PJ Ladd discusses Game of Skate
There's an old skateboarding cliché that's often used when describing quiet skaters: He lets his skateboarding speak for him. There's never been more apropos a skater to apply this phrase to than the enigmatic Plan B pro and Boston native, PJ Ladd.
Ladd has always been extremely elusive and low-key when it comes to interviews and public speaking, but in recent years, he has come out of his shell and opened up. ESPN.com got a chance to sit down with the former Battle At The Berrics champ to pick his brain about this week's "World Of X Games" Game of Skate.
XGames.com: What did you think when you were asked to be a part of the "World Of X Games" Game of Skate?
Ladd: I just said, "Yeah, I'm down to do it." I didn't really know much about it at first. It was kind of weird to hear that someone else was doing a Game of Skate that wasn't the Berrics, so I don't know what to think of it yet. But I like playing S.K.A.T.E. I like that kids and pros and everyone play the same game.
The Berrics usually spaces their Battle At The Berrics Game of Skate over months. How do you think your legs will feel having to battle a number of dudes in one afternoon?
I think my legs will be all right. I kind of like that it's in one day rather than over a couple months. Both ways are good, it's not one is better than the other. They're both different and maybe that's what separates them and makes them kind of different from each other. It'll be interesting to see how it goes having it all in one day. But it is just flat-ground skating, so it'll probably be OK.
You've won a Battle At The Berrics. Who do you think will be your biggest competition in this Game of Skate?
I don't know. There's no real competition. I think everybody does what they do, and it's more of a fun thing for me. But a lot of dudes' flat-ground games are on-point. I don't know who will take it.
Is there one trick that you have trouble with all the time?
Yeah, probably back 3 kickflips or back 3s. I fight with those quite a bit. I can do the sort of droopy, scoop ones, but anything more than that, it's kind of a wash. I have to put some work in on those.
Let's talk about some of the other competitors in the contest, starting with Nyjah Huston.
I was skating with him when he was at The Berrics the other night and he's great. I think his flat game is on-point. Not that you see it too often, but he's got good flat-ground basic fundamentals down.
He's solid. He's got all the weird tricks as well. It doesn't make me nervous, it's more of a fun thing to see happen. I don't get nervous about these things -- it's just a Game of Skate. But he definitely has all the tricks.
Yeah, Nugget is amazing. His basic tricks just look so good. That's what is so cool about these contests is just watching pros' flat-ground. And he's a great example of someone who can make any trick look so good.
He's a competitive gambling man so he should probably do well with this.
Yeah, Tom Asta has dope flip tricks. His stuff is really tight, too, so that'll be really good just to watch.
Another one that is known for his Game of Skate and has also won a Battle At The Berrics: Mike Mo.
Oh yeah. If it's a Game of Skate contest, he has to be in there.
Lastly, Brandon Westgate.
Oh, that's cool, I didn't know he was in there. Nice! Like I said, it's just cool to see dudes' flat-ground tricks and Westgate has a ton of pop, so to see him do basic flat-ground tricks so high is great. It's not even so much about the contest or X Games -- it's just fun to watch the guys do what they do in such a casual situation.
If you weren't in the contest, who would you say would win this?
I'm not sure. It's kind of a toss-up between all those guys, especially the Mike Mos and the Chris Coles and the Nuggets who are known for their varied tricks, so it's hard to say.
Bristol isn't too far from your old stomping grounds of Boston. Have you ever been there?
No, I don't think I've ever been there. It's right in the middle of Connecticut, right? It's always great to go back to New England and get reconnected. I didn't even know the event was on the ESPN campus -- it'll definitely be interesting as a skateboarder to go there.
If you win, what are you going to do with the money?
I'll probably just put it in one of my accounts. Nothing too crazy.
Nov. 28 has been announced as the release date for the long-awaited Plan B video. How do you feel about your footage?
I don't feel as good as I could feel about it. I've definitely gone through dry spells and then had some good periods of filming but I definitely could feel a little better about it. But it's going OK.
Who has the best stuff you've seen so far?
I don't want to say best or worst but I think Torey [Pudwill] definitely has the most footage.
Who is going to be the surprise hit?
I'm not sure. Since everyone is so connected these days I'm not sure how much of a surprise there's going to be but I think people will be very stoked.
There have been some changes at New Balance, and they're no longer with Black Box Distribution. You're the flagship rider on the team. What's going on with New Balance these days?
It's going really well. I'm really stoked on it, me as an individual. I'm stoked on New Balance being a Boston company and being that athletic underdog and just being family-owned and them investing in skating. You see certain types of people that wear New Balances like creative artist-types, and they obviously have great quality and I'm really stoked on skating the shoes. Right now everything has moved to New Balance in Boston and there's a lot of people involved that have the right sort of skate-ethics so there are good people to steer it in the right direction as far as skateboarding is concerned.
You're working on New Balance, and you've got the Plan B video about to release. What's next? What's after that?
I have a lot of things that I definitely want to do once I get the Plan B video off the stack, but I just don't want to put it out there yet. I just want to do it.
So you're not going to be claiming El Toro?
Yeah, I don't want to claim stuff. I just want to go do it. I've definitely talked to New Balance about a few different projects they could get involved in.