Catching Up With Max Capps: Abec 11 Wheels, Racing, and In-n-Out
Chop Lord Max Capps is always on the grind and we’ve been fortunate enough to have some of his efforts contributed here on SkateSlate.com lately with both Worth The Money and a recap of his recent trip to the Top Speed Challenge. Max is now a member of the 80mph Club, took 1st at Soldiers of Downhill, and is keeping things fresh with some Slalom stoke brewing as well. One thing I’ve been noticing that we hadn’t talked about was something distinctly new and bright green under his board for wheels. So I hit him to find out more about joining Abec 11 Wheels this season and how that’s been going for him.
Max! We’ve done this before, but lets keep it fresh, full name, age, and favourite order at In-n-Out?
Maxwell Dean Capps, 26. 4×4 no cheese, with onions, extra toasted bun, fries and a medium ice tea, remove the tomatoes and lettuce.
Where are you now? Where’s home? I am sure the heart is in California where ever you are!
Im in Indiana for the moment, then back to California. I have come to learn that home is where you lay your head. But yes, California will always be my home. I feel like I have been on a never ending trip, as Drake said, “SUITCASE, I BEEN LIVIN’ OUT A SUITCASE”.
What’s happening with Chop Lord? Any latest and greatest shapings?
I was actually working a real job for awhile so commercial chopping slowed down a bit. Of course I was making a bunch of stuff for myself though, so selfish right? I have been getting super into composites, learning new ways to stiffen up boards, and make them lighter. Zak convinced me to go carbon fibre and I’m glad he did. My latest love is a foam core slalom board, the shape is what really has me stoked, typical.
Oh snap! Carbon fiber and shit. Look at you swagging out the setups! What motivated you to go for the upper class steez? Just jealous of the Triple Beam? ha ha
Last year I made my first foam core and was pretty stoked on that. While I was at Maryhill a bunch of homies had actual slalom setups and trucks for the race. I was already stoked on the idea of slalom but this was the exact push I needed to finally get serious about it. Also a great excuse to make a bunch of new boards, namely foam cores. Triple beam was just dropping for reals and I spent a lot of time revisiting construction ideas. I joked to Zak that with my new ideas I could make something lighter, with a more simple approach. Well I did that first try, for a slalom board, then applied that for a dh deck. I have ideas to get it under 2lbs. So I’m stoked.
We could go on nerding on decks, but the real question for this interview is whats good with Abec 11 Wheels? You went green?
Yeah its an avenue I have looked at for a long time. Im excited that I actually got to do it.
Why the switch?
I ride stuff because I think its the best, and thats based on a lot of testing. I was spending a lot of time on the mountain getting ready for Maryhill, most of it utilizing fresh wheels in leathers. Well I only had so many fresh sets of steamrollers so it was a convenient time to see what all the new wheels were about. I tried just about everything that made sense and in the end I couldn’t deny that reflex was much faster than everything else, and just as grippy. It was a performance choice.
Abec 11 is a classic California brand, super OG, so I get the history with you, but you’re also about tech and innovation. So whats new with Abec 11 that has you stoked?
The thing that really made me want to ride for Abec was the release of the HD series wheels. It was a wheel I knew was coming for awhile but didnt know when. They really are a better wheel. New profile, big hub core, super soft; these are updates that really improved the wheel immensely. The first day Key and I got the first batch we went to test and had our minds blown. It was one of those silly kinds of days where you just don’t believe whats happening and how you’re making it happen. That was amplified the more I rode them at new places.
Whats with the HD everything?
HD doesn’t really stand for anything, we joke that it means Heavy Duty. Its really just a way to differentiate between normal big zigs and centrax to the new core versions.
Are you getting to go in and nerd on wheels too or just riding on them?
I haven’t had much time at the warehouse to discuss new products, we talked a bit about the team stuff then I hit the road to go racing. Im still chewing on the HD wheels. Im very familiar with whats going on there, I already knew so much just from helping Key plan for races and bouncing wheel choice off each other. It was a pretty seamless switch. Im sure when I get back to California there will be much to talk about.
We interviewed Aaron Gomez last year, and were definitely stoked on his vibe. Is he still on it over there?
As I understand it he still does the social media, but I haven’t gotten to meet him yet.
