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Talking Injuries, Art, Custom Tees & More With CJ Collins

CJ and new whip
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CJ Collins came into the Volcom HQ office for photo shoot and sat down with us in his new truck to see what he’s been up to!

So what have you been up to CJ?

Nothing, recently I just got hurt so I just been chilling, got myself a new truck been going to physical therapy a lot, just kind of chilling.

Let’s talk about how you got hurt because it was kind of scary.

We were filming for the Volcom Team Vitals collection up in LA and we were at a spot trying to get a clip and I jumped off my board trying to bail a trick and tweaked my knee different. Tore my MCL, PCL and dislocated my knee.

It was this downhill bank spot where you were trying to kickflip off this little set of stairs and olling all four sets of stairs, you were hauling ass, probably going like 20mph and ended up just twisting the wrong way and sitting on your leg. It didn’t look too bad in the footage, but we then realized it actually was. Did you show the clip to the doctors?

Yeah I showed the clip to the doctors and they were like “I thought it would be more insane, like crazier” and I was like yeah, pretty stupid huh?

Did the paramedics say anything?

I just remember them putting me in a neck brace and I was so pissed that they put me in a neck brace and they were like “yeah, sorry this is protocol.” They asked me what I did and I was like I was skating, they were like roller skating? And I said no, skateboarding. The hospital was crazy too, there was a homeless dude yelling at a lady and as I was being pushed through on the stretcher to the room, I was looking at every doctor and being like is it bad? And they were all like, ‘ oh yeah its jacked’.

So what have you been doing with your free time?

Just art, drawing a lot, playing a lot of guitar and driving this new whip.

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid, I don’t really remember when I started, I just remember liking it, loving it, just doodling around.

I remember when you were a kid you would always be drawing on the bus or waiting at the airport. I remember one time you did one of Lannie and he was stoked on it.

Haha, oh yeah I still got that one!

When you’re drawing do you have something in mind before hand or do you just start drawing and see where it goes?

It just depends what I’m drawing, if I’m just doodling around I just start with eyes and a mouth and end up making a little creature. Sometimes I’ll have something in mind, like I want to draw someone’s backyard with some crazy shit, or a like a parking lot with weird cars.

Let’s talk about your Volcom Team Vital pants a little bit. We were shooting the light blue pants in LA when you got hurt so we didn’t get too much footage or photos of you in them. I’ve been stoked on the fit. How different are they from the ones we made for the Liberation Cont’d collection?

It’s a different fit, the Volcom Team Vitals ones are a tapered fit while the ones for Liberation Cont’d were more of a straight fit, had pinstripes and a different material.

You prefer the light blue?

I like the brown ones that are coming soon but really like the light blue ones for when I feel like “I’m feeling colorful today’ you know?

I like the light blues ones but my pants get dirty so quick.

Yeah, that and if you’re skating and sweating a lot, it’s that type of material where you get the big sweat spot in the crotch and looks weird, haha.

Louie’s been running them a lot too, he likes that the tapered fit sits on the shoe rather than go over it.

Yeah I’m stoked on that too, they’re super sick.

And now we’re doing these DIY shirts with your artwork on them which is pretty sick, How do you feel about that?

I’m stoked, when Remy came to me with the idea, I didn’t really believe it, I was like ‘yeah ok’, you’re joking. Now it’s actually happening and it’s crazy, I still trip on it.

I want to talk about your new truck but first lets talk about your old van.

Haha yeah, it was a shitty ass van, made by ford.

When I drove it back you your place, it was kind of sketchy, the brakes were a little soft.

Haha I thought they were good brakes when I first got them, but when I started driving around I realized they were soft, I know nothing about brakes.

So it was an old sheriffs van?

That’s like the only reason I liked that van, because the story is that it’s an old 1980’s sheriffs van. Says Butte County Sheriffs on one side, people thought I was a cop or something.

I had Omar drive it from LA to Volcom HQ while you were in the hospital, he said it was crazy.

Hahaha yeah that photo of him driving it all hungover is insane. I wonder what he was thinking because it doesn’t have a radio, so there’s no music. He was probably just driving it down from LA all hungover with no music, just his own thoughts. Probably felt crazy, he just wanted to get home!

Let’s talk about your new truck, you got it from Total Chaos Fabrication, right? They worked on Remy’s truck the #YotaVolcom too. How does this drive compared to Remy’s 4-runner that was put together by them?

His is super sick, I love older and classic cars but this one is more reliable, super hooked up, ready for off-roading and will last a long time.

You ready to hit the road then?

Oh yeah, I’m ready to go camping.

Where are you going first, got a spot thought out yet?

I want to go to Mammoth, either that or maybe Joshua Tree. I really want to go back to that spot with the giant rock when we were filming the Liberation Cont’d video.

Oh yeah, Giant Rock in Landers. Speaking of that, that was the same shoot where I shot that photo of you pushing on the dry lake. The design team ended up putting that on a tee. Have you ever been there before we went there?

No, but didn’t you say they filmed movies and commercials there?

They film car commercials there because it’s easier to get a steady shot while the cars moving, which is why I suggested it when we were at your old house filming the Liberation Cont’d #TrulyOffRoad edit. I was stoked on the pushing photo, you were on my cruiser board too, really dusted up the grip tape haha.

Haha, yeah I’m stoked on the photo and tee too, thanks bro.

So how long are you out for?

A whole year, it’s been a month since surgery and three since the accident. I’m just going to get it stronger, try and stay busy.

How often do you do physical therapy?

5 Days a week for like 3 hours.

Damn! That’s a lot.

It’s good, it’s worth it, just have to get this knee better so it doesn’t happen again.

It's feeling stronger though?

Yeah, our main focus right now is building up all the muscle around the knee, that’s the most important thing. They were saying like 6 to 8 months I should be good to start pushing around, but I should really give it 3 extra months to really build the strength up so it doesn’t happen again. I’ve had friends that have started skating after the same injury and just messed it up all over again because it wasn’t strong enough yet.

Yeah, definitely don’t do that. That kind of happened to Milton and others too.

Cole Wilson and Jeremy Leabres both did that, that’s why they’ve been out for so long.

So you’re learning from others not to jump the gun?

Yeah, I want to just get through it and take the recovery serious as fuck.

Seems like you’re in the right mindset and on the right track, anything else you want to add?

Just how sick it feels to sit in this dope ass truck!