John Cardiel Interview

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John Cardiel. Slam City Skates. Covent Garden

John Cardiel blew through town recently. He came to see the House Of Vans park open in Waterloo and play records at the party. He has visited us before and was kind enough to join us at the Meet & Greet we held in our Vans basement. We took this opportunity to ask him a few questions before moving on…

How was it seeing the House of Vans park opening?

It was amazing man, it’s amazing to see how far Vans has come and to be able to have this skate park and venue for everybody in London to come to and vibe on. It was amazing, it’s beyond to see where it has gone.

You mentioned in an interview before how influential Christian Hosoi is and has been. How is it being on this trip with him?

It’s amazing, I have just seen him do this line in the bowl. He frontside grinded over the archway and then came back, rail slide the bowl and then came back through the other archway. Just that, what he embodies, the Christian-ness it never goes away. It’s cool to see.


Cardiel at our Meet & Greet with Hosoi

You spent some time here in London before, do you have a feel for the City now?

Yeah man, I kind of do but those roundabouts will spin you around a little bit some times and then if you’re not careful with the river it starts to bend a bit so you don’t know. You think something is on the other side of the river but you are messed up a little bit if you’re not careful. Sometimes those will throw you off but for the main I have pretty much got it.

Do you have spots in mind to visit when you pass through?

I really like to go and check out a lot of the record stores like Dub Vendor and Hawkeye, a bunch of the reggae spots. On the way if i’m riding my bike and cruising through I like to look for skate spots like we all do. There was a sick spot on the way to Dub Vendor in Clapham, a really sick bank to rail.

Do you remember your last visit to Slam City Skates?

Fuck yeah, it was about three or four years ago. It was a Vans Syndicate show and it was down here. They had it lit up with little booths and stuff. There was an art show alongside the shoes, it was sick. I love Slam City.


John explaining the rules of Cee-lo. After hours dice rolling in our Vans basement.

What has been motivating you of late?

Basically our team, our skate team. Grant Taylor, Raney Beres, these dudes are just killing it! It’s inspiring to see, the way they pick lines, the way they commit to their tricks, it’s amazing!

What’s the last thing you saw someone do on a skateboard that blew you away?

Two weeks ago there was a Vans Invitational, it was in Canada. It was the best trick contest and there was a big gap that had never been done. Rayne Beres was skating it, he’s regular footed so he was going backside indy! His backside hand was broken so he was going indy out of force. He told me the day before “i’m gonna do that gap”. During the best trick all he did was concentrate on it. He jumped it and it looked like he went a little too far, he kind of skipped out and slammed and he cut his eye open and thrashed himself. But the commit! It was so gnarly, you’re coming into vert so the commit on the gap was just 100 per cent. I rate that! I don’t care if it was a slam, it’s the gnarliest thing i’ve seen lately.


Cardiel demanded Raney Beres got the best trick money for going in

It’s great to see you out here again what other travels have you got on the cards? Has playing music brought you anywhere of late?

As far as travels coming up it’s kind of day to day, you never know what’s going to pop up or what is happening, where you can fit in. For me it’s always sporadic, I just go where the wind goes. As far as playing music in different places man I have been lucky enough to get hooked up through Vans and other companies and have got to play music in so many different places. It’s been an amazing trip man and I’m thankful for music in that way.

Was there ever a specific trick where you thought ‘I’ll get that next time’ but never did?

Yeah there’s been a few man. There was this one handrail in San Francisco I wanted to frontside feeble, it was a pretty big handrail, a couple of things. Some pools where you want to do certain tricks but you go back and the spot has been changed. Stuff like that. That’s why if I could say one thing get it while you can! Go for fucking broke! Kill yourself trying because you might not get another chance.

Photography – Maksim Kalanep

Interview by Jacob Sawyer