Words by Kevin Duffel, portrait by Skin
As you’ve probably seen in even the darkest and most remote corners of the Interwebs by now, Chris Cole traded in his Fallen kicks to slay contests and switch frontside flip mountains of stairs in DCs. While it’s cool to know what happened, it’s always better to know why. But be warned, as Chris (and REO Speedwagon) says, “The talk is a lot cheaper when the story’s good.” Well, Chris, whereas the talk might not be cheap, it’s still plenty good.
How’s the switch to DC going?
It’s been in the works for a long time, so having it out is like a weight’s lifted off my shoulder, just from keeping it a secret for so long.
How long had it been under wraps for? It seems like the rumors have been going around for ages.
It was rumored a long time before I had ever spoken to anyone over there. People made something out of it that it wasn’t. I think once somebody starts to reach some sort of level, whether it’s winning contests or just a new tier of their skate career, people start to anticipate, like, “When are they gonna make a move, or where are they gonna go?”
Do you feel like after all the rumors went around, it sort of put the idea in your head, or in the people at DC’s heads, that it was a viable option for you?
No, I mean, to get other sponsors is always there. The opportunity’s there as long as you’re working and doing your best. But I never felt the necessity to make any sort of change because I was happy with where I was. The time finally came when I needed a switch. Switching over was definitely a hard decision to make, but a well thought and planned out decision. I wasn’t gonna leave at a time that would hurt anyone over there [at Fallen].
I don’t want to say that Jamie Thomas made you in any way, because you would’ve gotten where you are with your own skills, but it seems like he definitely put you in the spotlight. Was it hard telling him you were leaving Fallen after everything he’s done for you?
Jamie and I have a really good relationship. We’re really good friends. He had known for a while that it was at that point where I needed a change. I just spoke with him and said thanks for everything and making the whole process so smooth, and he thanked me for sticking by Fallen for all the years. And that’s kind of how the whole thing went. Fallen’s an awesome company, but the level that DC can do things and the power they have using technology to create a better function in the skate shoe is something that very few brands can actually do. They’re kind of the ones who try to make a better performance, and that’s something that I craved for. They’re very, very willing to do any of the stuff that I have an idea for. If I need arch support, we try to incorporate a way to put arch support in the shoe.
So is that why you ultimately chose DC? I’m sure you had offers from every other shoe company out there. Was it just because of their access to technology?
Yeah, I picked DC because of a lot of reasons. I didn’t go around and talk to a whole lot of shoe companies, but I wanted to be on DC because, like Josh Kalis has said it in the hype intro videos, that DC came from skateboarding. DC started out as a skate brand and they wholeheartedly, one hundred percent, are putting all their efforts into skateboarding again. Those are the two main reasons I’m over there, but there’s also little things. They have incredible shoe designers. These dudes are absolutely unrivaled at what they do, so to make a different sort of shoe, but to also make it technologically advanced is something that I’ve wanted to do.
Well that’s definitely a good thing to hear, because I’m sure there are already tons of kids saying that it’s probably all about the money.
Yeah, and that’s the thing. Everybody will say that and be like, “Oh, you went over there for more money.” But there’s so much more to a sponsor than money. You’re going to be miserable with all the money you can have if you go somewhere you don’t wanna be. And I don’t want to defend the money thing, but there is the point where if you’re working the job…
Yeah, you want the promotion.
Yeah. Say you have a job and somebody offers you the same exact job but with more money. People are like, “You’re wack for taking more money,” but it’s so funny because that same person who said that would absolutely kill for a raise at their job.
Exactly. And especially if you have a family and house payment, it seems like there are necessary moves you have to make to keep up with everything that comes with that lifestyle.
Yeah, it’s true. People want their “Why DC?” and hopefully I’ve answered that question. DC is not some big monster [laughs]. People have acted like that’s how it is, like, “I can’t believe you’d go over there.” I just saw a kid who goes like, “DC? You switched to DC for the money, huh?” He was trying to be all punk rock, you know, like trying to call me out, and I just looked down and looked back up at him, like, “You’re wearing Nike.” If DC’s so corporate and horrible, then why is Nike so cool?
Do you have a pro shoe in the works?
Yeah, I have a shoe that comes out in Fall. I’ve skated it and I’m wearing it right now. I’m real excited about it.
Had you done that 270 to front board from your intro ad at a regular street spot, or have you been messing around with it at one since?
I don’t think there is a street spot for it. Well, I think that there’s probably a street spot for it, but that it’s probably the most dangerous scene ever. Usually when you find a bump to rail, the rail’s pretty tall. Although I have some kids, I’m definitely not trying to crush my nuts.
Cole’s frontside 270 to frontside boardslide.
DC’s been hyping the hell out of your addition to the team. How do you feel about being seen as one of the–if not the biggest–skaters out right now? Do you ever freak out about it all?
Yeah, it comes in waves where I don’t understand how people think it because some days I’m like, “Dude, I just got lucky at some contest and at some street spots, but I don’t know what I’m doing.” I’ll freak out every now and then about learning tricks and why I’m not as good as I used to be. Other times, you kinda just exhale and be really proud about what you’ve accomplished. For there to be that many commercials with heavy hitters talking about me, I don’t know what to say. I can’t thank anybody who likes what I do enough for liking what I do. I’m not a tear to the eye kinda guy, but it definitely might bring a tear to the eye.
How do you stay calm when you go skate contests, thinking everyone’s expecting you to win all the damn time?
That sucks. There’s really no way to word that other than what it is. It’s harsh. It was actually kind of a good thing for me to lose all the Street Leagues. It was at that point where people expected me to win every single time I got in there, and that’s really flattering for people to think that of me, but it’s definitely nerve racking.
I’m sure you’re not ever leaving Zero, despite what anyone might think, so I just wanted to clear that one up with you.
Nope. People think that me leaving was some beef between Jamie and me, because obviously the talk is a lot cheaper when the story’s good, as REO Speedwagon put it. People really want the story to be something more than I needed a change. But I’m absolutely down for life with Zero. I have multiple Zero tattoos. Believe me, I’m not going anywhere.
Yeah, so the only difference now is you put your feet in different shoes.
Yeah, the only difference now is I get technologically advanced shoes and different touring, which is really exciting.