GET 10% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER! - LEARN MORE

Paul Rodriguez Exclusive Interview

Earlier this year we were super lucky to be able to give Paul Rodriguez a call and chat about his career throughout the years. P-Rod needs no introduction. The skateboarding world was first introduced to him through his iconic City Stars – Street Cinema part, emulating the early days of Guy Mariano as a child prodigy with a limitless ceiling of potential. From there on out, P-Rod has grown further and further, making it clear that he is one of the most driven dudes in the industry. Whether it is Street League or a full video part, P-Rod goes all in, and it is truly rare for a skater to both succeed in competition skateboarding and maintain absolute respect in the street skating community.

Not only is his skateboarding one of the most globally respected and loved, but he also started a new legacy with Primitive Skateboards. Primitive is one of the most popping companies in recent years, with a crew of riders that could easily be labelled a ‘Super Team’, rivalling the clout of early Plan B and Girl in their primes. How is it that someone so young has achieved so much? How much more has he got up his sleeves? Find out the answers plus much more. Thanks Paul.

Paul: What’s up guys?

Sam: How’s it going?

Paul: How’s it going? Good afternoon.

Sam: Good morning. It is morning, isn’t it?

Paul: It’s morning, I’m just drinking my coffee and getting going. I mean, it’s like eleven so not super early.

Sam: We’ve got beers!

Paul: I’m looking forward to that part of the day.

Tom: Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, all of it.

Paul: Thank you, Merry Christmas. Hope everyone had a nice one.

Tom: You too

Sam: Did you get any time off?

Paul: Eh, No. Luckily, being a skater, you know, my time on time off is the same thing.

Sam: Laughs. Fair enough.

Tom: Very true, have you been skating the new park a lot? Or have you just sort of been-

Paul: Yeah. Pretty much every day. I actually need to make myself go street skating. It’s just the park is so fun that like some days. I just, I know, I’m guaranteed to have fun at the park. Sometimes when you go out on the street missions, and you want to go chase down a spot or you don’t feel like dealing with getting kicked out or driving, I just go to the park. It’s gonna be guaranteed good. So I do need to make myself get out in the streets more.

Sam: Yeah, it’s not easy, I guess when that’s like, is that place, that’s at Primitive, right? So is that-

Paul: No, no, no, it’s a separate location. Near, right near. This was a separate building. So yeah. My own private clubhouse.

Sam: So is it top secret? Or is it like-

Paul: I mean, I wouldn’t say it was top secret but…

Sam: …You have to call first.

Paul: Yeah, No one else has access. Except me. So I definitely, try and keep it exclusive. I mean, I’ll let all the homies and people come, but you know, you gotta keep it a little exclusive.

Sam: Yeah, I remember years ago, I used to be involved in the distribution for Girl and Chocolate. I think when you were on them actually, and we had to go for a meeting at the old Berrics, and I remember it was like, full-on like to know, like a bit of a military operation to rendezvous. That old place down the next to the bridge or wherever it was, and…

Paul: …it’s one of those things where like, you want to keep it, you know, you don’t want to have 20 people there every time but it’s cool because like a lot of the younger guys they like to skate like later at night, like around 8, 9, 10 at night and by the time I’m usually done anyway, so I don’t mind like, we go in shifts, so like usually I go, probably around this time, between like 10 and 2 I’ll go and then I’ll be done, you know, after a few hours so then the next group will come in and so, we kind of break it up nicely.

Tom: The ledge looks amazing. How did you figure out how to make like a perfect ledge?

Paul: Oh, we got that, that’s a granite ledge we got shipped in from Barcelona.

“That’s a granite ledge we got shipped in from Barcelona”

Tom: No way really??

Paul: Yeah yeah so that’s… that’s some European granite right there!

Sam: There’s probably a bunch of lads in Barcelona really annoyed you took some good marble away from Europe. Laughs.

Paul: Yeah, well, you know, we just took a little piece of it. They got a lot of there. So…

Sam: Yeah, we saw that thing about the like, the old LOVE Park stuff, all that stuff still stacked.

Paul: I saw that too!

Sam: Someone’s surely at some point is gonna like get hold of it and kind of reassemble it somewhere else.

Paul: Somebody has already had to of have taken some pieces and at least built or rebuilt some ledges for themselves.

Tom: Yeah. I hope so.

Paul: But no, I didn’t take the marble for many spots. Laughs.

Sam: That would be better though. Right? If it was just like Macba but there was just a hole. ‘Paul was here, I owe you one granite ledge’.

Laughs.

Tom: I guess we will start off with City Stars sort of era if that’s cool? So, I read Kareem [Campbell] taught you a lot. Well, showed you the way with a lot of stuff and got you into jewellery and music and stuff like that. How much did he shape you into what you are today? How much did Kareem…

Paul: Definitely, Kareem had a big impact on me, I mean, I found my love for hip hop through Kareem. Definitely found my love for jewellery through Kareem. Just like being around and seeing how cool he is. How smooth he moves. You know, as a young kid, I definitely was soaking all that up and trying to apply it into my life. But you know, nobody can be as cool as Kareem. But we can try.

Laughs.

Tom: Was there anything that sort of stood out that he taught you? Or was it just sort of everything about him?

Paul: Yeah, it was just the style, the smoothness, like how he was a people person. I don’t know, he was able to move in a lot of different circles and like, be comfortable but remain himself, you know. So, that’s something that I feel has always been really cool about Kareem and he was always very generous to people under his wing. Always let people stay with him, always helping the future. So that was always really cool of Kareem.

The first time I met Stevie [Steve Williams] was at Kareem’s house. I must have been like, 15 we were meeting up at his house to go skate. Stevie was just sitting there on the couch watching TV when we came in and we were like “oh my god”.

Laughs.

Right after, uh, I want to say right after the Sixth Sense Transworld video came out where he had the cameo in Kalis’ part.

Sam: Yeah.

Paul: Around that time so we knew who he was. But like he wasn’t like Stevie yet, you know, which is crazy. So yeah, I just I’ll never forget that right there in Hollywood, he was sitting in the Lazy Boy, Chillin in Kareem’s living room, we came in, like, whoa, like, had a few of those kinds of moments with those guys. I got to meet the icons of that generation as a little kid, which was pretty epic.

Sam: I guess it’s kind of a weird thought then you’re kind of in that position these days. Right? So like kids will see you coming up. And it’s gonna have the same impact.

Paul: Yeah, maybe. I mean, it’s definitely cool and flattering. And of course, is something as a little kid you always dreamed to become. But I guess in my mind, I think everyone probably feels like their generation that they grew up in was like the golden era. They’re the coolest. In my mind, there was no cooler era than the mid-90s.  Girl, chocolate world industry era, those dudes to me, that street skating era. You can’t, of course, you can’t recreate it. But, to me, that feels like the coolest era. It can’t ever be cooler than that. So I feel grateful that people may look up to me and see me, you know, in some kind of way, but it just can’t equal to that, it can’t match those days.

“In my mind, there was no cooler era than the mid-90s”

Sam: No, I agree with that. That’s my era, so yeah.

Tom: I don’t know. For me. I’m a little bit younger. I remember being at Buszy in 2006. And seeing you and for me, that was like –

Paul: You were there?!

Tom: Yeah, I was there. Yeah. I’ve got your signature on a t-shirt somewhere.

Laughs.

Tom: Yeah, and it’s just that for me, that was huge. That was like a similar sort of thing to you seeing Stevie I guess. Seeing you and PJ Ladd and people like that, that blew my mind at the time, that was so crazy.

Paul: Thank you man. Yeah, I mean, obviously everyone who grows up in their era, and that snapshot in their mind to them is so special and so nostalgic.

Sam: Did you watch the Jonah Hill film?

Paul: I did yeah, of course.

Sam: So we went to that, they did like a premiere in our in our city and we went to it and I’ve never had the feeling of that era be rekindled like that movie, I couldn’t actually believe how it made me feel. It was weird.

Paul: Yeah, there’s a perfect blend of proper filmmaking, mixed with proper representation of skateboarding and capturing the era. Like, you know, obviously, skate movies have been made, but it’s really hard to not make it corny if you’re not careful.

Sam: Yeah.

Paul: And like, skate movies, right. But then we’re not necessarily filmmakers, you know, and Jonah hills, like real a filmmaker, so that perfect combination made it just really, I don’t know. Yeah, a part of me sometimes watching it, you have so many emotions coming up like a little lump in your throat or your eyes start watering like, wow that was me, I was that kid, oh my god.

Sam: There’s the moment in the movie where he’s in the skate store. And they make a real point of accentuating the sounds of gripping the board.

Paul: Yeah.

Sam: …And that kind of clicking clack in the noise of the grip. And I was just like, it took me back to being a young kid, stood there in the skate shop watching them grip my board. It’s amazing how much emotion it evoked, yeah, it was cool.

Paul: Yeah, but it really captured that feeling you have when you’re a kid, like how everything feels so magical, every day, walking through the shop and seeing every board, looking at every company, every graphic, and you had no judgement of like, this is cool. This is lame. It was just like you’re a blank canvas and you were just a kid just absorbing everything. It was just cool. Like, looking at the old CCS catalogues just looking at everything even keychains were like wow “I want that key chain”.

Laughs.

Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
Switch Front Heel, Calabasas, CA – Photo: Darwen
Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
Switch Backside Flip, Calabasas, CA – Photo: Darwen

Street Cinema and the City Stars days

Tom: So your Street Cinema part obviously had the Jackson Five song, alluding to the whole Guy Mariano thing. Who do you reckon you would put that song to nowadays? Or have you got anyone that you think could have that song for a part?

