Mika Germond – Issue 31 Interview


We’ve uploaded Mika Germond’s interview from Vague Issue 31 to coincide with photos from his interview appearing in the new Vans video, ‘Where is Tom?‘ Read below to find out more about this humble man. Get hold of issue 31 and other back issues of Vague from the Vague shop here.

Intro by Sam Partaix

Interview by Oscar Candon & Translation by PJ Chapuis

Portrait by Dave Van Laere

Photography by Dave Van Laere, Adrian Rios, Clément Le Gall & Maxime Verrett

Mika comes from the suburbs of Paris and you can definitely feel that in his approach to skateboarding. When you grow up in the suburbs nothing comes easy, you always have to explore for spots. After shredding all the spots in Lyon, he recently moved to Lisbon where he seems to enjoy life there with his girl and the Portuguese rippers.

It’s good to have Mika by your side at any time, he’s always the most motivated lad to go out skating with. Former sports coach ‘Muscle Mike’ has crazy physical capacities that few skaters have, leaving him able to skate pretty much everyday and every spot with an impressive creativity. I feel blessed to have known him for more than ten years now and I really hope I’ll spend at least another ten around him. Time flies too fast so it’s important to spend time with friends like Mika, now more than ever.

Mika Germond ~ Switch Ride On 50-50 Grind ~ Photo by: Adrian Rios

So, Mikus, tell us more about how it is to grow up in the suburbs of Paris. I don’t remember seeing you around when I was younger, did you only stay in your suburb town or what?

Growing up in the suburbs was not that bad. I lived in the south of Paris, 30 minutes from Gare de Lyon. It was a cool place to grow up and I made some really good friends there going through high school, first nights out, all the teenager stuff. When I think about it I realise I grew up super happy there, even though I would never go back to live there now. With my crew of friends we pretty much never went to Paris to skate, we would just skate in our town and the other suburbs around it, that’s why we didn’t run into each other back then. It was when I arrived in London that I really started to skate everyday. Then I got back to France and started over in Lyon.


So how was skating in your hometown – was there a skatepark there, some cool spots? Usually I find there is a relationship between your style on a board and where you learned to skate. You are pretty good on sketchy spots, am I wrong to say that you learned skateboarding in a shitty skatepark or a shitty plaza?

The closest skatepark was the Cosanostra indoor park, and it was a 45 minute car ride away so I wouldn’t go there more than twice a year. In my area, and you guessed right, there were only shitty skateparks with metal funboxes etc., so I was not skating them either. We had a plaza in front of the city hall where we would always go and, if we weren’t there, we would be around the city, exploring every corner trying to find spots. The plaza ground was made of cobblestones and there were some crappy wooden benches, nothing more. We would never get kicked out of there and it was the perfect meeting point for everybody, so it was the home spot. It was more than a spot for us; we skated there, filmed there, got drunk there, a typical childhood in the suburbs skating for 10 years on shitty spots… which is probably why I am not really very technical, as you can see in my footage.

Mika Germond ~ Tail Drop To Boardslide ~ Photo by: Dave Van Laere

That’s what I thought. I think it’s a chance to learn like this, the hard way. But I think you’re pretty hard on yourself – I remember seeing footage ofyou a couple of years ago and you didn’t have as many tricks as today, honestly too many boardslide yank outs haha. When we really met it was a great surprise to see your bag of tricks on ledges and flat ground. Does that come from all those years at HDV in Lyon?

Haha, HDV made me skate a lot more flatground and ledges so in the end I learned a lot there! It was always a pain in the ass to go there because I knew I would get stuck and never move on to other spots… I still managed to spend some good times there but I am more into trying to dig up spots that are going to hype me up and give me a thrill. I like trying to control my fear when skating a big spot and going back home with the footy, rather than spending ten sessions learning a ledge combo.


I get that, I feel that you have really learned to manage your stress when at scary spots. I’ve seen you pretty often trying some terrifying stuff but I have never been scared watching you try. You’ve really found how to deal with your fears at a spot but do you manage to do the same in your daily life?

I know what I can try and where my limits are. If I feel I might get hurt badly I’ll abort the mission. Just like in my life – I like to know how risky a project will be, I think it’s exciting to know the risks and risky projects can be the most rewarding. Moreover I like it when it’s not obvious, I’m not scared of taking the hard path if I find it worth it. Hard way doesn’t mean bad way to me.

Mika Germond ~ Pop Shove-It Tail Grab ~ Photo by: Clément Le Gall


You moved to Lisbon a couple of months ago. Tell me more about that move, why did you choose Lisbon?

I spent nine years in Lyon and me and my girl felt like we needed a bit of change, some fresh air somewhere else – no gangster issues or huge debts to run from, haha. She’s from Bordeaux originally so she wanted to live in a city closer to the ocean and I wanted a city in which I could skate everyday. I’d already been to Lisbon a couple of times between holidays and skate trips and enjoyed it a lot, so we packed our stuff, took the car and went there. The idea was to stay there for something like six months. A year and three months later we are still there.


All good then, no regrets? Do you speak Portuguese now? And how is it to skate there?

Not an ounce of regrets, it’s so stimulating here – always meeting new people, getting to discover Portuguese culture, a new language etc. Living there has made me learn Portuguese pretty fast. Now I can understand it and have everyday interactions with the locals. When it gets too tricky, everybody speaks English so we switch easily and keep the conversation running flawlessly. I’ve been skating and filming more than before, the skate scene here is really dynamic and there are really my kind of spots.

Mika Germond ~ Ollie Over To Crooked Grind ~ Photo by: Dave Van Laere


Cool, good to hear! If you skate that much how come I don’t see more of you on Instagram skating to trap music?

