I will never make enough money or have enough clout to wear Palace clothing. Even their boards are too hip for me. But what stops me from completely ignoring a brand guilty of hypebeastiality is how openly crazy all their riders seem to be. One of them is a walking meme, another dresses like an orange safety cone, and yet another has discovered a new way to end flatground lines: getting hit by a car. Skateboarding needs weirdos to survive, and my new favorite oddball is Chewy Cannon.
Going into this interview, I didn’t know much about Sir Cannon except that he liked weed and could speak incoherently-fast British slang. Turns out he smokes way more weed than I expected and, for a guy with pretty flashy sponsors, he has a pretty humble backstory. Chewy grew up as one of a handful of skaters from a small, British resort town. As a teenager, he dropped out of school then sold weed and worked random factory jobs to be able to travel around England and meet more skaters. Chewy’s a character, and the characters are what make skateboarding great, innit?
What’s the deal with your name, Chewy?
That’s a nickname. My real name is Louis, and there was an old TV advert for a chocolate bar called Drifter that said something about Chewy Louie. Then, one time one of friend’s dad’s said, “Come on, Chewy Louie,” and it just stuck. When I started skating someone introduced me as Chewy and then that was my name in skateboarding.
I thought your name was from Chewbacca.
That’s what everyone always does. They say my name’s Chewy and they do the noise. Like, “Can you do it?” I’m like, “No, I don’t fucking do it, mate.”
How can I tell the difference between British and Australian accents?
We don’t say “good day.” But the place where I’m from has a bit of a twang in the accent, so I get Australian all the time. Even English people ask me if I’m Australian. We get Australian all the fucking time because of the “mate” thing. I’m a proper English gentleman, my good fellow. I’m not a fucking Aussie you dumb cunt.
Does it bum you out if people think you’re Australian?
No, all they did was steal some potatoes and we banished them forever to an island of luxury so you can’t really blame them. I wish my family would’ve stolen potatoes, I’ll tell you that much. Maybe if someone was like, “Are you an Aboriginie?” Nah, you’re trippin cuz, I don’t what you’re talking about.
Why wouldn’t you want to be mistaken as Aboriginal?
No, I mean it’d be pretty hard to mistake me as an aboriginal because I’m white and obviously they’re not. That’s what I meant. Not that I wouldn’t want to be. I wouldn’t really want to be one though. They have a fucking rough time of it, don’t they? A bunch of white folks came and fucked their country up.
Does skating pay all the bills for you?
Yeah, it’s been nice to me for a little minute now. I’ve been tucked up in nice clothing and traveling the world for a bit so I’ve been happy. I don’t own a house or nothing but it’s been a fucking good job for a long time.
You’re 34 years old but you’re kind of in the middle of your career. What do you think allows people to have such long pro careers nowadays?
It makes so much money nowadays so that creates opportunities to live off it longer. No one knows how long you can skate for. Tony Hawk can still do a fucking 900. If you can maintain your body’s fitness you can devise new ways to keep being pro. I’m sure Biebel’s gonna be skating forever. [extremely Biebel voice]: “Yo man, I’m fucking 82 today. Just ate five burgers, did a fucking kickflip nose wheelie nollie flip out.” Unless my sponsors don’t see fit that I can skate good anymore. But when that time comes I’ll probably be back to selling weed.
Have you had jobs besides being a sponsored skater?
I’ve had loads of funny jobs. I worked with my dad when I was really young as a bricklayer. That was fucking harsh through the winters. I’d go to work with him instead of going to school. I didn’t want to be a bricklayer so then I got factory jobs. Had like five factory jobs. I worked at the chocolate factory, the seafood factory, chicken factory. I worked at a Turkish delight factory. At the time I worked there I only had one pair of skate shoes. I went to work and my shoes got covered in sticky Turkish delights so when I would try to skate later, my shoes would stick to my board. I couldn’t properly do flip tricks because my foot wouldn’t come off right.
What were your other factory jobs like?
I did late nights at the book factory. Total fucking nightmare. The place was a massive library basically and I used to go to the end of the corridor with a ladder, look up ‘C’ for ‘cannabis’ and read all about weed. Sit on the big old step ladder and not go back for ages, reading about cannabis and coke and all sorts of shit. Anything that was a little bit off key. I read about mafia and gang wars and macho shit.
How much weed do you smoke?
Too much probably. It’s probably too much money’s worth and too much lung capacity worth. I just smoke too much, but then again not nearly enough. I’ve got like four pots of weed in front of me right now and that makes me happy. Oh wait, five! I’ve got one pot of OG Rican, Kosher Kush, Triple Cheese, OG Rican number two, some Grapefruit, and I’ve got the Mazar Hash, and temple ball hash. The amount of excitement it brings me is not really normal.
But how much weed would you guess you smoke each day?
Fucking hell man this is probably gonna get me in trouble with somebody. Probably about three or four grams a day on average. There’s been some days when I’ve run through a half ounce of weed easy. When I’m at parties or festivals or anything like that I can roll ’em up. It’s a bit of a burden sometimes.
Are you going to smoke weed forever? Like when you’re 80 and 90 years old?
