Paul Rodriguez is releasing his newest shoe, the P-Rod 8, on Go Skateboarding Day, and the Internet has been in an uproar about how vastly different looking it is from his previous pro models. In 2005, Rodriguez became the first skater to receive a pro model shoe from Nike SB, and with every P-Rod shoe that followed, it's been clear he's the rider Nike relies on to introduce their new skateboarding footwear innovations. P-Rod values tradition and those who paved the way for him and that appears to be spearheading his Go Skateboarding Day celebration, as well as his shoe's design. Rodriguez incorporated his love of Nike's athletic footwear over the years into this model, and for Go Skateboarding Day this year, he is drawing on Los Angeles' skateboarding history. He spoke with XGames.com by phone to reveal his plans for Go Skateboarding Day and what he feels defines the spirit of this worldwide celebration.
XGames.com: Why is Go Skateboarding Day important?
Rodriguez: I think it's important because skateboarding is a lifestyle and it's something that once you start it, you fall in love with it. There's such a huge community of skateboarders all over the world and I think it's important to bring everyone together on this day and celebrate this thing that we've all fallen in love with, and really bring us back to being the kids that we were when we first started. I think it's great for skateboarding and great for the health of skateboarding to help grow it and spread the love, man.
Last year on Go Skateboarding Day, Nike gave away complete skateboards to kids who participated in a social media contest. What do you hope to achieve this year now that you're involved?
This time around we're trying to teach history. A lot of the kids taking part in Go Skateboarding Day are relatively new to skateboarding, so I'll be in LA this year teaching them some skate history. The Santa Monica courthouse, which is an iconic skatespot that I grew up skating because I watched some of my favorite skaters skating there. Over the past five years, it's become shut down and you get in trouble for skating there. For Go Skateboarding Day, we were able to get the courthouse permitted and we made it skateable again. We're teaching history to the new kids and paying homage to the people who built skateboarding up to this point.
At this year's celebration, what other pros will join you at Stoner Skate Plaza?
Some of my fellow Nike skaters will be there. I'm counting on Trevor Colden, Daryl Angel, and Carlos Ribeiro being there. We're doing events in LA, New York, Chicago and Mexico City so they're dividing the whole team up for each location. Still, who knows who may show up? It's an open invitation so other notable skaters could be there and just be part of it.
Let's talk about something you know a lot about -- your new shoe the P-Rod 8. You said it was "paying homage to all the things you loved in a sneaker, before skateboarding." What exactly did you mean by that?
I grew up in the era where Michael Jordan was everyone's shoe-hero. I was very influenced and inspired by his shoes. I don't know of anyone growing up who didn't covet or want a pair of Air Jordans. In my shoe you can see that it's very basketball-inspired and very athletically-inspired which is almost taboo in skateboarding because you want to be anti-jock, but I grew up enjoying sports and enjoying people like Michael Jordan. No matter if you like it or not, skateboarding, even though it's an art and it's creative and rebellious-- it still takes athletic ability to do it. Why not wear a product that helps enhance your performance?
I can relate to that because I'm from the generation that played outside and I skated in the same shoes I played soccer in and shot hoops in. I get what you're saying with the athletic appeal your shoe has, but with all that Flywire, it does resemble the most recent Kobe Bryant model, the Kobe 9.
Yeah it definitely has a Kobe vibe to it. I'm not going to hide from that fact. Kobe also is huge inspiration to me. I'm a big Lakers fan and I'm really inspired by his work ethic and really inspired by the greatness that he strives for.
That's understandable, but how does Flywire fit into skateboarding?
Flywire is really unique because unless there is a structure for it to be wrapped around, it's really nimble and loose and there's no support there. You put your foot in your shoe and now the Flywire has something to wrap around and it becomes the support structure itself. Suspension bridges -- the way they're designed and developed, they require tension to activate the technology. Flywire is really light and really loose and that's what you need in skateboarding. Once you have your foot in the shoe with the laces tied, it activates the Flywire which keeps your foot secure and in place. When you're wearing it your feet feel locked in, like they're not going anywhere.
Could you elaborate on a recent campaign you were featured in called "Skateboarding is Not a Game"?
You're referring to the commercial for my shoe. Well it's saying that skateboarding takes just as much athleticism as it does to play basketball or any traditional sport, yet skaters are the black sheep. We get arrested, we get tickets, we get our boards taken away, and we get kicked out of places to skate. All we're trying to do is express ourselves and push our ability and do new things and progress but it tends to be not looked at like that. It tends to be seen as rebellious and juvenile. We just made fun of it with the idea of "What if all sports were treated the way skateboarding is?" What if people just walked across the court acting like you're not playing a sport there? It's just poking fun at the trials we have to go through as skateboarders.