The Interview Issue: Cairo Foster

This is the full interview that ran in our April 2013 Interview Issue.

By Luke Callahan

There comes a time in a street skater's life when it becomes appropriate to better familiarize themselves with the quarterpipe. Understandably, the six-foot-high gap eventually gets replaced by the six-foot-high transition as knees and ankles get crunchier and crunchier. This is not the case for every skater, though; there are contradictory examples out there, and Cairo Foster is one of them. He's been jumping for longer than some pros have been breathing, and he won't be kickflipping to fakie anytime soon.

Kickflip. Photo: CHAMI *Click to enlarge

You've always been notorious for skating at gnarly speeds at the burliest spots. How have you maintained? Many pros would understandably be in their bank-skating years by now.
Maybe it's just my inability to do anything cool on a bank that makes me not want to skate a bank [laughs]. If it comes down to not being able to jump down stuff and push myself physically, I wouldn't be too psyched on my skating. That would essentially be just kind of demotivating. I just want to ideally keep skating the way I've been skating.

So you haven't dabbled in any bowl skating yet? Or are you going to save that for when triple sets are no longer an option?
No, there's not going to be any bowl skating from me. I mean, I'll cruise around and stuff, maybe a bit of mini-ramp skating. In my park time, it's going to be me at a street plaza park. I'll cruise around [a bowl] with some bros, but I'm not going to get the same level of fulfillment.

How have your pre- and post-session activities evolved over the years?
The only difference now is that maybe I preach more that you should stretch. But I still practice no stretching or hardly any stretching, just like it was back in the day. I definitely do a little more bodywork. Not pre-session, but if I don't skate one day, I might do some yoga or maybe go bike riding, but nothing too crazy.

“My ball sack was the size of a grapefruit
for a couple weeks.”

No acupuncture or anything like that?
I definitely do acupuncture, but I've been doing that for a really long time. I'll get acupuncture and I'll get a DT [deep tissue] person to do massage work on me. But I've been doing that maybe the last 10 years.

What's the most extreme measure you've seen or heard of that skaters go to in order to prolong a certain level on skating?
I don't know if it's "extreme" as a bit more exposed to the realm of bodywork and preventative measures. I think one of the more inspiring examples is Andrew [Reynolds] taking ice baths. I've done ice baths before. Just icing nowadays. I'll integrate icing into my regimen. If I have a big day jumping down stuff, I'll use ice. I used to not do that at all when I was 17 or 18, like, "Ahhh, f--k ice. That shit's cold." There was a Danny Way interview from four or five years ago, he talked a lot about working with his physical therapist and working on proprioception work. That was eye opening. An athlete of that caliber talking about how to take care of his body and mentioning that if he weren't to stay active while he was not on a skateboard his body just wouldn't work. It's not that those techniques or their choices were super extreme; it was just that they were being really proactive about prolonging their career.

Staying active even when you're off your board. If your heels are bruised, just go for a swim.
Swimming is seriously the bomb. I had two ankle surgeries in 2007 and that got me back into swimming, because I used to swim when I was in high school for swim team [laughs], and I was like ,"Wow, this is actually the bomb."

All-time worst slam?
I feel like they all fit into the same category if they take me out for more than a week or two. The ankle surgeries were a huge bummer that took me out for quite a while. Slam-wise, maybe sacking a rail in “Chomp On This”. I was out for six weeks, had to go to the hospital, and get them to X-ray my dick to see if I had torn the urethra. My ball sack was the size of a grapefruit for a couple weeks. That shit sucked. That one's super brutal. You start messing with the family jewels, that's just not that cool [laughs]. But fortunately, I'm still able to have kids [laughs].