Last year has been different from every other year in our lives. In many ways it was a re-calibration, things broke away, new support systems needed to be built, priorities needed to be re-set. For skaters in cold, rainy & windy countries autumn fell and winter came through in a real way. In 2019 when traveling to Montréal a taxi driver told us about the harsh Quebec winters: “In winter we have -20 degree (Celcius) weather here, you need big coats and a plan because you can’t just go out.” Covid 19 has pushed us all into new directions and one of these directions is into parking houses, subway stations, or if you are lucky a heated private warehouse. Roberto Presedo, of Boltswagen fame, stayed productive, but it wasn’t easy, with rent-a-cops and metro police ready to bust and pass out fines. Press play to see the results or start by reading first and find out what skating in -20 weather is like.
Film & Edit by Roberto Presedo.
Intro and Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Roberto thank you for working with us and let me start by asking you to tell us a bit about yourself & the project.
It started because of the pandemic. Here in Montréal, we have like 4 months of snow and heavy cold, so you can’t really do nothing. So, this year we where desperate! Everyone was going into parking lots & indoor spots like Metro stations. But most of those spaces are a bust, 1 or 2 tries and you are out.
So, intead of like having mini sessions, I was like, let’s make something out of this, I am going to bring my camera. A lot of people brought their phones obviously but I was the only one with a VX1000 (laughs). It was fun!
How strict is the indoor situation in MTL because when we where there we heard rumors.
It depends, you can have some decent time in a parking lot, but spots that are more public, sometimes they catch you walking in and it is over. If they see people walking with a board they will be on you. Some get aggresive some don’t, it is a trip.
Some of the parking garages looked good thought.
Yeah, the parking garage with the little ledge that is like the chillest spot out of all of them. For real, we never got kicked out there. The STM, which is like a metro police force, they are crazy. They want to be cops, but because they can’t they do this and they are gnarlier than actual police. When they catch you they give you big fines.
Big fines, how big are we talking?
Up to a thousand Canadian Dollars! And we had a curfew, well we still do, but it changed from like 8PM to 9:30PM now. So, if you got caught outside after the curfew you could get up to 6000 Dollars in fines.
Crazy, did some people you know get fined?
Not direct friends, but friends of friends, yeah.
What about skating now? The weather must be slowly getting better up there.
The season has just started, I just started filming again. I was out at Peace park with Tom Wright and he filmed a banger in -14 degrees.
Damn! You guys are die hard, please write that in the clip because people can’t tell -5 from -14 but it is a big difference.
(laughs) I thought I was going to die, my hand and feet felt so cold. 2-hours of long-lens filming at Peace! But it was worth it though! We are more used to it though, if you are not from here and not used to the conditions it is even tougher. -14 isn’t even that cold for us, it was my first time doing it, it was very dry but just super cold.
Are there many people that where just like: “Fuck it I just won’t skate this winter”?
I have a lot of friends that just chilled. The kids where still down, 20-23 years olds they don’t care. But 28-35 they might have kids and families and they don’t want to take those risks.
How has 2020 been for the scene in MTL? Because here in Berlin you can tell that skateboarding had a boom. The parks are fuller than ever.
Well, we will see, the weather is picking up, it is like 7 degrees out here right now. Last Saturday it was -14 now this weekend I saw people in T-shirts (laughs), March is weird like that. You can see people are out skating on their IG stories. I work from home until 4PM so I try to go do my thing after until like 9PM and get home before the curfew starts. Weird times.
How has the pandemic affected your life personally?
Well, I live with my kid and my girlfriend and it has been good. My girlfriend is really strict with distancing and not seeing to many people but I still go out and meet people to skate.
So those fisheye clips in this video where filmed at 1.5 meters away?
(laughs) No, not really, maybe a meter max. It depends on the camera, the VX allows you to get closer but with the HPX I might be 1.5 meters away.
So, you just said you have started filming again, does that mean we have something to look forward to soon?
I have always been doing my stuff but since I started this brand now people are picking up on it. It is fun to show my side of Montréal. People know the city for Dime and they have been great for the city, but there are more things going on that I want to show.
Good to hear that the brand is picking up.
Yeah, season 2 is dropping soon. We have a little drop coming so people can represent in the summer (laughs).
What about traveling? What have your favorite EU destinations been?
I have been to Spain, Barca & Madrid. My dad is actually from Galicia, a part of my roots are there. My mom’s side is Mexican and I was born and raised in Montréal. It is a fun mix, my accent is like English, Spanish, mixed with French. But it is cool, I like it.
Back to MTL for a bit, what are some of the best covered spots in MTL?
Downtown has the best spots, but it is a quick bust. Besides that Henri Bourassa, it has the black benches and the popped up grate over the can. I started skating there as a kid and brought it back to life for this. It has a very minimal kick-out rate so it became pretty popular.
My girlfriend and my kid actually went to Berlin and I was kinda jealous. It would be cool to make it out to you next year and film on those old cobble stone spots!
Yeah, please do that we can link up once you are out here!
Will, do! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have my first ever interview! So stoked!