Ha, my phone is so bad I almost never use it to film stuff. I grew up with full length videos, Baker 3, Foundation or Emerica videos from the 2000s. That’s what hyped me up and it’s what I want to do. If I spend more than 15 minutes on filming something with a smartphone I feel bad and it feels like a waste of time. I’d rather focus on a long term project and try to find the best overall, from the spots chosen to the trick selection to the music we’ll use. To me, it’s pointless if I do it for a number of likes or comments.


I know that feeling. I feel that we are part of a kind of in-between generation. We grew up with the codes from back when it was all about video parts and long term projects but ended up in this new age where social media has a huge place in a skateboarding career. Some have adapted better than others I guess, what do you think about this?

Yes, it doesn’t work like the old days anymore and we have to change our mindset to fit with the new generation. The most important thing is to be true to yourself, and I’m not going to change if it doesn’t feel right to me.


Right. So, tell us how you make a living these days? I know you’ve got that sport coach diploma but I also heard you’ve gotten into carpentry lately?

Gym coaching is a part of my life I’ve decided to put to one side for now. I mean, I still want to be in shape but I don’t want to do it for a living anymore. It was so contradictory with skateboarding that it felt like being schizophrenic haha. When I moved to Portugal I really started to live off skateboarding because life here is a lot cheaper than in France, but I want to keep doing something else on the side. I wanted to learn something new in Lisbon, something that could be my future job when I won’t be able to skate anymore. I met this artist here who builds handmade wooden furniture, somewhere in between art and carpentry.

He lets me come work in his workshop with the other carpenters and architects so I learn a lot by doing stuff with these guys. It’s cool because the guy doesn’t skate but we are of a similar mindset and I can find a lot of similarities with skateboarding. It feels good to do this on the days I don’t want to skate. Skating everyday can make you go mental, so it’s nice to mix it up a bit.

Mika Germond ~ Frontside 50-50 Grind Duck Under ~ Photo by: Dave Van Laere

Nice, you showed me that crazy stair set you guys were working on last time, it looked amazing! I’m happy to hear that you live off skateboarding and that you do a lot of stuff on the side. What do you mean by ‘going mental’? Are you talking about the pressure you can put on yourself or frustrations related to it or something else?

When I say that I think of guys that only have skateboarding, they wake up and that’s all they have to do in their day. I think you can lose all the pleasure and the creativity if you’re only focused on skateboarding for too long, that’s why I need to focus my mind on something else. It brings me a lot more motivation when I go skate, like a kid out of control on an after school sesh. I need those moments when I can’t skate to really enjoy it 100%.


It’s good when you find the right balance. You told me you were filming a lot in Lisbon, what project are you filming for right now? A part for the Vans France video?

All the Vans trips for the French project are over and Romain (Batard) is editing it right now. It’s going to look good! The European Vans team came to Lisbon and we filmed some stuff together so I should have some footage in their video. I’m also filming for an upcoming Rave Skateboards part. It’s not done yet, I’ve got ideas for tricks in Lisbon I really want to do for this part. I’m filming here with Camille (aka Fruga), so for now clips are for Rave, then we’ll work on something together – but no stress on this one, we’ll take the time needed. Then there is a French Spitfire edit in the oven which I’ll have some clips in, and the edit of the Levi’s trip which was in Lisbon as well.


Damn, you’re pretty productive. No need to work on Insta clips when you have all this footage popping up everywhere! Let’s get back to the career part. Tell us more about how you got sponsored, was it a dream for you or did it just happen?

Back then I did not know any pro skaters, no one around me was making a living out of skateboarding or even had any sponsors, but as I started to travel I got to meet new people. I ran into Loic Benoit who was the French Vans TM and we had a good feeling. He started sending me pairs of shoes, then the skate shop in Lyon began to help me. I was blessed to get all this stuff for free. At 21 years old it was pretty late, especially nowadays, but it all happened naturally so I kept doing my thing and from one thing to another skateboarding took a bigger part in my life. Now I spend most of my time skating thanks to all my sponsors.

Mika Germond ~ Drop In Grind ~ Photo by: Maxime Verrett


21 can be a bit late, it’s true.

It’s late for a first sponsor but I think ten years ago things were different. Now kids get better a lot faster than when I started and I think it’s great. My only concern is to be able to keep skating for many years, that’s why I take good care of my body and try to be as healthy as I can.


From ‘Stinky Mike’ to ‘Healthy Mike’. Hopefully your body will start getting sore when you’re 70 haha. Talking about pain, when I get hurt and start doing physio I stay focused until I can skate again. Once I’m good, all my discipline disappears and I’m back to doing no exercise at all. Do you have advice for a sloth like me?

Don’t worry man, we’re all the same. Bad habits come back quickly! That’s the main reason why I wanted to be a coach, it was the perfect way to keep this exercise routine. It’s not something fun to do alone by yourself and, as a coach, you do the exercises with the clients. Now that I don’t work anymore it’s harder to find the motivation to do it. Just like you man, I do it for three weeks then I start being lazy again haha.


Okay, I’m out of questions so here’s a shitty one to finish; what are your new year resolutions?

I never make any good resolutions but once me and a friend made bad resolutions and had to drink alcohol every single day… it’s so dumb, I know. It lasted for four months then my good old coach habits put me back on the right path!

Mika Germond ~ Ride On 50-50 Grind ~ Photo by: Dave Van Laere


Get hold of Mika Germond’s interview in physical form in Issue 31 of Vague. Click here or Issue 31’s cover to order a copy and whilst you’re at it add back issues and merch to your order!