From flake to wave, solutions that respect environment in the broad sense of the term
For the good good, the french online media dedicated to sustainable fashion and lifestyle, I wrote an article about Mathieu Crépel, snowboarder, free surf and athlète ambassador for OXBOW and Water family.
In a context where the values in sports and adventure are as inspiring as they are contradictory, the place of beneficial influence on ecological transition is both crucial and controversial. Here, we give a chance to speak to those who live and are committed to solutions that respect environment in the broad sense of the term. So, Mathieu Crépel is taking the floor, snowboarder, free surfer and Damien Castera's old wave pal whom we met for his documentary Wave of change, the low tech surf trip realizeed for Picture organic clothing. During our meeting, he talked about his vision of the sporting world, his role with the outdoor and surfwear brand Oxbow and about the projects that have taken this child from the mountains to the shore.
Mathieu Crépel, rider champion in all categories
Mathieu Crépel is a world champion. In the literal sense, for his discipline of snowboarding, in a figurative sense, because he carries inherent values to sport and to planet earth respect.
Someone , that has beaten all other competitors in a competition. A person who enthusiastically supports, defends, or fights for a person, belief, right, or principle.
Who are you Mathieu Crepel the Waterman?
I was born in the mountains, raised by the ocean . Thanks to my family's way of life, we spent winters in the mountains and summers on the Basque coast. As a child, I discovered snowboarding in a joyful way. I practiced it with my friends, then came the competitions. When I was ten, thanks to Quiksilver, I traveled to Greenland with my idols by the time. At that very moment, I lived an initiation, an awareness. For the first time, I faced an unknown culture and a wild environment with another relationship to space. Above all, I snowboarded with the athletes I admired.
"Competition is not an end in itself. To become better in my discipline and to progress are my additional motivation."
I always have been a nature and outdoor sports lover. I have a sensitivity towards environment and water cycle. I like challenging myself, it makes me evolving. Today, I question myself about sports I love and about my playground: mountains and ocean. I am not a scientific expert, my expertise is sharing my observations, my passion. I wish to change things in the right direction, to preserve my instinctive link to water. Water is a relationship to biology, an unconscious connection to who we are.
Editor's note: It was precisely to make the general public aware of the water cycle that in 2009 Mathieu and Bernard Crépel founded the association Water Family , from flake to wave, whose today scope is national .
You are ambassador and with your father, co-founder of Water Family, why did you create it?
I don't know if we can say that I co-founded the association, but I actively participated in the discussions and development. This was very spontaneously done from scratch given our way of life. Degradation obervation, reporting and lack of information about water and living things in general. It started with a sporting event “The Odyssey from Snowflake to Wave”. fFor a journey from the Pic du Midi to Biarritz, we have brought together top athletes . From Bixente Lizarazu (World soccer player) to Tony Estanguet (Canoe Olympic champion) , athletes promote alongside scientists the merits of preserving our environment. It's been going on for 13 years.
Some of the water pollution is invisible. What contaminates oceans begins on land. We wanted to invite upstream and downstream of the local populations to an evolution of consciousness. Action with children is also essential to change habits. The heart of our collective action is education, collaborations with schools, training around preservation, organization of sportive events.
We have just made a proposal to the french government to teach ecology as a main discipline at school.
We also cooperate with companies like Petit Bateau or Oxbow. Finally, we launched Agir à la source endowment fund. It supports and finances educational, sports and entrepreneurial projects, the purpose of which serves current climate issues, particularly around water.
Sustainable board sport Ambassador at Oxbow™
As a former professional athlete & crazy about winter and water sports, Mathieu Crépel is ambassador of the Oxbow brand. In 2020, two French entrepreneurs bought it. With values more rooted in sustainability, Mathieu joined them and he told us about his action with the product development team.
Why working with a brand like Oxbow?
I spent 27 years with my previous sponsor, leaving it was a very difficult decision to make. With Oxbow, we are building a long-term partnership. Eco-responsibility is at the center of their new strategy. Particularly with the 1985 range developed and manufactured with European and mainly French suppliers. The exception are surf wetsuits whose manufacturing technique is not present in Europe. I want to support them in designing quality, eco-designed products that last over time.
Whenever possible, I'm participating in product development and testing for outdoor and surf products. The brand has shown ready to commit by sending a message. Because manufacturing in Europe is more expensive it had to change its relationship to profitability. At the moment, 1985 range is not profitable. It is supported by the other brands of the Oxbow group. Also, there is an internal reflection for the responsibility of the end of life of the products. Furthermore, the first store offering only second-hand products has just opened in Bordeaux.
What is your vision of an eco-designed product? What do you prefer?
Simplicity that lasts over time! Products suitable for my practice, warm, breathable, f