INTERVIEW by JAY ADAMS
PHOTO BY ARTO SAARI
The future is now and Curren is an all around skater who rides with nail-biting speed and endless style all while bringing modern day tricks to new levels on every terrain. This is a conversation between a legend and a rising star. We are proud to present Curren Caples by Jay Adams.
C urren, what’s up, dude? Let me ask you something. How old are you now?
Whoa. Do you ever feel old?
[Laughs] No. All my friends are older than me, so I always feel super young. Everybody is taller than me.
That’s how it was for me. I was always the young guy in the group too. When you’re young, you want to be older. When you get older, you want to be younger, but don’t worry, you’re not missing out on anything being 17. Where do you live?
I moved to Ventura when I was four, and I’ve lived here ever since.
Where did you move from?
My parents had me in Ohio and then they moved out to Oxnard and then we came up to Ventura.
What do you like doing better, surfing or skating?
I don’t know. Surfing is just super easy because you don’t really get hurt, but it just goes back and forth. When the surf is good, I love surfing, but I love to skate too.
That’s what I always say. I like surfing when the waves are good and skating when the waves aren’t good. With surfing, it’s more rare when all the elements come together and it’s perfect, so you appreciate a good day of surfing. I appreciate a good day of skating too, but it’s all fun.
It’s not as rare.
I remember when I was 16, with skateboarding, if you were 22, you were old. I was thinking, “I wonder what it feels like to be that old guy.” [Laughs] Do you ever trip out on how old some of the guys are now like Cab and Hosoi? Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be old?
It must be crazy. I don’t know. It’s so gnarly to just think about the Pro-Tec contests. I remember when Lance took the gnarliest slam and just got up and walked away like nothing happened. I was tripping out.
That let’s you know that you still have a bunch of years left in you, right?
Your dad surfs. Did he skate too?
I think he skated when he was younger. He skated until he was about 12 and then he just started surfing.
You guys surf together all the time still?
Yeah, I mean he’s always so picky about going surfing though. He won’t even get out of bed. He says, “Call me if it’s good.” It’s weird. He will only surf when it’s good.
Where’s your favorite place to surf?
When the waves are good, I like surfing Rincon a lot. That’s probably my favorite wave, but a wave I surf every day is that wave at C Street. It’s not that great, but it’s fun.
C Street can be pretty fun. It’s a little bit mushy but, how long is C Street when it’s big and connecting all the way? It’s pretty crazy.
Whenever the waves get big, I end up going to Rincon.
What about those jetties in Pierpont?
I don’t really surf down there that much. I don’t know why, but I don’t. There’s always a weird vibe down there.
You’re from Ventura, so you can be the guy giving the vibes, right?
[Laughs] It’s like the guys that live there. It’s just kind of weird because the guy can barely surf, but he’s all stink-eyeing you and you’re like, “I’m not even doing anything to you.”
Do you think sometimes you’re affected by the localism in surfing?
It’s different. Surfing is so much more intimidating. In skateboarding, you can go up and just approach a pro skater. With surfing, no one talks in the water, unless they know each other. It’s weird.
Yeah. Surfing is one of the only sports I know where people are the greediest idiots in the world. With skateboarding, when we were kids, it was kind of like that when we had secret pools. We wouldn’t want a bunch of goons to invade them and blow them all out. On the whole, skateboarding was really cool because I made friends everywhere and it’s still like that today. Sometimes surfers are lame. There was a long time when I wouldn’t even call myself a surfer. I was like, “I’m a skateboarder and I surf, but I’m not a surfer.” [Laughs] What about Hollywood by the Sea? You ever surf down there?
I’ve surfed there a couple times, but I don’t know. My dad likes to go surf all those waves like Shores and stuff.
“I like going fast. That’s why I don’t really skate ledges or street that much because I don’t like going slow and just getting tech. I just try and go as fast as I can.”
