P-Rod discusses Primitive, collabs, acting

Yoon Sul

The new Primitive Skateboarding team, from left to right: Carlos Ribeiro, Paul Rodriguez and Nick Tucker.

Last week, Paul Rodriguez announced the launch of his new board company, Primitive Skateboarding, nearly a year after leaving Plan B. A few videos surfaced on The Berrics related to the new brand, but there were still quite a few questions to be answered. While executing the first push for his brand, a Southern California shop tour where he personally delivered his boards to retailers, Rodriguez spoke with XGames.com to shed light on an array of topics surrounding his new brand and its riders.

XGames.com: In your career thus far you've been able to ride for City Stars, Girl and Plan B. In each of those cases, superstar skateboarders approached you to ride for their companies. Tell us about how Primitive Skateboarding makes this minor detail in your life come full circle in a big way.
Rodriguez: I wouldn't call it a minor detail, because for me it's a big detail and a big move. I've been fortunate to ride for any company I've ever wanted to. I've paid my dues and I've been fortunate to build myself up to where I saw the opportunity. Some of my favorite skaters have gone on to do the same thing and start their own brands. I've admired that. Over these last couple of years it started weighing on my mind. I figured if I was going to do it, right now would be the time.

I was saying it was a minor detail because it's your life and it's not something most people on the outside hone in on -- the fact that you got approached by Kareem Campbell for City Stars and Danny Way asked you to ride for Plan B. Now you get to do that for the young rippers and you've done that for Carlos Ribeiro and Nick Tucker.
Yeah. Basically, all my prayers were answered. As a young kid I would pray to God that he'd let me make it. Now that I'm on the other end of that, it's kind of surreal to me because as a young kid I never thought that far ahead. I just thought about getting my spot and trying to get put on [a team] and now I'm in a position where I'm a guy who can help build up next generation guys. It's a huge honor. I thank God for that opportunity.

You said you had to abruptly leave Plan B in order to start a new company because if you didn't force yourself to figure it out you might never do it. Have you always been a "jump in and learn later" kind of guy?
I lead with passion and that's the thing that will drive you to excel. I don't start off trying to figure something out and then try and accumulate the passion because I won't get that far. For me, unless it's something I'm very driven about, I'm the laziest person you'll ever meet. That's the way I've always been.

Primitive Skateboarding

"I lead with passion and that's the thing that will drive you to excel," says Rodriguez on the new venture.

But is it true that had you not quit Plan B, you really wouldn't have figured it out?
It's 100 percent true. I had a family at Plan B. Everything was good, but once I started considering the possibility of doing my own thing and how I would do it, I had this passion building up inside me and the bubble burst within me. That's when I felt I had to do it. It was a difficult thing to leave Plan B. I procrastinated and procrastinated. I had it on my mind to do it and one day I just woke up and did it, otherwise I was going to lag the whole way. I was content riding for Plan B, but I just had a realization that I would put off starting my own board company forever until I missed my window. I had no clue exactly what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to start my own thing, I just didn't know what route or how I was going to do it. Without a sponsor though, it's kind of fight or flight or sink or swim.

After 10 months of spray-painting boards gold, did you ever think about naming your company something that has to do with gold?
I didn't get that close. There's already a skate company called Gold Wheels, and I didn't want anyone to think I was infringing on their name. It did cross my mind, but it was too close, and I'm friends with those guys and not trying to step on anybody's toes.

A lot of your close friends are riding for Primitive. How tempted are you to put all your friends on? Do you have to get reeled in sometimes when it comes to these types of personnel decisions with the companies you own?
That is one detail I didn't go over beforehand. It's tough, man. There are so many people out there that I have love for, and I want to help and get them in a position to live out their dreams. Sometimes not everybody is the right fit. You don't want to turn anyone down, but you can't go making irrational decisions because then you're going to be counterproductive and not be able to build the vision you had.

Primitive Skateboarding

Are you starting a Primitive wheels company anytime soon?
We're not going to make it a separate brand and have separate people riding for it, but within our brand we're going to have all the skate accessories like wheels, hats, T-shirts and down the line, tools.

Of your first run of boards, the one that stands out most features a unique wolf graphic. Talk about how that deck came to be.
We're fortunate to have talented, young and upcoming artists and they work both by hand and on the computer doing illustrations. There's no deep meaning behind the wolf deck. It was just a vision that one of our artists had and drew it up. I thought it looked beautiful. For me I was like, "I want that one. I want my name on that one."

After interviewing Nas at Agenda Emerge earlier this year, will we see a collaboration between Primitive Skateboarding and Nas?
I should say it like this -- we might see that one sooner than later.

There is speculation that your friend Mikey Taylor is going to be the next addition to Primitive Skateboarding. What do you have to say about that?
I'm not sure. Mikey's my boy. How do I answer this politically correct? All I'll say is he's always welcome.

We've seen you act in the films "Street Dreams" and "Vicious Circle." You also starred in "LIFE," a web reality series on Steve Berra's Network A YouTube channel. Is it true that you would like to get back into acting after you're done skating?
Yeah, most definitely. It's another passion I have. I've always been into action flicks. I like drama and comedy would be good, but I don't think I'm comically talented, even though it runs in my family. I guess I could do movies like those I like to watch. One day I plan on dedicating my complete focus and passion to acting. 

In the meantime, which contests will we see you in this spring and summer?
You'll see me in Street League and of course X Games and Dew Tour.

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