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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Updated: October 12, 1:10 PM ET
Childress on quitting Black Label


Chet Childress hurricanes a tall wall in Pendelton, Oregon as a free agent.

Chet Childress is a veteran of this game. He entered the pro ranks in the '90s when things were lean; he comes from humble beginnings in North Carolina and continues to live a simple life. He's not in skateboarding for the money nor has he ever been. Recently he made an announcement that he was leaving his long time board sponsor, Black Label, for ... no place in particular. Things at Label had run their course and as times get lean again for small skateboard brands he decided he'd get back to his roots, back to the skatepark, back to skating in its simplest form.

What's the story, Chet? What happened with you and Black Label?
What happened? I had just been with John Lucero [Black Label owner and founder] and Black Label for so long and I got burnt and it's hard times in skateboarding for board companies and I just wanted a little change.

To me, the obvious move is Creature. Is that where you're headed? No, I'm not going to ride for anything right now. I got a couple dumb offers already this morning. It was nothing I would do. I wouldn't go ride for just any company unless it's tight. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm just going to hang out for a couple weeks and just skate.

Why didn't you do Creature in the first place when they brought it back around? You roll with those guys, you skated for Creature before.
It was a couple years ago and at that time Label had a good vibe then and John was taking care of me good. I was on Creature the first time, then they let it go, and then they brought it back, and I was kind of like, "Oh, man..." I just didn't do it. I'm still down for Creature and everyone that is associated with Creature. Everyone is awesome.

Do you not like green boards?
I don't like any color boards. I don't like Skittles looking boards. No, green is tight.

How long were you riding for Label?
I don't know, 10 years or something.

It seemed like a hard break up. It looked like you were going to cry in that video.
Nah, dude. I was just trying to let people know. Cry? I ain't crying. I have no reason to cry or be sad. I've been a pro skateboarder for 15 years or however long. I've gotten to do way more stuff in life than I ever expected, I'm happy for everything skating has ever given me.

You might want to work on your public speaking. Your delivery was pretty sad.
Really? Well good. Maybe I am sad and I just don't know it.

You mentioned small brands are having a rough time ...
It is. You know it and I know it. It's just hard times, man. It's a recession. I can't talk for the industry but there's a lot of board companies, a lot of blank boards and shop boards but the main thing is everyone is skating. It ain't easy like it used to be.

Yeah, man. There's a recession. Nobody is focusing boards.
Hell no! They're holding on to them. Re-gripping them, screwing the tail back down, all of it.

But you're alright without a board sponsor? You do alright from Nike?
Yeah, I live a simple life, dude. I don't drive fast cars, I don't have flashy stuff. I live simple and I've always kept it simple. Yeah, Nike has got my back. We're putting a video out in December; which I'm stoked to be part of. Independent trucks and OJ wheels are awesome too. I was making such a small amount of money on Label that I can figure out a way to get by. I can get a job at a coffee shop if I got to. I've had 16 years off the clock; I'm not afraid to work. It's all al lottery ticket; we're all just so lucky to get anything from skateboarding. I'm very thankful to have come this far.