Paul: Real quick, just touching on that, that was another Kareem move. I didn’t understand at that time. I mean, I had seen blind video days and I know about Guy. And I was a fan of Guy but you know, I didn’t realise the compliment he was giving me by doing that. I was actually a little bit upset because I was like, Guy already used that song, you can’t really use that song. Like, you can’t do that can’t re-use it. And as I grew older, I understood what he was trying to do and say, so thank you to Kareem for that.

Who would I do it with nowadays? Oh, that’s a tough one. Off the top of my head right now, because I don’t know, there’s so many, it’s so hard to keep up. There’s so many young skaters. The name that pops in my mind is Kyonosuke [Yamashita] right now. His style is, you know, the way he dresses, like being around him and the way he skates spots, the way he attacks streets, and you know, him being 15/16 years old. Being that young, Kyonosuke is the name that’s popping up in my mind right now.

Tom: So, I was reading the Transworld interview with you from 2003 I think. You said that you were skating with Spanky and Brian Herman a lot back in those days. Obviously, Spanky was on City Stars as well. But do you skate with those guys at all now?

Paul: I bump into Spanky because he lives just out here in the Hollywood/LA area. So I bump into him sometimes. Herman, I don’t see hardly often, because he lives probably about two hours away. Last I know, he moved back up, or he always had a house up there, but he full-time stays back… Like Victorville, that’s where he’s from. So I don’t see him very much. Occasionally, yeah, bump into him. But, love those guys, you know, that bond that we always had is always there. You know, we grew up skating together since very, very young, you know, so special times I can’t believe all this time has gone by. We’re all grown-ass old men now.

Laughs.

Tom: It is crazy. It’s like one of those things I suppose, you can be apart for a few years and then as soon as you’re back together it’s like you’re kids all over again and that session is straight back on.

Paul: Yeah, yeah exactly.

Tom: Who do you skate with nowadays? Who is your crew at the moment that you’re skating with?

Paul: It kind of varies but having the skate park now really makes my crew a nice mix. I skate, you know Wade Desarmo is in town right now for a few months, so I’ve been skating a lot with Wade. Skate a lot with Malto whenever he’s in town. Whenever he’s in town or he’s not golfing, I skate with Malto. Laughs I’ve been skating with Mike Mo. He’s been coming through with a little flat ground, so that’s kind of good to see him moving about. Skate with a lot of guys, you know, Trent and Carlos a lot. Trey Williams. Urm, who else do I skate with a lot? Oh, Manny! Manny Santiago. Been skating a bit with that dude, Burberry.erry comes through sometimes. It’s just cool because a lot of different groups of people will come to like Kader, will come through with his lil friends. Sunny [Suljic] will come through with his friends. And then you’ll have different groups of skaters come through that you wouldn’t necessarily think kick it like that. So it’s pretty, pretty awesome to see. I like that the skateparks kind of bringing people together.

Tom: A bit of a hub?

Paul: Yeah, so yeah, just all kinds of people, oh  Steve O, came through, that was pretty fun. Yeah, so that’s my main crew, those first names I said. But now having a skatepark, you know, a lot of different people are hitting me up. So, I like being around a lot of different people I’m trying to get Daewon to come through, but he’s pretty reclusive.

Sam: He never leaves, where is he at? I can never remember the area where he lives, but yeah, he doesn’t tend to leave.

Paul: Southbay I think? Yeah. But yeah, he is pretty reclusive. I told him he can go skate all by himself if he wants, I’ll just open it up for him and he can have a private session… him and Rodney.

Laughs.

Sam: Yeah, he is hard work. I used to work for Podium, and we did this whole European tour and we literally had to bribe him to get on a plane to get out.

Paul: Yeah.

Sam: Yeah, he’s not so keen on travelling, I think.

Paul: Nah nah, well whatever he’s doing, he has got a good thing going and he’s still better than ever. So you know, he’s Daewon he can do whatever he wants and he is literally done it forever. We want more Daewon, you can’t get enough Daewon!

Tom: So when you left City Stars, you left just before your Pro board was dropped, I think?

Paul: Yeah.

Tom: So what made you have to leave at that point?

Paul: Yeah, so at that time I didn’t realise how pivotal of a point in my career that would be, but yet, I kind of did. It was weird. You know, being that young. I left City Stars when I was 16/17. It’s weird how when you’re that young, you’re naive but yet, you also kind of know what you’re doing? That doesn’t make sense. I left at that point because, you know, it’s my biggest dream ever to become a professional skateboarder and I always dreamed of being pro for the coolest, best companies and I loved City Stars, the team, the era, the group we had, the energy we had, so amazing. Those are probably the best memories I have in my skate career. But, I did notice on the back end of things, on the business side of things, even though I didn’t have any business experience or anything like that, it just felt like it wasn’t being conducted properly, you know?  I don’t know, there wasn’t any like shadiness going on. It just didn’t feel like where I was dreaming and hoping to be in my career and the brands that I wanted to align with, it didn’t feel like it was being built to go in that direction. It felt like it was like, hanging on by a thread. 

“it’s my biggest dream ever to become a professional skateboarder”

Tom: You’d sort of hit that glass ceiling and it was time for the next stage?

Paul: Yeah, and that something in me instinctually knew that. And I think what really set it off for me is when we had an ad announcing me and Mikey Taylor as Pro, it was an ad of both of us. And you’re looking in the magazine all these awesome pictures, then ours comes up and it looks like it was just like, photocopied in there and just felt very, not high quality. And to me, I was like, I gotta go, I gotta leave.

It was the scariest hardest decision to make for me at that time, you know, and all the memories and time and I knew that all of us were friends, I knew I was going to bum everyone out. But I also knew I was going to be bummed if I stayed. I wouldn’t have been fully happy and I was really set on having my pro skater dream be a specific way in my mind, the way I envisioned it. And I just really wanted it to be that way. I wanted to quit before they actually spent the money to manufacture all the boards with my name on them. I didn’t want to leave them stuck with the whole inventory of boards that they couldn’t sell. So I just had to make the move. And I was scared as hell. Tried to call Kareem, couldn’t get a hold of him. So I ended up calling Joey and telling him, and then the Kareem called back later. He asked me to meet with him and we’re at Subway and I was so scared but he was so chill, he was so cool. Then we had a whole team meeting about it and everybody was there and I was like, oohhh. It was stressful for a kid, you know, but I knew that’s what I had to do. And you know, thank God in hindsight, I’m looking back and the way everything turned out seemed to be the right decision.

Sam: Yeah, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling I guess with those things. It’s hard to be the first person to make a decision to do something like that. Everyone’s looking at you going like, What’s this guy doing or whatever.

Paul: I didn’t realise that once I left that would make Mikey want to leave and then Spanky wanted to leave. Looking back at it now, you will think that’s obvious you guys are all friends, we all skated every single day together. So it’s not like anything changed with us skating together. But it was still different. So yeah, those guys ended up leaving. So it really kind of brought the whole programme down. I think if anyone would have left at that point, it would have brought the whole programme down. But man, it was a special time.

Tom: So did you have Girl sort of in mind? Or had Koston spoken to you at all?

Paul: Yeah, when I left City Stars, I had no other brands I was talking to, nothing. I was confident enough in myself at the time. But thinking, okay, I’m trying to be humble, but at the time it seemed like, I’m pretty sure I can get on wherever I want. And part of me at the time was like, it would be kind of cool to be on Zero, that’d be kind of cool.

And so I floated around for a little while just skating, you know, just whatever boards that I had. I remember I was skating a lot with, of course, Spanky and he was on Emerica and they had the Emerica mansion. Reynolds and Ellington always lived in that house in Hollywood so Spanky would let us come over there, sometimes I would stay that night, hanging out with those guys.

The Boss gave me a box of Baker boards and asked me if I want to be a Baker, and I was like, Whoa, that would be kind of awesome, like, to be on Baker. Dyrdek asked me if I want to be on Seek. I had all these different options and it was like, a different type of stress now. Now it’s like, I gotta make another decision, I gotta tell some people yes and some people no.

Sam: Was this before or after the In Bloom video came out?

Paul: This was after because I believe in In Bloom, I was skating all City Star boards.

Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
Paul @ a demo – Photo: Oliver Barton

Getting on Girl Skateboards

Sam: I just wondered if you hadn’t already got on someone by then once that video dropped if people were there knocking on the door and you had endless offers, or whether it was just kind of a natural course of things.

Paul: Yeah, I mean, definitely that video helped for sure. I mean that video definitely is still the video part that people bring up to me the most. So that part definitely for sure had impact on my next transition and you know… Eric Koston being my hero, my favourite skateboarder, you know… him Reynolds and Penny are my like trio of favourite skaters. So I was really tempted to ride for Baker. Cus, you know, Reynolds is also one of my favourites. And to have my two favourites offer me to be a part of their brands. Wow, I was living on cloud nine. Then one day, we went skating the Sylmar Blue Rails. It was me, Eric and Atiba and they picked me up, I was riding in the car with them and yeah, Eric just turned around and was like…

“So, what’s up dude, what are you doing, what’s your plan?”

I was like, I don’t know, I’m just kind of skating and exploring. You know, in my mind, I was confident I was gonna land somewhere. I just wanted to make sure I made the decision that I was going to be really happy with it, I wasn’t going to change or regret after so then he just said…

“So, what’s up, you wanna ride for Girl?”

It was a surreal moment. I’m like this little kid who’s seeing this guy, Eric Koston in these videos growing up and now he’s looking at me directly, in real life, asking me if I want to ride for the coolest brand in skateboarding. I was just like uuhhh yeah. They’re in the car like…

“We got him!”

And that was that!

Tom: All those over offers were just out of the window. Doesn’t matter, I’m on Girl Skateboards now, it’s all good!

Laughs.

