A tournament for real snowboarders and classy footballers.
We hooked up with Florent de Maria, one of the founders of this classic summer event, to have a chat about what is the Atlantic Cup and why it's having more and more fans throughout the snowboarding world.
What is the atlantic cup in three adjectives?
Honor, vengeance and testosterone. Oh wait, they are names. Hedonistic, sexy, unfair.
Got it. Now what is the Atlantic Cup for real and why there's such a thing as the Atlantic Cup? Who came up first with the idea and when?
I'll answer these two questions at the same time. I met Ed Leigh some years ago in Laax during the Burton European Open, and he was trying to gather people very late at night to do a small tournie on the morning after. Considering the heavy damages from the party, I was surprised he made it happen. It was such a fun day, and it was great as everybody was mixed in different teams. Riders, industry people, friends, girlfriends, etc. We had a team of bandits (Nico Müller, Basti Balser, Drew Stevenson, etc.) and made it to the glory.
The year after, Ed & I talked about gathering several nations to play in Biarritz. People loved the event so much that, two years later, in 2012, we decided to start something even more "serious", with the help of Xavier Marcou from ho5 too. If I remember, 8 teams showed up, all constituted of riders and industry people. The Atlantic Cup was born. It is simple a way for all these people to understand that running behind a ball is way tougher than riding a steep line. Even my mom can do that.
Who's supporting it?
Nike has been involved since last year and made all of us look so much better in these beautiful kits, kicking these shiny balls. Next year will probably be next level again, as it will happen in the same time than the official 2014 WC in Brazil, so we expect more people, more evenings together, some screenings of official games to teach all these lousy haters what soccer is really about. And we also a very special help from our friends at the Beach House in Anglet, this little piece of paradise, since they've been hosting all our gatherings from scratch. Merci Lupo, Kinou and Kiwi.
What keeps it special and why? What do you personally like the most out of it (apart from you playing with beasts like Andreas Wiig and Terje Haakonsen)?
It's kinda hard to imagine that snowboarders could play soccer, or even like it. But many of them are super stoked about it and really take it serious about coming down and playing for few days. It's pretty funny to see them all equal in their sexy soccer kits, and realize how good, clumsy, smart, poetic some are. I just enjoy the fact that everybody comes down for a week, where we all hang out, play some sports, show the world that our team is the best - well, that was the plan, gather for some dinners or anything else, etc. It's quite a healthy week at the end because of the tournament, the surf or the walk home at 6am because of the non-existence of cabs down here. And everybody is really stoked to see each other again. There is such a good vibe and no stress at all since the tournament is really friendly... until the semi-finals.
How long does it take to organise it?
It takes quite some time and finger typing. Loads of emailing to get people to organize their own team, meaning picking players, organizing the trip, the accommodation and so on. Plans are constantly changing, because of new dates, last-minute cancellation, midsummer. But all in all, it's not too much of a hassle and Xavier is such a good logistic guy that it makes everything so much easier. Plus Matthieu Giraud joined the fun for all the PR and teenage social networks!
Who's the most addicted on football amongst the ones who showed up this year? Who's the best one, football-wise speaking?
Well, I'd say Terje for sure. Skipping dinners with us to stay home and watch the Confederation Cup. That's quite some move. I thought I was a soccer nerd (I can watch 7 or 8 games a weekend sometimes...), but he nailed it on this one. But we are quite a lot to be addicted to it to be honest, it's almost ridiculous... The best one, hmm... Probably Steve Adams? He has some moves, you couldn't make them in twenty years. It's a mix between telemark and water-polo.
Could you sum up which awards were handed out to who at the end of it?
Well, there we go again... Steve Adams and Jon Strieby won together the awards of the best poets. Players who really influence our way of playing. Or how to run in the opposite direction of the ball, pick flowers, be a pretty blindfold ballerina on the pitch. Soren Manzoni, the Spanish Fly, also known for his Nasty Mondays parties, won the best goalie. That motherfucker is good. Andreas Wiig has injured more people than a plane crash would, so definitely deserved his best defender award. And Fidel Alonso won best player. A taller version of Xavi Hernandez, with the face of Dave Grohl - except that he has sexier curly hair.
Where the atlantic cup is going towards.. a bright future? I mean, what are the main/next goals of it?
Next year, we're aiming to have 12 teams. A real World Cup, during the other World Cup in Brazil. Sweden, Germany, USA, Austria are supposed to show up. UK will be back after a short break this year. We're trying to make something special to link both events somehow, so we already started to talk with our partner for the next edition. It should be totally cool. More people, more fun, more jokes, more legs to break or bite for Andreas. We'd like to find the perfect format, in order to get a complete week where we can all hang out together, make it easier for everyone, but also more exciting. With more teams, the challenge will even be stronger, haha! Needless to say, Norway will be back, way more dead serious.
If you wanna add something more...
I just wanna thank all the people who came down to play and all the ones who helped organizing it. You, for the devoted drive from Italy, Xavier, the Beach House in Anglet, which is an amazing place and which helped us massively, Matthieu Giraud, who did a lot of good PR job, Ed for the inspiration, my team (Marius, Terje, Arild, Fredrik, Andreas, Kimi, Trond, Frode and our spicy surprise player Ida), etc. It was awesome to get all the different generations together, I mean, Michi Früh joined the Swiss team, the guys is twice the age of some kids, he's a snowboarding legend, and he was impressively fit and strong on the pitch, such a rock. Also, a big hug to Kiwi, who was so motivated that he broke his foot the evening before after jumping over the couch.