Breaks was in Paris a few weeks ago to meet French skater Oscar Candon, a phenomenal skater from France who takes great pleasure in busting through skateboarding fads and sticking to what matters: ‘Fuck You’ style and power. Oscar has a new shoe with Supra out, a colourway of the versatile Chino model and to learn more about it we posted up in a small and expertly furnished cafe to catch up on the shoe, the French skate scene, Supra and his love affair with New York.
TOM: Firstly, do you want to introduce yourself?
OSCAR: I’m Oscar Candon, I’m 23 and I live more or less in Paris.
TOM: How old were you when you moved back form DC to Paris?
OSCAR: I was 11.
TOM: So were you skating in DC at the time?
OSCAR: Yeah, I started skating when I was 10 years old. My first kickflip was in America but that’s as far as I got. I didn’t get further than a kickflip on flatground.
TOM: So you were too young to understand the differences between how Paris and DC are to skate?
OSCAR: For sure. For me, it was just flatground. Actually, I was skating the little ledges over there, so that was pretty sick to get some grinds on those ledges.
TOM: You’ve just skated the UK. How was that?
OSCAR: Good! I love skating in the UK. I always end up getting some cool shit when I come and the sponsors know exactly the kind of spots I like to skate.
TOM: What cities did you enjoy skating in the most?
OSCAR: I remember having a lot of fun in Liverpool, but also London I like a lot. I was dating an English chick for two years so I lived in London for two years, first in Brixton then in East Dulwich, by Peckham.
TOM: What do you like about Paris for skating?
OSCAR: There’s shit tons of spots, and it’s really big, with spots in the suburbs as well. What I really like is that there’s really a lot of spots that haven’t been skated too much as well. So it’s not like other cities where you go and the iconic spots have been like murdered, you know? But in Paris there’s so many possibilities so many spots, and good spots as well. If you go to Los Angeles you might get to a spot and it’s been murdered, it’s hard to find a good trick to do.
TOM: Do you ever skate Créteil?
OSCAR: Yeah. So there’s that really famous plaza, but there’s also these banks that are a really good spot, the big banks in the middle of the housing projects. There’s spots like that in Paris that are fucking amazing.
TOM: Is there more of that type of thing in the suburbs as well?
OSCAR: For sure, there’s a lot of shit in the suburbs.
TOM: What’s the crew like that you skate with?
OSCAR: Three or four years ago, before we all started travelling a lot because my group of friends all ended up having different sponsors and we’re all doing our own thing in different ways, but the crew is Remy, Josef, and the twins. So it’s not as tight as before, when it was like every day we would go skating because everyone’s always travelling and stuff and we kind of bump into each other, but it’s still the same crew as before, it hasn’t changed.
TOM: Let’s talk about the shoe for a bit. How did the shoe come about with Supra?
OSCAR: I didn’t expect it at all. I guess it was probably like a year ago, I had only been skating for Supra for a year then so I was like “why the fuck are they giving me a colourway? It doesn’t make sense!”. But then with all the the stuff that happened after, I’ve been on quite a few tours with them now and done quite a lot of shit with them so I felt like it made sense to have the colourway come out in the end.
TOM: Before this shoe, when you skated in Supra, did you used to skate the vulc shoes?
OSCAR: Yeah, I skated the Cuba, the slip-ons. Always the thinnest and most simple shoes is what I like.
TOM: No Skytop 4’s for you then?
OSCAR: No, haha!
TOM: How much creative control did you get with the colours and stuff?
OSCAR: Not much, but I’m really happy with how it came out – I’m quite happy I didn’t get much control!
TOM: Were you worried that the sample would appear and you’d be like “I don’t know about this”?
OSCAR: I didn’t really worry about it because what I first heard of it, Von Baker, he was working for Supra, and he told me “it’s gonna look sick, don’t worry.” So as soon as I knew about it, I was like “OK, I don’t have to worry”.
TOM: Getting back to Paris – what is it about the city that’s amazing when you’re not skating?
OSCAR: There’s just shit tons of things to do – there’s always bands playing, there’s always people going out, there’s nice places to hang out.
TOM: So where’s good to go out? Say I’m coming here for the first time, where would you take me in Paris?
OSCAR: I keep saying the same thing all the time but I’d probably take you around Republique, have some beers. There’s a couple bars in the area that we go to, and then from there you can go wherever, go to the the club or wherever the fuck you want to go. There’s always some shit happening, if you want to go do some other shit than skating, it’s a big city so there’s shit tons of things to do.