Paul: I remember going to this park called Northridge Skatepark right here by my house. And I remember the day I went to Girl and got my first box. They gave me everything I wanted! I walked out there with so much shit, like so many boards, grip, trucks, wheels, all the Fourstar clothes I wanted, everything, I got loaded up! I set up a new board, my first Girl board it was a Rudy Johnson and that was the first Girl board I skated when I was on team. I went to Northridge skatepark to skate it. And Dyrdek showed up that day and saw the board and was like..

“So, that’s it?”

And I was like…

“Yeahhh, I’m gonna ride for Girl”

It’s pretty epic thinking back now to the scenarios and the people. It was a really cool time in my life. Yeah, so then I ended up on Girl, as we know.

Tom: Did you just go straight into filming for Yeah Right?

Paul: At that time you were never filming for this or for that. We never stopped filming, you know? I mean, it was just filming always you know, 17 years old, young and energetic and I have this amazing group of friends who all ended up becoming well-known professionals and having cool careers. But we didn’t know that at the time, that was our dream so you’re with a group of very ambitious hungry kids every day. We’re filming every night, we’re lighting spots up so the footage was just coming in like water like it was flowing. If you notice in Yeah Right I’m still skating City Star boards in some footage because I still had some footage. You will see a mix of both, so it was during the transition.

Tom: Not to skip over Girl, but how did it feel to leave them?

Leaving Girl for Plan B Skateboards

Paul: I hate leaving companies man, it’s literally like breaking up with your girlfriend, it’s rough you know? I wasn’t looking to leave Girl, I was perfectly happy, I was literally living my dream I had every single sponsor that Koston had, at that time, we had every sponsor the same. Fourstar, eS, Girl, Ricta and Royal. I think that’s pretty much it, but yeah, every sponsor he had, I had, I was on everything Koston was on. Then, one day I get a phone call from Danny Way and, you know, he was in the hospital, he had just had some surgery you know he’s always in some kind of pain.

“Then, one day I get a phone call from Danny Way…”

He talks very serious and stern and you can hear his voice, he’s very manly, and it was like

“Hello”

“Yeah, is this Paul?”

“Yeah?”

“Hey, what’s up? This is Danny Way”

“Oh, what’s up man! How you doing?”

“Just in the hospital right now, getting surgery. Yeah we looking to bring back Plan B Skateboards and we would love to have you as part of the team, right now, we have Ryan Gallant, PJ Ladd, me and Colin all on board and you’re the last guy. We don’t want to start this brand without all five of us”

Tom: So literally, if you don’t say yes, we’re not bringing Plan B back?

Paul: I don’t know if it was or if he was saying that as part of trying to get me to get into it like to become a part of it. I don’t know if that was facts, “we’re not doing it if we don’t get Paul”, but maybe it was just to coax me into it. So I was like fuuuuck man, like I’m on Girl, I’ve only been on Girl for two years. You know, Danny Way, another legend, calling me directly. And, you know, he’s very intimidating, just asking me and he was like, telling me about what they’re gonna do, like, all five of us, we’re gonna get ownership in the brand. I was like, Okay, well, that’s cool because at that time, I was already thinking about setting myself up for the future, beyond skateboarding. I was trying to make sure that I was smart about that. He called me and I was like, alright, well, let me think about it. He gave me that day, called me the next day, all day I’m thinking about it, I’m like Plan B, they’re bringing back Plan B, like, you know, we all know how epic the original Plan B was. That’s a huge legacy. Those are big shoes to fill. And then it was like, wow, like, Danny Way is asking me to be part of the guys to carry that torch. That’s a huge honour.

He looks at myself, PJ and Gallant as the guys worthy enough to carry the legacy that these guys built with their blood, sweat and tears, you know what I mean? Mike Ternasky fathers that legendary just epic era and they picked us three to be the guys to take it into the new era. I was like, wow, that’s a lot of pressure, but also like, huge honour. My brain was going in so many different directions and I thought about it all night, all night, all night. He called me next day like…

“So what’s up, you in?”

“…Yeah man, I’m in”

Laughs.

He told me, all right, well, we’re still building and the launch isn’t gonna happen for a while. So you can’t tell anybody about this when you leave Girl, you can’t say what we’re leaving for. It was not secret, right? Yeah, yes, sir. Hmm, absolutely. Yeah. So, I hang up on him and I’m like, I got a call Rick. I’m so nervous and kind of psych myself up, looking at the phone. I’m like, getting ready to press send. And then I chickened out, like going through this process. It’s like when you skate a big rail or some stairs and you’re nervous, and keep rolling up. Then finally, one time I just pressed send and the phone’s ringing and I’m just like “please don’t answer”.

Laughs.

You know, and then he answers and we do the small talk real quick, then finally I’m like, hey, I kind of got this big opportunity, I can’t even say what it is, I can’t really talk about it. It’s a really big opportunity that literally just came out of nowhere, and I wasn’t really looking for it, but it’s something really special that I feel like I need to take, and I need to do, but it’s gonna require me to step away from Girl. He was like

“Wait, wait, wait, why? Like, wait a minute, hold on, slow down.”

Like, you know, he’s absorbing information. It’s like, well, can you at least come into the office and sit with us and talk with us and I made up some bullshit excuse. It happened to be raining really hard that day and I know you guys are used to lots of rain. But over here in sunny California, we’re not used to so much rain and the Girl offices were like an hour from my house and I was like

“Well, the thing is, it’s kind of raining really hard. I don’t really feel comfortable driving all that way right now in the rain.”

He’s like, yeah, it is raining pretty hard. What about tomorrow? And I was like yeah maybe, as long as it’s not raining so hard. But of course next day, the sun’s shining, so, he called me that morning like

“You coming in today? Come in and talk to us.”

Fuuck all right, so I drive over there, came in and I felt so awkward. I’m sitting in the office with Mike Carroll, Rick Howard and Megan you know, the three owners of Girl sitting down on the couch.

I don’t know how they found out because I didn’t say, but I think it was Rick who was like…

“So you’re leaving us for Plan B, huh.”

I didn’t know how to handle that situation. Do I deny that or what?

“Ohhh? How’d you find out?”

“Don’t worry. Don’t worry how we found out.”

Laughs.

But I was like, yeah, I couldn’t uphold the lie. Danny called me and asked me and blah blah blah. They’re like, you know, you got Mike [Carroll] right there like

“So, what’s up dude. Like, that’s it, you’re gonna leave?”

Well, I was like, I’m just trying to be like you guys, you know, have some ownership. You know, you guys left Plan B to start Girl. It was pretty ironic, actually. I just remember it was so painful for me to be in that room with all three of them just staring at me. I’m just like, they’re legendary people and I’m just like, oohhh what am I doing right now. I remember him saying, well, if you’re leaving Girl, does that mean you’re leaving Fourstar? I was like, I wasn’t thinking about it but I mean, if that makes sense, I don’t know. Somehow, I ended up leaving Fourstar too, which is the one thing I regret.

Laughs.

It was so awkward that like, I might as well just rip the band aid all the way off because I know every time I call Sam for a box of clothes, that’s gonna be awkward, or we’re gonna do a Fourstar shoot and I’m with all these guys and now I’m with them but I’m the guy that left now it’s awkward. Like in my teenage mind I’m thinking, that’s too much to bear. Let me just go hide in my hole. So, yeah, that was kind of how that went and made it through that. I called Danny and told him, I left Girl, I told him somehow they found out, I don’t know how… And then that was it, I was was on board.

Tom: Would any other person aside from Danny Way or brand other than Plan B that would have got you away from Girl? It feels like that was the perfect storm, almost?

Paul: No, no, no, it wouldn’t have. There was no way I was leaving, for anything other than that unique situation that happened, because, just two years before that I had left City Stars. I took my time and I had the option of pretty much anybody that I really wanted to ride for. I had an opportunity to ride for them. Girl was paying me very well on top of it. So, I’m getting paid very well and I’m on the most respected, coolest company there is. If I’m gonna make the move, it’s only gonna be a move up, you know? So it wasn’t even on my mind. It was the furthest thing from my mind, it was literally like something that came out of thin air, that I was not at all looking for. Then that opportunity for ownership and just being a part of that legacy of Plan B, PJ Ladd, Ryan Gallant, Danny and Colin?! Us five? Crazy! So yeah, that was cool, too. Originally, it was supposed to be through Dwindle. When Danny called me they had been talking to Dwindle. And Dwindle was where Plan B was going to be.

But ironically actually, I just forgot about this and I remember now…

At that time I was riding for FKD Bearings and Silver Trucks over at Syndrome Distribution. At that time Jason Maxwell was trying to talk to me into starting my own brand through Syndrome. You can build the team, you have anything you want. I just at that time, I didn’t want to think about all that. I just wanted to skate I didn’t want to have all that stuff on my mind about choosing the team, to approving shit. I’m a teenager, I can barely return your phone call. I’m not ready for this, I just want to skate.

So, he was offering that and I would tell him like, dude, I just don’t think I’m ready for it. I don’t if I can have a full brand, I don’t know if I’m that guy who can like start a whole brand off him. You know what I mean? I don’t think I was at that level yet, it was premature to do that. So once Jason Maxwell heard about my move from Girl to go help start are Plan B, he called me and said, how about that offer I was offering you, for your own brand, how about you do Plan B with us? I was like, I’ll talk to Danny, I’ll put you in contact with Danny.

I told Danny, these guys had been already actually trying to do something with me, but I wasn’t ready. They’d love to talk to you and would at least like to put their name in the hat as far as bringing Plan B onboard. So, he talked to Danny and Colin they felt like that would work out and so that’s when Plan B became Syndrome instead of going with Dwindle. It kind of worked out, Maxwell was so happy because he got me over there, but he also had Plan B now. They got me he got fucking Danny Way, Colin Mckay, PJ Ladd, Ryan Gallant and Plan B. So it was even better than if he and I just started fucking, you know, Prod skateboards together, it was better just to like, boom, we brought something even bigger to the table. So yeah, that’s what happened, long story short.

