Unlocked SEOTY: Charly Quivront In 'Melting Mind' - Stab Mag

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Unlocked SEOTY: Charly Quivront In ‘Melting Mind’

A 27-year old Frenchman, some Sumbawan soaring, and the best Indo session of his life.

Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Though around 20% of our audience is European, not a single surfer from the Old World featured in the Top 50 of our audiences favorite (male) surfers.

There is only one CT stop in Europe, and only two European surfers (Leonardo Fioravanti and Johanne Defay) finished the year on the CT.

Despite having more coastline than Australia, Europe is a relatively small niche in the larger surf culture.

And yet, of the nine SEOTY entries thus far this year, four (44%) have come from Europeans.

The Euro surf scene — and the space for freesurfers within it — is growing.

In a recent conversation with environmental Stab Highway evangelist Miguel Blanco, he told us, “Coming up as a European surfer, there’s way less support. You’re going into the unknown, especially compared to California and Australia, where many of the pros are 3rd or 4th generation surfers. I think things are changing though, in a good way.”

One of these European agents of change is Charly Quivront.

Prior to this year, I only knew Charly as the QS surfer who got caught in a hostile game of grab-ass with a random during an event. In the past twelve months, however, I’ve become familiar with his playful persona, and watched him find shade throughout Morocco, France, Indonesia, Ireland, and Portugal — all courtesy of his new YouTube series ‘Ou Est Charly?’

What you see above are all of his A-clips, saved while filming for the series.

After a day of stacking G-Skate footy in firing France with Dane Gudauskas, Charly sat down to talk me through the changes in his trajectory, his plans for the future, and how ‘Melting Mind’ came to be.

Stab: Hey Charly! Congrats on the entry.

Charly: Thanks! I wanted to do an entry last year but I didn’t feel like I had something good enough. This time we did two trips to Indo and stacked some clips in France when the waves were good. We wanted to do it just in France but the waves are too inconsistent — to get what we wanted we had to go finish it in Indo.

And you went with Enzo Cavallini and Simon Levlaois Bazer to Indo?

Yeah! I did two trips, the first was just with my girlfriend, and the second trip was me, Enzo, and Simon. Enzo did his part, and I got some clips for mine. We got really good Yo-Yos which was fun. We just stayed there and tried to break our legs [laughs], trying to push ourselves. Then we went to the Ments and had a good run. It was pretty insane.

You may not be able to film an entire SEOTY in France, but you can get pretty damn close.

I think a lot of people know your name but probably don’t know your path as a surfer.

Yeah, I’m kinda known for just being a QS surfer. I’ve been on the QS for a while, and I don’t think it’s where I’m doing my best surfing. I figured I’d start filming some clips this year — Simon and I started that ‘Where’s Charly” thing, just trying to put out a bunch of high quality clips while working on this Edit Of The Year Entry. 

It doesn’t really feel like work though, it’s just a lot of passion.

I think I have some of the best airs I’ve ever done in this clip, and that day with Leo at HT’s was the best session I’ve ever had in Indo. We went on the trip together, and he made the call to go there. He’s got the mojo, wherever he goes he scores. I was lucky to be on that trip.

Did he make the call to share that tube?

Yeah, definitely [laughs]. That was the last day of the trip, he’d already done it with Shane [Sykes] and then we did it again. That was pretty much the last wave of the trip. 

Sick. How crazy was that one air you landed at Yo-Yos?

That was the best air of my life, honestly [laughs]. I just went and surfed by myself, nobody else wanted to paddle out. That was my first wave, and then I paddled back out and surfed for another hour or two. I ended up sharing that session with Dewa, my friend from Canggu who surfs really good. That session ended up being epic. That wave put me on a roll and I landed a bunch of other airs. A lot of people said the straight air before it in the clip was bigger, but I think the reverse was the best air of my life.

Onshore Yo-Yos is one of those waves that isn’t very fun unless you’re extremely aerially capable.

