Finally Comfortable: Chris Cole

Chris Cole’s got it good. He’s got the quite amazing Dying To Live part on his resume. He just purchased his first car, a brand-new Honda Pilot. He doesn’t have to live in Cali but still manages to skate as much or more than anyone in Cali. He’s got an alter ego, Brent Excalibur, who has a band called Hotwax. And he has his very own pro model on Zero.

When talking to Chris, it seems he’s quite comfortable with who he is, where he’s found himself, and the people whom he has surrounded himself. And it all stems from one thing: Chris Cole can’t not skate.

But don’t think it’s all come easy.

Are you still living at home, or do you have your own place now?

I live at the Hotwax house. A few of us got a house together, and everyone just hangs out here. I would like to own a house, but that’s something to look forward to.

Why haven’t you made the permanent move to California like every other migrating am-turned-pro?

For sanity reasons. Although the weather is nice there, I love the seasons here. The green grass, no sprinklers, and the traffic out here is much less. Then the skating out there is so hard. People are so alert to skaters, and you can only skate on the weekends—maybe.

What’s there to do in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, if you’re not skateboarding?

It’s just like every other place. You have your friends, and you know everywhere. We usually skate flatground and manual pads at night. We also like karaoke. Lately we’ve been watching a lot of movies at night. It is hard, though, ’cause I usually only like comedies, and nothing will ever beat Dumb And Dumber. That movie has painted us into a corner.

What challenges do you face in living the life of a professional skateboarder—and I’m not necessarily talking about the difficulties fo tricks?

My responsibility as a pro is very limited, but to be your personal best is what makes it hard. People are so good nowadays, so what can you do to stay in the game? What can you bring to the table? That is the hardest part for me. And when you see kids at a spot—you might be having a bad day and hating life when a kid tries to talk to you. You need to put that aside. It’s not that kid’s fault you’re having a bad day. And when I was a kid, pros were cool to me.

In the past you’ve talked about interviews being important and all. What else do you do to connect with the common kid who might be buying a board with your name on it?

I was once a kid who skated out in front of my house on a curb for two years—alone. I never skated anywhere else, and I didn’t know anyone who skated except for this one older kid who was only into his own stuff. So I was as skate rat as you can get. In a way, I never lost that because I never moved (out West). My curb is still there, and I still skate curbs. And I know what it’s like to look up to people.

Is it more about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it?

I think if you’re having fun doing what you’re doing, chances are people will see it and like it. You can’t deny the skill of some people, and then there are others who can push, and you want to push like that guy. So I think you need both.

How has life changed for you in the past year—being a pro compared to being an am?

I feel like my personal goal for life was reached, so I’ve had to make new ones. I love to do board graphics over the phone with Jamie at 4:30 a.m. Also it’s easier to get into skateparks for free.

Has the much-coveted pro-shoe offer been presented to you?

The grail? No, I don’t think so. Do I deserve it? Well, if it ever is (offered), I’ll make a good one—I hope.

In the past, people misconstrued your drive for skateboarding or maybe didn’t understand who you were. What’s the worst/most ridiculous thing that somebody’s said to you, and the worst/most ridiculous rumor you’ve heard about yourself?

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People have been so critical of change. The thing I get most is “fresh to hesh.” I don’t need to prove who I am by what I wear or anything, but nobody ever thought that maybe I grew up. I filmed my (411VM) Wheels Of Fortune at sixteen. I’m 22 now.

That part of your life brings lots of changes, and you decide who you are and who you want to be. I’ve always listened to the same music, I just thought that what I wear now attracts my eye more than before. This is what I like. Being “down from day one” is stupid. That means you haven’t lived and learned—you’ve been frigid and stubborn. I like that I’ve changed. I feel like this is definitely what I like and where I want to be.

As far as rumors, I heard that I switch hardflipped the Love Gap five years ago. And I also heard that I was jumped outside of the skatepark by some hardass and was in the hospital for a week, when I was actually in Cali filming. Someone said they heard Josh Kalis and I duked it out at Love over something or other ridiculous.

What is Hotwax all about? What’s your role?

