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Meeting with Jeff Corsi, longboard champion taking to the streets of Paris

Jeff Corsi, longbard dancing champion, likes to practice his passion near the Seine Musicale (Hauts-de-Seine). (©ES / news Paris)

First there is a gentle rolling noise polishing the asphalt. Then a silhouette which stands out at the end of the Daydé bridge and approaches quickly, in front The Musical Seinein Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine). On the footbridge, deserted on this morning of August 2022, Jeff Corsi30 years old, devotes himself to his passion for longboard dancing (literally dancing on a large board), which he practices everywhere in Paris.

Dancing on a skateboard

This discipline, whose name “longboard” can also refer to a surfboard, consists of performing dance sequences on a longer than usual skateboard. His influences are many: surf, break dance or figure skatingits only limit is the search for an aesthetic movement.

Blue eyes riveted on the track, cap firmly stowed on his head, Jeff performs a run, that is to say a sequence of tricks (technical tricks). Embracing the bends in fluid movements, the young man’s feet flicker so quickly from one end of the board to the other that the eye sometimes struggles to follow them.

Sometimes on the longboard, sometimes in the air, they suddenly run on the ground before landing again on all four wheels. The virtuoso exercise nevertheless seems executed with lightness and ease. “If it looks simple, it’s because we won our bet,” explains the sportsman.

The board must be an extension of our body. The effort should not show.

Jeff Corsilongboard dancer
A longboard dancing trick performed by Jeff Corsi.
A longboard dancing trick performed by Jeff Corsi. (©ES / news Paris)

From surfing to longboarding

Native Seine et Marne, it was first through surfing that Jeff discovered the thrill of sliding. He shares with his mother and his grandfather the love of the ocean and rubs himself as soon as he can with the waves of Vendée or Landes.

His grandfather gave him his first skateboard at the age of 10 yearsso that he can continue to hurtle down the slopes, even when he is far from the sea. As a teenager, Jeff discovers the existence of a practice still unknown, born in the 1970s in California: longboard dancing. “With my friends, we were completely fascinated by the videos of the man who practically created this sport, Adam Colton. There was this flexibility in the turns, a feeling that made me think of surfing”.

Videos: currently on Actu

Jeff then buys his first board. With his band, he made his first experiences: “What I was looking for at that time was speed. We were real daredevils, completely oblivious! We descended at full speed on busy roads, we clung to the backs of cars to go even faster… ”

Ride around the world

The obsession is launched. The excitement of experiencing the beginnings of a barely existing sport is enormous. Every week, Jeff climbs on a train to Paris, direction pTrocadero lake, the anthology spot for skateboarders. There he meets Lotfi Lamaalithe precursor of longboard dancing in France, who became his mentor.

To 22 years oldhe launched with some friends his own brand of longboard boards, called Macaw. The experience will be short-lived, the last boards are selling at a loss. Undeterred, Jeff sets out to explore the cities of Europe, with the idea of ​​meeting other longboard dancers and creating emulators. After a year on Erasmus in the Netherlands, he set up the association with other enthusiasts Dock Session which brings together longboarders every week, on the banks of the Seine opposite the Musée d’Orsay.

Increasingly well-known, it is developing partnerships with major American brands. In 2019, he travels across Canada from East to West. Back in France, he landed contracts to work on sports events and retreats and started competing. Germany, England, Netherlands, France… He regularly climbs on the podiums.

“In competition, we spend runs of one to three minutes. We are noted on the fluidity, the speed of execution, the technique and the creativity”, enumerates Jeff. In 2021it is sacred vice-world championand first champion of France in 2022a consecration.

Intense workouts

To achieve these results, Jeff bends to a hard workout. He trains up to two hours a day, and doubles the sessions on weekends. To his workouts on the board, he adds bodybuilding sessions, running, not to mention stretching and yoga. “When I train, I alternate between technical rehearsals, creative research, and fun sessions, because the most important thing is to keep the kiff”, points out Jeff who says he is more and more in love with longboard dancing.

“We fall all the time, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. If you fall, it’s because you’re progressing,” assures Jeff, who has had a tough time. He has already dislocated his shoulder, broken his wrist or twisted his ankle, but no injury overcomes the determination of this control-freak who had to learn to let go.

Error is fundamental to learning. Anyone who wants to reach a high level must go through it. The most important thing is to be wrong, and to keep the motivation”.

Jeff Corsilongboard dancer

A feeling of freedom

“The most pleasant thing is this feeling of absolute freedom. When I’m on my board, I feel like a fluid”, describes Jeff. The longboard requires a great lightness to apprehend the limited space of the board, and to be able to move with skill in the urban environment. Play on the imbalance is also one of the great challenges and great pleasures of this practice.

“When you manage to put in symbiosis the movements of your body and those of your board, it’s incredible”.

Jeff Corsilongboard dancer

The game’s rules ? There are none, or very few. “We have the right to put our feet on the ground, for example. Soil is not an enemy but an ally. As long as the aesthetics are interesting, nothing is forbidden, ”explains the sportsman enthusiastically.

A hard worker, Jeff has been repeating the same figures for years and working on new ones. In the middle, he is known for perfectly executing a trick well known to longboarders, the “peter-pan”, this way of walking at high speed on the board which moves like a snake. “People recognize me by that, just by seeing my feet. it’s a step that isn’t very complicated, but to be able to perform it at this speed, it took me years”.

A longboard in the city

The longboard is practiced wherever the space is large enough. Its adepts play with street furniture and scour the Parisian esplanades : courtyard of the Louvre, Trocadero, Invalides, and of course, the endless expanse of the banks of the Seine…

And so much the better if onlookers gather together, because the discipline is thought of as a performing Arts. “Over time, we tame people. On the quays of the Seine, there are sometimes 300 eyes fixed on us. It boosts me, it pushes me to surpass myself,” says Jeff.

In groups and alone

If the sport is shared a lot in the community, Jeff also likes to practice in lonely. “Every day, I get up at 6:30 a.m. and I drive for an hour before going to work,” he describes. Motion designer and graphic designer by profession, he hopes to one day be able to live exclusively from his passion.

It is also my preferred means of transport. And when I’m in the creative research phase, I prefer to be on my own. I test a lot of things, these are very strange sessions where it feels like I don’t know how to get on a board!

Jeff Corsilongboard dancer

Dreams of professionalization

When it comes to longboarding, Jeff has great ambitions. The young man, who describes himself as “passionate to the core”, dreams of seeing his sport become a Olympic discipline. “I would like the practice to be more professional, for it to be accessible to everyone, for it to benefit from subsidies and important ambassadors.

Speed ​​is a key element in longboarding.
Speed ​​is a key element in longboarding. (©ES / news Paris)

I want to set the bar very high to prove that this discipline has the potential to become more professional.

Jeff Corsilongboard dancer

With his association, he accompanies new followers every week, sometimes complete beginners. “Last week we had a girl who was starting from zero, she had never been on a board. I love the idea of ​​participating in the democratization of this sport, I do everything so that it gains followers”.

the September 18, 2022, a car-free day in Paris, longboarders from the capital will meet for a hike around Paris. Everyone who knows how to ride a board is welcome, invites the tireless surfer of the Parisian streets.

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