So, are you done with the QS now?

I was kinda doing a transition this year — the new format, with just the regional guys didn’t motivate me. I liked traveling internationally and doing contests against Japanese surfers, Brazilian surfers, etc. I thought it was cool to get to know surfers all over the world.

I felt a little stuck in the regional format, and I’d been doing it for a while. It just felt like I was kinda done. And then this year I finished all of these trips and ended up getting second in the QS rankings [laughs]. Looks like I’m going to do the Challenger next year. That definitely wasn’t the plan. Might as well do it though.

When I wanted it really bad I couldn’t have it. Then I decided I didn’t care, now I’m second in the rankings. Pretty funny.

Seems like you’re someone who works really hard and is starting to focus on releasing your own YouTube clips — you’re not a vlog guy, and you release consistent surf clips with good music and good production. How did that come about?

I actually have so much fun making clips and trying to get the best images. That’s what’s getting me psyched on surfing right now. We started doing this a year ago, and it just felt like my surfing was progressing because I wanted better clips. I was pushing myself to go higher and get deeper barrels. I felt like when I was on the QS I was just doing three turns to the beach for a 6.5.

Filming also makes me surf a lot more, because I put so much more time into the water when I’m filming, compared to preparing for a comp.

I just feel like nowadays, if you don’t do your own content and you don’t show yourself surfing in the best way, that’s where you’re gonna lose your sponsors. With the ‘Where’s Charly’ clips, we’re just trying to be in a good moment, in a good place and just document. There’s not too much pressure, we just want to make some quality clips. 

My filmer Simon is such a hard worker, he’s been doing great things. I think he’s the number one filmer here in France. He’s passionate and he’s got a core vibe. He knows every clip that comes out and remembers the name and the music. He’s really good at what he does. 

Ryan Callinan once told us he think hands-free backside barrel riding is the pinnacle of tube progression.

Do you think it’s harder to be a freesurfer in Europe?

That’s a good question. I think all of the kids here are going towards competitive surfing, which is actually great. I feel like all of the young bloods start with competing and see where their surfing is at and then decide what path they’re going to take. 

Honestly, brands aren’t really looking at freesurfing here — there isn’t as much money for it in Europe. It’s hard over here, there are only a few guys who have made a career doing it.

Part of it is that we just don’t have as much media over here. I’m actually just now learning how to use media. My life was so scheduled on the QS… you just go to the contests and go home.

But when you’re a freesurfer, you have to be creative, have ideas, and not be the same as everyone else. You have to think a bit more, and try to be your own brand. I’ve been loving it actually, focusing on that for the past year. I feel like I’ve had way more exposure just doing edits and clips — it ends up on more channels. It’s a much better way to get recognition than getting a semifinal in a QS.

I’ve definitely seen your name more than ever this past year.

This is the only way to make it as a freesurfer coming from Europe. Do good content and post clips that people enjoy. I don’t think anyone gets psyched on watching a QS in shitty waves.

I’m really just super stoked to be able to put this all into one part. We had a crazy premiere here, it was sick. I’ve never seen so many people, I was tripping out.

Are there any young talents coming out of Europe that impress you?

There’s one kid — Sam Piter — who’s been growing up quickly and surfing super good, he’s like a little brother to me. He’s a young kid, a Pro Junior European champ not long ago. His dad used to be my coach when I first started on Volcom a long time ago. I think Sam is gonna go hard, I’ve been watching him for a really long time and actually pushed him into his first few waves when he was a grom. His technique and his talent has been really showing in the past few months.

What’re you working on next?

Well I’m definitely working on scoring good waves [laughs]. Next year I think I’ll do the Challenger and try to do as many freesurfing clips on the side as I can. I’m going to keep building the ‘Where Is Charly’ web series with Simon, and keep doing clips. I want to bring kids with me, not just do solo missions.

I just want to keep putting out surf content that makes people want to go surf. That’s the goal, and I hope people enjoy this.

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