Laughs.

Tom: So it didn’t feel like a risk or anything? Going to Plan B and it being a Plan B “take two” sort of thing. I suppose with the riders on it and everything you sort of knew?

Paul: Yeah, at the time it definitely didn’t feel like a risk and now looking back on it, I mean, I still feel the same way. But obviously, anyone in their right mind would think like, fucking leaving Girl? Why would you leave Girl? So I definitely, knew that it was like, I guess unprecedented to leave Girl, but, if you were ever gonna leave Girl, the legacy that Plan B had left was so epic that it’s like, okay, well, I guess no one saw that coming but I guess if anyone was gonna leave Girl, that would be why. Yeah. I mean, maybe naively. I think maybe at that time, I was probably I was 20 years old maybe19/20. I just had so much confidence in myself and in my desire in my abilities and in my vision for myself, that I just felt… you know it’s weird, when you’re that young, you go off intuition. You don’t even necessarily go off logic, you just go off feeling which I think is best, and as you get older you start thinking yourself out of situations instead of like going with your guidance system, internal guidance system, so I had enough confidence in myself that it was gunna work out, obviously confidence in PJ and Ryan. Us together, that’s gonna be crazy. Then you got Danny and Colin being the fucking legendary pillars. I was like, how is this not gonna be good? How is this gonna fail?

“anyone in their right mind would think like, fucking leaving Girl? Why would you leave Girl?”

Sam: So they’re like two pretty massive decisions to personally make. You think about your career going forward, but you’re also thinking about your friends and stuff like that. And you made those decisions and you didn’t discuss it with anyone? You had to make both those choices yourself?

Paul: Well, Girl to Plan B, I probably discussed with my friend Nigel. He was my roommate and best friend. The guy who when I first started skating with that had a car that could drive, he had the VX 1000… He’s four years older than me, so he’s the guy I would always talk to, he’s the guy who even taught me about skateboarding as far as like how style goes or like who were the guys to watch, who are the guys to study, he was my OG, I guess. So Nigel was the guy I would talk to when I left City Stars to Girl. He would be like…

“What?! No way! You’d be crazy if you don’t do this.”

We were both guys who just dreamed and loved skateboarding so much that like, is this shit actually happening? These people are actually calling you directly! Saying, you’re fucking crazy if you don’t do that, was basically what he told me when I left City Stars for Girl. Then, when I left Girl for Plan B, it was a similar thing. I wasn’t like, wow you gotta do that, but I think he understood, woah yes, that’s crazy Danny Way called. He was living with me at the time so I told him directly after that conversation, dude, guess what just happened? So definitely, I would discuss it with him. But at the end of the day, yeah, that was it. Only he and I would really discuss and I would just pray on it, go with my gut and let her rip, you know, and so that’s how we ended up with Plan B.

Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
Switch Frontside Heel Flip – Photo: Oliver Barton

Contest skating vs filming video parts

Tom: So I’ll move on over to like competitions and parts a little bit now. I’ve sort of separated this all up.

Paul: I’ll bring you with me whilst I fill my coffee up.

Tom: No problem. I was just thinking, you’ve dropped some crazy parts throughout your career, and you’ve obviously won pretty much everything that’s worth winning, like everything, which is nuts. But what feels better, sitting at a premiere, and your part coming up on the screen, or winning a competition and getting that trophy?

Paul: Dude, I honestly don’t know!

It’s hard to compare the two. But I can’t pick one over the other because they’re two different challenges that are just so special. A video part, of course, especially in the era where I was coming up, you spent a couple of years on a particular video part, but to finally be sitting at the premiere, and feeling so good about your video part, you just can’t wait for people to see what you’ve been working on, or what you’ve been dedicating your last couple years to and when it works out and people actually do respond the way you were hoping they were. I mean, it’s a highlight, like you could never believe.

And then you have contests where it’s like, you’re nervous, your stomach is in knots, got butterflies and you knees are shaking, but you’re able to calm yourself, get focussed, execute what you’ve been envisioning, what you’ve been practising the last couple of days. Then, to be the guy who wins it on that day, against the people you’re skating next to. You’re looking at these guys, all the best people ever in the world right there and you’re like, wow dude, today, on this day, I was able to pull through, and be the guy that the judges thought was the guy to win.

Overcoming all the nerves, and ending up holding the trophy at the end of the day is crazy. It’s a euphoric feeling that I can’t explain, but they’re two different challenges, but I guess it’s probably a similar feeling. A video part is a challenge of like, doing the hardest thing I can possibly do. It’s like my piece of artwork, how you envision the part looking. Looking at the order of the tricks, getting the dream tricks that you want to get.

And then you know, the time and time again of trying and trying and trying and finally getting the clip. Or you finally land the trick the way you were hoping to land it, and all the fucking times you go out trying to film and you come home empty-handed, discouraged. It’s just such an emotional roller-coaster over a long period of time. And then finally for it to come together you’re sitting there you’re like, maaan, it was all worth it.

You remember every clip, which you did that day. Remember, we went and ate here after that. Or I remember that night that was the night that this happened and so and so got that clip to that night and, oh yeah, I remember wanting to wear that outfit and get the clip in that outfit I’m psyched. Just those things after a year’s worth and you finally get to sit there and see it edited, with the whole rest of the team and the music. It’s like whoa, that was worth it.

But then a contest is right here right now, your hardest trick you could possibly do, right now. One try, go. And you’re able to overcome the mental challenges, the nerves, the fear, the crowd, the distraction, whatever. Do it, you land it, and you’re rolling away. You’re like, whoa, fuck, that worked?! Then you get a trophy. That yeah, it’s two different channels like right here right now, do or die, go. And no matter how many times you’ve done a trick a million times, no matter how consistent you are at it at the skate park, if you’re so nervous that your knees are shaking, and your brain is flustered, you’re not thinking right. You’re gonna mess up, doesn’t matter how many times you did it, it’s not even the trick anymore. It’s about overcoming yourself, so for me, I get most proud of myself, when I overcome myself because I always thought of myself as a nervous person. So like, wow, I was able to overcome the nerves and go toe to toe with the best in the world. Right? Cool. You can’t replace that and that’s just the best.

Sam: So when you’re in a contest, and let’s say you’re doing the best trick section at street league or whatever, and everyone’s kind of waiting for their turn, you’re obviously thinking you know what you’re going to do for the most part and your turns coming up, but then someone in front of you just drops a ridiculous trick. And your trick is in two goes or whatever, do you then have to think on your feet and kind of go, shit, I’m gonna have to put a flip into that now?

Paul: Absolutely, absolutely. If your goal is to win, then yes, there’s plenty of times in Street League where you’re like, well fuck, there goes my plan.

Laughs.

“If your goal is to win, then yes, there’s plenty of times in Street League where you’re like, well fuck, there goes my plan.”

But you know, I’ve skated enough of them over the years now where like, I’ll have things that I want to do that I feel like I have a high probability of landing and also feel like they’ll get good scores. But then I’ll also have like, a couple of secret weapons in the back of my mind that I’m like, alright, if it gets to this point, I got to try these. It’s more risky, not necessarily the highest likelihood of landing it but I’ve got to rely on the power of my mentality. Either try to win or just don’t show up. Why show up for no reason? Skating contests for me, it’s like, look, dude, I’m not afraid and I’m not shy to say “yeah, I want to win I want to try and win”. Like, I’m coming here and um, yes, I’m going to practice… Yes I have a game plan… Yes, I’m going to try to win. You got certain people or whatever that are like I don’t care, I don’t care… cool that’s you, but I want to win! So, I’m going to try my best. Yeah, if I suck, if I mess up terribly, and I skate like shit, I’m pissed. I’m depressed. I’m mad. The whole next day or two, I’m pissed off at myself. I keep replaying it in my mind, like, why do that or whatever. But, that’s the same feeling that makes it so good when you when it all comes together and you do it.

Tom: Well, that’s one thing I was thinking about, because you said in a Nine Club, I think, that you’ve got to build your way up into tricks. When you’re filming street, and say you’re doing switch flip crook, you’ll do a switch crook and then whatever to build your way into the trick. With street League obviously, you don’t really have that. How does that work? Do you just have to use go for the tricks that you know you have on lock? Or is it the adrenaline of the competition that sort of pulls you through?

Paul: So it’s a little bit of both. Of course, you have practice before the contest, so you’re able to warm up and work your way into those tricks and practice. But yeah, at Street League, it’s like okay, it’s go time, no more practice. This guy goes, he’s gonna go and you might be standing around for a little bit. You might be like, fuck, I’m getting cold and you stay warm. That’s why you’ll see everybody on the sidelines, like doing kickflips on top of the deck or whatever you can do to keep your body feel like you’re warmed up still. Then it’s your turn and all of a sudden the adrenaline hits and you go for it. You know?

That is one thing why I have so much respect for Nyjah, because I see him do it over and over again, where he’ll just skate practice and he’ll work on a variety of tricks, but you can never know what he’s actually going to do in the contest. I’ll see him and he’ll work on a bunch of shit, he’ll do a bunch of tricks to kind of work on a line. And we’ll do some single tricks and it looks like he’s just kind of having a session and then when the contest comes on, he’ll start off and do a trick I have seen him do in practice, but then somebody might land something and it kind of puts a little pressure on him. He’ll just do something that you for sure know he didn’t try in practice he did not try that practice, but he’ll fucking do it. I’ve never seen anyone better at this ability than him, he has the ability to just, in the moment, I think the more pressure it is on him, the more he actually is able to be focused. Like, some people when the pressure on you makes you flustered, you can’t think straight. I think it makes him laser-focused, he is actually the most dangerous then.

