Meet Oscar Candon. He's the guy walking into your party and drinking all your booze, before totally winning you round by being every cheeky silver-screen younger brother come to life, all wrapped up in the form of one 22-year-old Parisian skater. A relatively new member of the Supra team, he's still managing to stand out among his more seasoned teammates, which is probably because he's got more energy than E.ON and the kind of technical ability you'd expect from someone who's already been skating for 12 years.
I met up with Oscar recently before the Supra demo at Hackney's Frontside skatepark, where we had some morning beers and a chat about nerves, French musicians and the stupidity of penny boards.
VICE: Hi, Oscar. Introduce yourself to the world.
Oscar Candon: I'm Oscar, I'm 22 and I've been skateboarding since I was ten years old.
What's it like being pro after all that time?
I wouldn't say I'm a "pro", because I haven't got my name under a board yet. But I do make a bit of money from it. I'm basically an amateur who hangs out with legends [laughs].
Where's the weirdest place that skateboarding has taken you?
Ethiopia, last year. That was crazy! Ten days in Ethiopia, trying to skate. There's nothing to skate over there, so we spent more time searching for spots than we did actually skating. Just being there was like, "What the fuck?" It really makes you think, seeing people there and understanding how they survive.
We've been all over the world and there's always crazy shit happening on tour. But out of everywhere, Paris is the best for girls, for sure.
What do you like to do when you're not skateboarding or trying to pick up girls?
Play guitar and go fishing if I can. Sweden is the best for fishing; we have a family house there – a little house near the lake where we get pike and perch. I try to go there every year and have some quality time in the forest. I love the silence and the patience it takes. Being alone on the lake calms me down a bit.
What kind of music do you play?
I love to play blues. My dad's a guitar teacher, so I learned the blues from him. I like some of the old shit, but I also love the 60s stuff. I listen to Neil Young a lot, but not too much because I'd probably get depressed. There's this old French guy called George Brassens who I really like. He's dead now. He tells stories and he was pretty much against everything, which is cool. I like to choose the music on my skate parts; I had Black Sabbath on my last one. I went to see them in Paris a few months ago – it was so good. Motorhead are the best band, though – so much power!
Do you ever want to play in a band?
Nah, it's too much pressure playing in front of a crowd 'n' shit.
Is it not the same as doing a big skate demo?
Yeah, but I'm looking at my feet when I skate [laughs]. I never get nervous before I go out in front of a crowd of kids; I just drink a beer and go for it.
What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't skateboarding?
Hmm, well, before I was making money from skateboarding I was a carpenter. It's a really noble job because you're working with wood, and wood is a really good material to work with. But waking up at 6AM to go to work... I don't miss that at all. I have no idea what I'd be doing – I'd just be miserable.
You skate pretty hard and fast – what's your worst injury?
I've done loads. Broke my knee, broke my foot, broke my ankle...
Has it ever made you reconsider what you do?
One time I thought about stopping. I was out for six months, got back on my board and, after ten days, broke my fibula. So six months out, ten days back skating, then broken fibula – so no skating for another four months. On the way to the hospital I thought, 'Fuck this, it's too much.' Then, when I was in there, I was just waiting to skate again – I couldn't stop thinking about it. Once you get into this lifestyle I don't think you can go back to normal life.
What makes you happy?
Beer, good times with my friends and the sun. So England doesn't really make me happy – it's too cold. I just stay in touch with the good people in my life and stay away from the assholes.
What's the worst thing about skateboarding today?
Penny boards are a bad thing! I saw a lot in fucking Shoreditch while I've been here. People don't even ride them! They're fucking dipshits [laughs]. It's not practical, either; it's a little shit board, you can't even ollie up a curb. It's a fashion accessory. Fuck that. I'm really not into that. If they were into skateboarding they'd realise that bigger boards exist for a reason.
In Paris, the image of skateboarders is being pissed on because of the fashion thing. Loads of guys have penny boards – all these assholes ride them around, and people just see that and think it's skateboarding. It used to be the street kids.
Do you think you're an athlete?
Fuck no! Athletes don't drink beer and smoke a cigarette before they go out and compete, do they?
I suppose not. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I'd tell him to stop smoking weed so much! Fuck weed – it makes you a lazy bastard. Just stick to the beers [laughs]. Do you want a beer?
Yeah, I'd love one – cheers. So finally, what's next?
I'm working on a KR3W section, then I'm going to Poland, Bulgaria, Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, touring Belgium... then I'm going home! And when it starts raining in France I'll head over to Barcelona. I've got nothing to complain about!
Perfect. Have fun!
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