Vincent Allard: A Hero Gone Too Soon
Words by Michel Plonka
Well, it seems like good things really come to an end. On monday july 31st, I got a text from a close friend saying that Vincent’s dad was looking for him. The first thought that went through my head was that he went camping or something and his phone died, no big deal. The next night, that same friend showed up to my place, and as soon as I saw his face, I knew something was wrong, something was very wrong. He painfully informed me that one of my best friends, Vincent Allard, had taken his own life. So there I was, standing in my kitchen, hearing that my best friend died. I froze, didn’t move for 15 minutes while my body reminded me it was still able to produce tears. I was suddently extremely calm, shocked, confused, depressed, angry, weak and frustrated all at once. I simply could not believe it and was wishing it was just a bad joke, but I knew it wasn’t. My best friend was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it.
“Vince is the reason I met some of my closest friends and The Rise wouldn’t be remotely close to where it is today without him. I was lucky enough to spend lots of time on the road with Vince and there was never a dull moment. He always managed to find the good of every situation and made sure we are always laughing. I still can’t believe we lost such an amazing person but I’m glad that we have so many amazing videos, that Vince created, to relive some amazing memories with him. Already missing you an absurd amount, Love you Vince!”– Jeremy Menduni
For those that don’t know who Vincent Allard was, well let’s just say that this thing we call The Rise would probably not exist without him. I met Vincent 13 years ago thru riding bikes and we quickly became close like brothers. All we would do was riding bikes, having fun and film videos. The guy was so talented and motivated to produce biking films that it motivated everyone around him. When Vince would hit you up to go ride or film, you just went, because you knew it would be extremely funny and productive at the same time. His motivation to get people together is actually the reason most of us met each other in the first place!
Just to give you an idea of how motivated he was, we started The Rise in late 2008 and by the end of 2009, he had completed a Full Length The Rise movie while making a bunch of other The Rise videos at the same time. His dedication put The Rise on the map big time, and it’s safe to say he was involved in about half the videos we’ve ever released. He was the dude that would always say the stupidest stuff just to make you laugh while delivering the best work you’d have ever seen.
“To me Vince was one of the best at what he did… Personally I always looked up to him because he made his dreams a reality. When Vince spoke about something it always happened, when he said he would be there he always was. He had an incredible ability to pull the best out of others and I hope everything I do in my lifetime will live up to his standards. Love you Vince.” – Matt Macduff
Vincent has always been extremely active both on the bike and behind the camera. By the time we met him, he had already put together a few biking videos with his former crew Ahuntsic Bike Riders, which all dissapeared from the internet when Google shut down it’s video platform back in 2012. As time went by, both his riding and video skills kept expanding at an impressive rate, motivating most of us to go big because of the way he rode, and because of the way he would capture it on tape. His determination to capture the best image eventually grew on him, at which point he joined a Video School in Ottawa and slowly put his riding on the side. When he returned to Montreal, his talent had grown to a whole other level. In order to make a name for himself in the game, he quickly started working his ass off, accepting any contract he could get his hands on from weddings to lame TV commercials. Once he started hustling, he never stopped, and it paid off. He spent the last 4 years traveling the world with his camera to shoot for some of the world’s top brands, and was damn good at it! Despite working for some big players, he always kept a foot in the bike industry, filming for various biking projects including Red Bull’s recent serie where Cam McCaul meets the best slopestyle athletes on the planet.
“Whether it be telling stories, talking shit or getting our annual Poutineville, Vince was a character to be around. The few times we hung out over our couple year friendship, he made me feel like one of his best homies, and i have to respect him for that. A funny, talented, solid dude who will be missed heavily by myself and more people than i think he would have realised. Take it easy brother!” – Aidan Horn
“The more I think about Vincent, the more I realize the central point in my life he was. He was always challenging my status quo and pushing me forward. From my best friends to camera, to biking, to crazy fuck up videos, Vincent has shown me pretty much everything I know. We had so many projects coming up… We were ready to take on the world together. That’s at least how I saw it. Because in my head, if Vincent was there to help me, anything was possible. You are now with me forever and I’ll do everything in my power to make you proud because, in the end, that was the only important part for me. I’ll miss you forever.” – Louis Lhomel
“Its weird to think that me and Vincent met on the internet, I mean all my other friends I met in real life. With this guy it was really special, back in 2008 I was a heavy Vimeo user, I uploaded all my videos there and I was on the daily look out for new videos. It didn’t take long and I came across Vince’s Vimeo channel this is where we started to message each other and after a couple months of chatting he invited me to his house. I remember I had to send him photos of where I live as his parents didn’t want some weird Austrian kid at their house hahah. Once this was all figured out and we had the okay I booked my flight and I went to Montreal for 4 weeks. I remember when I arrived at the Canadian immigration and they asked what I do in Canada and I told them I met a guy and we ride bikes, the officer asked where we met and I told him on the internet , he said good luck and looked at me weird. I went out the airport and there he was this big harry grizzly. We connected right away trough our passion for Borat. This 4 weeks been unreal for me, he planned such an amazing trip around Montreal, Cape Cod and New York. I met so many great people and some of them I consider now as my best friends. He made a lot of things possible for me and I cant thank him enough for it. I am so happy I was able to spend so much time with him over the last years, so many crazy adventures on and off the bike, so many laughs and countless beers. I am also happy that I was able to introduce him to my family and friends and show him my city as he showed me his. Thanks for everything Vince, love you!” – Walter Mayerhofer
Vincent was a true hero and inspiration for all of us. His legacy will remain and may his soul stay with us forever. From everyone at The Rise, we love you forever brother. May you Rest in Peace.