project ‘What we are’, usually people associate you with jumping down big stuff, but the section you proved that you can also get tech, are you getting older (laughs)?
No not at all, I only had one year to film it because I jumped into the project when it had already started, but it’s true that people tend to put riders in boxes, like I’m only skating rails… but I wanted to show that I’m able to skate something else. For sure, when I’m on a shooting mission, I’d rather skate rails or stairs, it pumps me, ‘cause when you’re at home, you’re chilling you know ? Doing tech stuff, skating easy- you see what I mean ? But it’s true that I also wanted to show that type of skating!

You filmed this part for us in less time that you’d need to say it, are you always filming? What’s a typical day for Max Genin?
In fact I do have pretty busy days, I’m not too much of a chiller. I don’t sleep much, about six hours a night unless I party, of course. So I wake up, usually I play poker all morning, then I go eat, after that I call friends to go and film, which I do all afternoon even if I don’t have a specific project. I try to film all the time, I collect footage, it keeps me motivated… then I come back home, play poker again or go for a few drinks with friends- that’s basically it!

Do you make any money out of playing poker?
Not too much these days but sometimes I do and it’s pretty complimentary with my skating. Actually I’m taking lessons from Raphaël Brunis these days, that’s what I’d like to do after my skate career. Both are pretty similar, some say ‘Yeah, but you can lose a lot’, but you can break an ankle skating, it’s the same.

Maxime Genin, Frontside Feeble Grind
Maxime Genin, Frontside Feeble Grind © Florian Lanni

Tell us a bit about Propaganda skateboards, what was the story to getting on there? And do they have a new French recruit?
I was on tour in Thessaloniki in Greece with Kevin Metallier. At the time I had been on Foundation flow for about 8 years, but nothing was really happening and I felt there was no future with them. Yeah it was cool to ride for a US brand and all that, I’ve been to Corey Duffel’s place over there and it was really cool but at the end of the day nothing was going on. Propaganda gave me the opportunity to turn pro and to be involved in the brand’s projects, and it’s because of that move that I’ve been able to enter Tampa Pro, CPH and so on. The dude behing it, Haris (Kazantzidis) is really motivated to make it happen, so commited… and yeah, the new recruit is Julien Merour. I introduced him to Haris, he was sponsor- and budget- less, and he’s my buddy so it’s cool to have him on for the tours and stuff!

What are your projects for the end of the summer and after?
For now I’m half-chilling, at the end of August I’m going to St Jean de Luz, France, for the DC skatecamps, then September/ October, not many projects but Propaganda wanted to organize a tour in Bulgaria and there’s a video in progress so I have another part to film!

I think we’re getting to the end of this interview, anything you want to add?
I do have people to thank but I’m afraid I’ll forget some- all my sponsors, La Glisse, Kev who helped me a lot through Moskova, Harris at Propaganda, David and FX at DC, my parents who have always supported me and my skating, my friends and everyone who helped me out!

Thanks Max!

Maxime Genin, Switch Frontside Heelflip
Maxime Genin, Switch Frontside Heelflip © Florian Lanni
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