It’s easy to forget that Curren Caples is only 20 years of age. Having accomplished so much over what has been a fairly long career already, he’s been a prominent figure with Vans and Flip since a tender young age of 13 which led him to eventually turning pro at 17. Curren brings speed and power to the world of surf and skateboarding, successfully applying his smooth style to almost any terrain to sit at the forefront of the intertwining worlds. Curren is very much representative of whats happening in skateboarding right now, and during the Vans 50th celebrations at the House of Vans we were lucky enough to get Curren away from the bowl for a quick chat on where he’s at now, what it’s been like growing up on Vans and whats next for the young ripper…
How’s 2016 treating you so far?
It’s been alright man, can’t complain really…
You didn’t have a full part in the Vans Propeller video. Does that mean you’re working on something else for this year?
Yeah, well I haven’t really started anything yet. With the Vans part, I mean there’s so many guys that it’s just so hard to get filmed. Basically everything I filmed for the video came in the last 3 months, at that time I started going on trips quite a lot. When we first started filming I was like 16, so back then none of my footage would have been good enough to use for today, so I kind of waited because I knew I could get better stuff down the line, there was no reason to start. I was stoked I got what I did though, I felt like I had more footage and that stuff went in to the raw clips, I’m not really sure why that didn’t make the final video, but that’s cool.
You and Louis Lopez have been riding for Flip since you were kids. What would you say has changed the most about skating in that time?
Erm, I don’t really know. I was just so young when I got on FLIP, back when they used to have all those Feast tours and stuff. Nothing has really changed too much to me. Maybe more contests ? But I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time.
Which would you say has a crazier fan base, skating or surfing?
I would say surfing. It’s just different, there’s definitely more girls that look at surfing than skateboarding that’s for sure.
You’ve said in the past that you find surfing more fun than skating. What would say is the best and worst thing about both?
Well I guess the only reason I saw surfing as more fun for me over skateboarding is just because there’s no real pressure on me. I mean anything you don’t have pressure in and enjoy doing is always going to be fun. Skateboarding, I’ve been doing it my whole life and I love it, it’s just sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming at times, like when I have to skate a contest or something like that. I can’t really explain it as well as I should.
I guess the best thing about skateboarding is that I just really enjoy going fast. It’s always fun to mess around too, I love just messing around, probably too much. The worst thing, hmm.. I’ve never really been asked that, I guess the worst in any sport is the injuries for sure but if you can avoid that it’s all good.
With Surfing, when a day is like super good it’s a really special feeling. You’re in your home town and you just get super excited, and it’s hard in a way to get that with skateboarding. There’s certain ways in skateboarding to get that similar feeling, but with surfing it’s not even like the act of surfing, it’s more about the anticipation before, that’s the real exciting part. It could be the best day ever even though you go out and don’t get shit. I guess when it comes down to it I just like doing the same thing in both, messing around and cruising, going fast.
What has it been like growing up on a company like Vans ?
It’s been insane, I’m psyched to be on Vans for as long as I have. I got on right when I got on FLIP so I was like 13?. It’s been rad and I’ve done so much, been to a lot of places with Vans, like today, it’s so cool to come to somewhere like this [House Of Vans]. This is my second time here and it’s just insane, I was so excited to come back just because this place is so rad.
Who would you say has been the most influential person in your development in skateboarding?
My whole life I’ve looked up to Geoff Rowley. Although I try and look at everybody around me and try to get inspiration from everybody in different ways. I couldn’t say just one person that I really want to copy or anything like that, I just try and look to multiple people and copy [laughs].
Being on FLIP you have close ties to the UK scene. How do you find the skating in UK?
It’s funny I actually haven’t skated here that much. I know FLIP’s pretty much a UK brand but I’ve definitely done more in other parts of Europe, like Germany. The first time I came here was when I was 14 and since then I haven’t really been over here that much, I could be wrong though. There’s been a lot of Europe trips and they all kind of blend in.
Who would you say is the most underrated dude coming up in skating at the moment?
Hmm. That’s a hard one. With Instagram and everything no one’s really hiding anymore. I would say the best dude coming up for me is Daan Van Der Linden, he rides for Vans and Anti-Hero. He’s rad.
Any UK riders?
Well I’m kind of losing track with like who’s from where. But I’m sure if I spent more time here I’d definitely know. I’m not saying there’s not insane skaters here, I’m just not really too involved in the scene.
Do all the new young faces ever create any pressure for you to keep putting stuff out?
Yeah for sure, I mean every ten year old kid can do a 540 now, and just because every kid nowadays can do it, I felt like there’s no point in even learning one because its not even that cool anymore. I just try and do different variations of things. I’ve been trying to learn some good flip tricks on tranny and stuff like that. I’m just trying to figure out a different angle where I can be different from everyone else. Instead of doing a 540, maybe like a no-handed 540? I mean I know people do that already, but yeah just a different take on the trick to stand out. Younger kids look up at the pros and try and copy what they do, so I wanna do something else before they catch up!
Away from skateboarding and surfing, you’re a keen photographer right?
Yeah I don’t really take as many photos as I should, I mean I have enough cameras…
Do you shoot with film?
A bit of both, a lot of point-and-shoot stuff. I don’t really have any ‘real’ cameras, I did and I got it stolen, took it on one trip and now it’s gone. I would say I took the best photos with that camera but I’ll never get to see them which sucks. I only have shitty quality photos really, but they’re good enough.
Is there a particular subject you like to shoot? Skateboarding?
It’s mostly landscape, I don’t really shoot skateboarding. I have in the past just messing around with my point & shoot, not like set up flash or anything like that, I don’t really own all that stuff. Although it’s definitely something I would want to get in to. I just built a mini ramp in my back yard and it looks really cool, the back of it’s against this old antique lighting store that’s made out of exposed brick, wall coping and tile, so I would like to shoot people who come to my house to skate against that background. It’s off a tree house too, it looks pretty rad, I should probably invest in some flashes and a decent camera to get the most out of it.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I’ve been shaping surfboards lately, I would say that’s my hobby if anything.
Is that at your Dad’s store?
Nah, I have a shape bay at my house. One Christmas I really wanted to shape a board and then my parents bought me a regular foam blank and I knew how to shape it. We had this old shed that was filled with junk, so I was like can we just turn this in to a shape bay? I’ve definitely shaped a lot of boards, just a lot of them sucked. But lately, each board out of glass has been decent so I’m pretty psyched.
What’s next for Curren Caples?
I’m filming a Push part, that’s what I’m doing this year. I’ve also got the Vans bowl series and that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on right now. Hopefully I can get a good Push part, I’m kinda bummed that theres so many comps this year, with X-games and all the other bowl contests – the Dew Tour and all those, but hopefully I can get something out that’s good and tops everything I’ve done before.
Imagery: Lily Brown