Catching Up With Thomas Pages
After bursting onto the freestyle scene thanks to YouTube clips he and his brother filmed in their native France, Thomas Pages had a brief run in the contest circuit before retreating home. Pages has stayed active in the sport by riding the occasional European demo or photo shoot and even earned a spot in our latest issues “Scan” section, but it has been some time since he was spotted Stateside. We talked with him just moments after he earned second place at the second stop of the Red Bull X Fighters tour and learned about his most recent trip to the US.
You made a name for yourself in the United States years ago by competing in the X Games, but recently you have stayed in Europe. How was it to come back and take part in your first X Fighters contest in years?
It is awesome, because I did not expect anything. I didn’t get an invitation until a week ago, because some riders were going to Nitro Circus in Australia at the same time and some were injured. I haven’t been following the sport really close, but I’m still riding every day, just not going on the Internet. I didn’t know about the crazy, awesome park here and I hadn’t ridden any dirt or ramps before, only the foam pit. So, when I came here, I was not confident on the big jumps. I had to follow everyone on the big jumps at first and I felt confident after the first practice. I know that you have to be in to it right away, because if I had waited one or two practices, it would have been too late. After the first practice, I knew all of my lines and kept working on them all weekend.
From a spectator’s point of view, it’s refreshing to see someone not flip everything. You used to flip years ago, but what caused you to get away from it? How is it to adjust your run so that you don’t flip but still get such high scores?
By not flipping, it gave me time to blow up my regular tricks and just extend them as much as possible, like no one ever did, I think. It was unexpected for me to be on top, I did not expect it at all. I felt sorry for the other riders who can flip, because I was that strong to be in the finals, but the judge decided. It’s not my fault, and instead of being sorry, I told myself to go big, do the Volt (body varial) perfectly, do the step up, the biggest whip possible.
Dude, there is nothing to be sorry for. If you have the skills to earn the spot, then run it. That’s good.
I did really good off of the quarter pipe, and I have one by my foam pit so I was going to do the flair, but I made a mistake and didn’t take so much risk. I knew that I had to make the perfect run and take the quarter pipe as big as possible as well. I didn’t know I had the skills for it.
Your brother and yourself burst onto the scene years ago with Internet clips. How is it to come to the United States?
I started freestyle with my brother, and now he is not riding anymore. That is not helping me, because he pushed me and if he were still riding, I would have one or two new tricks (Laughs). But I want to be at X Games Best Trick, I will do everything for it.
Coming to the United States in just a week, were you ever “off” or tired?
I had no time to come before, because I just heard a week ago. I had to practice my tricks a lot to put a run together and I was jet lagged tired. But I will be way more tired next week when I am at home, because of all the excitement, the practice, and the stress. I’m on two days of not eating at all because I can’t deal with the stress like my brother. That is why we don’t like competitions or big jumps.