Interview: Charlie Thomas

FS Disaster on a decayed Waterpark.  Photo: Bart Jones

FS Disaster on a decayed waterpark. Photo: Bart Jones

Do you mind being called Chuck? Not at all – A couple of people run with that one.

What prompted the move to New Orleans? My position at World Industries was eliminated and I was laid off. My girlfriend and I are both from Louisiana and had been talking about moving back “one of these days ” which turned out to be the day I was let go. Everything was pointing to the move back and I was ready to be near friends and family.

Are you working? Doing what? How do you like it? I am currently working with Preservation to help build the brand and with the day to day operations. We are a small brand and I like being more involved than just a rider for a brand I believe in and want to help grow.

What happened in your life that made you go vegan? I gave up meat one year for Lent and that was the start of it. I noticed I started feeling better, so I stuck with it.

Was it a gradual change or sudden? I was veggie for about a year and then just started paying attention to labels and doing the research and went vegan.

Why the change up in your diet recently? What have you reintroduced back into your diet and why?  I recently started eating a little seafood and some cheese here and there. I would say I’m still 90 percent vegan , but bend from time to time. It makes an easier lifestyle choice when your with other people who are not vegan and I knew moving back to the south I would need to be more flexible in my diet. Eating and drinking are such a part of the culture here that you truly miss out if you don’t allow yourself to go with the flow sometimes.  I was vegan for 13 years pretty much the whole time I was in California. I want to say that I went vegan in 1999 and started slowly eating some seafood towards the end of 2012. My diet is still about 90 percent vegan.

Is Andrew Cannon vegan? Or veg? Andrew is veggie – he likes to keep it simple and enjoys desert a little too much to be strict vegan.

ollie over nose blunt Photo: Mikendo

ollie over nose blunt Photo: Mikendo

What shoes do you prefer skating in?  Canvas shoes with a vulc sole are my first choice. I will Shoe Goo them as many times as it takes.

Favorite terrain to skate? I love skating street, tranny spots, and mini ramps. Pretty much any sport that doesn’t involve jumping down something for no reason, but sometimes I get sparked and challenge myself to see if I can still do it.

What video part of yours are you most proud of? Humm – that’s a good question- I really was stoked on my Scarecrow Agents of Chaos part, but I still think my best one is in the near future.

Why do I think you had a part in Winona Riders?  No clue -Maybe because Shannon May had one and we are great friends and both grew up together and skated for G&S at the same time.

How often does someone ask you about Winona Riders? Only you, Kevin.

Where is Shannon May these days? Shannon is still in Lafayette. He owns his own plumbing business and plays in multiple bands. I met him for coffee about a month ago in Lafayette – Still the same guy and still has style for miles.

Fav spot to go out to eat in San Diego? Sipz in Claremont was for sure one of my favorites!

In Long beach? Lord Windsors

In New Orleans ? Still haven’t decided on my spot yet in New Orleans.

What other skaters do you know of that claim veganism? Vern , McCrank , Ed Templeton , Geoff Rowley.

Do you have a similar daily routine? Describe. Right now it’s pretty much wake and take the dog out, drink coffee , hang with the lady until she goes to work and then work from home . There are some errands thrown in there, a workout, and some skating.

In what year did you pick up your first skateboard? I want to say that it was 1988 or so- I remember it was the summer going to the 7th grade.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted for my birthday and it drug out for a couple of months until I saw some kids at school with boards and it looked like the best thing ever.

Your top three street skaters of all time? Natas, Gonz, Koston, – I have to throw Marc Johnson in there as well.

Top three vert dogs? Danny Way, Chris Miller , Lance Mountain- I went to the Pro-Tec Pool Party every year just to see the masters.

Do you have pets? How do you feel about pets? I have an amazing little dog named Bennie. My girlfriend and I love him to death. We got him when he was 8 weeks old and he’s now just over 6 months old.  I had a couple of dogs growing up and over the last 10 years have done so much traveling I couldn’t have a pet and take care of it. I like cats as well, but am much more of a dog person.

Photo: Gautam

Ollie photo: Gautam Sahi

Are you a bicyclist? I have a single speed that I have been getting into lately. I actually do want to do a couple of long rides to test myself . I prefer to get around on my bike when I can. They are making strides for New Orleans to become more bike friendly, a lot of people bike-commute here.

Tell us about being pro for Preservation? Who runs it, who else is on the squad, have you taken trips w them? Preservation is owned by my good friend James who asked me about a year and half ago to ride for them. I was still living in California and was excited to have a tie back home. Since moving back I have gotten more involved and have been helping to run the day to day operations and help the brand grow. We are growing slowly and just working to tighten up the team, graphics, and continue to grow the brand.  With all of my experience as a team manager it was only fitting that I help with the team as well- right now the team consists of myself and the following ams -Justin Higgins, Sean “Squee” Guillory, Chance Hirsch, and Mickey Chim. Duane Pitre is also a part of the family.

