Riders to Watch

Frank April

Birth Date: June 1, 1987

Hometown: Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada

Video: Videograss Enlighten, Yes Snowboards Yes It’s A Movie Too, Brother’s Factory Hungry

Sponsors: Yes Snowboards, ThirtyTwo, etnies, LRG, Dragon, IFound, Now, Empire Boardshop

Interviewed by Andrew Sayer

Last season, masked beneath a man-worthy beard and an oversized snow-crusted hoodie, “Frank the Tank” put a hurting on man-sized obstacles everywhere. Hammering out clips at an astonishing pace, the man also known as “Big” Frank is Quebec’s next great export. Ask not why it took so long for the Tank’s big break, but how. Without any gimmicks, he’s made a name for himself the proper way—with his skills on a snowboard.—Andrew Sayer 

The term “beast” gets thrown around a lot in snowboarding, but Frank is one of the few who an live up to the namesake. Facial hair infused stale to rail. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. PHOTO: Ralphn Damman PORTRAIT: Alex Paradis

Is your official nickname “Big Frank” or “Frank the Tank”? 

“Big Frank” is from [Chris] Grenier. I don’t know why, probably because when he starts talking he can’t stop and somewhere along the line he found a nickname like that. “Frank the Tank” is from everybody from the US that I met in a party or something. They started to call me that, but I’m not sure if it is good or not, because I haven’t even seen the movie Old School yet.

What’s with the beard? How long does it take to grow back if you shave it off?

I don’t really have the choice to have the beard, because I shave every morning and at noon it’s like a few inches long. The doctor said it’s not dangerous, but I have a super beard power.

You’ve been putting out solid video parts for years. What gave you your big break recently?  

I’d have to say it was because my friends Alex Cantin and Louif [Paradis] invited me to ride with them when they filmed for Videograss. After that I got some shots in Louif’s part in Shoot The Moon and some shots in the friends part in Retrospect. After filming with Justin [Meyer] and Hayden [Rensch] a few times they wanted me on their project.

How has your life changed now that you do this for a “job”?To be honest, my life didn’t change much. I still work in a restaurant all summer, and winters are spent the same as always—trying to find spots to get unique shots, only now I have to travel more. But that’s a good thing, and I’m not sure I’m gonna go back to my restaurant job.

What does Quebec snowboarding mean to you?

It’s probably the same as Salt Lake snowboarding or Minnesota snowboarding. It means riding rails with friends. But Quebec is only another place. The city and all around is my favorite place to film, though, because I’m home, we have snow for few months in the winter, we have nice girls, and nice poutine.

There are so many talented Quebec riders all filming the same terrain. Is there ever any resentment when someone lands a big trick?

When I hear somebody did something nice at a spot I think, “Wow, that’s sick. I don’t know how he did that.” Other times I’ll think, “Too bad. Next time I have to do that first before somebody else does.”

The Quebec scene seems down for a good party. What’s your best/worst adventure? 

I was on vacation in Annecy [France], and I was with some friends and my girlfriend. After the bar everybody was super drunk and we took a cab to go back to the campground, but the driver didn’t know where it was. So I said, “I’m gonna show you the right road,” but it was my first time in Annecy. I tried super hard to remember where it was and we told the cabbie a few times, “It’s here, stop!” But it was never right and we continued to say the same thing a few times before finally we found the campground. The driver was super stressed, and he pressed a button that added 10 euro to the fare. We paid him anyway and went outside. All of a sudden the driver shot me with a gun, but inside the gun was cayenne pepper, and the pain was really, really bad. After two or three showers and a lot of water in my eyes I went to bed and slept. When I’m really drunk though, sometimes I sleepwalk. Early in the morning I woke up and my girlfriend said, “Congrats, Frank, you did a pee in the corner of the tent again.”

People talk about powder being the “soul” of snowboarding. Does urban riding now fit into this description as well?

I’m not sure about the soul, but we find something inside the rail riding. Not the same as going down a mountain, but you can have so much fun setting something up in the streets and riding it the way you want with all your friends sessioning.

What role has Brothers Factory played in your snowboarding?

A lot. It’s with this crew I filmed the most with and I learned a lot—how to find a spot, set up the spot, how to deal with people.

Your kink riding is one of your strongest points. What is your approach?

I don’t know. Maybe close my eyes, don’t think, drink a 26-ouncer of Grand Marnier, and jump on [laughs].

What’s the biggest problem in snowboarding?

I think sometimes it’s hard for the kids to have a place because the industry gives so much hype to some people that don’t deserve it.

Do you feel like you’ve proven yourself in snowboarding?

Not yet. The best is still to come.

Continue to next page to read the interview with Forrest Bailey…