Sam: Yeah, it looks like he kind of needs it sometimes, you know, like, it really pumps him up.

Paul: Yeah and so he has the best ability. That’s why I feel like nowadays, like, you know, you got Yuto and you got other guys who are good contest skaters who might sneak out a win here and there. But, until people understand that you don’t beat Nyjah with tricks you beat him with your mindset. He’s going to keep dominating for a while, because nobody’s got a stronger mind than him. And nobody else is willing… like he will die right there. Like, he doesn’t care, right? You see his videos, you see what he does. In the moment, like, now, I’m willing to die right now. You got the Jamie Foy, you got all these dudes, but Nyjah will die right here in front of the crowd… or win. One or the other! So, unless you’re willing to do that, it’s gonna be really hard, because he will do what he has to do, under the circumstances. So that is why I have the most respect for him.

When he goes skating, even the shit he posts on Instagram, every single day, he puts himself in the most dangerous situations possible. So he’s just immune to it. It’s just every day for him. So going to a contest with nerves with a big rail that a contest with the perfect run-up and perfect landing. That’s nothing because he’ll skate bigger rails in that in the streets with a big crack in front of it shitty run-up and shitty landing. It’s like a walk in the park for the guy.

“Nyjah will die right here in front of the crowd… or win. One or the other! …that is why I have the most respect for him.”

Sam: So there are some skaters that seem to have nine lives with regards to that sort of stuff, right? They just seem to bounce and then don’t fall awkward or I don’t know. Just get away with it the whole time.

Paul: My theory is it’s like a skill. It’s a skill of how I was saying before. The more pressure the more dangerous the situation, the better his focus is, and he doesn’t panic. No matter what the situation, he doesn’t panic, if it requires a big rail, you can’t kind of commit, you have to all the way commit. But there is no like, I’m just going to test out when you’re skating 20 stair rail, because testing it out is how you get hurt, you know? And so, his ability is like, the more dangerous it is, the more he knows how committed he needs to be and that’s my theory. That’s just from observation. And of course, sometimes you still get smoked, no doubt, but even when you get smoked it’s not a panic, like you’re not panicking and making yourself do all these weird awkward things…

Tom: Just bailing, it’s just like any other bail sort of thing?

Paul: Yeah. And you know, there are freak accidents but yeah, he’s definitely gotten away with some serious bails. Respect man.

Tom: Yeah I’ve got a few in my head right now. But that’s the thing, you obviously go into competitions and you go in with the mindset of wanting to win. Then when you go to somewhere like Tampa, obviously, the vibe may be slightly different but it’s still a competition that you want to win. How does that compare to Street League? Is it a completely different vibe? Or does it just sort of appear that way on the outside?

Paul: They’re way different. You know, just the format, in general, is the classic format. And then Tampa is just like, you know, it’s such a classic event, classic contest. I mean, I haven’t been for a while myself, but last time I went, it was more like a party!

Tom: Yeah, that’s what it looks like.

Paul: Yeah, it’s a party vibe, a little more just like a come out have fun vibe. But I mean, you still see the guys who usually end up winning are still the guys, you’ll see at Street League. There’s still the guys who are real contest dudes and you know, those guys, whatever format you put them in, they’ll tend to figure it out, you know, that’s the level of skater they are. This year was my first year back to contests in five years. I was so nervous. All the street leagues this year… it felt crazy being back, I never thought I was ever going to want to skate a contest again. Now I’ve come back, I’m the oldest guy in the contest, I was so nervous. So hopefully I got that out of my system this year, or last year, and hopefully this year I can… Who knows, maybe the old dog might be able to be in the fight still, you know?

Skating in the 2021 Olympics

Tom: Oh, I’ve got no doubt. Did you have any aims for the Olympics last year at all?

Paul: I did and I didn’t, dude. Obviously, we know the Olympics were supposed to happen in 2020 and I still wasn’t healed from my knee injury by that time. So there was no way. So in my mind, I didn’t even have the idea of like trying to make the Olympics, it was just out of my mind. Then COVID comes around and pushes it another year and at that time, when COVID hits like March last year, I’m skating. I’m skating all the time, you know, skating street again. I didn’t have the skate park or anything yet, but I was skating all the time.

I was skating with Manny [Santiago] a lot. I was feeling good, I’m skating decent everything was cool, you know, we’re driving home from a spot one day and Manny was filming his last video part. I’m like, maybe a year older than him and he’s killing it every spot we go to he’s getting clip after clip, getting these rails and he’s looking amazing. He’s so healthy and so, I’m just looking at him like, wow dude, he’s inspiring me, we’re basically the same age and he’s still out here getting it like when we were in our early 20s. Looking at him like feeling really inspired, like, I still got more in the tank, I still can like, contribute.

I’m coming off the injury so my mind is still like, you know, with the knee, I’m still like a little iffy and when you go through an injury like that, at least for me, your mind goes everywhere. Am I ever gonna come back again? And then some days, you’re like, fuck that I’ll come back better than ever! In other days, you’re like, I don’t know, dude, I don’t think it’s ever going to be the same again. You just go through this back and forth… And so, one day we’re skating, I got a trick that day, filmed the line, and I was feeling good, starting to skate good.

We’re driving in the car and Manny was just like…

“So what’s up, you gonna go for the Olympics?”

I was like, nah. He’s like, why? And I was thinking about it and I didn’t really have an answer for him. I was like, I don’t know. He’s like…

“Dude, you should go, it’s the first Olympics ever. It’d be weird if you didn’t go”

I was like, huh, interesting.

But, a part of me was like, can I still even compete like that, am I willing to compete like that, do I want to? I thought about it the whole night and couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about it all night. The next day I told him, you know what Manny, Fuck it. I’m gonna give it a shot. I have this weird thing where like, I’ll be super into something, then it’ll fade out and then I’ll get super into it and fade out.

Also, at that time, I went through a breakup… I was in a seven-year relationship, I broke up with my girlfriend, and I felt so happy to be free. I was kind of partying, kind of hanging out with the ladies. I would be distracted, because I’m like, a guy who just got out of jail and I’m just like, oh, I can hang out with this girl? Cool, alright, yeah. Have some drinks? Sure. Next day, I’m a little foggy-headed. Not exactly fully up to par. Still skating but not feeling my best because I was, doing what I was doing the night before. So I was like, half-assed serious, I knew in my heart I could, and I wanted to offer more in skateboarding. I wanted to, but then the other part of me was like, dude, you just ended a seven-year relationship. You need to live your life a bit too, you’ve got this career, you’ve been blessed in your career, it’s okay to also take some time to enjoy your personal life, too. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t like a fucking madman out there with 20 Chicks a night. But I mean, anybody that offered me a chance to like, we’re going out to this thing, you want to come? Yes, I do!

Laughs.

I’m a man, I don’t have to check in with anybody, I don’t have to explain myself. Of course, I took advantage of that. So, it definitely didn’t allow me to be fully serious about really doing this. So once I realised like, yes, it would be a nice idea to go to the Olympics, yes, it would be cool. But then the other part is like, but Paul, be real with yourself, man, you’re not as serious as you need to be if that’s what you really want to do. So, at some point, during the middle of summer, I kind of realised that you know what, I’m actually not that into that idea.

Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
360 Flip – Photo: Oliver Barton

“What the P-Rod” and coming back from injury

Tom: Did you put more time into the What the Prod part? Or did you naturally build up that section, like, you filmed a few clips and then it all just sort of snowballed into a…

Paul: …Happy accident.

Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Backside Nose Grind 180, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton

Because, you know, going out with the shoe and Nike and I had come up with the dunk the year before, I was still coming off the injury, but I was skating again. They didn’t really expect much of me so they were just like, you know if you can get a couple of Instagram clips for the launch of the shoe, let’s just do that. Let’s just get like, three or four Instagram clips and we’ll drop them.

So then for the What the Prod that was about to come out they were kind of like, let’s just do that again. So I went out skating and filmed one trick and it was the nollie fs noseslide nollie bs heel out. I had never done that trick before for some reason. I don’t know why, it seems like a trick I would have done. A lot of times, if I really feel excited with the trick, I’m like, I’m just gonna put it on Instagram. I’m impatient. I can’t wait. Then I was thinking well, shit. I gotta do this footage for the What the Prod part and didn’t have any shoes yet, I didn’t have samples. I had a sample but they were too small for me, so I called Nike like, “Hey man, when can I get samples so I can go out and try and film these clips?”. That got delayed. So I said, fuck it dude, I did the nollie fs noseslide nollie bs heel. I think I can do it again, let me just go back and skate the samples that… I wear a size 10, but the samples are size 9 so just let me just go back and try skate these nines and just do it there. So went back, and thankfully did it. I was like, well that I got one Instagram clip for the launch of the shoe. Then the shoes finally came in that were my size. Okay, cool. Let’s go back out and film. Then I think the second thing I got was a line. Nollie cab down the first set, then a big flip down the second set.

For me, they were tricks that I wasn’t excited about, I wasn’t like, “oh yeah I got a clip today”. It was more like Instagram shit, in my mind? And then I got another… I think the line where I did the half-cab heelflip noseslide nollie heel out line, on the green ledges. That line, I was like, oh, I was hyped on that line and I actually did that quickly. Wow, okay, I feel good about that, you got two lines and a single now, cool.

Oh, I had tried to switch bs big spin, before all that as well. That was one clip that I was like, that’s an actual clip that I want to have. But I tried that before I had the shoes as well but didn’t get it.

