When I first met Max Capps he definitely stood out from many of the other downhill skateboarders I’d met. He was one of the first dudes I’d encountered in the community that really paid attention to style. Where I come from, style is of critical importance—what you do and how you do it go hand-in-hand—you can’t have one without the other. While some are content to do “whatever”, Max and his riding embody the timeless tradition in skateboarding of taking things a step beyond and making shit look stylish, smooth, and natural.
At 21 years young, Max is a cool cat and a ripping skater. He still has a lot to learn, and some growing up to do, but I believe that if he continues to progress as a human and as a skateboarder we’ll be seeing big, big things from this dude in the future.
All right then, so let’s get down to the boilerplate shit: Where are ya from, why skateboarding, and why downhill?
I’m from Orange County, SoCaL! Growing up, my friends and I were into various things and we shredded mini skateboards. That was fun, then I met Dee Tea and it was all downhill from there. My family comes from a heavy racing background so it was only natural that I end up in some form of that as well. Going fast and putting it sideways is a feeling you can’t get just anywhere.
I apologize, but this interview is actually an intervention. All of your friends, family and fellow skaters have asked Wheelbase to ask you to keep your shirt on while skating. Your topless skateboarding has hurt so many people and sickened so many more. Will you please keep your shirt on from now on?
Intervention? I thought you guys were my friends! I like the feeling of wind touching my skin. Shirtless is like shot-gunning a beer before you drop in on a ramp. Tell the girlies that the shirt will stay off, and that they should try it too.
You just took a trip to NYC a couple of months back. They definitely have a different take on skateboarding over there. What was it like chilling with those dudes and experiencing that type of skateboarding?
New York was intense! The air is thick, coffee in the morning is a must, and the bars stay open until 4 am. While I was there we did tons of city riding—mobbing through the streets in oncoming traffic, running red lights, and getting hit by cabs. You can’t stop in time—hectic. If you want to get around town, pushing can be quicker, and that’s what a lot of those guys do. Compared to here at home, those guys push their body’s very hard—7 mile rides just to get lunch. It was hard keeping up, but an eye opener to board styles that a lot of kids look down on. NYC skateboarding is the shit!
You and I went up to San Francisco a few weeks ago and met up with the Sunset Sliders for the Sunset Scrambler race. You won that shit as well. Very cool! Tell us a bit about that whole experience of kickin’ it up there in the City with all those dudes and skating such radical urban hills.
Going up was last minute, I expected nothing and planned on going all out. I was born in the Bay Area, so it was cool being up there with dudes I know, having a blast. Residentials are my thing, so I was excited to hit 5 busy San Fran spots without seeing them before hand, and just race down. Winning was cool, but I was more stoked to just come out and have a good time with some homies I had not seen in awhile.
I like asking this one: what are your top three favorite skaters, and why?
I have many favorites, but top inspiration comes from these dudes:
Andrew Mercado: I look up to Andrew in many ways. I rolled with him since I started, he taught me a lot about the industry, how things work, and people. He taught me how to pull-it no matter what, and make moves. He is OG to me, with style to match—kills it on tranny—smith grinds all day. He always held me down because I wanted it the most, and he probably didn’t think I deserved it at all, which is cool, because it pushed me that much harder every time.
JM Duran: Legendary. JM’s style and swag can be matched by NO ONE. From riding down the hills in the Bay, to surfi’n turns Cali style, JM leaves his mark wherever he dips by. A cool cat in any crowd, he’s sure to be layin’ the mac down on some honey who doesn’t know. JM is the shit to me, dude rocks life.
Patrick Rizzo: The King of Cali. There could be a book written about every story told about Patrick. Watching him skate is like watching water flow, aggressive but flowy, and tuned into the surroundings. The man is feeling it every time he rages down a hill. Blasting!
It’s hard to say enough about these guys, or say the right things. They represent California to the fullest, and that’s why they are my favorite.
I know you’ve been designing various boards for Ladera. What can we expect in the future from you and those dudes?
Expect surfy shapes and topmounts. Ladera is about simple functional shapes that everyone can be comfy on. The 2012 line is shaping up, be ready for some different things.
You’ve been claimin’ Daggers for a while now—you have Daggers tattoos and stencils and whatever else all over your shit. I just checked out the Daggers website and your name was not on their roster. Do tell. And since you’re labeled as a “longboarder” shouldn’t you call your gang/division the “Swords”?
Mercado established the longboard “Daggers” after a crazy Maryhill trip. For me, the Daggers thing represents the early days, when we all sucked and met at GMR early in the morning to rally with 15 dudes. Before we got sponsored, and got industry jobs. When we were just a crew.
Someone stopped me the other night at a Volcom party. I was wearing my vest. He told me Daggers were fake: “Just a movie bro, Daggers are not real” and then he walked away. Daggers may be fake, and I may not be a real Dagger, but I sure as shit know what it takes to be one, and I’ll flash my middle finger at anyone who tells me different.
Pshh! ”Swords”? You have to stand too far away from someone to use that, I like my dagger so I can get real close and personal.
I heard you wanted to fight Kevin Reimer for swooping on some pro-hoe you where rollin’ with? One word answer please.
Ha ha! Since we labeled you a style connoisseur, please don’t make us regret it by answering this question all lame. So what is the most stylish slide in downhill skateboarding and who’s got the best one in the business?
I am a HUGE fan of the one-hand-down no-rail-grab toeside slide. And that’s because JimZ lays ‘em down like a boss. Other than that, if you can lay down a fat no-hand, squatting heelside; you are also a boss. Look to James Kelly, Sinjin Davis, and G-Mac for tips on those. Keep your hands off the rail and feel it out.
Radical, I say we wrap this up and get to rollin’. If ya would please, drop your sponsors on us, thank whomever you’d like to thank, and say whatup to all the Wheelbasers out there.
Thanks to Ladera Skateboards, Gunmetal Trucks, Venom Skate Products and Kenny’s Components for giving me the tools and opportunities to travel and skate rad stuff. My Mommy kills it and has supported me from the start. Keep your head up and don’t stop trying. Make moves and make it happen. Yeah Wheelbase!
To Be Continued . . .