Leon Chapdelaine Interview

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Checking In

Leon Chapdelaine

Interview by Bob LaSalle

Photos by Nathan Éthier-Myette

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What's up?

Hanging in Mexico City. Drinking Clamato Sol. It's my first one.

What's your best Mexico City moment, so far?

Definitely getting moles with you and Chuck.

What's mole?

It's like a dark chocolate sauce that they put over these like fajitas, and it's really gnarly. It's pretty good.

You've been eating meat these days. Last time we spoke, you were vegan.


And you had been vegan your whole life, right?

No. I'd been vegetarian since like 13 or 14, then vegan for around a year, when I was like 19 or 20.

And now you decided to eat meat.

Yeah. I don't like seek it out, but it's just way more convenient, and I just like stopped caring, I guess. Sometimes you just need a meal with good protein, and there you go.

You wanted to have more protein in your life.

Something like that.

Rice and beans just wasn't cutting it anymore.

I love rice and beans.

That’s gnar. Do you remember when that switch in your head went off, and you decided to become gnar? Do you know what I'm talking about?

No, not even.

I think I remember kind of like when it happened. I feel like it was when you got your girlfriend, and you started getting laid regularly. It's like your confidence on your board just went through the roof, I noticed it at Taz one day.

Yeah, yeah.

Does that sound crazy?

No, people have told me that. That might have something to do with it. I don't really know. It could.

You don't see any kind of correlation or ...

Yeah, but it's not a like ... I don't think it's only because of that.

What else is it?

I don't know, maybe just finding who I am or something.

Who are you?

I'm Leon.

And what do you do?

Well, I live in Montreal. I live with Mackenzie [Carruthers] and Connor [Neeson]. I work at Compost Montreal. I've worked there for way too long. Now it sucks, because I've been working there so long. But you have to pay the rent, I guess. I have a girlfriend. I skate. I have a gym membership, listen to music, play a bit of piano.

You play piano?

Yeah, I used to when I was younger, and I started trying to get back into it this past winter.

What kind of tunes you got?

Hip-hop samples, classical or fooling around. Mostly just messing around. The keyboard does beats that you can just freestyle. I had to pick up some new hobbies in the winter.

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No-Comply Wallie

Gym membership?

Yeah, I've been working out a little.

That's why you need the protein.

Yeah. I feel a lot better, especially in the winter.

You've been on the road quite a bit recently. How does your girlfriend feel about you traveling a bunch?

She backs it. She also misses me.

And you miss her.

Yeah, definitely.

What does she say when you leave?

She's cool that I'm doing stuff. Seeing the world is the best. She agrees with that.

She probably gets jealous.

Yeah, the only thing she gets bummed on is that she would want to do trips with me as well.

When are you going to take her on a trip?

Well, maybe not on a skate trip, but on our own, for sure.

What kind of trips have you been on recently?

Before this, we just went to Italy for two weeks.

You guys saw a volcano erupt out there?

Actually, it's a funny story. The volcano started erupting in the evening. You can see it from down in the city, Catania. We decided to drive up to it to get a good view. We went to as far as you can drive and there's snow by that point. It's really cold. Me, Kevin [Lowry], and Adrian [Del Campo] decide to walk up for an hour and a half to get a better view. We thought it'd only take half an hour, but there kept on being ridges and stuff. We kept on wanting to turn back, but we made it to a ridge where we had a badass view and then stared at it for 25 minutes.

There's not too many people that get to witness an erupting volcano in their lifetimes.

It was fucking sick. We could hear it, too. I'm still juiced off it.

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Backside Noseblunt

What's it like filming all your best tricks on an iPhone and then putting them out instantly?

I don't really care. Just filming them is cool. It could be on whatever. It could be on a dad cam, could be on an iPhone. It's fine with me.

You just want people to see your stunts right away?

That's just how it goes on Dime trips. I'm cool with it.

Do you think it's the future or do you think Phil's losing it?

He pulls out the VX pretty rarely.

How many times did he pull the VX out on this Mexico trip?

Once, so far. Tomorrow's our last day.


Yeah. This is the most vacation-oriented trip that we've been on. Usually, we have a tour guide for every day so we hit way more spots. In Italy, we had a guy picking us up in a van. Then we'd just pull up to a spot. It was way faster. Here, we have to find a pin or something. It's messy. It's harder to find the spots.

Let's switch over to French. As tu ammené ton full-camo suit pour ce voyage?

Seulement les pantalons, j’ai oublié la chemise…

Pourquoi n’as-tu pas porté la boucle d’oreil de croix rosée?

Je vais peut-être la porter ce soir. Pour faire la fête.

[Leon puts on rose cross earing as Charles Rivard walks in]

Charles Rivard: C’est ou que tu as acheté cette boucle d’oreille? Elle est plutot fascinante.

A Toronto, au Faith Void [Record Store]. Conor [Neeson] nous a apporter labas. J’ai acheté cette boucle d’oreille et un grand collant de Mayhem.

CR: C’est quoi ta toune de Metallica préférée?

