Charlie Thomas

Charlie Thomas

Words by Migdol

My interview with Charlie Thomas went really shitty.  I don’t think that Charlie Thomas even knows how shitty it was.  It was not Charlie’s fault.  He answered each of my standard, boring questions like a pro.  The fault was mine.  Perhaps I was worried he was going to doubt my credibility as a journalist because I was conducting the interview on a Fisher Price tape recorder. More than likely though the interview sucked so badly because I didn’t have any clear direction, I had no angle.  I had no history with Charlie Thomas, so I had pretty much nothing to talk about with him.  Usually before I interview a dude I have something to go on, some previous knowledge or expectation of that individual or of what they are likely to be like.  This knowledge will help me steer the interview where I want it to go and give the readers the most bang for their buck.  I had nothing with Charlie Thomas.

The idea to interview Charlie Thomas came out of a clean white envelope of photos that Rodent brought to us.   We had planned to feature a different skater, a younger, and more “up and coming” skateboarder.  I won’t mention who it was because I don’t want to make anyone cry but I will tell you it wasn’t Charlie Thomas.  Charlie’s images consistently had stood out against the rest.  He had photos of bigger and better tricks. Charlie’s photos showed him breaking it off on gaps, rails, and in pools. We pride ourselves on not playing politics too much.   We try really hard to not be about that.  If someone earns his coverage because they got the best photos then so be it, we have no problem giving that skater the love they deserve.  This will ultimately benefit the sport of skateboarding.  Charlie is a well-rounded skateboarder who has been in the game for a long long time. We must give merit where merit is due and feature Charlie.

Charlie Thomas

Charlie Thomas Nose Grind. Photo: Rodent

About all I knew about Charlie Thomas before my ill-fated interview was he turned pro for H-Street.   My cutting edged questioning got the rest of the story out of Charlie.  He went from H-Street to G&S.  Unfortunately they went under right after he finished filming their video and Charlie got a letter telling him to beat it.   Charlie went underground for a while and stayed around Louisiana skating his local park and spending time with a girl.  He was ripping so hard the town got together and told him he needed to get back out to California to make a go out of a skateboarding career again. “They more or less kicked me out of town.” he told me.

Charlie Thomas

Charlie Thomas Lipslide Photo: Rodent

Ding, ding, ding, Round Two 

Back in California, found Charlie filling the post of team manager at Tum Yeto.  When Charlie went out on tour with the team he skated with his riders and pretty much everyone realized that he ripped harder than the members of most of the teams he was managing.  When Hollywood started up they put Charlie on as one of the pros.

Why does Charlie’s career on a skateboard fly so far under the radar?  Since he was always the most responsible dude on the team he fell into the role of team manager. The question still remains: If he weren’t team manager would he have gotten his share of coverage? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Charlie didn’t pay enough attention to his image.  Perhaps if he had rocked a bit more flair he would have stood out more.  I really don’t know.  Most photographers figured Charlie was just the team manager and didn’t need the coverage.  In Charlie’s own words, “I wasn’t part of the cool clique.  There were trips that I went on that I skated just as much as the other guys on the trip and got the tricks but the photographers would be like, “Oh that is just the team manager I am not going to worry about it.” So they wouldn’t shoot photos of me.”   I asked him if because he wound up playing the role of team manager his pro career suffered?  “In a way yes but I just go out and skate.  At demos and stuff I am out there skating as well.  I try my hardest to make things happen.  I’ve defiantly come up short more than a fair share of occasions.”

I don’t believe Charlie regrets for a second anything to do with his career.  He’s seems perfectly happy supporting his teams and killing it on the side.   Let this be a lesson to all you young rippers with your eye on the prize of skate stardom, don’t become a team manager.  Charlie is team manager at Hurley and just got on Scarecrow with another ripper from his generation, Frank Hirata.
Charlie Thomas

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