Maxime Castillo - Leader Of The French Revolution

The heavyweights of the French bodyboarding world are taking over. You’ve already got the likes of PLC tearing up every single world class wave on this planet. Then you’ve got Moz over in The Canaries making Fronton look like a walk in the park, and now we have Maxime Castillo basing himself both at home in France, as well as in Portugal (Nazare) making easy work of the waves in both countries.

We’re lucky enough to be able to premiere the proof that Maxime Castillo looks like being one of the next big things to come from France in the world of bodyboarding. (Not that proof is needed with Maxime being the current European champion).

We also thought we’d quiz Maxime about life, the World Tour, living between two countries and the future of French bodyboarding…

Video by: Palm Prod / Delarue Film / Pédro luis 

Edited by: Edouard Houssin

MM: Congrats on being crowned European Champion in December! How did it feel to take out the title?

MC:  Big Thanks! It feels just so good to come back home with this precious title, I was and I still am really happy about this crazy end of the year.

This European Tour is really difficult with a really high level and some tough waves to deal with, but this year was a good year because we got 4 different stops in 4 countries (Portugal, France, Canary Island & Morocco) so a good battle over a whole year in different places and types of waves, so yeah it was a good year for the ETB Tour.

Like I said we have such a high level on this European Tour, a lot of talented bodyboarders between all the different countries (Spain, Portugal, Morocco ..) you have guys like PLC , Alex Uranga, Antonio Cardoso, Dino Carmo, Daniel Fonseca, Kevin Orihuela, Brahim Iddouch, Annas Haddard and many more... The older generation of bodyboarders like Hugo Pinheiro, Manuel Centeno are still there sometimes and still ripping and the new generation with young talented boys like Armide (new APB world champ), the French boys and many other young guys are killing it! So yeah imagine this talented community of bodyboarding in just one Tour, combine it with challenging conditions and then you realize how tough the ETB Tour really is.

For me it was a dream to win the title one day, I had already finished 2nd once behind PLC, but after maybe 5 or 6 years following this Tour the day came and I finally took out the Title !

It was not easy, I came alone to the last stop in Morocco and I was 3rd in the rankings. Kevin Orihuela was far in the lead... so many good riders there that you've never heard of and they are so motivated, they could kill your dream at any point!

I will always remember the night alone in Morocco, the day before the final day, I was thinking that I just need to make the final to become Champion. Just 2 more heats to win and yes, the dream came true. I made it to the final and lost in a man on man heat against the legend Adnane Benslimane, but my objective was done; I become the New 2018 European Champion!

This task was almost impossible when arriving in Morocco, so achieving it was a crazy feeling.

Photo: Hellio Antonio

Photo: Hellio Antonio

With a European title under your belt and an 11th ranking in the APB in 2018, Is a World Title campaign on the cards for you this year?

Honestly no I don't think so. I still have a lot of things to work on with regards to my surfing, the World tour is really difficult.

For me the World tour at the beginning was a dream, to be on the Tour, travelling around the world to surf the best waves of the planet for bodyboarding, with your idols and having the goal to beat them during a heat was just so huge!

When I finished my junior years with a nice little start to my career (French Champion, Euro Champ & ISA World Champ) it was an accomplishment for me to arrive on the World Tour, because it's not an easy thing to do ...

So now that I've competed on the world tour and have been in the top 16 for three years now, I’ve slowly but surely realised my dream of competing with the world’s best and have made my mark. I am being realistic with myself and giving myself the time to prepare step by step to one day maybe be world champ. For me there is no rush and I don't want to get my hopes up too soon. There are so many good riders on the world tour and I personally think that the experience is the one of the important factors of our sport. Good things take time.

I’ve slowly but surely realised my dream of competing with the world’s best and have made my mark.
— Maxime Castillo

Let’s be honest here Maxime, Is it your Girlfriend or the waves at Praia do Norte that keep you coming back to Nazare? Ahah

Hahaha! That's a tough question, I don't know how to answer that.

No for sure, It's Teresa that brings me back to Nazare and who helped me explore and experience this amazing place the best way possible. But yeah, this place is amazing, and the waves are really good in Nazare for bodyboarding when it’s not gigantic. Nazare is filled with so many talented riders like Dino and Antonio and the whole Nazare crew who really pushes my riding. Portugal has so many good waves and there are more not too far from here that are pretty good. I think Nazare is the place to be.

Is it difficult living between two places while also following the world tour?

No, Not really. I have figured out a balanced lifestyle where in France I have my family time and work, where friends and family welcome me home and motivate me to leave for Portugal to prepare for the world tour and ride as many waves as possible to better myself as an athlete.

Who’s the funniest… most annoying… most focused… riders on the world tour?

Hahaha! The funniest guy would have to be Brahim (Iddouch), he always makes me laugh.  Most annoying is also Brahim and the most focused is for sure not Brahim! ahaha

Photo: Flo Alzay

Photo: Flo Alzay

You teach surfing but bodyboard between lessons. Do you ever get any strange looks or comments?

