Hugo Corbin – Issue 37 Interview


Introduction & Interview by Guy Jones

Photography by Alex Socks & Klavs Laivenieks

Portrait by Alex Socks

The more I’ve seen of Hugo’s vast media output, the more I’ve come to admire his authentic passion for the useless wooden toy. With it being in vogue to give the impression that you don’t care whilst simultaneously striving for success, the contrast of Hugo’s clear authenticity is something I appreciate more and more. Combine this with his politeness and hunger to push himself and you have yourself a delightful young man! I am personally very excited for what he is going to achieve on top of what he already has done and we are hyped to see much more of Mr Corbin.

Hugo Corbin ~ Frontside Smith Grind ~ Photo by Klavs Laivenieks

What was it like growing up in Vaires-sur-Marne? Was it quite a contrast to central Paris?

My childhood in Vaires-sur-Marne went very well. I mainly grew up between the suburbs of Paris and the centre with my family. The suburbs are quite different from the centre; it’s quieter, less traffic, less noise, less work and better air quality too. Life is also cheaper, whether it is rent or food or even gasoline.

You’re very quick footed, did any other sorts or activities help this growing up? 

When I was little, I wanted to play all types of sports. I was fulfilled but also curious about learning any field. Before discovering skateboarding I played handball, which I found when I was 10 years old. I practised handball for 3 years then I stopped to focus on skateboarding because this discovery was stronger than everything I had practised before. When I was nearly 13 years old, my friend invited me to his place to play football and that’s where he showed me his skateboard. I had no idea what it was until he showed me how it worked and what you could do with it. He let me have a go and that’s where it all started. I felt happy and free.

Hugo Corbin ~ Frontside Smith Grind ~ Photo by Klavs Laivenieks

Your lines combined with tricks-per-second are very impressive. Are you this energetic outside of skateboarding?

Most of the time yes, I need to exert my energy, be active and do things regularly. I need to be occupied with different things in general. I prefer to not be lazy and keep doing things, but I also take time to rest when I have to, to keep a balance.

You’re somewhat of a purveyor of the street 540. Can you do them on transition and how did you discover you could do them at all?

I’ve done it on a couple of transitions, but not everywhere. Mostly it’s going to be on a pyramid – and one time down some little stairs, but it’s pretty hard haha. I learned that trick when we were with my friends at our local skatepark. I was doing backside 360s and at some point I felt like I could turn more and land it, that’s how that came about.

Hugo Corbin ~ Backside 360 ~ Photo by Klavs Laivenieks

What would be the food equivalent of a backside 180 50-50 grind alley-oop 180 out?

Haha, the equivalent would be pain, beurre and confiture (bread with butter and strawberry jam), because it’s simple and always tastes good. The back 180 switch 50-50 grind switch 180 out feels the same.

How is it being affiliated with a legend like Karl Watson and how did you end up meeting?

I’ve been to San Francisco a few times, staying for fortnights at a time over there and filming for projects that I’ve been working on. About 2 or 3 years ago I met Karl randomly one day at EMB. Nothing crazy, just a little hi, talking a bit and skating around the spot. One year after Covid hit, I left Primitive because it was not really going in a good way. The same happened with Nike SB. Covid time, you know…

A couple of weeks later, Karl and Walker from Maxallure saw that I didn’t have a board sponsor anymore and organised a phone call to talk about it. He had thought about getting me on the team but out of respect they waited for the right moment to talk about it seriously. They got me on the team and now I’ve been skating for them for around 3 years. New Balance Numeric arrived around the same time as I got on Maxallure. I felt like it was the beginning of a new chapter. It’s all going well and I’m really hyped.

Hugo Corbin ~ Frontside Smith Grind ~ Photo by Klavs Laivenieks

In terms of spot selection I’ve noticed you often skate very iconic spots, for example in SF you did some bonkers stuff at EMB. Do you feel pressure to get something new and worthy at these famous spots, or are you just stoked to skate somewhere with so much history?

I don’t necessarily feel pressure to get an NBD, I’m just going to try and enjoy the spot and see what I can do. If something works it’s sick, if not it’s all good. I love to skate both famous spots and lesser known spots with a different vibe, you know? I’m not that complicated, I just get stoked to skate anything with a beautiful history.

Do you still want to move to the USA? It seems your time is fairly evenly split between there and France. What’s a general American thing you admire? I can see you rocking some sick cowboy gear.

There was a period where I was mainly in the US, filming and seeing my team manager and my friends. It’s a good destination for skateboarding etc. but to live there is not for me… I love my country and Europe way too much in general. I admire this country, I’m good with travelling to the destination and enjoy it whilst staying there. The time that I have is great, but not for the rest of my life. One day I will send you a photo with sick cowboy gear on, don’t forget!

What are you working on at the moment Hugo?

I’m working on two video parts which are coming out this year. They are finished, so we are in the editing process for both videos at the moment.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

I will say a dog, it’s your best friend and it’s cute.