Full Name: Colt Cannon
From: Los Altos Hills, California
Interviewed By: Jesse Silva
Colt Cannon was one of the biggest names in skateboarding in the early 00’s. Colt had amazing board control and seemed like he would be around for decades. As easy as skateboarding came to Colt, it slipped away just as fast. Colt has come full circle, as he is now selling boards for the company that once sold his. Element-4-Life!
What year did you turn pro?
Who were the first people to hook you up in skating?
Bruce Rodella and Greg Carroll from Think Skateboards.
Do you remember your first photo in a magazine?
YMCA Skate Camp (which is now Element Skate Camp) forest indy grab in Slap Magazine by Joe Brook.
When and why did Element come to an end?
I think Element and I went separate ways around 2006. Not sure why. I became rebellious against the brand and it got to the point where I was too much trouble for them. Johnny and Ryan sat me down and explained why I was no longer going to be on the team, how tough it was to make the decision, but how I’d forced them into that position. I shook Johnny and Kingman’s hands and thanked them for all the great years, then I was off.
What was up with the line in your griptape at the nose of your board? Most people ran that but on the tail, so it always freaked me out seeing your tape like that.
Ha-ha, that line was my road map for tricks. It started off as a way to represent Skate Works (the shop I skate for), then it became a necessity for every board from 1998 till now. Skate Works for life.
Did you have a signature cargo pant or did you just love those things?
I’m sure you’re referring to the khakis I wear on a day-to-day, night-to-night basis. I never had a signature model, but I do have a lot of love for those pants. Khakis and a white tee all day.
Give me your best Kenny Hughes story.
Australia comes to mind. He hustled me with a suicide shot. It was the end of an Australia tour, and we were all drinking and taking shots. Kenny said to me, “For $100, I bet you won’t take the next shot and keep it down.” I’d been putting shots back all night, so I thought for sure I could handle anything he took. He said, “You have to do everything I do, otherwise you lose.” I agreed. We got two tequila shots, two limes and salt on our hands. “Ready?” “Yup.” As everyone was watching, he snorts the salt, squeezes the lime in his eye then takes the shot. Everyone put their hands on their heads and said, “What the f#ck just happened?” I sat there in disbelief. I looked at Kenny. Then I looked at the $100. “F#ck it.” I sniffed the salt, squeezed the lime and took the shot. My body said, “Hell no,” so shortly after I threw up and lost the bet. Don’t mess with Kenny.
Would you fight him to get your Element checks back?
Not a chance in hell. Kenny could knock me out with a fart.
You always seemed to hang with college guys that didn’t really skate. Any pluses to that crew that you care to share with everyone?
Just best friends I grew up with who stopped skating. I was skating so much that I think the “frat bros” balanced me out. Can’t hate on the parties they had. Mini Playboy Mansion every time.
Later on, you bought a house in the “college” area of San Diego. Did you ever actually attend college?
Never. I did, however, go to my roommate Tommy’s test review in class. I got anxiety right when I sat down and stared at the clock for the entire hour. Reminded me of high school, of how I wanted to get the f#ck out ASAP.
You ended up having heart surgery. What happened and are you OK now?
Very random, I know. A valve in my heart wasn’t open all the way, so my heart was pumping 16 times harder than it normally should to push the blood through. Pretty much on the verge of a heart attack. After going to the ER twice in one month, the doc pretty much said I’ll give you six months before you’re dead. It was a tough decision, but I got surgery two weeks later. The recovery wasn’t too bad. I had a lot of support from friends and family and pain meds galore. As of right now, I feel great. Almost as good as before, except I have chicken wire holding my sternum together.
Are you able to skate these days?
My heart is perfect for skating, it’s just my ankle. I ripped a tendon in my left ankle about three years ago and it’s never been the same. Haven’t done a kickflip in three years. Sucks.
I heard certain people on Element were bummed that you used to show up to go on tour in open-toe sandals.
That’s hilarious. People got bummed over that? Well, sounds like a personal problem because when you’re driving eight hours straight, I’d rather be in sandals that can open beers then shoes that don’t.
Worst part about being a pro skateboarder?
Um, you serious? I’d say the only setback to being a pro skater for me is the time I spent away from family and friends.
Best part of being a pro skateboarder?
Traveling! Doing a kickflip noseslide down a hubba riding away and looking at the Eiffel Tower: priceless.
Your website had some funny sh#t. Is it still up and running?
Yeah, but I don’t have Internet where I’m staying right now, so I haven’t updated it in awhile. It’s more or less just a blog right now, so hopefully I’ll get the full site going and preview some randomness for ya.
How did you get into sales?
I hit up Kingman at Element because I felt skating was over as a profession and I was looking for anything he might be able to help me out with in the industry. He introduced me to Kevin at Element for a sales position. After a few interviews, Kevin, Johnny, Mark and Kingman took a chance and here I am. A.B.C.!
How long have you worked for Element?
For about three or four months now. This is officially my first j-o-b–insane transition from skating for a living.
Dewitt used to get you anything and everything since he was your team manager. Do you ever get him coffee these days at the office as a nice gesture for all those times looking after you?
No coffee. I did treat him to a sushi dinner once and told him he was a champion for what he did for the team and all the B.S. he had to put up with. The Little Irishman cannot be broken.
Has anyone ever tried to order your board when you call them?
Ha-ha, on some random occasions someone will joke around about getting an old board of mine. It’s cool talking to people that used to carry my board, but then it gets me thinking about before I got hurt and how much I miss skating.
Is there anything you would have done differently with your professional career?
Maybe, I would have appreciated it more. It’s hard though when you’re young and in the moment to think about how good you have it. I just know my life has been amazing so far and it’s only getting better. Three new nephews now. Elias, Jax and Jace, yeah!
You are sort of known for having a bizarre taste in music. What would you say is your top 10 list of skate jams?
Oh goodness. Doubt you’d call these skate jams, but my favorite at the moment is