An Interview with Dave Caddo

November 1st, 2016 | 6:35 am | Features & Interviews | 5 Comments

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Words & Interview by Zach Baker / Photos by Trevor Culley

One of the cool things about having the privilege of knowing how to ride one of these things, besides being able to find pot no matter where you are in the world, is that it keeps you exploring. It sends you out to uncover weird parts of familiar places, makes you creep into all sorts of alleys and ditches and post-industrial shit-piles, and on many occasions, you’ll leave feeling a lot happier than when you got there.

Every time I see Caddo, he’s having a pretty good time. Then, every time I see some Caddo footage or photos, he’s having a pretty sweet time. He skates all these spots I’ve never seen before, in cities I’ve never thought to go to. He’s gotten clips at like, the Holy Trinity of New York busts: the Roosevelt Island Monument, Forbidden Banks and the Holy Grail on Nostrand Avenue. Caddo goes out of his way to keep skateboarding interesting for himself, which is why his skating is so much fun to watch.

His part in Politic’s Division, which is his second full part in as many years, is loaded with all kinds of new approaches to familiar spots, fun lines down hills and in all kinds of parking lots. Here’s a chat I had with him about Enid’s, longevity, and kickflips.

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Tell me about when you kickflipped into the Roosevelt Island monument.

That was when it first opened up. I don’t know why, but the Parks Department would close it one day a week. You get maybe ten minutes before the old security guard comes out and starts yelling at you. But the guy is like sixty-years-old, it takes him a while to mosey over. The guy got there and his technique was to stand right in the way. He’s just mellow about it, kept repeating over and over again “no, no, no.” He was just saying that for ten minutes. [John] Valenti was walking backwards with the camera as I’m trying the last one and luckily I made it. I almost rolled into the guy.

A video posted by politicbrand (@politicbrand) on

Who has your favorite kickflip?

Who has a flick that I like these days? Cyrus probably has my favorite one lately. His are fucking insane, yanking it up and then the quick flick midair, you know? He’s got it all boned out.

I like the classic old weird Gonz flip too. I remember learning kickflips, and that was kind of before “flick,” you know? It was before people really did kickflips out in front of them. The kickflip wasn’t even that developed yet. People just learned it mobbed out, and then years later, once that became a thing, re-learned it in a different style. I still got some love for the old mobbed-out flip.

When did you move out here from Cincy?

2004. Actually, I didn’t even move out here — I got stuck out here.

I came up to visit Jerry Mraz, James Frankhouse, Jeff Ricker, all these dudes from Michigan who would come down to Cincinnati and skate with my friends, and we’d also go up to Michigan. They all moved into this loft space on Dobbin Street. It was just wide open, kitchen and bathroom. They were just building rooms. We had a bunch of people from Cincinnati, the Autumn Bowl was there…it was a hell of a weekend.

All my friends were leaving, and another friend from Ohio was like “I’m coming up in two weeks for a wedding, you can ride back with me.” Then he ended up never showing. I was so broke. I was flow for Rasa Libre then, so I would get Deluxe boxes and sell those. That was all I was living off — a $80 a month budget or something ridiculous. I had no means to get out so I ended up just having to stay. I got a shitty job and finally built a room, or well, Jerry pretty much built the room in Dobbin. I’ve been here ever since.

How has Greenpoint changed?

It definitely isn’t as desolate as it used to be. All there really was, when we first moved out there, was people partying all the time. I guess it was a little more Polish, but it was also just straight-up hipster. You wouldn’t see that many people skating around back then, and you would never see people with kids. I guess it was a little more lawless. Enid’s used to not have doormen at all. Shit would pop off there all the time, like there would be crazy fights.

Then they started building all those new buildings, and when that recession hit in 2008, they stopped construction on all of them. There was one across the street from Enid’s, and someone kicked in one of the wooden construction walls. The elevators worked, the bathrooms worked, you could go hang out on the roof or in random apartments. It was sick.

I feel like you always skate these American cities that most people don’t care to fuck with. Do you have any favorites?

These past two years, I’ve driven across the country every winter because the company that I work for has an office in LA. There’s more work there over the winter than there is in New York. So I was like fuck it, I’ll just drive across, I can be warm and still make money.

I got to skate some cities further in the southwest, one of them that I like is El Paso. It’s cool, they have those hybrid ditches. It’s like Copenhagen where they work with the skaters. The city decides, “Alright, we’re going to make this new drainage ditch.” Then they work with the guy who works for the city making skate parks, and they figure it all out. There’s like four or five of them. Actually, the last time on my way back, I skated downtown El Paso and there was a bunch of cool shit. I was blown away.

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What do you do for work?

Set design for fashion photo shoots mostly: lightweight carpentry, painting, you do something different every day. It’s a weird job, man. A bunch of people do it, like Lurker Lou and a bunch of other skaters. You can do it freelance style, take a month off and travel somewhere then come back, and if there’s work you’ll get the call again.

It’s weird being around the fashion scene sometimes, because it gets kind of Zoolander-ed out. Now that the fashion thing has adopted some of the skate style, you’ll see the stylist team, and they’ll be dressed like a skate crew from 1992. “Damn, this is just five girls wearing Blind jeans and Bob shirts.” It’s fucking strange.

In the past year you’ve put out two fresh parts. How do you maintain? Are you vegan or something? Do you do yoga?

I’m juicin’. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I’m thinking, why I want to do it so much, but I still do. I’m not doing yoga or anything, or stretching all that much — I just skate a lot.

I feel like when I was in my 20s, I was in the normal twenty-year-old broke skater steez of eating terrible food all the time. But then I got into my thirties, I had solid employment and made a little bit more money. I could eat better and healthier, and had a nicer living situation. I feel like I’m almost better off and have more energy skating these days than I had in my twenties. I feel like the industry was obsessed with youth — skating went through that phase where it was all about the gnarliness and the stunt factor. It’s mellowed back down now. You can still keep skating into an old age and not just jump down gaps and handrails. You can probably skate into your sixties or seventies.

What’s the last trick that you learned?

I did a weird one at L.E.S. Park today actually. The flat bank with the metal curb on top — I did a noseblunt on the flat bank and when it gets to the metal bar I nollied out to lipslide. I guess that’s something new. [Jack] Sabback filmed it.

If Dobbin ever stops existing, what are you going to do?

Fuck dude. I don’t want to think about it. I wouldn’t have the cheap rent anymore. Oh god. Might have to get a regular job or something. It could potentially be dark times, man!

FYI: Divison, the new Politic Skateboards video, is playing in full over on the TWS site.

5 Comments

Comment by E Meyers
  • Gotta say U the man Dave. Was lucky to see you rip in person when I was livin in NYC.

    All the best

    November 1, 2016 @ 11:00 am
  • Comment by Quincy Jones
  • Cyrus Bennett switch flips a motherfucking garbage can at the 4:20 mark in She’s Garbage, all the while King Louie’s underground classic Banana Boat enters in seconds before. And you’re trying to tell me this isn’t the cinematic event of the millennium

    November 1, 2016 @ 3:47 pm
  • Comment by the homie
  • the first time i met Caddo he came to my house to buy weed, then we went skating and he ollied a police barrier non chalantly while pushing down bedford. dudes the best

    November 1, 2016 @ 6:26 pm
  • Comment by T.A.
  • @Quincy Jones *willenium

    November 4, 2016 @ 1:14 am
  • Comment by Clayton
  • @T.A. – thank you

    November 5, 2016 @ 5:13 pm
  • Leave a comment