Curren Caples turns pro


Curren Caples, the 17-year-old, bleached-blond, surfer-looking kid, just became a professional skater for Flip Skateboards. Caples has been climbing the ranks of the skate world over the past few years. That ascent culminated with an X Games gold medal in Skateboard Park this past June in Munich, where he beat out three-time defending X Games champ Pedro Barros. Although turning pro has been a blast, growing up doesn't seem to phase Caples, as he is focused on his career and next year's X Games.

After skating his private park all afternoon, Caples spoke with by phone to discuss having Kelly Slater hand him his first pro board, winning gold at X Games Munich, why he gave his younger sister a brand-new car and how he came to love surfing after initially hating it. You've been skating for over 10 years, but what was it like surfing with your dad, pro surfer Evan Caples?
Caples: When I was younger, my dad really pushed me to be a surfer, but I didn't like it at all -- I took to skateboarding more. Around the time I was 12, I got back into surfing, and after that I started surfing a bunch -- I just wanted to do it all the time.

Arto Saari

X Games Park gold medalist Curren Caples turns pro for Flip Skateboards.

How long have you had a personal skatepark, and how does that help you prepare for X Games?
I've had my park for about four years now, and it helps a lot because there's nowhere really good to skate [indoors] around here, so that's why I have it. I mean, it's always cool to go there whenever I want and no one is there besides who I want, so [it's great].

You beat another guy with a personal skatepark, who also loves to surf, in Munich -- Pedro Barros. What was that like getting your first gold medal at the X Games?
I got invited when I was 14 to the X Games in L.A., and I ended up doing pretty good in it -- I placed fourth. At the next one, I was hurt so I didn't participate, and this year I was invited to X Games Barcelona. After I got second place in Spain, I was thinking to myself, "Maybe I could win one of these." When I went to Munich, I felt like the course really wasn't my style of skating -- it had bigger transitions. It seemed like the other courses were more my style than this one. It worked out, though.

How did you overcome skating a course not suited to your style and get a gold medal?
I don't know. I think I was just focused and wanted to win. I was pretty nervous as well, but I told myself while I was skating my last run to just do it and nail it and that it wasn't hard. I just needed to get out of my nervous mindset. I started off my run differently from everyone else by doing more street tricks, and that definitely helped me out a lot, and I think that's how I was able to win.

What are you looking forward to in next year's X Games?
I'm looking forward to Austin, Texas, as the new stop. That should be cool, but I'm looking forward to there being a more well-rounded skatepark in Park, with rails. Instead of just having a massive transition skatepark -- I mean, it is named "Park," so it should have everything.

In the video announcing your promotion to the pro ranks, surfing legend Kelly Slater gives you your first pro board. Talk about the influence he's had on your life and what it was like getting your board from him.
It was definitely pretty crazy. I know I don't look shocked in the video, but afterwards I was shaking, I was tripping out. It was cool to have a guy like him that's been around so long and done so much in his career give me my first pro board. I definitely looked up to him my whole life. No other person has been through all the different changes in surfing and adapted to all of them, and he's still at the top.

Arto Saari

Curren Caples.

You and Louie Lopez came up together on Flip; what was it like turning pro together?
Definitely really cool. When I first got on Flip, I was so psyched because we got to travel together. To be able to turn pro with one of my best friends is pretty crazy considering we met when I was 7 years old. We were at some backyard bowl skate contest and I ended up meeting him and we became friends. Soon after I would sleep at his house and he would sleep at mine. But from there it's still pretty crazy to get on the same team and turn pro together.

Growing up in California, have you had offers for acting or modeling?
After I skated the first X Games, the New York Times fashion magazine called me because they wanted to do a one-page story, and that was pretty cool. Before that, I used to do commercials when I was younger, before I had Matt [Meyerson from RPRT] representing me. The commercials I appeared in, I would only skate in them, I had no speaking roles. I did that until I was about 10 and then I got over it. A year and a half ago, I did a commercial for that Mello Yello drink, and it was kind of a throwback Dogtown commercial. It was pretty cool. There's a lot of stuff that comes up that I don't really like doing, so I have to be psyched on what company it is or how the commercial is set up.

People say you have "Dogtown" roots. Is this true?
People say I look like a younger Jay Adams. That's where the old school, Dogtown, beach reputation came from.

Do you have a Flip video part coming out soon? Is there a Vans video in the works?
Right now me and Louie are finishing up our pro parts. I don't know when that's coming out, but that's what I'm working on right now. It's mostly done. I'm just trying to get some last-minute good tricks in. After that, I think I'm skating the Dew Tour. The Vans video is slated for sometime next summer, and I think I got a full part in that, too, so I have a lot of filming to do.

I heard you like collecting vintage cameras.
Yes, I got into that because I have a friend who likes shooting photos and I have all these cameras that I don't use as much as I should. I just bought a Super 8 camera, but I've only used it once and haven't gotten the film developed yet. I get little point-and-shoot cameras, and that's what I shoot with mostly. I want to start doing a website where people can buy my photos as a print or on a shirt, even though my photos aren't that great. I'm going to try to get more into shooting photos.

Do you have any sites you frequent online or apps you're addicted to?
I'm usually on Vine, Instagram or YouTube. I have an iPad and a laptop but I use my phone for the most part. I'm kind of addicted to that app, Vine. I stay on it forever. My friends get mad at me but it's pretty funny.

What are you looking forward to when you turn 18?
I don't know. I really don't think about it. There's nothing really I don't do now that I'm underage that I am going to do once I turn 18. I don't have anything to really look forward to. I'm not looking forward to the pressure of having to go to a strip club just because I'm 18. I'm not really into that type of stuff, but I could see myself getting pressured into it, and instead I'd just disappear for a few days.

What do you spend your money on?
Cameras and gas. I recently got an Audi S5, because I got a deal on it. My mom made me a bet at X Games in Munich, before I won. She said if I won I could get whatever car within reason that I wanted. I wasn't really planning on winning, so I told my younger sister, "If I win, you could have my old car." So I had to give her my car, and she was stoked, so it was cool. She's not even driving yet and now she's got a Volvo, which is pretty funny because that car was brand-new, too.

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