The Recruit Inner View
TEXT: TOM ROHRER
I knew right away that an interview with Cookie would be good. Cookie’s a dude who uses the right side of his brain to the fullest, while simultaneously working in parts from the left side. It shows in his actions and especially in his skating. But there is (apparently) a trick that Cookie can’t do. And there are some things that he would do if he could, like boardsliding across the Grand Canyon and spelunking to an underwater cave. To get a better idea of how he finds the perfect balance between the left and the right, enjoy an inner view with Chris “Cookie” Colbourn.
Sup Cooks! So psyched to be able to do this with you! Let’s start off with the basics. What’s your name, age, and hometown?
Chris Colbourn, I’m 25, and I’m from Williston, Vermont.
Now let’s talk about your Recruit. Did you do a lot of planning before coming into the park to film for it? Or would you just kind of show up to the park each day and come up with something?
I’d say it was about 50/50, some days knowing I would be going in to skate the next day. It’d be hard to not start thinking of stuff or tricks that haven’t been done here. Half the time Chase would hit me up, letting me know he was free that day, so I would just show up, and sometimes it would be an hour/hour and a half before we’d actually start filming. I hate to waste Chase’s time but I also know that he understands the process, and that skateboarding is never an easy thing, so it’s nice working with him. He’s very patient. And he’s got good ideas, he’s always trying to push you in certain ways.
Did he help you come up with some of the tricks in your Recruit? Is he good at coming up with suggestions?
He definitely is. I was trying to do this nosepick yank-over into the stairs on the blue 7-rail and was struggling with it and stressing because I had gone back to try it and wasn’t even getting close, so he just suggested stalling it and flipping back into the bank like I had been kind of doing by accident. Luckily that worked out and I kept messing with it and got a hard flip out, and nollie flip out too, so instead of walking away defeated, without any clips, I walked away successful with two clips!
That’s one of the clips that I picture every time I think of your Recruit. It’s just one of those clips that wants to keep replaying itself.
I need more! It still needs more.
Dude, you do not need more! Settle. This is one of the best Recruits I’ve seen!
I don’t know where I was going with the yank-over, I kept landing on the stairs but not going anywhere. You need momentum and light feet to ride down stairs. [laughs]
Chris Cole's "Battle Royale" with Jordan Maxham from 2016
That’s sick though, it’s so sick you even thought to try that.
Thanks! I’m stoked on that noseslide all the way to fakie to end of the rail, too, that happened on accident. That was fun. I’m glad I checked off a couple tricks on that jersey barrier, too.
Yeah, that thing is not easy to skate. I remember seeing you trying that kick flip backlip one day, and getting into it a lot, but pulling your board into the tranny seemed like the hardest part.
Right, that was one that you just kind of had to wait for, but also force it at the same time. I knew I wanted to actually slide it for a second ‘cause that would just get me stoked to actually commit. That one took coming back for, I’m glad it happened. It was one of the first tricks I filmed for this that I was actually really psyched on.
What was the last trick you filmed?
The fakie front shuv.
Sick! That’s cool that Jordan [Maxham] did nollie front shuv-it and you did it fakie. Whose idea was it first? Did he start trying his trick first or did you?
He saw me trying the fakie shuv-it and just really wanted to get a trick, something similar. He got his trick way quicker. [laughs] I’m stoked on that trick right now. I just went and filmed one down a 10 stair, but it needs way more. That trick is so cool! It’d be dope to see it into a handrail somehow, or over one, kind of like how I went diagonal here, it got me in the groove of wanting to go frontside over a handrail. I’d need like a super angled rail though.
Wow I would love to see that clip! Hopefully we can look forward to it in the future. Out of all the tricks in your Recruit, which one was the hardest for you?
Probably that fakie shuvit to front crook.
That last clip?
Yeah, I was just trying to do half cab out and I just had to take the caballerial. My shoulders just did not wanna stop turning. [laughs]
So did you know you were going to do 270 out or did your shoulders just naturally start turning that way?
It kind of just happened on that one. I could feel the motion coming and I was trying to fight it as I was getting closer but it just luckily worked and I kept my shoulders down and just went with the motion. It eventually worked once I just told myself not to give up.
"Taxi Driver" from 2015 (watch out for Chris's "ghost comply" on the bank-to-ledge)
Were there any tricks you got really quickly?
I wouldn’t say quickly, but the most fun I had filming this whole Recruit was doing the backside heelflip nosegrind down the 5-stair hubba. It just like… it felt right. That trick is so sick. I was just pretending I was Julian Davidson and it luckily worked out! [laughs]
Yeah dude the one you did was so good, too, like bolts. It couldn’t have been done better.