What about Super Tubes? Have you surfed there?
No, I’ve never surfed there. Those waves scare me. They’re so gnarly looking. It’s just two feet away from rocks. My biggest fear is just paddling in because when I was in Australia, there was this wave called Lennox Head and it was super high tide and there were these gnarly boulders. I just hate paddling in when there are consistent waves behind me and I’m just going to get blown up on rocks.
Uluwatu is gnarly on a high tide. Have you ever been to Bali?
Did you surf Ulu’s?
Yep. You have to make it right through the cave.
If it’s a really big swell and it’s high tide, you really have to make it or you’ll get pounded. What’s your favorite type of skateboarding?
I love skating Arto’s pool. I love just skating. I like going fast. That’s why I don’t really skate ledges or street that much because I don’t like going slow and just getting tech. I just try and go as fast as I can.
I saw you skate that Converse bowl at the U.S. Open one time and you were going really fast. You skated it really well. Did you like that place?
Thanks. Yeah. It was fun. It’s really hard to skate because they paint it blue. It tricks your eyes out.
That’s a pretty amped out session. Guys are just dropping in on each other, but you were flying hard.
Yeah, there were a lot of guys from San Pedro. Those guys are gnarly.
I love San Pedro. There’s really good surf and really good downhill skateboarding there. Have you ever done downhilling?
No. I’ve just bombed hills. That’s pretty much it.
I was in a downhill contest recently and we were only going about 40mph. Do you think you would try that?
I don’t know. I don’t think I want to go that fast.
I’m trying to get Pat O’Connell to sponsor a few downhilling events. That means you’re going to have to skate in them. I’m going to make you go 40 mph, but it’ll be fine. I know you’ll love it.
[Laughs] I’ll try. I like watching guys do powerslides down the hill with the gloves on. It looks really fun.
Do you ever longboard surf?
In the summertime, I’ll mess around on a soft top. I know how to walk the nose and that’s pretty much it.
Do you think it’s lame or cool?
It’s cool at First Point Malibu, but not when it’s barreling.
I feel the same way. I got a new longboard, and sometimes, in California, it’s knee high and it’s hard to have fun on a little short board when it’s knee high. On a longboard, I can go out and have fun. Who is your favorite surfer?
Dane Reynolds. He is everyone’s favorite surfer.
What about Gabriel Medina or John John? Who do you think is better?
I think John John is gnarly and he’s just so well rounded. It’s crazy. He’s growing up at Pipeline.
He’s a good skater too.
He’s really good. I saw him at the Banzai Pipeline Park.
What about Kalani David?
He’s good. I met Kalani in Hawaii when I was 11. He was cool. The first time I met him he gave me a Santa Cruz board and I was tripping out. I went to his house and he was like, “Oh, you want a board?” I was like, “Yeah, sure.” I thought I was going to get one of his old boards and he opens up a box and it’s a brand new board he hasn’t even ridden yet. I was like, “Really? Cool!” I went off to Log Cabins and it was way too big for me at the time and I just got worked. I just wanted to get out because I had a new board, but I got destroyed. [Laughs] It was funny.
Log Cabins is gnarly. That’s one of the few reefs in Hawaii that I tend to worry about because there are big gnarly pinnacles under there. I think Kalani David is like the next John John. It’s like how John John was to Jamie O’Brien. I would say you, Kalani David, Greyson Fletcher and Shane Borland are my favorite young skater guys that I see. I think you guys would do good to hang around with each other and push each other a lot skating. John John is super cool too. What about Shane? What do you think about him?
He’s cool. I saw him surfing up by my house. He rips.
He surfs for Volcom. You surf for Hurley and Kalani is on RVCA. John John is on Hurley. You should have a contest and see who can take it.
[Laughs] I think John John will win.
In surfing, he would. I don’t know about skating nowadays. [Laughs] He’s pretty rad. What kind of moves do you like to do skating? What’s the best gnarliest feeling you get besides speed? What maneuver is it? I’m not going to call it a trick. I’m going to call it a maneuver.
