“Skate on gut feeling...and have fun with it”: An interview with Julien Cudot
The FISE World Series Roller World Cup this year was full of insane moves and daring feats, sending the crowds into a wild frenzy. One man who found himself doing this more than anyone was Julien Cudot - the 2017 champion. We caught up with the Flying Frenchman to find out how he got into Roller and the secrets behind his aggressive skating style.
When did you first get into Roller?
I was around 7 or 8 years old. I tried a lot of sports as a kid - football, judo, basketball, tennis, swimming, but never went further than the first lesson. Then I asked my parents if I could try skating.
My mom took me to Roller Park Avenue - the biggest skate park in Europe based in the suburbs of Paris. It was the worst day of my life – I kept falling over. I then asked my father one year later to bring me back there and I started to feel fine on my skates and haven’t stopped since.
You are 2017 Roller Freestyle Park World Cup winner. What was the FISE World Series like for you this year?
It was sick. Since Roller was at three stops this year there is much more entertainment for everyone. But you need to be completely focused - you can’t miss a step if you want to get in the top 3. Some of my friends who are skaters came back to compete this year and tied with me (I’ll name Romain Godenaire). The courses were very different and bigger this yeah. I’m praying there will be more steps next year to take Roller to a whole new level.
Where is your favourite place to skate?
Roller Park Avenue still in my heart, as is “Les Boudins” in Bercy.
You have a very aggressive and daring skating style. How did this come about?
I think it’s because I learnt the basics in skate parks and on vert ramps. I also did trampolining and cliff diving whilst I was very young - so I was pretty comfortable in the air doing spins and flips. Plus, when my local skate park closed, I had to skate in other skate parks and on the street, taking on rails and ledges.
When I was small, I competed in competitions against big pros and some of my heroes, so I had to do obstacles, which were normal size for anyone, but big for me.
Having friends and spending time with people like Stephane Alfano make you realize that you can do a lot of things you only dared to think were possible, just because of the standards we set in our minds.
One of the highlights of this year’s series was your huge front clip onto the top of the drop-in ramp in Budapest. Talk us through what went through your head before you did the trick and afterwards.
I thought a lot about it! I joked to Romain [Godenaire] when we arrived on the course for the first day, “imagine doing a front flip up there.” For my 2nd run of the semi-final I did a 360 up there and I was sure it was possible to do a front-flip. My ankle still was not perfect and even though I was sure it was doable, it would be the first trick of my run and could have screwed up my whole run if I failed, but I really wanted to do it!
I started my run with a bomb (I had to make one of the judges move to do it) and afterwards I just thought “I landed it!” I dabbed and then dropped in to keep my run going. It was the best feeling run ever, and achieved against all expectations.
You have built a reputation for being a top park skater. Does your approach differ between skating in a park contest and skating in a street contest?
I didn’t enter many skate street contests – I think my approach is different because I learnt in skate park where it feels more natural to me. I still take time to do some street skating, but it depends on the kind of spot. I just enjoying shouting to my friends and other skaters like a good groupie.
What do you see in the future of Roller?
I think people outside rollerblading will pay more and more attention to aggressive inline because it’s getting more entertaining. Even if we are not the first extreme sport on the list, we’re on it and what we do is sick.
I hope for more competitions like FISE World Series so people can see this, whether it is at other festivals or shows.
I’d like it to be seen as a more professional sport with more involvement from sponsors and more coverage – I believe it will happen one day!
What advice would you give to aspiring roller athletes?
Just skate as much as you can - wherever you want, whenever you want. Let your skills come naturally. Skate on gut feeling - not your head or your heart, and have fun with it. If what you’re doing feels right – go with it.