Interview with Carlisle Aikens Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards

Interview with Carlisle Aikens, Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards

June 28, 2023

Carlisle Aikens effortlessly and humbly fuses skateboarding and fashion. Pro for Chocolate Skateboards since 2021, he also made his way into modeling. In fact, Carlisle was featured in the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2024 show held in Paris last week. He was in town for a couple days so we had the opportunity to meet him but we kept the interview focused on skateboarding and skate graphics.
How involved are you with the design of your board graphics?
So Carlos [Gutierrez] and Skyler [Blum] who both do the graphics at Girl usually hit me up about one offs. They’re really into letting the skaters give their ideas and what they want, because if it’s personal, it means a lot more. They’re very open to it, like the samurai afro graphics, it just comes from Afro Samurai, the shit I grew up on.
What about the graphic with your mother?
My mom is my everything. It’s funny actually with that graphic because I pitched the idea to Rick [Howard] and Sam [Smyth] and I was like: “I have a photo of my mom and it’d be a sick board”. But I wasn’t thinking of it like me being pro, I was just like: “You should make this graphic because it’s sick”, and they’re like: “This is dope!”, I was still flow though. Then years later when I turned pro, they’re like: “What about that mom graphic?”, I’m like: “Yeah, that’d be sick, that kind of makes more sense now, that’s probably why you guys are waiting huh!”. So there’s gonna be a series of three and two of them came out already. But they like having the skaters being involved. I think every skater should be involved if they have a graphic, it’s very important.
Interview with Carlisle Aikens Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards Board Graphics 1
What’s it like to have your name on a board?
I go insane about it every day! Especially now that I’ve been pro for this long, people go up to me to say: “Hi, what’s up?”, or they ask for a photo. It brings warmth to my heart. This is so crazy because I was that kid that would go to my favorite pro skater and ask for a photo, and they were so sweet about it. So for roles to switch, it’s so crazy, I trip on it every day.
Do you keep all of your pro boards?
I have all my pro boards. Actually, I wasn’t at first because I was just skating them.
Interview with Carlisle Aikens Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards Quote 1
Do you put them on the wall in your house?
I did have them on the wall, I just took them down because this is more of a personal thing, I don’t know, I’m like: “I’m a grown-ass man, I have skateboards on my wall…”, and they are my skateboards, it feels even weary [laughs]. I have a couple of homies on the wall but I took mine down.
What’s your favorite graphic?
I think the mom’s my favorite because that means the world to me, but the portrait is second for sure. The portrait is like a classic, Evan Hecox killed it with that photo. My homie actually took that photo. It brings sentimental value because my homie shot the photo and then Evan did his own thing with the graphics, so it’s dope.
Interview with Carlisle Aikens Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards Board Graphics 2
Are you into skate graphics in general?
Yeah! Polar is always killing it, Quasi is doing amazing things, I love their artistic direction and where they go with it. It inspires me when I think of graphics, not to copy it word for word but just to get an idea. I think all board companies get influence from each other. So I definitely pay attention to all that shit. For me to come out with a graphic, I want to make some shit I would skate.
It will be the 30th anniversary of Chocolate Skateboards next year [this year for Girl Skateboards], how does it feel to be part of such a legacy brand?
It’s so crazy because I’ve been skating Girl and Chocolate since I started skating. It became a full circle thing, and to skate for them is just mind-blowing. They’re the most legendary skateboard companies in the world, so it’s an honor and it’s a privilege and it’s very humbling. I’m so excited to be a part of it. Chocolate for life, never leaving!
Interview with Carlisle Aikens Pro Skater for Chocolate Skateboards Quote 2
And finally, give me the magic secret of your insane pop?
[Laughs] Ah shit, I don’t know! I grew up watching [Andrew] Reynolds jumping down shit and popping and it looked so cool to me. But I guess it’s just practice, because I know people shorter than me that’ll pop so much higher than me, like Robert Neal, he pops way harder than me. I’m 6’3” [190cm] by the way, I feel like a lot of people don’t know how tall I am because they watch me on Instagram or YouTube, but I’m pretty tall. I think it’s one of those things where you pop higher when the object’s in front of you because in your head you know you have to get over it, rather than just trying to ollie next to a barrier.
So it’s all about mental?
100 percent! I think it’s mental, I think skateboarding is 90% mental.
Check out more of Carlisle Aikens’s skating (and modeling) on instagram.