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Youngblood: Interview with Allan Arma

September 15, 2017

Here’s a story I’m in love with: I first met Allan through the KrakApp. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning you can even remember a quick Q&A we made back in the day (in the KM#3 to be precise). Allan has evolved since that date and progressed for sure. We stayed in touch and decided to jump on a phone call to catch up. Here’s his story. k.

K: Yo Allan, do you hear me well? Are you happy with the pictures you showed me the other day?
Yep it’s perfect. These ones are interesting but we’re still shooting. I’d like to add a couple more.

Ok cool. Look forward to it. Could you introduce yourself briefly?
I live in Guadeloupe. There is basically nowhere to skate here, no skate shop and no skatepark so we have to build everything ourselves. That’s how we ended making our own DIY park.

Allan Arma

Allan Arma. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Wow ok. Tell us first how you started to skate.
I was just in front of my home and there was a skater who rolled everyday across the street. His name was Christophe and he started to show me how to skate, he taught me. That’s how I started. He’s now in Bordeaux.

And what about your first skateboard?
I bought one in a Decathlon store. Then I got a deck from some grown-ups and that’s how I started to learn my first tricks like flips. Then my mum offered me a new board for Christmas, like a whole new set up you know, and from there I skated every day.

You told me there isn’t any skate shop on the island so tell me: where does your gear come from?
It comes from an online shop that ships here. We need more boards, a better quality and so on so fortunately there are these online shops. But the good news for me now is: I don’t need that much equipment anymore thanks to my sponsors haha!

Haha I see. But what about the other skateboarders?
One of my sponsors, he lives in France but he comes sometimes here in Guadeloupe and he drops off some stuff each time. This way it’s even better for the locals. If they want a board or anything they can come to me and I sell it to them. I try to help the best I can, you know.

The guy from Pure, is he from there?
He used to live here. During his childhood he was in France. He came here and then studied here. He’s been to Bordeaux for holidays but he loved it and found a job so then he stayed there.

Which means he already used to skate before arriving in Guadeloupe, right?
Maybe a little but he really started once he arrived here.

As soon as someone starts to skate, do you all know it?
We all know each other that’s true. And as soon as someone new arrives in town we help him. If he comes from France he already knows us by name at least so he can call and we all go to skate together.

Allan Arma, switch heel. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Allan Arma, switch heel. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Why don’t you launch your own skateshop?
Hmm there isn’t enough skateboarders I think. It’s true that skateboarding is expanding here but we’re not at a point yet where we could open a dedicated shop. The scene isn’t big enough.

Got it. Hey did you celebrate your birthday just few days ago?
Yep it was on March 20th.

Happy birthday man! How old are you by the way?

Who are your sponsors?
Pure. I’ve been part of the team for a while, like 2 years. I was actually their first rider on the team.

Where do they come from?
The brand is from France but the owner is from here in Guadeloupe.

Where does he live now?
He lives in Nice. He’s in Guadeloupe nowadays because we’re filming a video. He’s already shot in Marseille, Paris and now in Guadeloupe. Next month he’ll film in LA.

Will you travel with them?
Nope, I’ll just shoot in Paris and Guadeloupe.

Allan Arma, boardslide. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Allan Arma, boardslide. Photo: Hypolite Champion

When do you plan to go in Paris?
Next summer. Then my second sponsor is True Love, from Barbados, an island right next to us. It’s a young brand and we share the same spirit. They have a skate shop there and a skatepark as well but it’s a DIY too. But I have to admit theirs is better than ours haha!

Haha ok! Pure is a clothing brand. What’s True Love about?
They’re making boards. I’m also on the Converse flow team.

Yeah it helps me a lot because shoes are very expensive and you always need new pairs.

Which model do you skate?
One Star.

Are you one of the few sponsored skateboarders around?
Right now I think I’m the only one.

If you’re 16 I guess you’re still in high school?
Yep. I skate because I’m in love with it but I wanna study after high school.

I think you’ll have to move out right?
I won’t stay here. I’ll go either in London or in France.

London? Why London?
Don’t know. I just like how they live there.

Haha is it about the skate videos we see from there?
Haha of course but I’ve also been there, like 2 weeks to visit, and I like it.

Allan Arma, ollie. Photo: Victor Fromageot

Allan Arma, ollie. Photo: Victor Fromageot

And do you know Paris already?
Yep I’ve been there few times so I start to know it a little bit.

