Kelsen founders Evan and Curren Caples share their views on style, the Kelsen brand, dream cars, and more.
Kelsen Products: Who has good style to you?
Curren Caples: I really like the way Chris Miller skates. He’s a legend. He’s got really smooth, fluid style, really good tricks. I try to take bits and pieces of things I think are cool and try to mimic it, but do it my own way. Of course, it’s cool to come up with your own shit too, but everything influences everything.
Evan Caples: When I think of style, the first person that comes to my mind is Tom Curren. He was a guy that many would say is a style icon of surfing. He was world champ when I was coming up, so that’s the one guy I looked to anytime there was a style discussion. To this day, I think he has the best surfing style ever.
KP: What was it about his style that you admired? What did you try to emulate?
EC: It just seemed like everything he did was so proper. His flow, the way he read conditions was like no one else. And when he actually got on the wave it just seemed like you couldn’t improve upon it. Like, even when he threw out like a funny hand jive that he was doing in his early days, it just made sense. Like it was perfect. It just seemed like he was so in-tune with surfing, that he would literally surf the way the wave wanted to be surfed.
KP: How do you look at style today?
EC: To me, style means not really trying to be stylish. I think some people are just stylish naturally, you know? The way they walk, the way they talk, the way they dress, or skate or surf, it’s just inherent. Some people try to be stylish and a few of them can pull it off, but you can kind of see through it. Whereas other people that are truly stylish, it’s just them. It’s a reflection of them as a person. How they think, how they interpret life. It’s just nice and smooth and flowing.
KP: Tell me about the ambassador lineup at Kelsen.
EC: When we started to search for ambassadors that we felt would represent Kelsen properly, it started with Curren (Caples). There are so many talented surfers and skaters out there, but only a few of them were right based on what we were looking for. And the lineup we got, I don’t think we could have done any better. It rolled out with Curren, and then (Sean) Malto came along. And with Malto on board we were able to attract Jack Freestone. And then came Mikey February. These guys really complement each other. Their chemistry is really good. They all rip and they’re all good human beings. They represent what we’re trying to convey with Kelsen as a brand.
CC: I think all of us are pretty smooth in the way we do things, whether it’s surfing or skating. Everyone’s style complements each other in different ways. Everyone that we have is really respected for their style. It’s rad that we got these guys.
KP: Tell me a little about what you want the Kelsen brand to be.
CC: I want it to be something I’m proud of. And it’s becoming that. What we do isn’t something a lot of guys like to talk about. But for me, it’s a big part of my life. I really like the way everything looks. I’m proud to show people what we’re doing. And I’m very particular about the stuff I use and I think we have the best products. I’m really stoked about how everything’s turning out.
KP: Curren, you’re a collector. What are you into? How are you drawn toward certain things?
CC: My tastes are pretty varied. I’m really in to furniture and cars from the sixties. And art and music from the eighties. Like New Order and Depeche Mode...Those are two of the best generations in my eyes.
KP: Like Peter Saville? That sort of art?
CC: Yeah. Technology really started to take off in the eighties and the way that’s reflected in some of the art of that era is really interesting to me. And cars in the sixties were just the coolest, period.
KP: Evan, what about you? What's inspiring you?
EC: I keep going back to The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. It’s considered their masterpiece and I can totally understand why. They were at the peak of their collective abilities. It just seems to put my mind in a nice place. I find myself thinking a little differently, a little happier, a little less stressed. It’s really helped me recently.
KP: Art question for Curren: if you had endless funds, and you could buy any piece of artwork, what would it be?
CC: Oh, what would I get? That’s a hard one. I don’t want to be generic, but probably something from Warhol.
KP: Which Warhol?
CC: It would be epic to have the original Campbell’s Soup Cans. That would be insane. I’d probably go for that one. (laughs)
KP: What about cars? What’s the dream car?
CC: A 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing...Something like that would be way cooler than getting a new car. You could just look at it all day. You don’t even have to drive it.
EC: It changes every year. I really want an electric car. I think it would be the new Porsche Taycan
KP: If you could hop on a plane right now and go anywhere, where would you go?
CC: Probably New York. That’s always fun. It’s a good time of year to go. Or would I go on a surf trip? I don’t know!
EC: South Africa.