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Oscar Candon Interview

Oscar Candon is what you could call a working class hero. A carpenter by training, he worked hard as a sponsored skater to come ever closer to his own Supra colorway which is out now. He tends to skate full force and puts more work into his skating than what’s usual these days. Even though he might break a finger every once in a while or has to part ways with his board sponsor that's no reason to change for him since he has one lifetime goal: A piece of land with a little farm of his own.

I talked to Tura (David Turakiewicz of À propos Mag) yesterday and told him that I’ll interview you and he said, you're one of the smartest guys he knows, so I guess this will be a good interview.

[laughs] That’s pretty funny hearing that from him, because he’s seen me being really stupid, he’s seen me figthing and getting into trouble. But I guess I can be smart sometimes.

You were born in Montpellier and moved to Washington DC when you were seven.

My mum got offered a job at a hospital and we ended up going there for four years, but it didn’t go as planned and we had to leave because we didn’t have enough money to pay taxes. So we ended up going back to my grandmother’s house in the suburbs of Paris.

"I enjoy the feeling of beeing really beat up from trying a trick"

You started skating there, did you skate the Pulaski Plaza?

No, that’s the thing. I only skated at the parking lot of the appartement complex we were staying. That’s all I got to skate. I haven’t been back to DC ever since.

I read that your favourite videos back then were the Flip videos and Habitat „Mosaic“. What did you like about them?

The variety of the skaters in the videos. Habitat goes from Stefan Janoski to Fred Gall and the Flip videos go from Penny to Rowley to Glifberg. It was completely different skateboarding than in the Foundation or Zero videos from that time. That was the same type of skating for the whole video. And Flip and Habitat had more variety. That sounded more natural to me than just guys doing gnarly shit down rails.

Oscar Candon Interview
Your skating is really powerful. You don’t see that kind of skating that much nowadays. Especially in the Parisian scene it’s a lot of slappys and stuff.

That’s the thing. I don’t know why it is like that. But that’s how I like to skate and I’m not gonna change my shit for instagram and the fucking slappys these days. I respect it, because some of the shit they’re doing is insanely hard to do, but I’m not gonna change to look like that and be in that wave of how it is going. I’m happy with the way I skate. I think some people are stoked on how I skate, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. Now I can make a living out of skating, too.

So I guess you don’t hang out at Republique a lot?

I never go to Republique. I mean, I end up going there sometimes, but I don’t like that place, I’m sorry.

Is it important for you to fight for your tricks, cause I can remember a lot of pictures of you with bloody hands and stuff.

Yeah, the thing is I end up skating a lot of spots nobody wants to skate. Those spots are often the ones with huge cracks and shitty floor. That’s why I skate 56mm wheels. I enjoy the feeling of being really beat up from trying a trick, instead of trying a line on ledges for three hours. It’s a different feeling of working for a trick. When you make it in the end you’re just like: „Fuck, I’m gonna chill for a day now“. I like that. It’s not every trick I do, but it happens quite often.

You recently broke three fingers [see the Supra NY clip].

That was stupid. I was trying a wallie boardslide an eleven stair hubba in New York. Sometimes it works when you just jump on big shit. Instead of rolling back and forth to it I just go and see what happens. And that try went wrong. I ended up scorpion, the fingers fully touched the back of the hand. Sometimes you eat shit like a motherfucker.

What put you on the map the first time was your Emerica part, right?

Yeah, or maybe the Trauma part before. But I wasn’t very hyped about this Emerica part. It isn’t the best thing I put out to be honest.

"Everyone does their solo parts. No team spirit anymore. I don’t like that"

Why not?

I don’t know. Just compared to other things I’ve worked on. I was really happy about the Trauma part. The Emerica part was the first part I did like you do it nowadays, everyone does their solo parts. No team spirit anymore. I don’t like that. The whole process of filming for the part, always skating alone or with different people. It’s not the same as when you film for a project with other people. When someone else gets the trick it’s like everyone got the trick. That’s what I miss doing solo videoparts. I film a part for Thrasher, but this time all the trips were with Lucien or the other guys. There was a team-feeling, but still solo projects are not the best thing for me.

