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Ok we have this thing for Bastien Salabanzi. He used to skate in front of our operation all the time because we were next to the Flip Filmer’s headquarters. To us he was totally insane. Possibly the world’s best skateboarder.
We heard through the grapevine he may have had a slight attitude problem, but whatever – who doesn’t right? He had an amazing part in Sorry, started winning tons of contests, maybe even got a shoe contract. Then he completely disappeared. Totally disappeared off the face of the earth. Well here he is killing it again.
So this is what I don’t get: Is he just doing the underground thing? Kind of like what Tom Penny did back in the late 1990s. Just hiding out? But then he pops out at contests and takes home winnings. Why doesn’t Plan B or Element try to pick him up? Is it because he has lost all his notoriety and none of the younger skater generation knows who he is? I’m sure with 4 weeks of magazine publicity and some Youtube effort he could be back on top.
Then there is the dark dark possibility of being blacklisted. This does happen to pro skaters every once in a while. If certain industry heads or the industry as a whole doesn’t like you, then you’re totally screwed. I’m pretty sure this happened to Chad Fernandez, Andy Macdonald, Gershon Mosely and Benji Galloway.
The story of Bastien is an odd one. He started off as a young kid on Flip. They found him in France and threw him on the team. His part in Sorry was incredible for the time. The next year after Sorry he won every street contest and became a poster child for Quiksilver. Then in 2004 he completely fell off the face of the planet. The word around the street was that he had a “bad attitude”. But when you are the good, you usually shake off the attitude issue and come back at some point. Bastien was a machine, he was a total natural at skateboarding. You don’t just disappear like that. The interesting thing is there was a pro for Flip in 1999 that followed a similar legacy. Spooky.