The kind of trick that scares me a lot is going fast and doing a smith grind. It scares me for some reason. I feel like my board is not going to get on the coping.
Do you think that Pedro Barros is the gnarliest skater out there right now?
He’s definitely one of the gnarliest bowl skaters.
Who is the gnarliest all around skater?
For pools and street, it’s Grant Taylor. Every time you watch him skate, he’s just out of control and out of nowhere. Every time he’s in a contest, his board will end up going 30 feet in the air because he whipped out. It is so sick watching him skate.
He’s gnarly. What do you think of the combi bowl at Vans? It’s pretty deep. It’s gnarly. People don’t realize how vert and gnarly it is. Do you like it or is it challenging for you?
It’s a lot easier to skate now. They changed it up and poured new concrete and new coping. It’s easer to skate now than it was.
What about the MegaRamp?
I’ve rolled in on the quarter pipe and that’s about it.
Okay, let me talk to your dad because I want to tell him he has to make you go do the gap.
[Laughs] I think I could clear the gap and do an air.
I think you just have to do the gap to a knee slide and then do it and make it. Do a big old air and you’d be so stoked. You’d be like, “This thing was made for me.” Guys like Bob Burnquist and Danny Way are on that thing. How about that kid that did the 1080?
Tom Schaar is so crazy. He’s out of his mind. He goes to this place in Madera where they teach you how to spin. It’s so crazy how he doesn’t get dizzy. He can just spin and spin.
What do you mean? Do they put him in an office chair and spin him around a hundred times and he gets up and doesn’t get dizzy?
[Laughs] No. It’s on a trampoline. It’s gnarly. You work with this board and you do a couple bounces and then you try a grab and spin with the board. I think Tom’s working on the 1260.
He’ll do it. Somebody will do it.
Yeah, it’s so crazy thinking about it. How do you spin that many times?
“I just want to be going on some sick surf trips and some cool skate trips and maybe become pro and basically live the surf/skate lifestyle.”
Have you invented any tricks yourself?
Maybe you can do that 1260.
[Laughs] You would just call that a tornado.
That would definitely be a tornado. That’s funny. They’ve already got hurricanes, so a tornado would be perfect. What else do you like to do? Do you go to school?
Do you like it?
It’s cool. I get really far behind in it. It’s easy to get behind because you’re not in school. I’m behind right now.
You can catch up in one weekend if you just do it all day and all night, right?
I know. My mom and I do it because I’m dyslexic. When I read a lot of stuff, I don’t really get everything that I read, so my mom helps me out with a lot of it.
I used to go over to John John’s house and they would be doing their home school. Are you any good at math?
I’m decent at math. I’m not great, but I can do math.
Does anything in school interest you?
I like doing science. That’s pretty much it. The cool thing about my school is that I can pick my classes, so I don’t have to do full algebra and all that stuff. My school is set up so I’m just going to graduate. Nothing counts as college credits. It’s a lot easier. I take consumer math and it just basically teaches you how to budget a trip. It’s real life stuff.
If you’re at home, can’t you use a calculator where you couldn’t in school?
Yeah, everything is online, but some of the questions are hard to find. They make it so it’s hard, but you can just have another computer next to you and Google it. I have books, and everything is an open book test, so it’s kind of easy.
Do you like reading them?
No. I hate reading them.
If we were on a plane to Bali, you wouldn’t have a book? You would have your computer and be watching videos instead?
Yeah, or I’d be sleeping. [Laughs]
Do you ever watch TV?
I used to watch a lot of TV, but not too much now. I have an iPad and I watch a lot of stuff on that.
TV is okay, but you’re better off without it. When I went to Bali, I wouldn’t have TV for months and I wouldn’t miss it at all. What do you want to do five years from now?