Hotwax is my alter-ego band. We’re not in it—it’s the alter egos. They have their own lives, stories, hobbies, et cetera. I have many different lives and characters. Brent Excalibur is the guitarist, much like Ace Frehley—kind of spacey and in his own world. That’s the character that’s been in force lately. All of us who’re hosts to the egos have a video coming out soon. I’ve been editing it for a while. It has all my friends and I in it. It’s a really fun video. I’m proud of it and all the work the dudes did for it. Thanks, guys.

Where did the name come from?

The guys were trying to think of the most shockingly haired-out name they could get, and that was it. Pretty fitting, don’t you think?

Why a band—does the “pro skater” roll not attract enough fine females these days?

Redheads are awesome, but females are nightmares. I’m not trying to get any chick, but Brent on the other hand …

How many guitars is too many?

When I look at them, I can honestly say I’m satisfied. All the Kiss guitars. Roy Orbison Gibsons and some double necks. They’re so great to look at and play—each one has its own specialties and personalities. I have a rare black Ace Frehley Epiphone, and that’s one of my favorites. That and my PS-10 Ibanez.

Is there an album that you’re embarrassed to say you own?

I love that I like music that people think sucks. I get something out of it that they don’t. I have some shockers, though. Debbie Gibson’s last album is pretty wild.

When is flair too much flair?

I need something on both wrists all the time or I get weird. But when you have gear that’s on and doesn’t work together, then it starts to look a little fishy. Greco can do whatever he wants, though, ’cause he is shredding.

What’s the most money you’ve ever paid for a heavy metal T-shirt?

Probably in the 60 dollars, maybe more. I can’t help the fact that if I want something really bad, I will do anything to get it—and if it doesn’t fit, I’ll sew it onto something.

It’s often said that the car you drive represents the kind of person you are. What does your new purchase say about you?

That I’m a midsize SUV? If the driving around here was all freeway, I’d get a big one, but it’s tight here. Maybe I’m a soccer mom.

You just recently got your license. What took you so long?

I hate feeling awkward and will do almost anything to get out of that situation. Sitting with some really pissed person you don’t know grading you is shit. So I put it off for almost six years.

What would you say if you happened to run into Skatemaster Tate?

I have your CD, Doin’ The Skate. And that I still have a copy of SK8TV with Guy Mariano on it. He was in the eighth grade.

As the photos in this interview will show, you’ve been and still are skating “big” things. Do you take into consideration your longevity as a pro skateboarder when skating such large rails, gaps, and the like?

I’m constantly searching for something more—something I can be proud of and something fun. I can’t not skate. And when I skate, I need to do something that I can look at and be happy I did.

Or is it really like, “Oh, I can save the ledges and tranny for when I’m an aging man-pro”?

I try to do all that stuff now, but not for photos as much. I find it’s harder for me to excite people being a gorilla on a ledge. So I leap.

What’s one thing you feel you could be doing better in living your life as a professional skateboarder?

I need to live up to my potential, wherever that may be, in all aspects of my life. My head gets in the way, and I need to look at the big picture—that this is the best, and I am living my dream.

What do you still have left to do?

Reach that potential. Find what it is I’m here for. Be a great father. Help my friends succeed in what they are doing. Pay back all those who’ve helped me. I would be nothing without all these people who took me under their wings.

ow, you’ve been and still are skating “big” things. Do you take into consideration your longevity as a pro skateboarder when skating such large rails, gaps, and the like?

I’m constantly searching for something more—something I can be proud of and something fun. I can’t not skate. And when I skate, I need to do something that I can look at and be happy I did.

Or is it really like, “Oh, I can save the ledges and tranny for when I’m an aging man-pro”?

I try to do all that stuff now, but not for photos as much. I find it’s harder for me to excite people being a gorilla on a ledge. So I leap.

What’s one thing you feel you could be doing better in living your life as a professional skateboarder?

I need to live up to my potential, wherever that may be, in all aspects of my life. My head gets in the way, and I need to look at the big picture—that this is the best, and I am living my dream.

What do you still have left to do?

Reach that potential. Find what it is I’m here for. Be a great father. Help my friends succeed in what they are doing. Pay back all those who’ve helped me. I would be nothing without all these people who took me under their wings.