Supporting skater-owned and local scenes is primordial to skateboarding. Running a shop, starting a company, writing for mags, crouching in piss puddles to get the shot are all tough ordeals, but persistence pays off!
Crossfire noticed a blimp on the radar, and after closer inspection we knew it was something heavier than drip of stale ketchup.
Keeping it on the lodown but gradually building in momentum, the Casual crew are a good bet for the future in keeping skateboarding’s roots alive. Just a bunch of friends having a laugh and supporting themselves and others.
Ralph LD caught up with Casual head-honcho James Holman to find out what this laid back bunch are about. Keep it Casual!
Why did you start Casual? When? What were you doing before?
Casual was an idea way back in 2001 when I was at uni and skated with a bunch of guys in Canterbury. It really came out of the fact that there didn’t seem to be much going on in the south east to support the riders and give them opportunities to go to comps and events. It didn’t actually come together until the summer of 2005 once we had a bunch of riders, sourced the best boards and clothing and worked to save the money needed to launch it.
What were your influences when you started?
Our influences initially came from the riders and all our friends in the area, as they gave us the reason to start. From there influences came from companies such as Lovenskate; knowing Stu being from Maidstone himself, made the idea of starting a skate company a realistic possibility.
Did anyone involved have intimate knowledge of how a skate company is run before Casual started? If so, who and what?
Pas works at ASDA 1 day a week giving us a solid grounding in retail and customer services, Ben was assistant manager of a skate park that was promptly closed down and reopened under new management and James was and still is unemployable. Seriously though, other than that it’s all this big strange learning process! None of us had a clue when we first started this, but we’ve had to learn from scratch and quickly, and so far, it’s been fun.
Is this strictly skateboarding? Or, do you branch out to artists as well for product designs, events etc?
Strictly skateboarding! Although we’re definitely looking to branch into the extreme pogo scene and also have plans to release a range of Casual Cookbooks in early 2008, cooking is oh so hot right now! The design process involves a lot of people, for the simple reasons that we want the riders to be stoked on what they are riding/wearing, so they have a massive input into what we create. The best ideas usually come from not sitting around a table but usually actually skating, driving or something like that.
You’ll get a killer idea, and that’s when we get everyone together and sit down and get some stuff on paper. You then get the usual arguments but we eventually get something that everyone likes. When it comes to finalising the designs, both Melk and Thom make the actual final design a reality, and Lee, one of the flow riders also helps out a lot.
Give me the entire Casual family, official and extended.
Casual is ‘run’ by 3 skateboarders; James, Pas and Ben. We all have our different roles, but Pas is mostly involved with the filming side of things, Ben does all the photography and helps to manage the team, and I make the tea. We also have the design guys, Melk and Thom, then the sponsored riders who are Myles Lucas, Ewen Bower, Nick Bedwell, Lewis Threadgold, Lee Santer, John Bell, Ollie Jarman and Tom Strand. We also have a whole collection of mates who try to skimp as much off us for free, including Muzz, Lordy, Australian Micah, Joe, Snape, Kris, Skid Adam, and Jamie.
How has Casual helped the local scene?
I think it’s just opened up so many opportunities. Everyone is much more motivated to go places, go to new cities, new parks, so one way it’s helped is through giving people the option of travelling a lot more than we normally would. Some of our riders we have known for years, so supporting them is amazing.
It’s so frustrating watching your friend throwing down hammers, but getting nothing in return and no recognition. I think starting casual has really helped them go where they want to go with skating. It’s also helped to get a little bit of recognition for the South East by showing it isn’t just that bit of field below London, there are actually skateboarders here!
What are you plans for the future?
We just want to be stoked on skating really. We don’t have global domination plans or anything like that. Keep the riders happy, keep the products quality and generally keep everyone stoked although a volcano with some kind of evil lair would be nice sometime soon.
We’re all pretty laid back guys, in fact probably too laid back so it seemed to represent who we were pretty well. The way we work and run everything is with a ‘don’t worry about it’ attitude, which isn’t always the most productive but certainly the way we like to keep it.
Basically everyone who has been involved in any way, we couldn’t do it without the help of so many people. (you know who you are!)
All the team riders, local head’s and extended family get big props. Props to all the shops that have supported us by stocking our stuff.
Ranui at Rise Worldwide is owed a big ‘thanks’ ,Will at the Skatewarehouse, Rob at the House Skatepark and Sarah at Surf Shack.
Casual team riders will be present at this years Crossfire Xmas Jam, come down and check them out…