It was my first time jumping big stairs with my knees since my injury. I was nervous, how was it going to take it? So I was pussyfooting, I wasn’t letting myself commit to it. So then I was like, well shit, now that I had the shoes, it would be kind of sick if I got that switch bs big spin to tie up these Instagram pieces. So I got to switch bs big spin but then once we realised I had like five tricks I was feeling motivated. I felt the momentum happening and then I had some other spot ideas… Got a couple more tricks. I was like wait a minute dude, we still have like, two months before the shoe is supposed to come out and I’ve already done this in a few weeks. So I thought a fuck it, let me just keep going as long as I can until we get there and just see how much we have by then. I just kept doing it, filming and filming. Then slowly, Spanish Mike and I started realising as we got closer to the date, that there might be a little part here, not a full-length part, but it’s something, you know, it’s definitely more than just Instagram. So that’s how that kind of evolved.

Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Back 180 Fakie Nose Grind, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton
Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Nollie Nose Grind, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton

Tom: It’s definitely more than Instagram footage. That switch big spin is unbelievable.

Paul: Thank you.

Tom: That’s a really good part. How hard was it jumping downstairs with your knee and everything? To get back into that mindset of jumping down stuff, it’s horrible, I hate it.

Paul: It wasn’t that hard.

Thankfully, like I was really confident. I did a lot of rehab, I did more than what they asked me to do. I was bored man, for two years I couldn’t skate. I literally just went to the gym, five days a week. Every single day I have been working out at the gym, I worked out for a long time before I got hurt anyways. So I already had a really good relationship with my chiropractor, so when I got hurt that’s the guy I called, and he got me my surgeon, everything.

My surgeon would tell me, Okay, do rehab two to three times a week, so I went back to my where my chiropractor’s office is, that’s also a gym. So I went there, they put me with a physical therapist,  and I worked with the physical therapist specifically just for on the knee. But then right after physical therapy, I’d go work with my trainer, my Chiropractor, Dr. Eddie and he would put me through a full-body workout. So I would basically do two workouts back to back and I would do that Monday through Friday for a year and a half, so I was in shape!

When I was coming back to start jumping I would always tell myself, dude you’re healthy you’re strong, the doctor said you can skate. That being said I didn’t just go fucking hucking down anything. I started small and started feeling comfortable with my flip tricks again and get them down small stuff.

All this time, during the What the Prod part, the skatepark was being built, but nobody knew about it. I was keeping it secret because I wanted to surprise the Primitive team. All of a sudden one day it’s a finished park. Nobody knew except me, Manny and Spanish Mike. We would go there and skate by ourselves secretly. I have the little drop there, so it’d be worth skating that, working on that. Then slowly but surely, you go to the 8 stair like just ollie it, switch ollie it, 180 it, nollie it and see how my knee feels. Then slowly but surely I would do my tricks on the small gap and okay, now let me try this on the 8 stair now. I would just keep going back and forth and I would start doing the switch big spins down the small gap. They were feeling really consistent.

We went to skate Sylmour High, where the 11 stair is and also the same spot with the blue rails. Manny wanted to film a trick there for his video part so I went with him. Of course, that was like my old stomping grounds, I grew up skating there, that’s my OG spot. Every time I go there, I like to skate around the whole school, and I kind of just go through memory lane and remember, this was going on that day or whatever. So I went to the stairs. Ahh my stairs, my old buddies, you know, looking at them, thinking they’re cool man, I wonder if I can, like they look good still. Manny told me, dude, you should do the switch big spin down these. Yeah, maybe I should, maybe I should. So I started having that in my mind. So I started working on that at the park, on the small gap some more. Then I was trying to do it down the 8 stair and see if I can, get confident. I think I can take it to the 11 stair now. So that’s how I built up to it. But, even then I went the first time to try the 11 and it was just mentally, I was just scared. I didn’t know that was a lot more impact in the stairs I have at the park. I was still a little bit nervous. How’s my knee gonna handle this? What happens if I slip out weird? The last thing I want to do is start all the way over at square one and re-fuck up my knee. I would try it but like I would let it spin but I wouldn’t let myself catch it, I’d kick it away, and then just tumble out of it. I did that for a while and that’s just like, mentally I can’t. I’m not getting over this mental hurdle right now. I went… I think I went back three times. I knew every time if I just committed I could have done it in a handful of tries. So I had to work through that barrier but once I landed the switch big spin, that really got me back. My knee was fine. It handled that I came back three times. Hucked my carcass down the stairs a bunch of times, and held up fine. It didn’t hurt, nothing crazy happened, now just keep at it. So that was that! Sorry. My answers get long-winded!

Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Switch Backside Flip, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton
Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Switch Flip Front Board, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton

Tom: Don’t worry, it’s all great. How does that part compare with your other ones? Obviously, it was sort of a comeback in a way. Do you hold that one just as high as everything else? I mean, the footage in it is just as good.

Paul: The What the Prod part?

Tom: Yeah. I don’t know, if you have favourite parts or whatever, but is that up there with the with your favourites? 

Paul: No, no, it’s not. Like I was saying, there are a couple of tricks that I would typically put on Instagram but I just decided to hold it and thankfully I did, because it helped build momentum. But no, it’s definitely not. As I got older, the way I would approach video part is, I didn’t want to put a trick in my part unless it took me more than an hour to do. That’s the standard I would put on myself. The last part I had before that, the Primitive video I went back to those spots five times or more, trying for hours at a time. So I finally did those tricks.

“I didn’t want to put a trick in my part unless it took me more than an hour to do”

I put so much stress on myself to try to, you know, as I get older, I don’t want to just be the old guy that they’re like, “well, it was just sick to see you skate dude”. I still want to do shit that still is relevant to today’s standards, I still want to be in the mix. I didn’t want to just be like, fuck, I’m just the token old guy who just had a couple of clips. I still want to be in the game man! So that’s what I would do for the Never part. So for this part, some of those things I landed quickly, and some of them weren’t really that much of a battle really. The main thing that was a battle was the switch bs big spin, and then the line I did with the nollie flip crook on the rail, because that was also the first rail I really skated too since it came back. So I was nervous about all that too. But yeah, long story short. No, I don’t rank it very high. It’s special in the sense of it signifies me coming back, but I definitely see it and I know I have more than that. I know that you get older, with the level of skating that there is nowadays, but I still know I have more than that. I got more to give than that.

Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Switch Tre Flip, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton

Tom: I can’t wait to see it.

Paul: Last year was like, I’m back around, get used to seeing me. But hopefully, this year I’m like, able to contribute something good to the game.

Tom: Do you have a favourite part of yours? Or is it more a favourite era maybe?

Paul: All different eras man. I think I’ve had 13 or 14 parts, something like that. Different eras, different times, but I don’t know. I was really proud of the footage that I had in the Primitive video, Never. I was really proud of that stuff because I worked really hard for it. It wasn’t the most amount of footage, it wasn’t a lot. But it took a lot just to get those tricks, like I said every one of those I went back five or six times for.

Sam: Do you ever just sit and watch your parts? Like you know, like the whole thing with musicians. Some musicians don’t listen to their music once they put it out or whatever. As a skater do you ever sit down and watch your own part like that?

Paul: If I’m at Spanish Mike’s house they do. He does this thing, like whoever comes in his house, a pro skater he puts your part on for you. But if I go to his house, I see them. But usually what I do, especially as technology gets better, every time I get a clip I ask the filmer to just send it to me on my phone and I keep a little album on my phone of my newest footage. So if I get a clip, I watch that clip over and over again, while it’s still new. Or even if we go and I get close to something, I’ll have him send me the tries that I got the closest on and I’ll watch that over and over again and kinda try and study it to see what I did wrong or what I can do right. You know, just analysing it.

But sometimes if I’m feeling really nostalgic I’ll go back and watch City Stars, In Bloom or something, like fuck, where did that time go? I remember that shit so vividly. Where’d that kid go? Man I want to get back in touch with that fire. When I feel like I’m being lazy and not getting inspired to really go at it. I will go back and try to reconnect with that kid, remember that the fire in that kid’s belly was crazy. Try to reconnect with it for sure.

Tom: You’re Nothing But The Truth part was to Sonic Youth was such a sick song and probably my favourite Prod part. I love the song so much, like the way it builds up into the part. I know you said that you originally wanted a Nirvana song for it. I was just curious which Nirvana song you wanted?

Paul: I think it was a Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle. I think that’s what I wanted but we just couldn’t get the rights. They wanted like a hundred and something thousand for the song or whatever, so that got denied. So, we went with Sonic Youth which still went great.

Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
360 Flip, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton
Paul Rodriguez What The P-Rod
Switch Front Blunt, What The P-Rod Creative Shoot – Photo: Oliver Barton

Starting Primitive Skateboards

Tom: I mean, it works so well. I’ll move on to Primitive. So, I didn’t realise Primitive was a shop in 2008 until recently. How did that come about? Was that just again, looking to the future, after skateboarding?

Paul: Yeah, yeah. Still kind of along with that mentality…

I had a friend, Andy, who used to work at the skate shop that I skated for when I was a little guy. He managed the skate shop, and he mentored me along with Nigel. He was a huge, huge sneaker head and he worked retail the whole time I knew him. So, when I finally got that Nike contract in 2004, he called me, and he was like, dude you’ve got that Nike plug, we should open our own shop, I know how to run a store, I’m telling you, we will kill it. And, you know, I was 19 when I got on Nike I was still, like, you want to have future investments, but this sounds like a whole lot to me. A lot of money to invest and I’m not ready for this, it feels too big. But he kept calling me to do it, for the next two or three years. Finally, by that time, I’m 22, I’m more established with Nike now, and I have better relationships. And I’m like, alright, well, maybe it is something to consider.

So I started talking to some people at Nike, like what would it take? Or how would I go about opening a shop? Like how do I get an account? They started saying like well, you’d have to do this or that or that. So I relayed the information back to Andy, and little by little, looking for locations and all that. Long story short, we put together a business plan, pitched it to Nike, they approved giving us an account and we invested money and built out the shop and opened it up in August 2008. It was like a nice sneaker store. Double back shoe wall, we carried other kinds of clothes in there, we had some we had skateboards but mainly it was like Plan B boards. And you know, all my sponsors had stuff. It was not a full-blown skate shop per se but you can go in there and get a full complete and all that, but, it was mainly like a sneaker shop.

