Catching up with Chris Cole

By Rob Brink

Last weekend, Chris Cole played a huge part in making one of the greatest contests in skateboarding history, just that—one of the greatest contests in skateboarding history. But, with the Maloof Money Cup ’09 title, $100 grand and a new Les Paul under his belt, Cole only has about a week to recover and relax from the intensity that was the MMC before shipping out to Boston for his first-ever attempt at the Dew Tour contest, against Dew veterans like Lutzka, Sheckler, Chaz Ortiz and former Maloof Money Cup champ, Paul Rodriguez.

Whilst making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his son Wyatt, and strumming his new guitar, Cole took a few minutes to talk to us about his Maloof experience, his soon-to-be Dew Tour experience and the state of the skateboarding industry in general.

How much of the 100 grand that you won at Maloof do you lose to taxes?
I didn’t even add it up yet but it’s a pretty good amount. It’s probably like 30 grand or more.

Seems like every time you win a contest these days you end up getting another guitar for your collection. How many does that make in your collection now?
Like high 20’s maybe 30’s. I was actually playing the one I won at Maloof when you called, but yeah, most of them I have in storage. Right now I have seven out.

So when you win a new one is it like a new toy? Are you like, “Oh I wanna get home and play with this?”
Yeah, totally. I came home and it was really busy for the first couple days, but right when I got around to tuning it and stuff, I started playing it. I don’t have a Les Paul as of now, I have an Epiphone, which is like an early Les Paul, it’s a little different but it’s pretty cool to play this one. It sounds totally different. It’s a pretty guitar.

So when you’re out there skating a contest like Maloof for that much money, how much of you is thinking about winning versus having fun on the course and skating with people?
It’s almost like a “self contest” where you’re like, “How much stuff can I get done as fast as possible? Can I make all of it? “How fast can I make it and how good can I make it?” And then it’s almost like, you’re not bummed if you don’t win because of the money or because of anything except you’ll be bummed that you didn’t do your best. ‘Cause if you do your best and you didn’t win that’s fine. I was out there and I had an awesome time.

Well it’s interesting that you say that because when you started the first heat in the finals, you rifled out like 30 tricks within a minute and a half. It was gnarly.
You only have a little bit and everybody is going for it. They’re not gonna let up so you can’t either. When your heat alone… just your heat… is P-Rod, Sheckler, Nyjah and Malto, how do you slow up? ‘Cause they’re gonna be right behind you with those switch kickflip back tails on the rail.

I always think the first burst is so funny, ‘cause you have either five dudes all land a trick in a row or it’s a jumbled mess…
It’s like a car crash. Yeah, it’s actually really funny. It’s almost like you see the dudes too… when you’re standing up there and they’re like, “Let’s count it down! Nine, eight, seven…” and like right when they get to “four” everybody is like pumping their front knee, like, “How long is it gonna take me to ride to the obstacle?” So right at “one” the dudes wanna be about to pop their first trick.

As far as Maloof is concerned, what is the funnest part of that contest for you?
Honestly, warming up for the contest is the funnest part because you get to skate this totally awesome setup and you’re pumped and you’re motivated to rip. So it’s almost like you’re doing a demo on this totally awesome course…

Except that you don’t have to impress anyone like you do at a demo?
Yeah, I do Unfortunately.

During warm ups?
Yeah, always. It’s almost like first impressions… Kids are there all day. There were so many people there before the contest even started. This sounds like a “goody two shoes” answer, but the reason I even skate the thing as hard as I do is because I want to win the contest, but also because I wanna skate super hard for everybody that showed up. Like a demo.

Oh, that’s rad.
They’re sitting in the heat too. If I’m just sitting there and kicking it on my board acting like I’m too cool for this thing or not trying, it just does a disservice to them and myself.

For sure. So, as a fan of other skaters, when you’re at something like Maloof who are you watching and getting psyched on?
Well, all those contest dudes rip. I mean they’re undeniably good. But Paul Rodriguez, the way he skates, like his style and the tricks that he does, to me, are really hard. First go. Switch heel switch manual. And things like switch back tails on the hubbas first go. I’m really impressed by that. I love to watch it. I also love to watch Lutzka, I like that he’s so talented turning frontside. Frontside seems retarded to me. Like, to do a frontside 270 noseblunt seems crazy to me. To do a switch frontside 270 to bluntslide seems way more logical to me. Because that’s the way my body turns.

I can see that.
But with how much ease he has. Maloof is awesome because you get to see other dudes you don’t usually see. Because I’m gonna see Sheckler and P-Rod and Lutzka and everyone like always… but to see Tommy Guns; to see Ramondetta, and Dennis and Pete Eldridge.

It’s like a surprise… a real treat.
Yeah, and I was rooting for Pete from the beginning too. “Like, you gotta get this dude in! Vote him in!” And he got the wild card and got in, I was psyched.

It was also sick to see people like Mike Vallely out there too. Because Mike’s not out there to win the contest. He’s out there to represent his style. While everybody might be getting a taste of skateboarding regularly, they’re not getting a taste of his side of skateboarding. I thought that it was cool that he came out and showed people there’s a different type.

Yeah, for sure. I thought that was a good segway coming from The Battle at The Berrics match with you.
Yeah, exactly. I think it’s really rad and different. He’s coming into what everybody else is doing, but doing it his way. I think that’s sick.

Prior to the Maloof or Wallenberg or any big contest? Do you have an interaction with Jamie Thomas? Is there any sort of conversations or pep talks or anything like that?
Yeah, I know what you mean, almost like coach-style.

Yeah, but not so jockish…
Yeah… no we don’t. I didn’t talk to him for a couple days prior to Maloof and he’s definitely a good person to talk to about that stuff. But it’s not something that we normally do. I usually try to talk to nobody. Something like Maloof where you know everyone is bringing the heat… the more someone talks about it, the more nerve-wracking it is. That’s kind of hard. My family… my in-laws were in town, and they’re awesome, but they’re so awesome that they’re trying to accommodate me make me feel good and they’re like “How do you feel? Would you like us to make you breakfast?”

And I’m like, “That’s awesome, but let’s just pretend it’s not happening.” I Just don’t want to be bombarded and pampered before the thing.

Where does something like Maloof rank as far as a proud moment with you?
Well, it’s almost like, as time goes by there’s things that lessen or increase in your mind depending on the day. Some days I’m like, “It’s cool, I won the G Games!” And other days it’s kind of surreal. Like one point in my life I was able to do it. Even if I’m not able to tomorrow, at some point in my life I was… and without the use of steroids. [Laughs].

I was thinking back to early footage of you, maybe eight or nine years ago. At City Hall in Philly. Your World Industries days. Would you ever have thought back then that you would be on this level? You win this contest and you’re on the phone afterwards for days, for lack of a better term, doing press with people like me…
No, that really never, ever occurred to me. I didn’t even think that that was like…

It didn’t even exist back then.
Exactly, there wasn’t even an option. Skateboarding is a legitimate sport almost like basketball and football and baseball now.

So you’re headed to dew tour next weekend? This will be like your first time skating Dew Tour and I hear that there are a lot other of dudes that haven’t been in it. Busenitz and Dompierre and you will be joining the regulars like, Sheckler, Chaz, Lutzka and P-Rod.
Oh, really? That’s awesome.