What the Pros Are Rockin’: Cairo Foster

File: Cairo Foster Interview

Interview by Dave Swift

What board are you riding right now?

I’m riding my own board right now. It’s a Real five-ply board, but it’s dipped all the way. What do they call that?

Dipped? Oh, the whole board’s painted.

Yeah, the whole board’s painted, so you can’t tell it’s a five-ply.

Is it lighter or stiffer?

It’s a little stiffer than the seven-ply boards that come out of Taylor Dykma¿that’s where we get the boards made. We’ve got some other real stiff boards coming out that I’ve ridden, too. They’re really good. But I like a little give, because I think I’ve gotten soft in my old age. I don’t like the super stiff boards anymore. That’s how I’m feeling lately. I’m sure in the next few months I’m gonna be like, “I hate these other boards, I want a stiff board.” I’m always changing.

That’s the way it usually goes, huh? You find some fault when you’re skating terrible and you think, “It’s gotta be this.”

It’s totally the board when you’re skating bad. Every kid should know that.

That’s what they all like to hear¿it’s not them. What size boards do you prefer?

Seven-and-five-eighths inches wide. I don’t know how long¿whatever everyone else has.

Do you have a preference for concave depth?

I go with middle of the road¿medium, not too deep, not too shallow¿just about right.

Do you do anything special with your griptape?

No, I don’t. I just lay it down¿no lines, no special designs. I don’t like to look at the fancy schmancy stuff. That’s what the bottom’s for.

What wheels are you riding right now?

I’m riding some 53 millimeter Spitfire Classics.

Do you ever try a different hardness?

No. We don’t even write hardnesses on the wheels, so I don’t know if I’m trying a different hardness or not. And I don’t care to ask ’cause that’s just one more thing to worry about.

Spitfire does write the hardness on a couple wheels.

I guess they write it on if they’re softer. I naturally ride around 98 or 99 durometer.

Do you care if your wheels are colored?

Yeah. I prefer them to be just white. And I keep the graphics inward.

How often do you set up new wheels?

Every time they flat-spot.

What are the smallest wheels you’ve ever ridden?

Forty-three or 45.

Do you use any bearing oil or speed cream?

No.

What bearings do you ride?

Black Panthers.

What trucks do you ride?

Venture 5.0 highs. That way, I don’t have to ride riser pads. I don’t like those low trucks because your kingpin grinds sometimes¿that sucks.

Steve Berra told me your kingpin grinds all the time.

I guess if you’re skating a round rail, your kingpin’ll grind all the time, but the likelihood of your kingpin grinding with high trucks is less than if you’re riding low trucks. At least that’s what I know about Ventures because my roommate rides low Ventures, and I ride high. It makes that terrible, shrill sound. I hate that sound.

I don’t like it, either. When I’m taking photos and someone makes that sound, I just get up and leave.

“Oh, sorry, man. You didn’t land it, and you made that sound. I gotta go away.”

I can’t stand the chalkboard sound. Do you ride your trucks loose or tight?

Loose. Everyone thinks they’re loose, but not like Matt Rodriguez’s trucks.

How often do you change your trucks?

Whenever I can’t get the wheels off. When the axles and the bolts trip out, it’s time to change the trucks. Or if they break.

How long does that usually take?

Ever since I’ve been riding 5.0s, they don’t break because they’re not as wide as the 5.25s I used to ride. They’re stronger. Wider is not always betterr.

Are there any rituals you have to go through when you set up a new board?

No. I just make sure I have a good sticker job.

What do you mean by a good sticker job?

I try not to make my board look like a blatant billboard, like an advertisement for all my sponsors. I mean, I try to put stickers from the majority of my sponsors and alternate them between boards. I try not to cover the board with every sticker in such a way that, when I get a photo, I definitely get paid by everyone.

So you’re not greedy.

I wouldn’t say that. I think all humans are pretty greedy. It’s inevitable.

What shoes do you skate in?

Lately, I’ve been riding shoes called Forum by Lakai. They’re good ’cause they don’t have a rubber toe. I’m into rubber toes, but they’re usually too stiff, so they hurt my toenails when I jump down stuff.

What do you think is the most important feature in a shoe?

The toe area and the heel area. The toe area I’ve already mentioned, and the heel needs to be thick enough so you don’t get heel bruises too often, but not too thick because I don’t feel like walking on high heels.

It’s a tough one. Do those shoes have an air pocket?

Yeah, they have an air pocket. Sometimes I wonder whether air pockets help at all. Sometimes I have shoes that don’t have air pockets, and they seem to make my heels feel better, and vice versa.

It’s kinda weird. I’ve heard a lot of them are just for looks¿they don’t even have any pressure in them.

I think the best thing is to just land all your tricks, then you won’t get hurt. Take the slam and at least keep your feet on the board. If you slam on your shoulder, you won’t get heel bruises. But you might dislocate your shoulder.

How long does a pair of shoes usually last you?

About a week an a half.

What size shoe do you wear?

Ten and a half.