What's more captivating: the views at Bunkers del Carmel or watching the Smooth Operator go to work? Photo: Ryan Ricker
With a bit of practice, almost anyone could ride a longboard if they tried. However, it takes a special kind of skater to flow so effortlessly that seeing them get into their zone and step through rhythmically improvised lines prompts a reaction to go out an seek a similar sort of freedom. As a perfect example of someone who carries unmatched energy mixed with spontaneous ingenuity, we couldn’t be more stoked to welcome Aboubakry Seck to the Fireball Supply Co. team.
Though Abou burst onto the longboard dancing scene just a few short years ago, he has captivated the Paris community and beyond through achievements like his title as the reigning ‘So You Can Longboard Dance’ World Champion to his casual but infectious personality. With that in mind, we shot a few questions over to the “Smooth Operator” himself to chat about how his life has changed since getting his start, his interpretations of longboarding and his future plans on and off the board.
Only certain people could sit on a hang ten nose manual like this without flailing their arms. Photo: Ryan Ricker
You’re a geotechnical engineer by trade - any similarities between your day job and longboarding?
I would say that, these are almost two totally different worlds. The only thing I know is that I work as hard in the office as when I'm on my board.
Scouting out the perfect angle before tucking through a wallride. Photo: Ryan Ricker
What has the transition been like from not having longboarding in your life four years ago to having it take over your mind?
Before starting longboarding I had almost never traveled; now I am moving around Europe a lot. Also, longboarding allowed me to expand my circle of friends and have friends in the four corners of the world. Now with longboarding, I'm busier, however, doing what I really like.
Anyone who has skated with Abou can attest to, his energy is the same in person as it is on the screen. Photo: Ryan Ricker
Do you see longboard dancing as a sport, an art form or some combination of the two?
I feel it like a combination of the two. It takes a lot of physical effort to reach certain levels. So from this point of view it can be considered as a sport. In parallel, I consider the freestyle dancing as an art because it has an aesthetic sense. Longboard freestyle dancing is not something that is natural.
Everyone knows that dancing is not easy. Getting to dance on a board and give the impression that it's easy enough that a random person could do the same thing by looking at you, is great art. To make the board a kind of extension of your feet is a great skill and know-how. That's why I consider longboarding as art.
When your shoelaces liftoff like this, you know you're boosting it. Photo: Achel Machin
Do you have a favorite trick or combo in particular?
As I write, my favorite combination is: "big spin cross-land to front-side nollie 360 shuvit"
What does it mean to get hooked up for a brand like Fireball?
I feel very lucky and on fiiiiire. Seriously, I am super stoked.
He may look small in comparison to the skyscrapers but Abou always stands tall on his board. Photo: Ryan Ricker
What’s next for Aboubakry Seck: choreographing another winning SYCLD run? Travels? New Videos?
Choreography is not my habit. I will continue as usual, all in improvisation and trust my body and my instinct.
Next September I will be in Santa-Cruz, Portugal for a longboard camp where I will give some lessons.
I recently made a shoot for a French music group. The clip should be released in September normally. So stay tuned.
Abou taking the long way back down from the peak. Photo: Ryan Ricker
Those looking to see what magic about will pull out of his bag of tricks next can give Abou a follow over on Instagram or can stay tuned to the Fireball Supply Co. blog for the latest updates on Abou and the rest of the squad.