The Foundation Super Company skateboarding brand, with over 25 years and 12 videos under their belts, once again found itself in serious rebuilding mode in the second half of the 2010s. Several years removed from the WTF! video, half the team had bounced or been dropped, and apparently Tod Swank didn’t really seem interested in utilizing tenured rider Corey ‘Duffman’ Duffel as the cornerstone of the latest iteration of the team. Could the big F, under the tutelage of TM Mike Sinclair, rise from the ashes yet another time?
Against all odds, the team came together in 2017 to create a solid alliance of riders that has more or less held firm for several videos and continues into the new decade. Of no slight significance was an endearing performance in the “3rd” season of Thrasher’s King of the Road challenge, which aired in 2018 but was filmed in 2017. Airing on Viceland’s television channel to a much broader audience than otherwise, KOTR was heavy on the drunken antics and prank challenges and unwieldy enough for Vice to pass on the next season.
While not KOTR ‘winners’, the representatives of Foundation did well for themselves in establishing a marketable camaraderie and likability that hadn’t been seen since the days of Josh Beagle and Heath Kirchart in a rented Jeep. Relatively faceless skaters like Dakota Servold and Aidan Campbell suddenly got personalities, talented prospect Corey Glick was introduced, and (least likely of all) Nick Merlino somehow became a sympathetically endearing figure.
All the skating was top notch, as expected, but emerging a couple heads above the pack was a scraggly kid from Kentucky with a gift for balancing on handrails and allegedly skating even better while intoxicated.
Cole Wilson was the son of a military police officer and lived the army brat life until settling in Louisville around age 12. He went pro right before Fosuco’s 13th (!) video, Oddity, dropped in 2017. Just a couple years prior he was a culinary school dropout working manual labor jobs and skating more or less for friends and fun. Hand-picked from obscurity by Sinclair to ride for Foundation and Dekline, Cole quickly found the spotlight as a rail freak who could pop onto the tall ones and lock into the kinked ones. In April of 2016 he cemented his legacy when he scored the cover of Transworld magazine with an unprecedented 50-50 grind up a double-kink.
Cole’s magic journey of 2017 continued past Oddity with a gold medal in the ESPN X-Games Real Street video part competition, a feat he would replicate again in 2018 with what looks like, albeit gnarly, pretty much Foundation extras and older short-haired clips. Honestly, with rail skaters like Kyle Walker and Jamie Foy getting SOTY nods in 16 and 17, its surprising Wilson wasn’t wasn’t in top contention there. Then again, maybe he was, and, either way, winning back to back Real Streets is likely much more monetarily lucrative.
In the years and video projects since Oddity, some of Cole’s teammates have risen to his elite level, particular Glick and Servold. Campbell would supportively one-up a hobbled Sheckler for Etnies, Merlino would switch ollie El Toro, and Duffman would finally officially break up with the F and then successfully reinvent himself as a cruising soul skater. The overall handrail arms race that Cole was an early escalator of has exploded, so with Foundation hyping a new video (and a new rail freak) to be coming soon, I’m looking forward to seeing how if Cole’s window is still open.
When he was a teenager, Cole Wilson won a mail-in video part contest and was flown to Los Angeles to skate the Girl skatepark with Guy Mariano and members of the band Band of Horses.
BONUS BONUS COLE:
Here is a pretty good interview with Cole and Jesse Silva from right around the time of Oddity where he talks about dating Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter.
BONUS BONUS BONUS COLE:
Here is the “Unwashed” edit of Cole’s Oddity part from Thrasher’s website: