Alli Checks In with Bastien Salabanzi

Bastien Salabanzi has been under the radar for the last few years, chilling out at home in France with his family and spending quality time with his young kids. But ever since his resurgence at last month’s Maloof Money Cup, where he finished fourth, he’s been making a comeback and skating consistently, whether it’s tech or big stuff. If Bastien plans to stay on the Dew Tour and compete in other contests this summer, he’ll certainly continue to be a crowd favorite and a top-finisher.

He won his first contest at 11 years old, in Marseilles, France, and then Vans flew him to the U.S. to compete. Not long after he was winning major contests, including the Vans Triple Crown in ‘01. He could have filmed a video part in those contest runs. After being out of the spotlight for a few years, Alli caught up with him today, at 25 years old, after making it all the way to the finals and finishing fourth in his first Dew Tour competition.

What have you been up to and why travel all the way from France to compete?
Coming to America is always special to me because I used to live in Huntington for seven years, and then I took a little break, or at least I focused on my children and just hanging out at home. But definitely I knew that at 25-years-old I felt great and I really wanted to get it going. And there’s no place like America to really make it happen.

Were you surprised by all the support and cheering coming from the sidelines?
We don’t have events like this in France and obviously for sponsors, or everybody and even the fans, to see me coming back after a few years is good. They know me from the Sorry and Really Sorry and, I mean, I was really surprised at Maloof. I wasn’t sure if people were going to remember that I was around for a little while, and actually the welcome that I had over there was overwhelming. People’s responses were beyond my expectations so that warmed my heart up and that’s why I really wanted to come back two weeks later, back to the States again.

You qualified first in both heats leading up to the Dew Tour finals, was the new format working for you?
Yeah, the format of one rider after another, it’s really nice. For the first part, the judges can see 100 percent of the stuff going down. And second of all, you’re not out of breath after three minutes. You can really just relax and think about what you want to do. So that’s one thing that I enjoyed.

You just missed the podium, but you definitely had the entire stands rooting for you. How does that make you feel?
Fourth place for a first time is really awesome. For me it’s really cool. The skaters out there, Chaz, Ryan, they’re great. Even though I’m a little bit older than these guys, I know I still have it in me.

Check out footage of Salabanzi from both the Maloof Money Cup and his Dew Tour debut