No, and if someone has a problem with it, I’ll grab my surfboard and show them how to get barrelled.

You grew up in the French seaside town of Arcachon, just outside of Bourdeaux. Did being so close to the ocean see you get into bodyboarding naturally at a young age? Or were there other factors?

Yeah to be honest I started bodyboarding a bit late compared to other riders, the first time I caught a wave was on a surf board, but quickly got onto bodyboarding at the age of 9 or 10. After I took bodyboarding more seriously at around 11 or 12 I competed in my first contest. It was from that moment that I actually started to practice more & more!

My Mom and Dad had never surfed in their life, only recently with me ahaha. But they have always supported me and helped me to turn my dream into a reality.

It's my uncle Nico who was himself, very passionate and addicted to bodyboarding. I will always remember all the poster photos in his room with some huge airs from Spencer Skipper and a heavy airdrop by Brendan Newton at The Right. He created his surf school "Ocean Roots" when I was 8 years old and so it was him who introduced me, and my younger brother Alex, to this amazing sport. The school had a little crew of about ten passionate bodyboarders who pushed one another and always cruised to comps together.

My uncle, Nico, continued to train me and took me on my first contest, my first surf trip and never dropped me until I arrived on the world tour a few years ago! He has contributed immensely to my life as a bodyboarder and gives me the passion of the sport, as well as created many opportunities to get me where I am today.

Today I live my life as a professional Bodyboarder and continue to surf as much as possible with Nico and work at his surf school to continue passing on the passion to the new generation and I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

Oui Oui!

Oui Oui!

Some big names have come out of France in the bodyboarding world, what is the grass roots scene like for young bodyboarders?

The club "Ocean Roots" helps young bodyboarders by teaching them the fundamentals of bodyboarding and really helps them progress and use their full potential with the knowledge they receive from the coaches. It’s always a good vibe and friendly environment which consists of a group of bodyboarders who push each other and learn from one another. The waves where the club is based in La Sallie (which is also my home break), produces a variety of conditions from good to bad, as well as big too small. Which I think is perfect for training. Ocean Roots really helps the bodyboarding community by motivating the new generation to ride waves as often as possible, doing surf trips together, filming and even cruising to contests together. Ocean Roots is more than just a club, it’s a family which teaches wave riders the way of life.

Are their camps/coaching clinics and the like?

My club "Ocean Roots" do some coaching clinics and camps where we film and analyse footage to see our mistakes. It’s really cool as a group of young bodyboarders get to have good times and feel no pressure while they are getting good advice from the coaches. They have already done a week with Pierre Louis Costes to help some kids and give advice to the next generation. I think things like this are really important for our sport.

This is not the only club in France, there are many clubs working on the sport and development. In the North of France for example we had Jeff Hubbard and Ben Player coming to do a coaching clinic like we did with PLC and many pro riders show interest in the new generation in France.

We also have Yann Salaun for example, who is a good bodyboarder who coaches young riders. In the south of France, in Basque, you have more clubs too with good riders as coaches.

I think this is the reason why we have so many good riders coming out of France.

Photo: Antoine Chicoye

Photo: Antoine Chicoye

Are there any French young guns you have seen showing potential to go far on a bodyboard?

When I was young, I went to school at a sports institute where you study in the morning and do sports in the afternoon. I was the only bodyboarder at this institute "Pole France Surf", amongst surfers. I am really happy to "open the door" for bodyboarding in France, because now there are 7 young bodyboarders; Noah & Ethan Capdeville, Yon Aimar, Txomin Lopez, Nicolas Capony, Enzo Secrettrand and Simon Andrieux who are at this institute being coached by Yvon Martinez and they are ripping! You would already have heard of some of them with comp results and good videos being made of them, but in the future you will definitely hear more. This group is really pushing each other and are raising the level of the sport amongst the younger generation in France.

Then we have two guys from the youngest generation in France, Louka Zaninoto, who is 10 years old, and his old brother Timeo, who is 14 years old. They are on a level above their age and could possibly be the future of our sport. They are dropping a clip soon from Morocco with Ocean Roots which I think will surprise many people.

They are on a level above their age and could possibly be the future of our sport.
— Maxime Castillo

And for sure there are many other riders that I don't know yet in other parts of France and in the Islands too (Reunion, Guadeloupe) for example.

There is no shortage of talent in this country!

Where do you see the most talented riders coming out of: France or Portugal?

I think we have rippers coming out of both countries, Portugal has some world class riders with lots of development in the sport and there are lots of young girls and boys who are taking bodyboarding seriously and in France too as I mentioned above. I don't think one or the other has more talent, I'm proud to see how much is being done for our sport in both countries.

Sounds like there is some promise for the future of Bodyboarding! Cheers Maxime.