I don’t know, I just want to be going on some sick surf trips and some cool skate trips and maybe become pro and basically live the surf/skate lifestyle.
Do you consider yourself a surfer or a skater?
I’m more of a skater. I got all of my sponsors because of skating.
When I started skateboarding, we copied surfing. Now surfers copy skating. If you love surfing and you skate good enough, you can pay your bills and go on skate trips and surf along the way.
I’ve been going on some. When I went to Australia, I would go over for skate contests, but I would bring three surfboards and go on a surf trip after. It’s cool.
The first time I ever went to Bali, the only thing I knew about was Uluwatu and Kuta Beach. I went for a month and it was so cool. They have the best waves.
Yeah. My mom and sister went on a trip with us to Bali and they loved it.
Do you think skateboarding is political where you have to kiss ass to make it?
I think it’s like that in those bowl contests. It’s weird because if you’re not one of their friends, you’re not making the finals. Unless you just absolutely killed it, then it’s guaranteed. It’s weird. It’s almost not fair.
Bowl riding is like surfing. How do you determine if Rune is better than Pedro if they don’t fall on their runs and have amazing runs? You have to favor one or say, “This guy’s style sucks.” If I skated against Chris Miller, you’d have a winner. He would win. [Laughs] When it’s the ten top guys, it’s hard to determine who wins. That’s one thing that I don’t like about surfing contests. I think it would be rad if they made wave pools with killer waves and each guy could surf the same wave. That would be more fair, don’t you think?
Yeah. You know how Disneyland has wave pools? One day, it’s probably going to be like that. You’ll get three perfect waves. You’ll get a perfect right, and a perfect left and then you’ll get one wave that’s hard to surf. It would show who is good.
What about Kelly Slater’s wave pool design? It’s like a perfect circle and goes around. That would be fun.
I was talking to Pat O’Connell about it and he was saying it would be really crazy because say somebody would push whitewash into it, so you can get air on it. If it were perfect the whole time, it would get weird.
It might get boring because it’s too perfect.
It would be funny if they did obstacles and stuff. The whole time you’re waiting for an obstacle you’re in the barrel and right when you come out of the barrel, there could be like a rail or something.
What do you think is going to happen in surfing?
I think surfing is in a weird place right now because the judges don’t know how to score airs and stuff. I think it’s going to go back to who surfs with more power. It’s so weird because guys can win contests that are all tricky and stuff, but somebody that’s really making a wave perfect and staying on their rail won’t make a heat because somebody did an air. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s so funny. I can do airs surfing, but it’s harder to do a full turn. It’s harder to do a really gnarly cutback rebound than it is to do an air.
I believe it’s going back to a combination of the two. It will be guys that can power surf like John John. He’s really good. How about Kolohe?
He’s really gnarly. I’ve hung out with him a little bit. He’s cool. I think his surfing is gnarly because he has a lot of power when he surfs, but he can also throw an air.
He’s so built to compete that some guys are jealous, but he’s super good. Have people ever gotten jealous of your skating?
I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t really get jealous of anybody. That’s them and what they’re doing. I’m just going to worry about what I’m doing.
Jealousy and ego are really bad, so don’t ever be an egotistical lame. Know that you can surf and skate good, but you’re no better than anybody else. Who are your sponsors?
Who owns Flip?
It’s Jeremy Fox that owns Ricta and a guy named Ian Deacon that owns Mob Grip Tape. Geoff Rowley owns part of it too.
Geoff Rowley is rad. Who else?
Flip, Hurley, Vans, Ricta Wheels, Independent Trucks, Bones Swiss Bearings, Oakley Sunglasses and Sol Republic Headphones. I’m trying to get on Stance.
I have Stance socks on. I don’t like the weird colored ones, but I like the ones with the stripes and the white ones.
I’m wearing the camouflage ones with orange on them. They’re sick.
Those are kook socks.
Okay, I’ll talk to you later.