Sam: So was there a point at which you knew it was gonna be a brand? Was there a point where you guys just went, we’re kind of above being a shop now, we need to just go in that direction?

Paul: It was natural. It wasn’t necessarily intentional. My partner Jubal and Andy they ran the shop. These guys are really like design minded, they love designing shit. Naturally you open a shop, you’re going to make t-shirts for your shop, or hoodies, made a couple of boards, but like they were pretty cool. They’re cool as shirts, boards and stuff. We notice people kind of gravitated towards them, and started buying them, you know, buying the hoodies, t-shirts, hats or whatever. We had these super cool New Era hats. Little by little we would expand how many designs we put out little by little. By we I mean they. I’m not a designer guy, all this time I’m out there skating my ass off. And little by little you notice more and more people gravitating towards, and buying the Primitive shirts and the shop shirts, hats and decks and little by little others other shops started asking if they can carry our shirts. They’re little skateshops or little stores, little by little, get an account here and account there.

After a while we get Zumies hit us up about wanting to do a, for them, a small test run. I think it was like 10/15 stores. For us, that’s huge, so we ended up doing a test run with them, it goes really well it sells well in their shops and then they want to place a bigger order, you know, we want to put you in like 50 stores now. Slowly and surely it grew. That’s when we realised like, oh shit, now we’re playing with the big boys, in the big leagues. That’s when it kind of like, we still had the store. But it was like, oh, we have a full blown brand so at that point, we actually got a little warehouse with, a couple warehouse workers to pack some boxes and ship them out. Couple more graphic designers, you know, a little accounting department, the basic necessities you need, so we grew from there. And then one of these turning points again…

Sam: I was gonna say, you’re reaching a point where you’re gonna make another decision.

Laughs.

Paul Rodriguez Skateboarder
Switch Frontside Heel Flip – Oliver Barton

The infamous gold skateboard

Paul: Yeah yeah yeah, 2012, this idea started floating around in my mind, I was spending a lot of time with Steve Berra in 2011/2012 and we were working on different projects. He did this really cool Mountain Dew commercial and this really cool project for Target, I was skating for Target at the time. A really cool series of things. I was spending a lot of time with Steve. He’s a very forward thinker, just talking about like how, online is going to be the thing. Online sales are going to be the new skate shops, virtual, you know, all that. I think that Berrics were just starting the Canteen and starting to tinker with it. Then, you know, especially at that time, it was super taboo to talk about online skateshops.

As much as I want to still be seven years old watching Power Rangers and drinking Kool Aid. It doesn’t stay that way. You know what I mean? Life changes, it just keeps going. You can’t stop it, all you do is learn how to adapt to it.

So he’s telling me like, yeah man, think about it, you sell a board online, you don’t have to sell it wholesale, and you sell it directly to your customer. You get all the margin, right? You don’t have to just take a $2 royalty or whatever. At this time, it makes a lot of sense. So I was thinking, originally, I’m going to I was just going to make pro model boards, sell them on my website and then if some skate shops wanted to get them, we would send em to the shops, but mainly just direct to consumer.

At the time, when I was thinking about it, I was trying to get Mikey Taylor to do it, I was trying to get Chris Cole, you know, my guys. We should do this, let’s do this, we could actually like earn off of our own pro skateboards. Everybody was really nervous and they’re like, so what are you going to do? Just make Prod skateboards? Oh, no, it’s not going to have a name. I’m going to just design a graphic and it’s just going to be a signature board. I’m just going to drop a certain amount every couple months, 100/200 or whatever the number is. Come up with a cool graphic, release it, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Then a couple months later, I’ll drop another one. It’ll just be a Paul Rodriguez pro model board. But they’re like…

“I don’t get what’s the name of it?”

“THERE IS NO NAME.” Laughs. “It’s just a signature board. This is a pro model board, just releasing the pro model board.”

“Yeah, but that means just Prod skateboards.”

“NO, it’s just a Paul Rodriguez pro model. You design a graphic, you release it. Chris Cole signature board, not Chris Cole skateboards, just a Chris Cole signature board.”

I would get so frustrated talking to them. They’re like you have to have a name. Why do you have to have a name? Our names are our name! Mikey Taylor, Chris Cole! In skateboarding our names are well known enough. If you have fans that ride your signiture board, they’re gunna wanna buy it, right?!

Alright guys, you know what? I’m just gonna fucking go for it, I want to be a guinea pig.

So, at that time, that was my mentality right? I wasn’t even thinking about Primitive. I was just really gassed on this idea that Steve had opened my mind up to. But obviously I’m with Plan B and I was happy with that, everything was cool. But, I realised, dude I want more responsibility and ownership of myself. I’m a huge Jay Z fan, I look at everything that he does, that he owns and everything he is a part of. That’s the boss move right there, you’re your own boss, you own yourself, you know? So it was just my little baby attempt at trying that, you know?

So, I was in Germany at a Street League and I hadn’t quit plan B yet but I was painting the bottom of my boards. I went to this hardware store and bought a few different colours, white, black and gold. I spray-painted it white and black and I noticed that the paint would just be real sticky and wouldn’t fully dry and kind of bubbled. So when you want to do a tailslide or something it’d be real sticky so it wasn’t good. But, for some reason the gold paint went on real smooth and it dried good and it wasn’t like it was sticky. I was like wow, that actually looks pretty sick, I thought it would be like a little too much. So I started spraying my boards gold, just by myself, just messing around with it. I was trying to inspire myself to call Colin and tell him I’m leaving.

Sighs.

Another one of those moments.

Laughs.

So we were in Germany for the Street League X-Games in Munich, I show up and I’m skating a gold board, just Nike sticker, Target sticker… I have one of the boards I can show you…

Ryan Denmen, the [Plan B] team manager, he sees that. He doesn’t say anything to me, but he calls Colin.

…One of these exactly, right here. [Shows the set-up he is describing]

Do you see the Plan B under here? [scratches the gold paint] Just like that. So I had it stickered up, just like that. Ryan Denman who has been my good friend since the City Stars days. You know he was on City Stars with me. He sees me riding this board, no Plan B stickers and he’s like, something’s up dude. So he calls Colin, Colin’s back in the States, while I’m out here [Berlin], he calls me later that day.

“Hey, so what’s going on? Denmen said you’re riding a spray painted board?”

And I was just like, “Oh yeah, the gold paint, I like it, it looks cool.”

“Yeah, it’s all good, I don’t care, but like could you maybe throw a Plan B sticker on there”

At this point I was like, dude. I’m already on the phone with him just pull the fucking band aid off.

So, I’m like…

“Colin, I’ve been meaning to call you dude. Im gunna leave. I have this idea that I really want to try out, try it on my own and see if it works.”

I talked to him for two hours, Colin is a smooth motherfucker man, and he almost had me, pulling me back in, then I remembered like dude if you get pulled back in, you know you’re just gonna want to just leave. So, I mustered up the courage to stand my ground.

“Sorry Colin, that’s it, it’s done.”

Right then and there, in Germany, the night before the contest. I go downstairs to the lobby, Mikey’s down there, Chris Cole’s down there, all the gang is down there. My partner in Primitive right now, Heath, he’s down there. And I tell them;

“Guys, I just quit Plan B, right now, like, just now.”

So anyway, I skate the contest, and come home. This is like months before we even put on any gold boards. So, I come home and me and Heath are talking about it. I was trying to come up with graphics, trying to put this whole thing together, launch the boards, whatever. Heath is very patient… Oh, no, Here’s what happened… We went to Bareback, the wood manufacturer and they saw that I was spraying boards and I was just buying boards from them in the meantime too, to skate blank boards. They saw that I had been spray painting boards and they happen to have this cool gold foil. One of the boxes they sent me boards with, they just took it upon themselves and sent the boards just gold foil, no graphic, nothing. Just pure gold foil, and it looked dope. It was like you know, you guys have seen the Primitive gold boards, I’m sure. It was like that but with no graphic. I was like, wow, skated it and it was gleaming. I would do tricks and put it up onto Instagram and all the comments were like, that board’s sick! Where can I get that board? You should sell boards. I want one of those boards! And I was just like…

“Heath, we’ll figure out a graphic later, dude. But let’s just put these boards out. Just gold, nothing, not even my name on them.”

He’s like,

“No, we gotta have your name on it and we got to make a graphic.”

We had this idea for the gold bar, gold bar board. But we didn’t know how to like raise it, we wanted to feel texture, like it was embossed into the board. We didn’t know how to do that. So I was just saying to Heath…

“Dude I don’t care, we’re doing it”

I get over impatient and he is just too patient for me sometimes. And he’s like alright, fine! Just at least let do one thing. Let’s just let’s put together a little marketing plan, maybe like a series of videos one of an interview with me kind of talking, one of me skating the ledge in my backyard, a couple of different like little videos. The week of the launch we released one video every day, for the week. And then we’ll announce that we’re launching midnight, on I think it was like, December 12 or something 2013. So I was like, fuck it, let’s just test it, who cares? Let’s just do 500 boards and put it on my website and just see what happens. It’s not a huge investment, not so much money. Fuck it, if it fails, it fails. Who cares? We tried, now we can try something else.

Then he comes up with this idea.

“Well, I think we should have you sign and number every one of them.”

So cool, we did a video of that, we went down Bareback, filmed, signed and numbered every single one of them, sat there and signed 500 boards. We did the video, launched it and at this time I was in Argentina on a Nike demo trip on the day of the launch. I forget the time difference but it was like it was like 3 or 4 in the morning. I’m asleep. My girlfriend at the time called, because she was going to help organise and ship our boards. It launched at midnight. I got a call, pick it up and I’m like…

“Hello”

“They’re gone. They’re all gone.”

