Words by Anthony Pappalardo
In a documented career that’s spanned roughly half of his time on this earth, Lucas Puig’s flick, finesse, and flair have made his style of skating unmistakable.
Generational standouts always seem to blend skill with personality and Puig’s been in that sweet spot since he skated to Frank Zappa wearing some highly rolled up dungarees in Cliché’s 2003 full-length Bon Appetit.
So yes, Puig possesses the Holy Trinity of how you look on a board, what you choose to skate, and actual trick selection, but it doesn’t end there. The Paris-born pro also has a passion for product design, both with his brand Hélas (launched with his friends Clement Brunel and Stephen Khou), and his signature shoes on adidas Skateboarding. Whether he’s looking at a spot or digging through the adidas archives for design inspiration, Puig’s intrinsically interested in putting his unique stamp on things, especially when his name’s attached to it.
Since the demise of Cliché, Puig’s been in board sponsor limbo, but keeping busy releasing shoes with adidas, rehabbing a knee injury, working on Hélas, as well as surfing. On the heels of the adidas Skateboarding X Hélas capsule featuring a custom Matchcourt, windbreaker tracksuit, polo shirt, t-shirt, shorts and two custom headwear pieces, I caught up with Puig to pick his brain about design influence, short-shorts, and who the hell is going to put his name on a skateboard again.
I’m going to get roasted if I don’t ask, but since the end of Cliché, everyone is curious as to where you’ll end up?
I think everyone has an idea where I’m going to end up so let’s see if they are right or wrong. It’s not like I won’t have a board sponsor again. I’m lucky enough to have time to think about it.
To not have Cliché in my life anymore was a big change and it definitely has affected me because I literally grew up with them. Jeremie (Daclin) was the best while on tour. He taught me a ton and I’m going to miss the team a lot. It was always the best on tours, even when it was hard. Now looking back, I think we were all so blessed to have this experience in our lives that was also very educational for us.
You’ve been surfing a lot in the past year or so, have you seen that translate to your skating at all, which has typically been tighter and more street influenced?
No, I don’t think surfing has an influence on my skateboarding. The opposite may be more accurate. But to be able to surf and be in the water with friends helps me to keep in shape—or try to (laughs). Surfing also makes me happy and more focused when I skate.
How’s the recovery been from your surgery and has it changed your approach to skating at all?
Now that I’m done with rehab, I just have to continue exercising two times a week, which is realistically more like two times a month right now for me. I don’t think it has changed my technique but I’ve never felt happier to be back on my board.
Touring and visiting new places is one of the best built-in benefits to skating. What would you tell someone reading this in the US or Asia about why they should visit Toulouse or France in general?
First, France is not a big country so it’s easy to go from spot to spot or city to city—by train, subway, bus, etc. Second, architecture in France is good for street skaters—Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and for sure Toulouse, have great curbs, plazas and hidden spots.
In general, French people complain all day long so don’t think we are rude. That’s just the national sport, but we are still friendly. French people are really ‘bons vivants’. We love food, which is good here, wine and pretty girls.
As a skater who’s essentially grown up on camera, from Bon Appetit to Away Days, how have you seen your style and your approach to filming evolve, and what are your biggest influences especially towards ledge skating?
I don’t think my style in skateboarding has changed too much. Mostly, I skate the same kind of spots with the same kind of tricks but I always try to learn new stuff. Basically, the most stunning thing is when people could see me physically growing up through the video parts, but still wearing tracksuit pants [laughs].
Regarding my influence, for sure I watch all the videos and it gives me ideas. However, now I try to do what is in my ability, but also what I haven’t done yet at the spot I have in front of me.
What was the inspiration to run short-shorts?
No one in the US dared to skate in them until you broke that boundary down, in fact, just skating in shorts at all was kind of cut. It all started during a [Cliché] Gypsy tour. The weather was too hot so it was easier to skate with swimming shorts on, directly from skate spots to the sea [laughs]. Actually, I found it to be pretty cool because I can see my feet on the board and I can move my legs in any kind of way.
Your shoes always stand out and seem really informed by sport heritage and that heritage build into adidas. What’s your favorite part about designing a new product?
It’s really nice because you can tell what you love and what is important to you for a skate shoe. You can choose your inspiration like a tennis shoe for the Lucas Premiere ADV and most importantly, I can finally have a touch of pink in my shoe (laughs).
What’s next for Lucas Puig?
The world, chico, and everything in it.