About a half dozen years ago, a few of my buddies and I were skating an abandoned hotel pool near Ojai, Calif., when Curren Caples and a few of his buddies jumped the fence to join us. Us old guys were stoked to see them young guys -- Caples was probably nine at the time -- going after some vertical roundwall. About 15 minutes into the session, Caples yells, "Cops!" as a patrol car rolls up out front. Then he yells, "Mom! Quick!" as he and his buddies scramble over the chain-link security fence out back. A few second later, Caples' mom pulls up in the family car, the boys pile in, and they're gone. Meanwhile, back in the shallow end, my buddies and I are handing our IDs to the cops.
A few years later when I heard Caples was coming up quickly through the amateur ranks, it didn't surprise me. If your mom is running the getaway car during illicit pool missions, you've got the support you need to go far in skateboarding. More support followed, as the Caples family rented a 3,500-square-foot warehouse in nearby Oxnard, where a bunch of local guys built some ramps. That layout got upgraded about two years ago, when Caples' former sponsor Red Bull funded a facelift headed up by California Skateparks.
Recently, they rearranged the furniture again, giving the warehouse a few new lines where Caples could ease back into form after breaking his wrist a few months back. By the looks of it, he's fully recovered.
Caples told ESPN.com that he skates his warehouse mostly with his local friends and sometimes fellow Flip ams. "The place is set up for little street stuff, for learning rail tricks and little technical tricks -- It's not like there's some big over-vert pocket," he said, referring to the layout at this year's Converse Coastal Carnage contest, where his third-place finish earned him a cool 10 grand.
"Right now, I'm just trying to save up to get a car," he added.
Pretty soon, he'll be able to make his own getaways. Mom would be proud.