J’aime beaucoup Saint-Anger parce que je peux relate. J’aime écouter Saint-Anger pendant que je déguste une molé.

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What was the trip you were on before Italy?

A few months before that we went to Copenhagen and Paris. A week in each.

CR: What would you compare mole to in Copenhagen or Paris?

I guess this local fish on cracker thing that Phil had that made him feel pretty sick. I think he might have gotten the revenge from it.

Montezuma's revenge?

He might have gotten Montezuma's revenge from some fish on bread in Copenhagen. It's a crazy place.

What is Montezuma's revenge?

It's when you eat the local food, and you get sick. It's like tourist diarrhea.

What's the vibe like over in Copenhagen?

It’s super-advanced. It's almost perfect. Everything's thought out.

CR: What's the name of that shit part of town where there's no rules? You can buy drugs.


CR: What's it like?

It's cool. They have a few signs in there that say that there's three rules in Christiana. One's no running. And the other one is no taking photos. It's actually two rules.

What's the third one?

There's only two. It's not even three.

It says three rules and there's only two?

No, but it says two.

Why no running?

I don't know. You look sketchy because you're running away like you stole something. I don't know.

Did you take any photos?

I think I took one, yeah. There's a cool skate spot I took a photo of but it’s shit because I was running while I shot it. 

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Ollie-to-Frontside Wallride

What about Paris? Were you speaking French a lot there?

Yeah. That was cool because we were able to communicate. Met some cool dudes.

Were they cool with your Quebec accent?

A lot of them were. Some of them probably not. I didn't get any bad vibes.

You have a French name. What's that like?

Leon's all right.

It's your last name that's hard to pronounce.

Yeah, Chapdelaine is hard a lot of the time. It's pretty long. People have probably never heard it. Hard to pronounce. I'm down though. I don't hate it.

You're not going to change it to something cooler?

Maybe, I haven't thought of anything.

CR: What about Leon Shralpdelaine. I think Shralpdelaine would be pretty sick.

Damn. I could cut off my sleeves and spray paint Skate Rock on my shirt. Start wearing that.

Good call, Chuck. We're going to call you Leon Shralpdelaine from now on.


What's your next mission after Mexico?

Either find a new job or maybe go down to L.A. and meet Fos and skate with him. Been talking with him a bunch. That’d be cool.

So you're known for showing up at a spot and doing something really gnarly within five tries, and doing a bunch of other tricks. How do you get into that mind state where you can just commit to something and land it really fast?

I guess it's hard to get in that mind set sometimes. It's hard to commit, but I guess that's how I've always skated as well. It's just like everyone skates their own way. It's not only 'cause I'm trying to get a crazy trick or get gnarly. It's 'cause that's what's fun for me actually, so it's kind of weird how people look at it as—it's fucking insane, but it's just how I skate.

What's your favourite kind of skating?

When I skate, scary skating is the best.

What's scary skating?

Anything that gives you a rush. Like a rail or something. A scary spot.

[Phil Lavoie walks in]

PL: Tell me about Argus. What's Argus?

Argus is a game that Adrian [Del Campo], who's got the soul of a little kid, came up with. We were bored in the van and started messing with each other. Tearing up pieces of this one beer called Argus, the cardboard from the six-pack, and we started throwing it at each other.

PL: Why did you buy Argus?

Because it was $2.50 for a six pack.

PL: ARGUS! What did Argus transform in to?

It's pretty much a game that once you start it never ends. It's just messing with your friends.

PL: Is it just messing with your friends or does it get more serious than that?

It can be your fate in life. You can get Argused in any way.

Phil, how do you define getting Argused? You just get fucked over?

PL: Yeah, but you laugh about it. You would be bummed but since you're playing Argus, you're like, "ARGUS!," and you get stoked that you got fucked over. It makes life so much funnier because it's just ARGUS.

It's a great mindset.

PL: What's cool is that you can fuck over someone back if you're pissed. ARGUS! How did Kevin Lowry Argus us in Sicily?

He played a prank on you guys. 

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Smith Grind

PL: Kevin told us all the restaurants were closed. He was supposed to tell us that it was actually a lie and that he was bringing us pizza but we had already left and he forgot to tell us that it was a joke. So we walked two kilometres and climbed a fence to get McDonald's.

Made Adrian climb the fence, too. Adrian was injured.

PL: With a hurt ankle. So, Kevin's prank backfired on him and we walked two kilometres. Adrian had to hop a fence with a hurt ankle, then we ate the worst McDonald's food and on the way back we ran into a pack of wild dogs. We asked the tour guides about the wild dogs the next day and they were like, "They can kill you." ARGUS!

Imagine we came back to the house and you just killed a dog and Kevin's like, "That was a joke, ARGUS!’’ So the game Argus transformed into, ‘’MCDONALD’S’’!

PL: At first we didn't get Kevin's joke but then we understood. ‘’MCDONALD’S!” That was his joke. So we figured out that Kevin has a shitty sense of humour.

He's the master of playing Argus.

He invented Argus. 

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