“What?”

“They sold out they’re gone. They were gone in the first two minutes, they’re gone.”

“What, are you serious?”

I was like, excited for when I wake up and we’ll see how many sold. I didn’t know what to expect, right? We thought if we sold 500 boards in one month, we had just stumbled on something amazing. They were gone, two minutes, all 500 had gone, actually the computer system actually sold 560. We over sold, we had to go back to 60 people, refund the money and say sorry. I don’t know what and shipped them out, boom boom boom, everything went great.

In that moment I was like, fuck, I could be onto something here, this could work. And I forget exactly how this conversation happened but I started realising like, yeah, this will work for a certain amount of time, right? Like, one, you’re going to piss off a lot of skate shops who supported you over a lot of years and, you know, how’s that gonna affect Nikes relationship with the skateshops and your shoes? And how’s that going to affect any other sponsor you’re associated with? Because all these shops might hate you now and they don’t want any of your product and now you make enemies after all these years? Yes. I mean, fuck, I didn’t think of that. So yeah, okay, I don’t want to do that, I’ve been so welcomed and supported over so many years by all these shops and the industry, just to turn around and just be like, fuck you, I’m getting it.

Laughs.

It really got put into perspective that way. Okay, I can’t do that. So then I’m thinking alright, well, do we try and get these into shops and I’m with Heath and he’s trying to figure it out. I’m like, what, I don’t want to deal with this, I want to skate. I don’t want to do all this stuff. So then my partner Andy from Primitive calls me said, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself but he said…

“Hey, I know you’re trying to do things with skateboarding, but like, you know, we have this brand right here, why don’t we make Primitive skateboards?”

I was like, duuuh, yeah, okay, cool. I talked to Heath. We did it. We have infrastructure already, we have a warehouse, we have shipping. We have everything you need, right, so we decided we’re gonna make it Primitive Skateboards. I also realised that sure, I might sell boards every couple months and make more money on the boards than I would have just having a sponsor. Not like crazy amount, but I’m still making more. But, what happens when I want to retire? What happens when I’m not like the fucking big shot, you know, the kids are on to the next guy. Then it ends, when I end. But a brand, if you do it right can go on beyond you. So we decided to do Primitive skateboards and then kind of go back to the skate, original skate model.

“What happens when I’m not like the fucking big shot, you know, the kids are on to the next guy.”

Tom: How much did knowing that Carlos Ribeiro and Nick Tucker were not fully on a team, help you go into making a skate team? Knowing that those two unbelievable dudes were available?

Paul: I knew once we were going to change the model from just making signature boards, to actually making a brand, or making Primitive skateboards, and I knew at that time, we’re gonna have to make a team. I can’t just be the only guy on Primitive skateboards, that’s a little weird.

So, Carlos, I mean, Heath told me about Carlos years ago, Carlos, I don’t know what the hell was going on with everybody else. What’s wrong with these people? Because Carlos is, obviously we all know how amazing he is, how gifted he is. But like, when I first met him, he was getting flow from Chocolate, and that was his dream, to ride for Chocolate. The first time I skated with him, he was awesome, we had a good time, we hit it off.

I talked with Denman and the Plan B guys, and I was like, guys, they’re not doing anything with this guy, maybe we should try and do something with him, start giving him boards and see if we can work him onto the team. He started getting Plan B stuff. And then I think after a while, still before I left, I think he left getting Plan B flow went back to Girl or Chocolate flow, because I think that they were maybe talking about doing something with him or made him feel that maybe… I could be wrong right now. But by the time, you know, I don’t remember how long exactly the amount of time that went by, but when I ended up leaving Plan B to go through this and end up starting up Primitive Skate, this man is still over here on flow! I’m like, what is the matter with these people?

Heath and I called him, set up a meeting with him, whatever, talk to him like, “man, I know chocolate is your dream and I can’t compete with that”, like I know what its like when you’re young, and you have this vision of what you want your career to be. I know that you stick to your guns, but I was like, “but look, we believe in you, man, you are amazing, I want to put you on, ON on”! I want to launch this brand with you know, kind of similar what Danny was telling me when Plan B was coming around like, I want you, me and at the time it was Nick. Also, Nick was getting flow from Expedition or something. I thought Nick was incredible, you know, so I talk to Nick, he is down. Carlos, I think he struggled with it a little bit. Like, ah, but there’s a chance, like… Chocolate… I think they might do something, what if they do and then I missed the opportunity? I think he was having an internal struggle. But then eventually, obviously, he came around. He was like, alright, I’m gonna do it. We were able to put them on the team, you know, give them a little bit of money and help further along his dream of being a pro skater. So, yeah, us three was the team at first. And launched with those guys and rest is history.

Sam: Do you see that a lot? Dudes that are so good, they’re nice guys and you can’t work out why they’re not getting stuff. Does that happen a lot?

Paul: So much. I mean, even now, there’s some guys that I would like to put on the team.  We have to have internal discussions about, but you can only give so much, with any brand.

In skateboarding in general, you’re like, how the hell is this guy not like a superstar? I always compare skateboarding to music. Where it’s like, for instance, one of my favourite rappers is Jadakiss, right? And like, obviously this year he got some big shine, I always wondered how the fuck is Jadakiss not one of the biggest rappers out there? Like the huge hits and stuff like I don’t know for whatever reason, I don’t know if it’s marketability or what, you know, or just what the fans gravitate to?

You know, that’s how it is with skateboarding, its like, you can skate with a million guys who are amazing, incredible and you just cant figure out why don’t the fans see this? Why don’t the public see it this way either? You can’t pinpoint it you know? I guess thats just the way it is and it sucks but it’s not actually something any one person can control. It’s literally up to the people, like with skateboarding, the reason I have a career, the reason other pro skateboarders are living off of their dream of skateboarding, is because the fans. The fans gravitate towards me. They’ve deemed these people as people they enjoy watching skate, you know what I mean?

It’s out of anybody’s control so I don’t have the answer for everybody, some people you think you can tell why it’s not working out or whatever, but some people you’re like, fuck, you got me lost. Carlos and Nick were definitely two guys that I was like, these guys are tripping, these companies flowing these guys are tripping.

But, it was good fortune for us at Primitive, that these guys were available. I didn’t want to start the brand and just go poach people. I didn’t want to just go and make enemies with all these people that I knew that own these brands but also wanted to have a sick ass team. But I wasn’t going to go to certain brands and take their main guys and be like nope, we’re gonna make this superstar team and take everybody else’s guys. Now I’m the guy who’s a fucking asshole, stealing off everyone’s brand. So they were the perfect people to start the brand with because they had been around for a while, people knew who they were and I didn’t have to steal from anywhere. So it just worked out.

Tom: You said in a previous interview that music’s the closest thing to skateboarding, or skateboarding is the closest thing to music. If you were genre of music, what do you reckon you would be? Or what would your skateboarding be?

Paul: Fuck, that’s a great question. I never been asked that.

Up until recently, I would have told you, hip hop, I love hip hop, big hip hop fan. But then even more recently, I’ve kind of been really back into my rock phase. I don’t know, sometimes I even listen to just classical music, I’m listening to Bach or Beethoven, shit like that when I’m driving in the car. It’s so peaceful and nice to listen to it.

I don’t know, man, I think probably from my body of work, up to now, probably I think hip hop genre probably suits me the best in the sense of like, I’m more of what you might think of as, like, perhaps a technical skater. And not necessarily like a dangerous skater so, you know, the rhyming and the word play, how people put shit together technically and stuff like that. That kind of matches with my skating and plus, you know, the way I dress and the influence I’ve had, you know, you can tell it’s very hip hop inspired. So, yeah, I guess hip hop would be it.

Sam: I guess the only other question is then to wrap it up is like, what’s for 2020? For you, for Primitive? Obviously you are back skating again fully after your injury. And, is there designs on the next Olympics? Is there anything cool coming up with Primitive? That sort of stuff?

Paul: Yeah, Primitive we are defintely releasing a full length video this year. I’m working and trying to get myself a full part in that, so that’s what I’m really focused on right now. I want to continue going back to contests, of course, this year. I wanna be competitive in this day and age still, so that’s a fun challenge that I’m looking forward to.

We just have so many cool collabs and launches and drops with Primitive, cool riders that we are going to announce. Pretty much my focus is keeping it simple, filming this part, and tryna go skate some contests and not look like the oldest guy there.

Laughs.

With God willing, I just wanna stay healthy. I have an extreme amount of motivation at the moment and an extreme amount of like burning passion right now and I wanna go with that as long as possible. However long God allows my body to be able to do it and be healthy, its all I want man. I wanna finish strong, I wanna feel like I still have some gas in the tank and I can contribute to skateboarding in a relevant way still, not just be like…

Sam: You don’t wanna fade out, right?

Paul: Yeah, I want it to be like, wow, he can still skate and hold his own, not just, wow that was nice, he just did a 360 flip in the video, like oooh he had one or two clips, it’s cool to just see him. Nah I wanna maybe surprise some people, you know?

Sam: I like the sound of that. Yeah, thank you so much for giving us, a lot of your time. We really appreciated it.

Paul: No problem.

Tom: Yeah, really really appreciate it.

Paul: Of course, my pleasure. Well, thank you guys for the time and I hope you guys have a great end to your day, or evening. Enjoy the beers.

Tom: Thank you very much, have a great skate.

Paul: Alright y’all, have a good one.

Fin.

Leave a comment

  • Get 10% Off Your First Order!

    Sign up for our newsletter and get 10% offer your first order, plus awesome exclusive offers direct to your inbox each week!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.