Pictures: Nicki Antognini
Words: Dries Meesschaert
Location: Hossegor, France
Thanks to: Maxou for presenting his great work. We wish you all the best for the future and keep the fun flowing.
I hope to have inspired you and help you discover new things.
Since we were in Hossegor for a well-deserved holiday last week (read our latest article), we couldn’t leave without hooking up with a dear local friend. Maxime Badets was born and raised around Europe’s center of surfing and therefore made the perfect guide for this awesome place. He’s only 18 years old but has a shitload of creative projects going on, so Maxime is the perfect subject for our newest article. This young entrepreneur manages to combine his schoolwork with his own surfboard shaping lab and a bunch of successful filmmaking projects. Impressive, right? I met Maxime last year in his workshop, when a friend of mine went to pick up his customized SOCATOA surfboard. I instantly felt a connection with this guy, so I thought it was a good idea to introduce my friend to our readers. What better way to do this than to let him speak for himself through an interview?
Maxime, we’ve been following you around in your hometown for two days. You grew up around Hossegor. This French town is known as Europe’s surf Mecca. Basically this means that surfers have always surrounded you. At what age did you pick up surfing and why did you start?
Hi! Yes, it was awesome to have you guys here in my little world! Well, I started surfing at the age of 10 – 11 years, which is really late for someone who grew up here.. I played a lot of different sports during my childhood but surfing was the only one that gave me a feeling of freedom and the ability to escape. I fell in love with this scene thanks to a really good childhood friend. He was the one who put me on one of his boards for the first time. After that, my mom forced me to join the lifeguard school, to prevent me from drowning, haha!
We’ve seen you ripping in the water, as well as in your workshop. When did you get interested in the art of shaping surfboards?
Let’s say that I’m more comfortable with my hands than with my feet. I started getting interested in shaping when I was about 15 years old. In the past few years I met some nice people who helped me evolve in my means of production. I guess you could say that when I got to be about 17, I could consider my work as an “art” rather than a basic production of objects that slide. This has all been evolving really well, thanks to a lot of criticism, positive as well as negative! I’m hoping to succeed in my goal, which is to work in different places in the world, by producing a series of unique boards in my signature style.
My work process around a surfboard evolves in three essentials steps: first comes the hand shaping part, where I have to design with precision the look of the board, then comes the glassing, which is the step where colors come along and where I can get very creative, and last but not least comes the sanding , where the board gets the final touch.
Where does the name SOCATOA come from? What does it mean to you?
A lot of people assume it’s derived from a stupid mathematic memory aid that makes trigonometry a little easier (SOHCAHTOA), and well, yeah, that’s actually it! Hahah. I wasn’t really a professional when it comes to mathematics but this word really kept hanging in my head. So I decided to ditch the letter “H” in the word, because phonetically they don’t really make sense anyway. So that brought me to SOCATOA. It’s all just a reminder of my education. Although I wasn’t a really passionate student, going to school taught me new stuff each day no matter what.
There are many different producers of surfboards in the game. How do you try to differentiate yourself from others when it comes to shaping?
The scene is already very saturated and complete, so it’s hard to create a personal little space, especially since I’m only 18. But nevertheless, I try to focus on a decent hand-shaped production with proper finishing and add a pleasant visible touch. This is how I try to set myself apart from mass production.
At just 18, you’ve surprised us by being an amazingly motivated entrepreneur. You’re a passionate surfer, a skilled shaper, and a creative filmmaker. How do you manage to combine all these projects with your studies?
At the moment I am a student at the CNED (a French institution for distance learning) but at the same time I get coaching from the HackSchooling & Innovation Institute. This backup is keeping me from giving up. It’s hard to align all of this work with traveling, in order to evolve and enrich my creative ideas. Basically I founded my own company as a surfboard shaper under the label SOCATOA Surfboards. Besides this, I recently started working as a filmmaker/photographer, thanks to Thomas Paris. He’s the founder of LightBros Productions. Working in this collective allows us to elaborate creative stuff, thanks to our different ideas.
You’ve shown us an exclusive preview of your latest filmmaking project in which we noticed some influences of you, being a passionate surfer. Can you explain us how you reflect your lifestyle in your film work?
My lifestyle is rather relaxed. I don’t like to get too worked up, I love exploring, losing myself in my thoughts and innovating. That’s what’s reflected in my cinematographic work. LightBros Productions brings a certain stability and professionalism to my work.
You’ve told us about some different internships abroad. Where have you been working as a shaper and how did these opportunities influence your work as a shaper?
I spent the entire winter abroad, in Bali and Australia. It was a really good experience, during which I got the chance to follow and admire some competitions and of course work on some filming projects and shaping. I was surrounded by nice people who helped me a lot with my projects. During these adventures I had so many great encounters. I met a bunch of famous surfers and shapers, which I will never forget! Over the whole trip, I got the chance to admire the work of Deus, Dick Van Straalen, DHD, JS as well as PYZEL, where I got a job as a sander. This allowed me to repeat this specific process over and over, so I got better at it with each board that came through my hands. After a while, when I gained their trust, they let me shape and glass under their supervision.
We’ve seen a lot of artistic boards that were made by your hands. Where can people find more of your work? How can they reach you to place an order?
To place an order or to get any advice, contact me through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerning my cinematographic and photographic work, you can follow the Instagram account of Lightbros Productions.
Also, don’t hesitate to follow my lifestyle on Instagram through my personal account.
Thanks a lot for your visit. I hope to have inspired you and help you discover new things. I’m sure we will see us very soon for some new projects and some more crazy nights! You’re more than welcome at my place, yeouuhh!
PS: one person from the Reverse team still needs to complete a challenge from the game “what are the odds”
Thanks for giving us a glance at your workshop and lifestyle, Maxime! We hope to see you again soon.