Have you already been to Lyon, or Bordeaux?
Nope, not yet. Oh sorry, I have to hang up because I’m thumbing a ride. Could I call you back in few minutes?

So where are you now?
I’m in a party, I shared the ride with a homie.

Do you always thumb a ride or what?
Yeah buses are way too long and they’re too expensive as well.

What about biking?
Why not but we were too far from our party. It only lasted 40minutes by car you know. It takes like 1h30min by bus.

Are people nice most of the time? Like do they stop pretty quickly?
It depends but this time they stopped super quick because it rained I think.

Lucky you. I remember in Lyon, we could wait for an hour sometimes and no one was taking us for a ride…
Really? At least in Lyon you have a lot more public transport.

Tell me where are you with your own brand: Palm’s.
Hell yes. We’re selling our second collection already.

Nice. Tell us your story. What is it about?
Palm’s Wheels. We’re making wheels. But we haven’t started to sell the wheels yet. We’re selling t-shirts so far to make money to make the right wheels.

How big is the team?
There are 3 of us. All under 18 haha!

Allan Arma, f/s smith. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Allan Arma, f/s smith. Photo: Hypolite Champion

Who’s making the design?
All of us. We don’t really have roles & tasks you know. We’re all making a bit of everything.

Why wheels?
It’s mainly due to my sponsors. Otherwise I should have left one of them.

So right now you’re selling your tees.
Yep and we’re working on a website as well to sell them.

Where are they made?
They’re made and designed here in Guadeloupe. We’re 100% local!

Congrats. Launching your own brand at 15, that’s quite a performance.
Haha that’s cool, thank you. We’ve started to market the brand in Guadeloupe but when I’ll be in France I’ll bring some stuff with me in order to spread our name.

Tell me a little bit more about your DIY park. Who’s managing the spot? What’s inside?
At the beginning it should have been the multimedia library but there wasn’t money to finish it. So we started to clean the space and create our own obstacles and… voila. We’re here for a little while now, like 3 years, and every skateboarder comes here sometimes.

And no one kicked you out already?
Nope, because if they kicked us out, they’d need to find another spot for us. And because there isn’t a lot of money they prefer to keep us here. And because we don’t mess things up they’re happy and they gave us the permission.

How big is it?
It’s pretty big. I’ll send you one pic for sure. There is one floor. Downstairs is the street space and we’d like to create a ramp upstairs.

Guadeloupe DIY

Guadeloupe DIY

You have floors! Wow it means they’ve already built something, no?
Yeah it was almost done but they stopped at some point.

Do you only have that one spot so far or you already plan to create more of them?
We prefer to focus on that one for the moment and make it really good. And we hope it gives ideas to the mayor.

Have you already talked to him?
He comes to see us pretty often honestly. But we lack money for sure.

One day you’ll have so much money with Palm’s that you’ll be able to create your own one haha!

Is the DIY open 24/7 and free for all?
We put a padlock on but every skateboarder can open it.

Which means you can come all night long?
Yep. Last time for instance, at Easter time we came here and set up a camp. We also have the beach behind.

Wow. So at the end of your session you all go to swim?
That’s our ritual yep. There are definitely some advantages.

Have you already organized a contest or anything?
We organize them ourselves but just for fun. Some local brands are involved too in order to give some goodies.

Allan Arma, backside flip. Photo: Victor Fromageot

Allan Arma, backside flip. Photo: Victor Fromageot

Really I wanna congratulate you! That’s really cool to make all this stuff in order to support your own scene. Let’s finish a little Q&A.

Your setup: Pure board 8” – Spitfire Wheels 53 – Thunders – Bones Bearings
Your favorite trick: frontside flip
Your favorite pros: Kevin Bradley & Kevin Rodriguez
Last video you watched: Pussy Gangster from Supreme
What’s next: I wanna finish my part for Pure Worldwide

Thank you: God, Mom, Kevin, Hypolite (we started to shoot together and we really try to progress and evolve at the same pace), Kevin, Luidgy, Harold and my bro’s, thank y’all

Cover image: Allan Arma, b/s tailslide. Photo: Sydney Kadow

This interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag issue 7 that shipped with the 1 Year Anniversary KrakBox. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

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