I’d have to get growing basically. Once I get a plot of land then I’ll be on it. Because otherwise, I’ll have to get people coming to the nursing home. I can’t see people knocking about the nursing home like, “You wanna draw, blood?” [“How much weed you need?”] But maybe you’re onto something. If I keep skating I’ll keep hold of the youngsters and they could bring me weed to distribute inside. By then there will be loads of ex-potheads that need weed and I’ll be could be bumping around on the zimmer frame [four-legged walker] with all the Jordyns [beautiful women], dropping fucking dimes. Do you like it, you bummin?
“There’s been some days when I’ve run through a half ounce of weed easy”
I used to smoke a lot of weed but I kinda stopped when I ran out of money.
Well, that’s a good way to quit innit. You know you should start growing it to make some money.
I should grow weed?
Yeah, you should start growing it, bro. It’s legal over there now, innit? I’m sure if you grew two plants and sold it for $60 for 3.5 grams…that’s a fucking lot of money.
Is skating more or less difficult when you’re stoned?
It can go either way. I smoke normally so I’m probably always in the same sort of frame of mind. If I go to South Bank I pretty much will do my shit that I know I can do and is fun to stay on the board. If I get really fucking stoned, I don’t try any of them tricks. I just try weird shit and end up coming up with something new. It breaks the monotony sometimes. I’ll be like, “Fuck this shit, I can’t do it.” Then I’ll smoke and I won’t care anymore, I’ll try something else instead.
So how did you get into skating?
Back to the Future. That scene where he grabs onto the back of that car, fucking Marty. That’s a classic reminder of when I decided skating was cool. My dad got me one when I was really young but it was a massive fish board, proper ’70s steeze. It was flat with a tail bumper on the bottom. All I did was roll around on me arse. Later I got one to go to school on. Then they stopped letting me bring my skateboard to school so I quit school.
Why didn’t they let you bring your board to school?
Because it wouldn’t fit in my locker. I stashed it anyway and then I stopped going, which was pretty stupid.
How old were you when you left school?
Like, 15. In England, you finish school when you’re 16, so the year before I was supposed to finish I basically didn’t go. I wanted to play football but I didn’t want to go to the rest of the school. My teacher said if I didn’t come to school I couldn’t be on the football team so I was like, “Fuck it. I won’t be on the football team.” So I went and skated every day by myself. I didn’t have any money so I would bum trains and go wherever. Little shit I was when I was a kid.
So you moved out of your parents’ when you were 15?
I don’t want to give you my life story but it was dysfunctional. My mom left and my dad didn’t hold it down too great. I lived with my dad but he was a bit of a nightmare, shall we say. My sister was 17 and already living by herself with an older boyfriend, so I moved in with her and that was the end of that. I was like, “Fuck it, I’ll just live wherever.” As long as I ain’t got school anymore I could skate all day, smoke weed, and chill. And that’s what I did. Then I went to selling weed. I basically sold weed from when I was fifteen. That’s how I made money to go to different towns and cities to skate. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to make it. We used to bring weed and sell it too.
How did you get sponsored?
There were only like seven skaters in my town, and this one guy started making videos. He sent them into Sidewalk Surfer magazine and they reviewed one. That’s how I got noticed and got on a shop. I got on Blueprint from that pretty much. He used to come to my house to do my homework so we could go skate quicker, and I also went out with his sister so it was a pretty tight group. When Blueprint was finishing up I moved to Barcelona with an ex-girlfriend. I worked on taxi rickshaws and made quite a bit of money off that. I’d pick up tourists there for bachelor parties and they’d ask if I knew about clubs or how to get this or that. I was like, mmm, wait a minute, I could make some money. So I’d see them later and give them what they needed, which was obviously bars of soap and stuff, you know what I mean.
Did you ever get caught?
My boss told me he knew what I was doing. He was like, “Why is your phone ringing all the time? The next time you get paid, I’m gonna double your pay so you can pay your rent but you have to stop doing this shit.” I said I would stop and just skate, and that was the last time I worked. That was eight or nine years ago. That was the last job I had.
Being on Palace, Have you ever seen Lucas Puig’s nuts fall out of his short shorts?
I’ve never seen them, maybe he’s got little nuts. But it depends on how big your nuts are. You must have some fucking big old nuts. I’ve got a big dick but little nuts.
Do French men have big or small nuts?
French people probably got big balls because they’re quite funny. They’re like, “We are French, we don’t give a fuck about nothing. We fucking piss on the floor, this is art to us. We have ten glasses of wine. We don’t drink one glass of wine, we’re too liberal. I paint the women all day and my balls are too big so they fall out my shorts.”
“They stopped letting me bring my skateboard to school so I quit school.”
To end it, which subway system is worse, London’s or NYC’s?
Fucking London. Some days I get on the tube and I’m like, “Fuck this shit.” Your tubes are bigger and cooler. Ours are like made for midgets. Or dwarfs, or whatever is politically correct for that term.
I don’t know anymore. Is it politically correct to say little person?
Oh right, there you go, I meant to say little people. Either way, I feel bad now.
Do British people do little person tossing?
No, but that sounds fucking sick. I wanna see that. They should spice up the Olympics with some shit like that, ‘cause it’s fucking getting boring. Olympic little person toss off [to masturbate]. Who can make a little person cum the fastest, go!
If there was an Olympic competition for jacking off little people, how fast do you think you could jack one of them off?
Am I allowed lube? Can I spit on it? Can I get to know the little person beforehand? Can I stroke his hair or have I just got to wank? Am I allowed to stroke his balls at the same time?
Yeah, anything goes.
I reckon probably under five minutes if I really got him good.