Five Favorite Parts With Paul Rodriguez

Circa 2010 photo via the first-ever QS party ♥

If you cite the era surrounding Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as when you first started skating (we all know nobody started skating in 2000 because they miraculously saw Photosynthesis in their dreams, stop pretending), P-Rod was likely one of your first favorite skaters. He was one of the main dudes in his mid-teens ripping as hard as established pros then, so it’s funny to see that a lot of what he looked for in his favorites back then was …people in roughly the same age group as him, ripping as hard as established pros.

Some of these turned anecdotal, which is obvs what you’d expect from someone who spent the majority of his life in the skate industry e.g. apparently he talked about the Baker thing in his Nine Club, which I missed, but had no idea that was ever in the cards.


Guy Mariano — Girl Skateboards: Mouse (1996)

That was just a legendary, ahead of its time part that was full of things nobody was even thinking of doing…what, 23 years ago now? The song obviously went perfectly with it, too.

Guy and Tom Penny were like Santa Claus to me. You heard so much about them, but would never see them. When I started skating, it was right in line with when Guy took his hiatus. The older heads would always be telling me, “You gotta watch Mouse. Guy Mariano, this is the one.” There was Mouse, and then somebody showed me Video Days, and I was like, “Wow, he’s a little dude here, just like me.”

I remember the first time I ever saw him — I froze in my steps. I had just got on DNA Skateboards, which was my first-ever sponsor. It must’ve been my first month on the team, and they sent me to a demo at a shop in San Diego. I think it may have been Pacific Drive. I’m skating, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I see Guy wearing his second Axions that looked like a running shoe in dark blue. There was a pyramid with a ledge going across it, and he kept doing back 180 pivot half cab out across it, over and over, dressed so dope. When I realized it was him, I stopped skating, and tried to be at a distance so I wouldn’t be creepy. It was like seeing a unicorn. He did maybe six of those, and sat down. I have no idea why he was in San Diego, or who he was with, and didn’t end up seeing him again until I got on Girl four years later.

Lavar McBride — Trilogy (1996)

He was a little kid, I was a little kid. It was inspiring to see someone in my age group — he’s a little older than me — but he was still the little dude killing it so hard. It was so early in my skate years that I didn’t even know what tricks were switch and regular. It is embarrassing to say now, but at the time, I pushed mongo maybe my first year skating, and that’s how I thought Lavar skated. I later found out that all that stuff was switch, while pushing switch mongo. I didn’t even know that was the wrong way to push, I was just hyped, like “Yeah, this guy skates like me!”

Daewon Song — Rodney V.S. Daewon (1997)

Round 2 is great, but if you go back and check the first one, it’s crazy. I always loved Daewon’s gear. He was always rocking those Menace shirts and skated so fast. I liked his whole steez. This was when he was still skating regular spots — he wasn’t setting up any crazy table combinations or anything like that. Nowadays, he’s so good that he’s just beyond normal spots. In this part, he was still skating benches and regular ledges. He really came into his own here, because just before this video, he was still mainly skating curbs and stuff.

Whatever camera they were using back then — I’m guessing it was a Hi-8 or something — but it had this specific sound and you can feel and hear how fast he’s going. He’s hauling ass in that entire part, and that always stuck out to me.

Andrew Reynolds — Birdhouse: The End (1999)

He really became the Andrew Reynolds we know today in that part. It’s funny to think I almost rode for Baker when I left City Stars because I rolled so hard with Evan, Terry, Herman and them. Reynolds even sent me a box of boards, and in Yeah Right, I switch front crook this rail in Long Beach riding a Baker board, except the graphic is spray-painted over. But since Eric is my superhero, when he asked me to get on Girl, it was immediately like, “yes sir.”

Eric Koston — éS: Menik Mati (2000)

I’m torn between two Koston parts. Chocolate Tour was way more raw, but I’d lean towards Menik Mati because it was, in a way, the fuller part. For me, that was the defining Koston part.

I went to the premiere of Menik Mati when I was on City Stars and Axion. I remember being with Caine Gayle, Ryan Denman, Heath Brinkley, and we were eating after the premiere. I was saying to them, “One day, I’m gonna be on éS. That’s my dream.” I was only on Axion flow, but still, I was too naive to realize that Kareem, our boss, was part of Axion. It was stupid to be like, “Oh, I’m gonna be on éS.”

Six months after that, Jeron Wilson actually connected me with Koston because Jeron rode for the same shop as me in the Valley. He knew I was big Koston fan, and that I really loved Fourstar and éS. He ended up getting me my first Fourstar box. I remember being at Beverly Hills High School, trying to get a photo with Atiba, who I had just started shooting with, and he didn’t tell me that he had invited Eric, who suddenly pulls up in his all black Denali. I got super nervous, but I ended up getting a switch front board down the rail, and it became my first Fourstar ad. A little while later, it all came together, and I got on éS.

P.S. Paul asked that we list Marc Johnson’s 7 Steps To Heaven part and Ronnie Creager’s Trilogy part as honorable mentions.

Previously: Gilbertt Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams

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