Thank you! I got the 180 I think just to push myself, but just doing it to fakie was way more pleasing for myself.
Dude, I bet. The way you did it, it looks like it felt so good. Was there anything else that made filming your Recruit really fun?
It’s been really fun getting to be my own DJ when I’m skating here because usually at street spots I don’t have this type of surround sound speaker system so it’s really fun. [laughs] And I’ve gotten sick of my own music, too, so I’ll just ask Chase or whoever is here to play some music. You never know what you’re going to get. I’ve probably bounced around every genre there is filming here. [laughs]
I swear every time you were in here skating I would hear really good music playing in the park. What kind of music gets you hyped up to skate?
I’ve been playing this hard rock/classic rock, with almost like some bits of metal. It just gets me stoked to go fast, and try to slash something, or just air anywhere and then hang up, just to make a loud noise. [laughs]
Those are the best kinds of sessions, when the music is blaring and the homies are going for it!
I wish I skated faster, so I could maybe skate to it, in this part, but, I don’t think I pulled it off. [laughs] Some day! It’s coming…
"Rack 'Em Up" from 2015
Alright, Chris Colbourn dream spot, let’s hear it, anything you can think of literally, even if it’s never been seen, the only spot that you could skate for the rest of your life. What would your dream spot look like?
I’m just gonna go off past experiences. For instance, Ryan Clement’s driveway. That is my dream driveway. It’s long, mellow, and downhill and starts out as flat ground and turns into a little quarter pipe then a bigger one, and it’s all DIY cement so it’s not perfect but it makes you work even harder and it’s just really fun. It’s got a pool that you could potentially air into. [laughs]
So it’s all mainly transition? Is transition your favorite thing to skate?
It really depends, like if I have a lot of energy a flatbar could be more fun, but, just good ol’ flatground is fine.
Dude you have a lot of flatground tricks. You were doing pretty good in BATB9. I honestly thought you were going to make it to the final round. I wonder if it’d be possible to get you back in there again.
I hope so! I love me a good game of flatground.
Are there any tricks that are super hard for you? Just basic flip tricks. I honestly can’t think of one that you can’t do. [laughs]
Yeah, I can’t switch hardflip.
Switch hard flip… but you did it in your Recruit!?
It was like a nollie hardflip.
That’s basically a switch hardflip.
I was actually like standing still so it was a little less than the full turn. I’ve never done one on flatground but I’ve done them on hips.
"Snowbank" from 2013
Were you hyped on that clip then since you don’t usually do switch hardflips?
I was. I was glad to just roll away clean because I was really tired from having skated earlier that day and then to have come here to keep skating, and try the nosepick and not get close. I was running out of steam. And just trying something that felt so “out there.” At least it worked. It was definitely a back-breaker!
Yeah that’s the best feeling! Doing something that you don’t always do. Were there any other clips you were super hyped on?
I’m really hyped actually on the primo slide clip. That’s my favorite clip.
Dude! That was my favorite clip in your whole Recruit. I love that clip! Did it take you long to do?
Kind of, yeah—I had to come back. Through trial and error it eventually worked, thankfully. I had to put more weight on my back truck I realized. I kept trying to push the board up and it would just bounce off my foot and come back. It wouldn’t even go primo, it would just go half way and then come back under my feet. So I was like, alright, my back foot needs to work more! I did that and it finally started leveling out.
Who knows, the primo slides might get brought back! Seriously, people might start doing primo slides now. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing them.
I wanted to do kickflip into one across the ledge, but… didn’t get to that yet.
Mike Patterson shout out!
Yeah he did it on that table into the bank at Aragon! What the fuck! Somebody sponsor this guy! [laughs] But that’s the best: he’s just doing it for the love of it.
Yes! Big ups to the dudes out there who are pushing skateboarding like that. I got another good question for you. What’s something that you haven’t done in your life that you would do if you were given the chance?
Realistic or in a dream?
Let’s do dream first. [laughs]
It’d be cool to grind across the grand canyon. Like, Bob [Burnquist] went into it, I just wanna get a rainbow rail and boardslide across it. [laughs] That’d be hilarious.
"Chris Colbourn's Cookie Dough" from 2014. The final line beginning at 1:25 is a masterpiece of improv skateboarding.
Wow, imagine how that would feel!
Then you sack it and then fall! I don’t know, it’d be fun to skate the mega ramp. People do that. [laughs]
That’s a good realistic one.