After that part you got on Supra.

It was going okay with Emerica but it wasn’t really going anywhere. I got my 300 Euros per month and maybe it would still be the same. But Vaughan Baker was working for Supra at that time and offered me a better deal and I thought, fuck it, I should try it out and see what happens. And in the end I’m fucking happy I did it. I met some good friends and everything turned out to the best.

Was the UK Residency trip then the proving ground for you, to see if you fit into the team?

Oh yeah. Vaughan said, you come on this trip. I knew nobody and came on a trip with guys like Muska and Ellington. But it worked out. I guess I skated okay on that tour. And next thing you know, they involved me more in the company and now I’m full on the global team and have a colorway.

I think they were pretty impressed with your skating.

Because they’re not used to skating shitty spots in the UK. [laughs]

And you had a pretty gnarly ender in the video.

Fucking Muska was there, hyping shit up, it was amazing. I don’t know how, but I ended up getting so much footage from that trip and for some reason it worked out. That tour helped me out a lot in skateboarding.

"Greco is a pretty wild one. I won’t go into details but sometimes it’s pretty wild being around him when he’s not at home"

How was it to hang out with all those legends?

First it was a bit weird, because I didn’t really have my place in the group, but on the other side I never really had a cult about these guys as a kid, I wasn’t looking up to them as gods. I had respect for them and I still do, but I wasn’t a scared little boy on the side, I managed it. That helped. It takes time to meet people, like always when you’re in a new group. Now I know all of them and when we’re on a trip there is no problem.

Can you tell me a crazy tour story from one of those guys?

Greco is a pretty wild one. I won’t go into details but sometimes it’s pretty wild being around him when he’s not at home. But they’re all big characters, big names, legends. There’re tons of stories. I appreciate being around those dudes, seeing how they are. That’s pretty funny. Sometimes I’m like: „What the fuck are you doing?“, but they know what they’re doing. I don’t wanna talk shit about them, because I have respect for them, but I see some shit. [laughs]

The next step for you after the tour was your Kr3w Killers part. I think with that one you got worldwide recognition.

I guess it did help. It’s actually funny. We were in America doing some signings and a couple of kids there came up and said: „Hey, we liked your Kr3w part!“ So I think people have watched it, that’s cool, but I’m not pretty happy about that part either, because it’s kind of leftovers for what I’m working on now. It wasn’t really leftovers but not the best I had. Once again, one more solo videopart, but it wasn’t like: Okay, I’m gonna film a Kr3w part. It was footage from there, footage from there, footage from there. There are a couple of tricks in it, that I’m happy about, but I can’t wait to get my part out this year, the one I lost some blood for.

You’re filming for a Supra part on Thrasher but I thought there would be a whole Supra video. Is that idea canceled?

It went from being a Supra video to being a solo part to being a Supra video again and now it’s a solo part but with tricks of pretty much everyone in the team in that part. Like a little montage in the middle of the part and it’s planned for april. It’s almost done. I’m trying to finish it and the interview for Thrasher that comes out with it.

I think you’re a hard worker when it comes to parts as well as for tricks.

For sure, I try my best. No regret if you try your best. And I don’t wanna put out shit as well. I wanna put out stuff I’m happy about and I’m an asshole with myself.

You worked as a carpenter, is your work ethos coming from there?

I’ve never really thought about this, but maybe. At 15 years old I had to wake up at five in the morning to go to work at seven and start lifting heavy shit. I’m not complaining, there are kids in China and stuff, you know. But things are not always easy and maybe it’s better this way, because when it’s done, then you’re stoked.

