A few fun facts about Tyler Lepore: He’s been a sponsored snowboarder since he was 13, and he’s been a vegetarian for about the same amount of time. He rides for ThirtyTwo, Etnies, CAPiTA, Oakley, and Dakine, and he is ridiculously good at it. His nickname is “the Rabbit,” and he did all the tile work and plumbing for his new house in Vancouver. But don’t take it from us—the man had a whole lot on his mind when he sat down with us a little while back.
What have you been up to this year?
A lot of home renovations, man. I bought a house like almost two years ago. So I remodeled my bathroom. There’s all European fixtures, and I did all the tile work and all the plumbing. It’s nice, man. I really, really enjoy it. … And I dunno, man. I ride track a lot. I’m always riding my track bike. Pretty much as soon as I come home, if I’m not snowboarding, I just get right on my bicycle and just ride.
How long have you been vegetarian?
My parents brought me up vegetarian. My mom would cook some meat when I was really young. Like after my parents got a divorce, she started cooking some meat, and she was horrible at it. It was inedible.
Do you have any concerns about the way that animals are raised for meat?
That’s probably the main reason why I don’t eat meat anymore. You just see chickens and stuff—the way they’re treated, or how many hormones are pumped into meat nowadays, and it’s just gnarly. Even if you look at young kids, they’re huge. That’s another reason why I don’t eat meat. One, because I’m kinda fine with just not having meat in my diet—I don’t miss it whatsoever. And two is because there are so many hormones, and I’m just not into that, man. I don’t want, like, cows that have been eating the same recycled fuckin’ grass or who knows, their own shit or whatever, for like two months. It just grosses me out.
Do you get to do a lot of traveling for snowboarding?
Yeah, like you can kinda pick where you go. Nowadays it’s a lot more bullshit. Nowadays it’s a lot more like, modeling and crap like that. It seems like everyone needs some pretty face. You can’t just be a snowboarder anymore—you have to be very personable, and you have to have a marketable quality, and you have to look good, and all this other bullshit. It’s weird. I find I kind of end up snowboarding less and less over the years and I do more—like you gotta go to New York, and do a photo shoot for so-and-so magazine.
Would you consider that a downside to the profession? I’d imagine there’s some fun.
Some people really like it. Like going to New York for me is fresh. But at the same time, it’s just weird how that’s a facet of my job now, where it never used to be a couple years ago.
Have you heard about our campaign against KFC? We’re trying to get the company to make really basic changes in the way that it raises the chickens used for its restaurants. Like right now, they’re kept in the most inhumane conditions for their entire lives, where they have no room to move or anything—just in their own filth.
I’ve seen some of those. I saw a show about that—where they burn their beaks, or chop their beaks off and burn them, just singe the tip, so they can’t peck each other ’cause they’re in such close confines. Dude, just like, little chicks. It was gnarly, man. You watch shit like that, and it’ll make you never want to eat meat again.
How would you feel about corporations like KFC, which refuse to make even basic steps like that?
I would never go to KFC or eat KFC for any reason. Same as like, McDonald’s or anything. I just don’t support fast food because there’s no nutritional value in it whatsoever. But of course, treating a chicken like that or treating any animal like that for that matter is totally fucked.
Right on. Would you have any advice for someone who wanted to go vegetarian or get active helping animals but didn’t know where to start?
As soon as you do change your diet in any way, as far as taking it in a more healthy direction, you will notice it fucking immediately, man. I live with three other roommates, and we’re all really healthy and active with exercise. For me it’s just a no-brainer. How can you eat that shit? There’s no other way of saying it: Why do you want to eat that fuckin’ food? It’s so bad, so hideous. I dunno. It’s just hard educating people about health because a lot of people just don’t know, man.
Yeah. People think that lifestyle changes like that are so difficult, and it’s just not.
I think if you really want people to change, you have to be that person that intervenes and really sits down with them and goes, “This is what you’re doing. You’re almost doing it right. But this shit you’re doing is still fucked.” And you have to have a one-on-one with someone. Or if you lead by example, and they go, “Wow, that dude is super healthy, and he is really active. Maybe I should change my diet.” I just find as soon as your diet changes, if you’re healthy, you’ll notice it, man. You’ll notice it in your daily, immediately.