We recently spent a bit of time over in Barcelona for the SUPRA Chino tour, during our time there we got the chance to catch up with one of the recipients of the pro colourway - French ripper Oscar Candon. Here's what Oscar had to say about leaving Frank Skateboards, surviving on an American diet, travelling Ethiopia and more...
Interview: Matt Broadley | Portraits: Horse
Let’s start by talking about your shoe. Did you have much input in the choosing of the shoe?
No, I didn’t really have much choice. But I’m happy with it, I wasn’t really too worried as Vaughan (Baker) told me about a year ago ‘you’re going to have a colourway, it’s going to look good’. So I was like ok, I don’t need to worry and then when it came out it did look good. So I’m stoked: it’s simple, it’s good, I’m happy!
You left Frank recently, do you mind talking about why you chose to do that?
I had a different point of view to Dallas (Rockvam), I don’t know. I wasn’t very happy to be honest, and I just decided… I didn’t leave with a backup plan of like ‘yeah I have an offer so I’m out’. It was more like we went different ways, I was like yeah I’m going to leave now. It’s cool though, I’m happy. I’m sad leaving those dudes behind but I feel like I needed to go my own way to be honest.
You’ve been over in America a lot, are you going to try and sort something out over there?
I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. There have been some discussions already a bit, but I am going to wait for now. I kind of want to keep it Euro because I already spend a lot of time in America with SUPRA, and if I have a board company as well that also wants me over there it might be too much. But, why not? It depends. I am going to wait for two months more and then we will see.
I haven’t set foot in a fast food place over there once
How does a Frenchman survive on an American diet?
Fucking try and avoid! The guys I travel with they’re not the worst at eating horrible shit. We never go to fast food places, I haven’t set foot in a fast food place over there once. I have been to In 'N' Out one time, but I try to keep the veggies going.
How does the drinking culture compare to back in France?
They just drink fucking Bud or some shit, I don’t mind drinking their beer. They have shitty wine though, I haven’t drank any good wine in America ever. They do grow wine in California but for some reason I’ve only had shitty wine. I don’t know any wine over there, so when I go to the shop I just pick a bottle and it’s usually shitty.
Just go by the price!
Yeah that’s the thing!
You said you don’t want to spend too much time in the States, does it get tiring being the only French speaker on most of the trips?
No, because when I was a kid I lived in America for four years, so I picked up English then. The longer I stay in America the less effort it is to speak English as it just comes back naturally, so it’s not that big of a deal. I do miss talking French but I always stumble upon some Frenchmen or some French lady, so it works out, it’s not too hard.
Do you ever speak French with Tom Penny?
Yeah I do actually, and he speaks perfect French it’s pretty funny. He knows all the French rap and shit, he’s got it. Penny is good with languages, it’s amazing.
What’s it like skating with legends like Penny, Erik Ellington, and The Muska?
It’s great, Ellington is a beast still so you kind of have to get your finger out your your arse when you’re skating with him because he’s gnarly. Penny it’s so inspiring to skate with him because it's fucking Penny! He’s a legend, and he’s still got it was well, fucking hell! Last year we were making him jump down double sets, it was amazing. Muska has been hurt now for a while so I haven’t skated with him in about a year and a half, Muska is the best hype man on a session, it’s insane.
I will find a way to jump down shit and land in a bank or something. Ellington jumps down shit, he’s gnarly, full on gnarly
There’s always footage of him with a megaphone hyping kids up at demos
Yeah he still does that shit, if he’s in the van he’ll have the megaphone for sure!
You talk about Ellington making you feel like you need to step up, the way you skate seems really full on anyway - have you always skated like that?
He’ll jump down shit – I will find a way to jump down shit and land in a bank or something. He jumps down shit, he’s gnarly, full on gnarly. I try and avoid jumping down the highest shit, though it gets me hyped to do it if he’s there.
Was your approach to skating ever a conscious decision?
No never, it all came naturally I guess. I just do what’s easiest for me, and it seems to be that. All the stuff I do is what’s easiest for me. I mean sometimes of course I spend hours trying tricks, but I’m not spending 10 hours at the skatepark learning switch flip back tail bigspin flip out.
Yeah I’m not training, I should actually train some more, fucking hell! (Laughs)
Yeah it’s true that Vincent went through Trauma, Micheal Mackrodt as well.
I’m not training, I should actually train some more, fucking hell!
Merour as well, he’s a beast as well.
Where do they find them?
I don’t know. It’s Charlie, back in the day. It’s a shame that we’re not still skating for them. I left, Michi Mackrodt left, Touzery left as well. I don’t know why everyone is leaving, but they do seem to find skaters that know how to skate, I don’t know how they do it though.
I guess you often get smaller brands that are launchpads
Yeah that’s the thing, that’s the problem with smaller brands. Since it’s not something that like… they already had their shit going when they offered me to skate for them, it’s not like it was my brand. It’s hard for smaller brands, or it’s like you start your shit with your friends and then you stick to it - but if it’s not yours another brand is going to come and ask you and you’re like ’fuck, do I need to go to the next step?’ or do I want to stay with the smaller brand? But they’re killing it, I still see the filmer, they’re making a video, they’re cool I still back them.
‘What the fuck are you doing here? There’s guys killing for one dollar, why the fuck are you coming to skate here?’
Can you talk about the Detroit trip you went on with Michi Mackrodt?
My parents weren’t down with me going, that’s for sure. We lived in America when I was a kid so they know that Detroit is fucked. It’s fucked! I got out of the cab and some guy was like ‘what the fuck are you doing here? There’s guys killing for one dollar, why the fuck are you coming to skate here?’ So yeah my parents were not very hyped, but I was not scared but I found it a bit weird. The locals had it down, it was good. Detroit is sick!
The spots all look really sick
Yeah rough, all the typical type of shit that I like to skate. It ended up being a bit gnarly, some stories where it was ‘everyone back in the van we need to leave’, but still a gnarly ass experience seeing how a city can go to shit, zombies everywhere… crackheads, the walking dead!
Was it after Hurricane Katrina?
Was it after the hurricane? I don’t know, all the houses were already fucked up I don’t think a hurricane would change much.
Where’s the best place skateboarding has taken you?
I’d say Ethiopia, I always say Ethiopia! That was the trip that was the most like entering a new video game world. It’s just completely different from what I’d ever seen, it was quite intense over there but really good. It’s cliche to say it’s an eye opener, but once you go these places it’s like ‘this shit exists’ it’s not a documentary on T.V. That was a really good trip.
Have you got many trips planned?
I have to finish a part I’ve been working on for SUPRA that’s going to come out in April, it’s been about a year and a half of this - so that’s finally coming out and I can’t wait. Then I’m going to go straight into filming another project, I’m not going to take a year off or anything. But just getting that done, because I’ve fucking hurt myself working on this and I just want it to be out. I still need a couple of lines, but other than that it’s pretty much done. So I’m happy!