How did you get from being a carpenter to skate for a living? I guess it was an easy decision

I’m not good with authority, so having a boss made me lose my mind. It couldn’t go on. I have my degree but after that Emerica started paying me 300 Euros a month and I’m not paying rent and can live like a gipsy, so from there I just lived like a gipsy for a long time. Then slowly I got a bit more money and now I’m okay. I have enough money to live. The carpentry had to stop and I had to work as my own boss. I’m fucking glad skateboarding worked out. I’m fucking lucky.

Oscar Candon Interview
Now you have your own colourway. How did that happen?

That was out of nowhere. Vaughan pushed it again. He left Supra now, but he always had my back. A year ago he told me that I will have a colourway and I was like: „Why the fuck should I have a colourway? Who the fuck am I?“ I felt weird about it first, but the year went by and I put out some more shit, was on more trips, got more involved with the team, so now it kinda makes sense.

Besides Supra, what’s planned with Frank skateboards? Because you’re not named on the insta page anymore, but you’re still on the team, right?

No I’m not, because I have different points of view than Dallas [Rockvam] has and it was not working for me. It didn’t go in the direction I wanted to go, towards where I’m happy and things escalated to the point where I had to leave.

Where did you want to go?

I would really love to feel that the team is really working on shit… I don’t know, Frank was good, but Eniz [Fazliov] is in Finland, Sebi [Dorfer] is in Austria or Barcelona, Rob [Maatman] is in Holland, the team is not really together at all and I find that doesn’t really work for a board company. You see all the new little board companys are fucking killing it and it’s normal. The hype is there, it’s a crew of friends and they’re just doing their thing. People can relate to that instead of just a team edit here and there. I’d like to find something more like that. I’d like to keep it euro, but we’ll see.

So you’re without a boardsponsor right now?

Yeah, I’m buying my boards or Dee got me a Baker board, I’m skating that right now. But I’m not skating for Baker.

It would be the next logical step to get a US boardsponsor.

Yeah, that’s the thing. But then again, these days there is almost as much light on Europe as on California. And I already travel a lot to America with Supra and I’m not sure if I want to spent half of my year in America, if I have to travel for my boardsponsor as well. I still want to spend most time in Europe, so a european boardcompany would make sense. But then again, if some really good American company comes up with an offer I’m happy with…

"Once they wake up and real life is here, I hope mommy and daddy have money"

But you made your way up step by step, so I guess you’ll keep going that direction.

I hope so. Hopefully I don’t get hurt and it goes on like this. But it has never been a goal for me to become a pro skater. I go with how things are and where I’m happy. For now I’m happy but if someday I’m not happy anymore, I’ll do something else.

Like going to your familys holiday house in Sweden and do some fishing?

Yeah, or buying some land. I actually try to save some money to buy some land, maybe south of France or Basque country. I really like the mountains as well, maybe alps.

And then living in the nature and chill.

At least having a place where it’s mine. I try to save up from skateboarding and then I can say, fuck it, I have all those experiences… I’m not asking for a crazy amount of land and land is cheap if you’re far from the city. I want a place where I can do what I want, when skateboarding is done. So that I don’t have to get a stupid job to pay rent. If I don't wanna get a job, I can grow vegetables or go fishing then.

Maybe that’s the reason Tura says you’re smart, because a lot of guys spend all their money on party and cars and stuff and you try to save it.

Well, I don’t make crazy money either. In the last years I wasn’t able to save money. It just started to be able to save money and it’s not a crazy amount. But having some money on the side is so life changing. Some guys have the chance to do it and if they don’t do it, it’s stupid. Once they wake up and real life is here, I hope mommy and daddy have money.

There are some sad stories.

Especially if you live in the city… Do you know Dominik Dietrich? He lives in the countryside now with his girlfriend and they have a permaculture farm. They’re killling it! He doesn’t get money from skateboarding anymore and I know he is working a bit, but he made a fucking smart move and didn’t stay in the city, because if you stay there without a job, you can try to become an artist or some shit but it’s hard. I don’t wanna spend my days working for some stupid ass corporation. Fuck that, I’d rather be poor and grow my own stuff than being another little sheep.

Oscar Candon Interview