Achel Machin Interview: Sessions, Style & Savants
Skies out, no-complys out. Photo: Lotfi Lamaali
You know those people who look like such a natural on a board, you must assume they’ve been all-in since they first stepped foot on one? Well, Paris Truck Co. and Blood Orange team rider, Achel Machin, is one of them. Except in his case, Machin began on a street skateboard and faded out of the skate community after a string of injuries, only to fall head over heels for longboarding eventually. Somewhere in the midst of his time on and off the board, Machin put himself in the presence of the right inspirations to help transform from a beginner street skater to one of the craftiest longboard dancers in the vibrant Paris community.
On a recent trip over to the West Coast, we got to chill with Machin at Dock Sessions in San Diego and later shot him a few questions about his early influences, filming efforts and traveling experiences:
Is this still considered a tuck at this angle? Photo: Abou Seck
What made you transition from street skateboarding to longboarding?
I did some skateboarding when I was between 10 and 14 years old, back in France. It was really basic. I did some ollies, kickflips and boardslides. I was never really good at it and eventually I had to stop because I kept hurting myself.
Then, one day during my university years, one of my close freinds showed up with a longboard and I was like, ‘Dude why? Get a real skateboard. What are you gonna do with that?' I teased him a little bit just like I get teased for riding a longboard but then he took me to Dock Sessions where most of the French longboard scene was (at least freestyle and dancing-wise). I saw Lotfi Lamaali riding and it just blew my mind. I had absolutely no idea you could do so many things with a longboard. It was sort of like love at first sight. I bought a longboard the next week and I started riding, watching videos and I got super into it.
How did Dock Sessions end up impacting your longboard career?
I could see that every time I went to Dock Sessions I enjoyed it a bit more. Every time I learned a new trick or a new step, I would feel crazy about it so I just kept going and started to realize it wasn’t just a phase.
That’s why pretty quickly I wanted to give back to Dock Sessions for everything it had given me. I started helping out at first just doing photos and videos and then through time, I started to help organizing the events, hosting them, managing the social media and everything.
Cross walks weren't exactly made for shuvits... but we're not complaining. Photo: Lotfi Lamaali
What was it like filming with Eduardo Campos on the Software Update video?
It was a lot of fun. This video was my first actual job as a filmmaker for Paris Trucks. I never studied filmmaking or anything so I always felt pretty amateur when it came to it. This video was kind of my opportunity to step up so for me it was a big deal and I put so much effort into it.
We went out with Eduardo for like 4 or 5 whole days when it was the beginning of the very hot days in Paris so it was a lot but at the same time it was super fun. I think that when you shoot a video with someone, especially for so long, you really get to know that person. You see that person push their limits. You see that person with no more protection because that’s just what skating for 5 or 6 hours straight does to you.
It was really great getting to know Eduardo in that way because he never stops. He lives, dreams and sleeps longboarding. It first, it was almost hard to have a conversation with him that wasn’t about longboarding because longboarding just runs through his veins. Eduardo was super committed to that video as well becuase for him, it was his first big, clean video for a big brand so he was also extremely psyched about it. We both were super stoked about that video, we both put a lot of effort into it and that’s what was really energizing.
Speaking of Paris Trucks, what do you like about riding them?
When it comes to dancing and freestyle, for me, Paris Trucks are the one. They are the standard for most of the people who want to do dancing and freestyle because the way they are built and the way they react are great. I was actually joking with one of the Paris riders who was changing her Savants for a new pair after two years. I said as a joke that the only bad thing about the Savants is that you don’t get to set up a fresh pair on a fresh set up because you never break them!
What about wheels? Anything specific you like about Blood Oranges?
I’m stoked to still be able to ride those wheels because at first, I was riding for Caliber and Blood Orange and then when I switched to Paris Trucks I was really afraid that I would have to leave Blood Orange as well. I’m really thankful that this didn’t happen because for me, those are the wheels.
Mostly I ride the Morgan Series and it’s just magic for me. There’s a smoothness that I’ve never felt on any other wheel because all the other wheels I’ve ridden have either been too soft and slow or faster and more slippery and wouldn’t feel smooth any more. The way they managed to make such a perfect balance is incredible.
Flick it and stick it. That's the name of the game. Photo: Abou Seck
How often do you travel and what do you like about skating in different cities?
I’ve been traveling quite a lot thanks to longboarding. It makes traveling so much easier and better because whenever you go to a now country, you are not really a tourist because you get welcomed by a local community and they show you the cool stuff directly. Also you get to discover really different communities.
For example, in Paris, Lotfi has had a huge impact on the way that people ride over there because basically you go to a Dock Sessions, you see this super talented guy and you’re like ‘Okay, I wanna do this.’
For me, it was really interesting to discover that in other countries. Every community has one, two or three top riders that set the kind of tricks and the styles that the whole community is going to have. Then of course, within the community, you have people that are going to want to stick to that thing and you have other people who will want to express themselves differently and are going to create different things. For me that was very interesting and mind-opening to see the different styles and ways of doing longboard dancing and freestyle.
How do you feel about the dancing community, especially outside of the US, blowing up?
I think that now, the panel of good riders is so diverse and the social media has spread in such a broad way that it can feel like every community starts to have a little bit of everything. You can see that the borders sort of fade for a more global community.
Also, I feel like every community has a dominance. For example, in Asia, their style is very noticeable and it’s more than a sport, its a way of life - a trend. Its also in some countries becoming more of a fashion thing. Every group has their own identity.