By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
It all started one Christmas morning when a boy received the perfect gift from his parents: a skateboard. He was 12 years old. Since that moment, skateboarding has accompanied him awake and while sleeping, since he confessed he usually cuddled his deck to sleep. That boy was none other than Paul Rodriguez Jr. AKA P-Rod, an ace of the shred and the man behind Primitive Skateboarding Company and the protagonist of Nike's skateboarding machine. A pro skater, a champion, an entrepreneur and a celebrity, P-Rod can only be defined as a man of many faces; a self-made yet humble skater boy.
Breakthrough on Video Tapes
Photo: Tina Stephenson (Unsplash)
Some say P-Rod was destined for greatness and popularity since his birth, for he’s the son of veteran comedian and actor, Paul Rodriguez Sr. and yet his triumph in the skateboarding scene was far from everyone’s speculations. Since the very first day, as a teen, he has been working all the way on his own behalf. Once P-Rod polished his skills and mastered various styles and tricks, he recorded video tapes and flicks of all his work grinding the streets of California and sending them to local skateboard sponsors, shops and companies.
DNA Skateboards saw one of his videos and decided to sponsor him at age 15. At 16 he was still seen as an amateur but with a promising future right ahead of him, so other companies such as City Stars, co-founded by veteran pro skater Kareem Campbell, took an interest on him and invited the kid to their team of promising amateurs which steadily launched his career and earned him multiple spotlights.
Soon after, he was wanted by many skateboarding and sports companies that looked to patronage him and sponsor his style. The boy who used to film low budget videos of himself engaging in street skateboarding and taking on city spots became the protagonist of featured promotional videos encouraging others to persevere and never quit. The most significant moment of his life would be nonetheless when he was personally invited by pro skater Eric Koston, from Girl Skateboards to join his team. A dream that came true for P-Rod, for Koston was his all-time hero.
Champion of the Screen and of The Deck
P-Rod’s biggest success would be the victories in X Games which earned him from out of eight heated disputed finals, 4 gold medals in Los Angeles after participating for a decade. This showed the world that he is not just a pretty face, for his abilities did receive the attention that he deserved and was viewed by the right people. After Girl, P-Rod also worked with Plan-B Skateboarding, where he would edit and direct his own promotional videos for the companies. Despite the continuous patronage and sponsorship, P-Rod was always aware that none of them owned him and that his style was untradeable.
He is to this day one of the biggest shots of Nike skateboarding products area, but he also has Primitive Skateboarding, his own personal skateboarding company with its own agenda where he could finally be self-employed and self-sponsored. That fateful Christmas morning gift started a long journey for a still very young man. It seems like its been ages, for the kid, the teen and the grownup, for the times have changed but he is undoubtedly one and the same: the one and only Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez.