If you grew up skateboarding in the 90's and watched any skate videos you will most certainly have seen Cairo Foster going heavy down multiple stairs, up multiple stairs, over gaps, gaps to rails and big drops - all done in his signature loose and floaty style. With a career spanning over two decades Cario has been involved with some iconic skateboarding companies and brands and has produced some epic video parts in what can only be described as timeless skateboarding.
Born in Taiwan and having then grown up in various places throughout the United States, a young Roger Foster moved to Egypt at around 8 years old. With his father based in the military the family tended to move about regularly in his early childhood. It was Egypt where he really discovered skateboarding and gained the nickname 'Cairo' which has been the name and identity his friends and the skate community has come to know.
After a brief stint with Supernaut Skateboards, Cairo turned professional for vintage skate company Mad Circle in 1998, who at the time had other rippers on the team such as Scott Johnson and Karl Watson. Unfortunately, Cairo's period there was short lived with the company going out of business not long after he joined.
From skateboarding in the Bay regularly, Cairo naturally found his way onto Real Skateboards and was often featured in various magazines and videos, mostly due to hanging out with photographer/videographer Gabe Morford. When I think of some of the incredible tricks or skateboarders on the streets of San Francisco over the years, Cairo is always one of the first that springs to mind. His part in Transworld's 'The Reason' from 1999, skating to 'Built to Spill' remains one of my favourite parts today.
A few years after his Transworld part Cairo produced another epic part in Real Skateboard's legendary video 'Real to Reel' in 2001. The video was shot by Gabe and Dan Wolfe and skating to Modest Mouse 'Never Ending Maths Equation' Cairo's part flowed perfectly. Whilst the whole part is filled with incredible skateboarding, the last three or four tricks would be worthy of many skateboarder's ending trick to close out a part.
After four years Cairo left Real Skateboards as he felt he wanted to start a board company himself. That board company was Popwar (originally called Populous) and was started through Giant Distribution. For the Popwar team Cairo brought in some New Deal riders such as Kenny Reed, Rob Gonzales and Chad Tim Tim. Their bright colours and anti-consumerism style graphics made Popwar decks stand out amongst the rest. Unfortunately, Popwar ended in 2006 along with some other Giant Distribution companies such as Bueno.
Over the course of his career Cairo had shoe sponsors such as Duffs, Adio, Lakai and Etnies. Enjoying the vibe at Lakai with Mike Carroll and Rick Howard, Cairo produced another epic part in Lakai's 'Fully Flared' in 2007. Skating at various spots throughout the United States and Europe this section is classic Cairo, going in heavy on everything. I believe Cairo undoubtedly does some of his most gnarliest tricks in this part and even for one trick in the part Cairo is visibly skating in a cast for his arm so you can tell how hard he pushed himself for this one.
Cairo officially joined Enjoi shortly after they released the 'Bag Of Suck' video and joined a talented team which had riders such as Louie Barletta, Caswell Berry, Clark Hassler, Ben Raemers and Wieger Van Wageningen. Cairo enjoyed 12 great years on Enjoi and his 'Oververt' part is undoubtedly the stand out part from this time. The part from 2014 is filmed and edited by The Nine Club's Roger Bagley.
Cairo decided to retire from skateboarding in January 2019. He walked away from the profession he had created out of a passion he had since he was a kid. The fact he decided he simply no longer wanted to have his name on a board shows how humble he is and it is testament to his personality and character that Enjoi still keep his name on the 'Team' section of their website . When Cairo announced his retirement, he was thrown a surprise retirement party in Downtown Los Angeles, with his friends labelling it a 'Pro to Flow' party. Guests such as Mike Carroll, Louie Barletta, Rick Howard, Caswell Berry, Ben Raemers (R.I.P), Zack Wallin and Kenny Anderson all attended the event to celebrate Cairo's career in skateboarding. Enjoi also released a heart-warming statement from the evening, "It's with a tip of the hat that tonight Cairo Foster retired from professional skateboarding. He could have milked it, he could have coasted it but he wanted to walk away on his own terms. One more reason Cairo Foster is a legend. We've proudly sponsored Cairo for over a decade and he will forever be part of the Enjoi family. Cairo, you are truly one of the greats!! Thank you."
Nowadays Cairo works as Digital Manager at Adidas and has been there since 2016. Initially starting off managing social media, he has essentially become the main representative for skateboarding content for the brand and with his experience in the industry he is an asset who can help them delve deeper into skateboarding culture. Cairo's new profession meant he didn't have to stray too far from his love of skateboarding and it is satisfying for avid skate fans to know he is still involved in the culture. Whilst fatherhood keeps him busy these days, he still finds time to get out on the board and if you check some of his clips on Instagram you will notice he hasn't lost a step.
Not many can say they have had as an illustrious career in skateboarding as Cairo and what a talent he was. He wasn't super technical but he didn't need to be. This was one of the reasons fellow pros held him in such high regard and why many skateboarders simply appreciated him so much. He had a unique style and went at everything full speed, each trick packed with plenty of pop. He was also more than capable of pulling out plenty of switch wizardry and there was no shortage switch flips, switch hardflips, switch frontside flips or switch tre flips in every part he released. His humble nature and incredible video parts leave his legacy. In watching those video parts, it is clear there were no half measures for Cairo, always fully committed to every trick, taking some gnarly slams in the process. He had his trademark nollie flips and nollie hardflips (AKA 'illusion flips' as he once put it) and accumulated multiple Thrasher Covers over the years. He is veteran and legend of the Golden Era of skateboarding and always did it with smile on his face. Even by today's standards Cairo's skateboarding remains timeless and he is often considered to be one of the most underrated skateboarders of a generation. I know I will re-watching his old skate parts for years to come.
We caught up with Cairo to ask him on some of his favourite skateboarding related things and were super impressed as he broke some down into the different eras in skateboarding
Favourite Trick of all time?
90's - Nollie Flips
00's - Nose Grinds
2010's - Backside Noseblunt Slides
2020 - All of the above
90's - Rick Howard
00's - Mike Carroll
Favourite Skate Spot?
90's - The OG Union Square (SF)
00's - Barcelona & Guangzho/Shenzhen
2010's - Oakland Courthouse
2020 - any Plaza possible
Favourite Board Graphic?
90's - Almost anything OG World/101
Favourite Person to Skate With?
90's - Kenny Reed, Dan Libby
00's - Chad Tim Tim and the LBC heads
2010's -Dave Chami and Keegan Sauder
2020 - Silas Baxter-Neal, Nikhil Thayer, Joey Pepper, Ryan Casado and Tristen
Favourite Skate video?
90's - Plan B - Questionable
00's - Habitat - Mosaic
2010's - any Quasi joint
2020 - Too early to say
Favourite Skate Part?
90's - Rick Howard - Questionable
00's - Hmm...maybe the Boss from Baker 2G
2010's & 2020 - too many to name...but lately been feeling anything that T. Bled drops
Favourite Skate Shoe?
90's - KCK
00's - Lakai Foster 3
2010's - Etnies Marana & Suciu 1 & 2
2020 - still sitting on 12 pairs of the Suici 2
Favourite Music Album?
90's - Built to Spill - There's Nothing Wrong With Love
00's - Beirut - The Rip Tide
Favourite trick you could never land?
90's to 2020 - Kickflip Backside Noseblunt Slides