TOM: What’s the Parisian scene like as a whole then? You’ve got your crew that you skate with, but more in general how does it compare with the London scene?
OSCAR: There’s a big scene in Paris, there’s a lot of different crews. The guys right now that are on the radar are the guys from Republique, they have a tight crew. And there’s a lot of younger guys now. It’s a big skate scene in Paris now, like at Plaza de Republique you see shit tons of different people and I meet new skaters every time I go there.
TOM: What do you think it is about the Parisian scene that’s made it so big? London’s obviously big, it always had Slam and more recently Palace, but has there been a similar sort of catalyst for the Paris scene?
OSCAR: The skate shop Nozbone, for sure. They’ve bought together good people and have already made two videos. Back in the day there was brands like Lourdes, but that was the generation before where they really had brands that made people stick together, but I feel like there’s not really that any more in Paris, like the way Palace would have in London.
TOM: There’s French brands like Magenta, just not specifically Parisian brands.
OSCAR: Yeah, Magenta, they are kind of a Parisian brand, but it’s still like some of them are in Bordeaux, some are in fucking Japan, some are in Paris, so its not like boom, Palace, only London guys, you know? So I guess it’s just the crews that keep it alive, there’s not like a brand needed here to keep it alive.
TOM: What’s the worst part of being a pro?
OSCAR: The only thing is maybe if you have some personal stuff and you still need to go on tour, it can suck to be far away from home for a long period of time if you have shit to deal with back home. I’m not complaining about travelling because I love it, but some times shit happens and you’re like “fuck, I want to be home” but I have to be fucking the other side of the stupid Atlantic. So that would be the only time it can really suck, but most of the time I’m happy so it’s cool.
TOM: How do you deal with the pro requirements of doing interviews all the time and all that media stuff?
OSCAR: I really didn’t like it at first, to be honest. But now I don’t mind it. I mean this, the full day…
Supra PR: I know I’m sorry, everyone wants to talk to you! It’s not my fault that you’re so popular…
OSCAR: No but I don’t mind. The only thing that is quite annoying sometimes is that the questions can be really repetitive.
TOM: Have I been guilty of that?
OSCAR: For now, no. Not too much! But sometimes you just want to give a piece of paper to the guys, like “Hey, here are all the answers I’ve just written down!” You just end up repeating yourself a lot.
TOM: What trends in skateboarding do you wish would go away?
OSCAR: It always makes me laugh that when I started skating, we really looked like shit, like no taste at all in how to dress and there was no importance in that at all. The only important thing was skating, it wasn’t about how cool you look. I’m really happy I got to grow up like that actually, because now sometimes I see kids rocking all the cool gear and thinking they’re sick, but they can’t do shit!
TOM: Do you think that’s a shame, and is skateboarding losing its way in that sense?
OSCAR: I don’t know, I try to not let it affect me too much. I don’t really think too much about that stuff, that’s just how it is. But in the mix of that there’s still some really nice shit that’s still happening, so it’s not like skateboarding has just turned to complete shit! There’s still a lot of stuff that I’m really hyped on.
TOM: You mentioned earlier how you love travelling – what’s your favourite place you’ve been?
OSCAR: Last year I really fell in love with New York. Fucking hell, that place is amazing, I really like it as a city. But also the really gnarly travels I’ve done, like I went to Ethiopia on a skate trip, that was amazing. I went with a French photographer, it wasn’t even for a film or anything, we were just filming each other, with Michael Mackrodt as well, just the three of us. Those sort of trips I really like.
Have you been to Serbia before? Fucking hell man, Serbia is amazing! It’s like you go there and it’s like fucking 50 years back in time. It’s fucked up. I loved it! People were super friendly as well, the nicest people, all the locals were amazing.
I’m looking forward to more trips like that, recently it’s been a lot of trips going to LA, Barcelona, all those cities we often go to. So I’m looking forward to the next trip that’s something a bit different.
TOM: So what’s next for you?
OSCAR: I’ve been working on the video part for Supra that’s going to be for Thrasher as well so I have a little interview and a video part that comes out at the same time. That’s supposed to come out in April. Other than that, just different projects, I’ll start filming for something else soon I guess.
TOM: Perfect, we’ll leave it there. Thanks Oscar.