Had you heard of before I contacted you about this interview. I  had heard of it before, but haven’t been a frequent visitor until now. Thank you and veganskateblog for the interview and everyone who takes the time to read this, a big thank you as well.

Cheers – Charlie Thomas over and out.


Kevin Marks is the Traveling Free Box and has been on the board since 1986. You can catch up with adventures in Skateboarding, Vegan eats, and Hot Spring sessions on his blog. He is a board member of Launch: Community Through Skateboarding, and also a Vegetable Shredder!   Let the records show, McCrank and Rowley are not Vegan, but they still rip!

This entry was posted in Interview. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Interview: Charlie Thomas

  1. Lars says:

    90% vegan isn’t vegan at all. Wah wah.

  2. veganshawn says:

    Rank another sell out, what a shame!

  3. Nick Farley says:

    I alwys wanted to skate Iggy’s ramp

  4. g4l says:

    90% vegan thats really funny ,!

  5. jez says:

    Yeah…this is just depressing.why would we want to read about another sell out? for geoff rowley being vegan! hahaha

  6. launchskate says:

    When I initiated the interview, I thought Charlie was vegan. When I learned about the fish & cheese, I reported back to Kerry and he gave the thumbs up to proceed. kevin

    • Mr Fakie says:

      To add to Kevin’s interview, I should mention, we have done interviews with non-vegans before. I would agree eating 90% vegan does not a vegan make. Charlie never claims veganism as his lifestyle but surely recognizes the value in eating a majority of a plant based diet.
      Charlie has an interesting story and history in skateboarding. Its of value and thats why we posted the interview.

      –Mr. F

  7. Art says:

    Care a little less about the label or achievement of being a certified vegan and more about the fact that at least he’s doing something. I know veganism is right for me and that’s that. But if someone else is veg or ninety whatever percent vegan then great. They’re making more of an effort than “99%” of people out there in th world. Great blog, btw, keep it up!

  8. Ed says:

    I agree with Art. I’m a strict vegan but I don’t purport to be 100% cruelty free. Farming (even if it’s organic and local), transportation (even if it’s mass transit), heating our homes, cell phones, etc. all has a negative impact on ecosystems and all species that inhabit them. We’ve created a very narrow meaning of veganism so that someone who eats no animal products but wears an old pair of leather shoes they’ve had since high school is not a “vegan” but another plant eater who buys a new pair of synthetic sneakers every month is considered a “vegan”. By definition palm oil is vegan (and in many vegan packaged foods) but it is far from cruelty free.

    While it’s disappointing to me that more people can’t go 100% vegan, I don’t think it’s helpful to condemn people for being 90% vegan. Shame never works and if you tell people it’s all or nothing guess what most people are going to choose. If we wanna win hearts and minds we gotta be more posi people. I’ve converted many people to be life long strict vegans with this approach. Lead by example, and some will follow.

  9. jez says:

    I think the issue is that he always used to say he was Vegan and is now basically saying i know about all the pain, suffering and death and choose to say “fuck it i dont care that much” i think thats the problem anyone has with a sellout. Its the fact that they know all the facts and choose to turn their back on it, and lets face it, People turning a blind eye is why atrocities continue to happen in the world.

    Yes no one is ever going to be “100%” cruelty free unless they go and live naked in a field eating grass but the basics of veganism by definition are really quite simple.

    Most people in the world can say they’re 50% vegan i.e not vegan at all 90% is no different. You’re either vegan or you’re not and as he eats fish he’s not even Vegetarian.

    • tOM says:

      agree with Jez a 100%.

    • Ed says:

      Jez, I feel your frustration, I really do. The problem here is we have a very limited definition of veganism and then we say those who don’t fit the definition are part of the problem. The realities are more complex. I know vegans who drive a lot, take plane flights all over the place, don’t buy organic produce, consume palm oil, and purchase clothing and electronic gadgets like there’s no tomorrow. Technically these things are “vegan” but are they really? Do they pose no harm to other living things? On the other side of the coin there are people who would not classify as vegan under our limited definition but overall do less harm to other beings and the environment. I’m thinking of freegans who dumpster dive, bike everywhere, get all their clothing from thrift stores, and reuse old flip phones rather than add to all the ewaste in our world. I am disappointed when people like Charlie go backwards in their evolution to do less harm but I’m reticent to cast judgement (at least publicly) because I know that I’m not perfect. I’m on a Mac right now that is not necessary for my survival, pollutes, contains parts that were mined in unsustainable and exploitative ways. Like Charlie, we all “know better”, but we don’t stop. We know our smart phones and ipads and laptops are fucking up the planet and exploiting workers but we still buy and use them even though, like consuming animal products, they are not necessary for our survival. Perhaps we are all “sellouts” in some sense.

Leave a Reply