I'd like to scuba dive. I jumped out of a plane in Dubai while filming for We Are Blood, so now I’d like to go see some crazy fish underwater. I went up high and now I’m trying to go low and explore all of the depths. I’d like to be a professional spelunker. [laughs]
What’s a spelunker?!
You explore caves. A cave explorer. Just need a job from Nat Geo and I’ll be on it! Get a squirrel suit, too!
Imagine?! Squirrel suit your way down to land then spelunk to an underwater cave. That sounds like a good day. Some people do it! I bet there’s someone out there who does it.
Yeah, that’d be pretty cool!
"Dumpster Dive" with Jordan Maxham from 2013
I also wanted to mention your dad. I know he has a pretty strong passion for music. If you could absolutely kill it at any instrument, which one would you choose to be the best at?
Easy. The harmonica. (laughs) That would be tight! Probably the guitar as well. I’d say the guitar or harmonica. I was just listening to some blues the other day with some classic harmonica in there. Maybe the cowbell? (laughs).
You can play the guitar and harmonica at the same time.
You can. That one-man-band shit?
Would you do that?
If you showed me a one-man-band suit I would put it on right now and try it out (laughs). But yeah, definitely guitar. I picked it up when I was younger because I was inspired by my dad but, I don’t know, for some reason I put it down. I think I was just blowing it (laughs). The next goal in life is to pick up the guitar again. I would love to just play how I feel. It’s healthy to play or listen to music in the morning, too, just to get your senses awake. I’ve been realizing that.
I love it, too. It’s like a boost of energy. It really makes a difference! What are you working on next that we can all look forward to?
I’m definitely going to focus on this Element video as much as I possibly can.
Yes! I remember I called James Buchmann while you guys were on a trip together, right after you did an insane 50-50 gap to 50-50. The second after you landed it I happened to call Buchmann and he told me what had just gone down. I’ll say no more. That’s something to look forward to in the Element video.
Thanks! I’ve been stoked on that trick for days, so, I’m happy to have one for this next part.
"Vermontage" (we're still very proud of that title) from 2013
Is that one of your favorite tricks you’ve filmed for the video?
So far! I think. [laughs]
That’s exciting dude. I’m counting down the days until I get to see that.
You gonna have a full part?
I don’t know. That’s the goal!
Whatever you do I already know it’s going to be good. I’m excited to see it. Did you get a lot creative stuff for it?
I have a lot of lines I’m stoked on but I know that it’s gonna need to be under two to two-and-a-half minutes probably, considering how many people are in the video. So if there are lines I know there will have to be no question on whether or not to use them, it’s motivating. Either get a single or get a really good line.
Every part I see from you, I don’t know what to expect. That’s a quality of a really good skateboarder.
Hell yeah, thanks.
"All Eyes On Chris Colbourn" from 2013
Do you have any words of wisdom or any quotes or phrases that you live by? What are the greatest words of advice you would pass on to somebody that would stick with them forever?
Words of wisdom from me would be… if you’re trying a trick, or anything, if you’re doing something you’re passionate about, just don’t give up. I’ve told that to myself numerous times at the spot. I’ll be like “fuck this!”, and walk away, be over it, then that little saying will pop into my head no matter what. It’s just like, don’t give up! Unless you have to, due to an injury or something. Always try to get past the mental block.
That’s very important in skateboarding.
When you step away from yourself, it’s really just inside of you. It’s not like an external factor. So… don’t give up! That one time you got kind of close, get closer, and just believe in yourself.
That’s what separates the goods from the greats. The greats don’t give up. Let’s do thank you’s now. Anyone you’d like to thank?
Thanks to Berra and Koston for starting this amazing place. It’s more than a place now, it’s like a movement, which is crazy. [laughs] And Prince Gilchrist who first let me into the Berrics and showed me around LA. Thanks to Jordan Maxham and Chris Whitaker, my parents, Nancy and Mike, my brother Ben, who motivated me to step on a skateboard, a classic Toys R’ Us board. And to Cherry-Bone skateshop for selling me my first real board, a World Industries Wet Willy graphic, and some tie-dye wheels. [laughs] Huge thanks to Paul Wilson at Silent Skateboards a few years back for giving me the opportunity to move out here, and paving the way for our dreams to come true. He really gave me a solid foundation to get grounded in LA and learn my way around. Another huge thanks to Cole Matthews, Marc Falkenstein, Johnny Schillereff, and Mark Stewart at Element. They’ve had my back since I met them. I’m sure there’s more that I missed!
"The Park Beyond The Pines" from 2013