Chris Chaput is the man behind it all, I assume he is still around the office a lot? Personally, I enjoy visits with him and his endless stories and product knowledge (when i have the time!). Have you been taking advantage of getting a chance to work with him?
I love talking to Chaput. He was just getting done racing when I was just starting, he knows a lot of the little stuff and behind the scenes info that I wasn’t privy to at the time, another perspective ya know. I also was hugely into silverfish, and followed everything he did. So we chat a lot about old trends, stuff he made and things like that, typical nerds. My favorite is when I talk with him for awhile and find out we have similar ideas for new ways to achieve this or that, nice to know I can keep up with the mad brain that is Chaput.
Have you skated with Chaput before? He was at Danger Bay a couple years ago, which was rad!
Man, last time had to have been around 2010 or so at GMR when Mischo and Fred were doing their thing.
What do you bring to Abec 11? I don’t mean that to be rude, but was there a plan with joining or did you just need wheels?
I came to Abec 11 wanting to ride their wheels because I thought they were awesome, and of course the history of it all. The team was smaller and I knew I could bring a lot of attention to Abec in a social and media aspect that they were not tapping into. I like to go to a lot of smaller events, and it wasn’t too common to see a lot of abec on peoples boards unless we were talking about freeriding. Coupled with the newly released HD series, it was a good chance for me to showcase the wheels on the race circuit.
You’ve also been doing some ‘alternative’ skating lately, ha ha… what’s with the wiggle stick and all the Slalom these days?
Slalom is legit. I don’t mean to sound condescending but after 10 years of DH, I kind of have that figured out. There isn’t a whole lot more that you can learn, you tweak and tune but nothing major happens on the learning curve. In comes slalom. Im a noob again. The most fun is when you sucked and were learning new stuff, so Im having a blast learning how to be fast in a different way. Plus thats more boards I get to make, new setups I get to try and figure out, more events to go to, and the best part, a new community to hang out with. A community of dudes who like to geek out on skateboarding as much as I do.
Are you going to keep it up? Hit events?
I’m definitely going to take slalom seriously, I have goals, people I want to beat. It’s a whole new world and I can’t wait to explore it. I have raced in events before, but I just recently went to an event for my first serious attempt and it was rad. There was a slalom demo during the Top Speed Challenge that was a lot of fun. I will say that its hard to miss a DH event for a slalom one, have to keep peeps in line, but will be making it a priority to skate slalom more and more.
I saw more than a few people have been playing with Slalom again lately. Seems this past generation (current generation) of downhill guys had a lot of Slalom years back – Patrick Switzer and Zak Maytum still rock the Slalom board DH. Are you going to bring your Slalom skills downhill as well?
Slalom is a great way to learn more about board feel, and the limits of your setups abilities. There is a lot of crossover skills that I know will surely help my DH out. My DH skills have already made it much easier to get into slalom, and I know it will be an advantage when it comes time for more Giant Slalom races. There is a funny feeling when you ride slalom all day and then take DH runs, it makes you think that your DH setup is tighter than it ever has been and doesn’t turn at all. Definitely gives me more control.
Is there a Slalom community like DH one? Who are the big names and events we should be paying attention to?
Absolutely! Its funny because the slalom scene and the DH one don’t cross over at all. They know nothing of what goes on in the other and have few, if none at all, crossover skaters. The Sk8Kings/ Axe Army out of California is a pretty well known group: Joe McLaren, Richy Carrasco and Lynn Kramer are champions several times over and actively throw races and sessions. Honestly I’m a noob and don’t know many people myself besides who I have met at races, that goes back to my previous statement of not knowing whats going on. Louis Ricard and Zak Maytum bring the STEEZE though, seriously epic to watch them wiggle.
You going to start getting on a luge too?
I have raced luge in the past, its a ton of fun. It becomes a lot of work though if you try to race luge and standup in one day. Also having to lug all that stuff around is a pain. Same with the slalom stuff, but you do what you gotta do to get your shred on. When my knees give out for good, the luge is definitely the next step.
Abec has been known to have a huge depth of wheel options and a variety of brands, it seems they tightened it all up and consolidated some of it this year?
