Who is Clément Lodeho?

Meet this year’s Jase Finlay Big Air Challenge winner.
Above: How could we not play this again? This year’s finalists, including Clément’s winning reverse.

If you haven’t heard the news or seen the entries for this year’s Jase Finlay Big Air Challenge presented by Riptide, give your self a slap and then go check out the winner announcement and all the entries here. In short, 17-year-old Reunion Islander Clément Lodeho took out the contest with his monster air reverse, submitted during week three, which Jase gave the nod due to his age and how technically perfect an approach would need to be to do an air that size off such a section. “It’s smooth and it’s big. It’s mental!” Jase concluded his statement.

We thought we’d find out a bit about young Clément – who has a gigantic prize pack from all of Jase’s sponsors heading his way – so we hit him up via the miracle and curse of our time, Facebook, for a few words. Take it away, Clément:

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We had a hard time finding a recent portrait of the man, so here’s a funny one we found on his Facebook.

“Hi, my English is not great. I’m really happy that you come to see me for this interview. I would answer you as soon as possible, but I’m not experimenting enough English to answer you. My friend have to help me to complete the interview, thankyou again and I’ll send it soon! Bye. Clement.”

[And some time not long after…]

I’m stoked to have won because I didn’t think I would have any chance compared to the world’s best. I’ve been raised on Reunion Island and was lucky enough to have landed just by the sea at Saint-Gilles-les-Bains. My turf looks a bit like the North Shore of Oahu, even if the waves aren’t Hawaiian. Before the shark crisis struck I had plenty of great waves within reach of my bike. I’ve been bodyboarding since I was five, and when I’m not bodyboarding you might find me enjoying a good tennis or soccer game with mates or simply cruising with the local crew like we did a long time that day before I finally rushed in and scored that [Big Air Challenge-winning] trick. I try to complement all that with some training with the surfing league’s physio.

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Above: OK, here’s a better one. Clément after his 2012 Euro Junior Champs win.

I scored this [winning] bomb on the June 25 and even now I still can’t believe I was blessed with such a perfectly shaped bowl. This reverse surely stands among my best tricks ever, for sure! Right now I like watching Finlay or [Nick] Gornall ride. Airs or barrels? I’ll have both thanks. I’ve been pretty much all around in France and I’ve also traveled to Spain and Portugal regularly for European contests. Two years ago I was in Hawaii too. I’m happy with my level now, but I am conscious of how much I can improve my surfing.

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Above: Let’s just have one last look shall we.

Being a bodyboarder in Reunion Island these days can be very frustrating at times, but with a little patience you can always score some jewels if you’re at the right place at the right time.

I have planned to pass my lifeguarding and surf instructing diplomas as soon as I can, and move to the south-west France for a bit. Amaury [Lavernhe] and Yoan [Florantin], who have always been role models for me, did the same thing during their career so i’m going to try and imitate them the best I can.