Abec pulled some of the duro options and wheels that were not as popular anymore. No one rides 84a anymore, especially in a lipped wheel, or a 91a noskool. It was time for a little cleaning, I don’t think many will notice. As they say, ‘out with the old, in with the new’.
What are some of your favourite Abec 11 wheels and how are you using them?
My go to race wheels are 74a HD Centrax and 77a 77mm Centrax. Other than that its Flywheel, Flywheel, Flywheel. 76mm 75a Flywheels are the most fun you will have, ever. They were fun in 2008 and they are especially fun now on my DH rig. I like to push their grip limit, but they are the bomb for sideways action. Zigs are the obvious choice for slalom, they also make great slidey/silly free ride and cruising wheels.
What else is good with Max Capps? any trips coming up? New videos?
I’ve been going to as many events as I can. I just recently actually won Soldiers of Downhill. I have a write up for that to drop with you! So definitely more to come on Soldiers, but I’m hyped on the win! The other trip I’m still stoked on though was Top Speed Challenge in Quebec City. We went really fast. It was a fun trip. I have all kinds of ideas in my mind as a result as well. Otherwise I’ve been going to a few local races and I just got back to California for some fun. Then who knows? #wingittour2k16. Trying to stay afloat so I can keep skating. More media in the future for sure. And I just locked down a board graphic model, home girl Amanda Moore will be the center piece on my boards now, she’s pretty rad.
YEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!! After partying till 4am, waking up with the worst hangover ever and barely holding onto life all day I won Soldiers of Downhill in Ohio!! @chasehiller96 in 2nd and @dexmanning holding down 3rd, thanks to Dan and Sean for throwing a sick event. #blackedout #bars #getweightgetmoney @RoninTrucks @Abec11Wheels @Sector9 @NJKLeathers @ZealousDownhill @RogersBrosDH @RiotBoardsports @FactoryBushings @Rad_Train @Team_Van #choplord #wemakefun #teamvanordie #calicondor #flyawayhelmets #splitrake #getnarrow
Was Top Speed that the first ‘speed’ challenge you’ve done? How did it go?
Top Speed Challenge was super rad. I have been to timed races and top speed stuff before, but nowhere near this fast. I had a great time, and had a good showing considering I didn’t bring a speed suit. Speed suits made the difference, all the top 10 either wore suits, borrowed or had something close enough. My full report here.
Red Bull Tv just dropped the original Signal Hill Documentary and it was kinda rowdy back then. What was the vibe like? Was there a crowd?
It was MELLOW. I felt like Timmy Del and I were the only ones on twist patrol. Key, Tim and I were the only ones staying up late partying, thats California for ya eh? There was a decent crowd at the speed trap watching people coming down everyday, they would cheer for everyone and woop when the lugers and gravity cars topped out. Mom always had beers and was on her own party, Quebec City is very French Canadian, a was a very proper bunch.
Mom killing it as always! You had some special gear at the event to test right? What were the setups you brought?
I brought my S9 Mini Jav with aero package, 134mm low rake 40/12 Ronins, and Abec11 90mm 81a Reflex Flywheels. I had a few fancy things like footstop fairing, wheel hub covers, special bearings. In my opinion the aero package really made a difference for me, made my board extra stable due to all the air going around my deck rather than crashing into the trucks. I dropped in first run full bore, no problems. It was a big confidence booster. The setup is essentially my normal setup, the same as my maryhill setup. I am very proud to have run that board with such narrow hangers and small wheelbase without the slightest bit of sketchyness.
How’s your face?
Still ugly. Good enough for grom moms though.
Stoked to see you have some things happening with Abec 11. Thanks again for doing the Worth The Money for us! Any parting words? Sponsor shoot outs? Thanks mom?
Mom and Grandma hold it down hard. Sponsors got my back like chiropract: Ronin Trucks, Abec11 Wheels, Sector9 Skateboards, Rogers Brothers, NJK Leathers, Riot Urethane , Zealous Bearings, Factory Bushings, Fly Away Helmets, Team Van.
Some wisdom I have come to learn, especially lately: There is no such thing as being too prepared or too much training. Coming ready for war has helped me time and time again. Whether it be the slide jam, slalom or top speed, don’t let anyone tell you you’re taking something too seriously.
Well then! Thanks again Max.