Does Paul Rodriguez’s iTunes Video Part Deserve An Elusive 10.0 Rating?

A number of years back me and a buddy of mine engaged in an epic argument, spanning a few hours and two bars, over whether Paul Rodriguez was in “the top five” or not. Think this was post-“Yeah Right,” around the early days of Plan B. My whole thing was: this dude is heavily gifted skill-wise but not pushing the envelope in terms of innovation or doing things in new ways. The buddy’s view was that I was a fucking idiot. Years later I like to think we were both right.

Hangovers fade, winter turns into spring and injured feelings are soothed with the balm of liquor. But generally my feeling on Paul Rodriguez hasn’t shifted a great deal, as the video parts and corporate sponsorship deals have piled up. Here you have a dude who immediately attained Next Big Thing status upon his arrival on the rosters of super-teams and TWS vids, but even snagging milestones like designing the first among several disposable Nike SB pro-models and posing for the only TSM cover to make Dave Carnie feel like a child molestor, it seems like something on-board has been missing, sort of like he’s yet to really arrive.

Fairly or not P-Rod more than probably any other hot-shoe am has had to evolve under near-constant comparisons to/oversight of the legendary ones like Kareem Campbell, who ensured the rolling of more than a few eyes by purposely scoring the kid’s “Street Cinema” stepping-out to “Want You Back,” with all the subtlety of an “Enter The Pu-Tang” ad. Or, Eric Koston making a PRJr-shaped spot on Girl/Es/Four-star, which you can’t say he didn’t deserve, but set up a certain amount of backlash when he inevitably left to do his own thing.

Ten years after his switch heelflip inspired hushed wonder from Atiba Jefferson, and he’s got a beard and a kid and an ill-advised foray into acting under his belt, Paul Rodriguez apparently still is toiling under the same ol’ comparisons to the Kostons and Tony Hawks (see: new Transworld). Not that he seems to mind, and his ode to Ronnie Creager comes off endearingly genuine, but I look at somebody like a Chris Cole who’s got at least as much skill and achievements over a similar time frame, and people generally don’t present him through this spectrum of greats that’ve gone before.

Tony Hawk invented numerous tricks and named one after Madonna. Eric Koston ran with a decade-long string of blockbuster rail sorcery (nollie noseblunt-backside noseblunt-nollie heelflip noseslide-nollie backside noseblunt-360 flip noseblunt) that justified de-facto closer positioning in most of the big productions where he featured. Getting back to the epic bar argument, this is where you could draw a line between the crop’s very creamiest versus the pros that can just do every trick and add a couple more stairs or an extra kickflip.

Which all leads up to Paul Rodriguez’s $3 iTunes part with the Kanye West song, because amidst the usual ridiculous skills the guy displays there are a few — chiefly the switch b/s noseblunt, a real live cover worthy move at a name spot, but also the nollie flip 270 switch b/s tailslide* and the fakie varial heelflip nosegrind — that threaten to set up shop at that tip-top tier of ultimate board bros. Not sure if all this puts him on par with them what he gets compared to in interview intros or if he’s still next up, but switch backside noseblunting a sizable rail does go some way toward glossing over the whole Target deal and Nascar fitted.

*labeled properly dudes?

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46 Responses to “Does Paul Rodriguez’s iTunes Video Part Deserve An Elusive 10.0 Rating?”

  1. Mike Says:

    Is he a top five talent? Yeah, totally. I’d also say that he’s getting better with age, aesthetic wise, even if he’ll always be a bit too perfect at skateboarding for my tastes. As for the question of weather or not he lives up to the dudes he’s compared to, I don’t see it happening, though I’m old and jaded and have a particular opinion of who get’s legend status and who’s just mind-bogglingly good. As for coming up short legendarily, two things come to mind: flavor and personality.

    *I’d have called it a frontside nollie flip to switch backside tailslide. Fun with words.

  2. Mike Says:

    *whether not weather.

  3. theProgram Says:

    yes, labeled properly.

  4. theProgram Says:

    although you might argue that the syntax was a bit wrong. “270 nollie flip switch back tail” is probably the most right answer. either way, you’ve avoided the dreaded “nollie cab” phrasing that befalls even the most senior of magazine editors.

  5. Raul Says:

    Kyle Leeper got the fakie varial heel last year, just saying. Ender

  6. dedleg Says:

    If you’re going to all it a nollie cab, might as well just say switch cab. It’s all the same shit. Names suck.

    Anyway, at least in today’s skateboarding climate of Mike Mos, Cory Kennedys, and other related wunderkinds popping up every year, mega rail combos like nollie 270/nollie cab/switch cab flip switch back tails kind of just blur together. It’s not that these kids aren’t unbelievably talented and that the tricks they do aren’t nearly inconceivable in difficulty. It’s just that it’s all kind of boring, at least for those of us who spent high school playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

    I’d rather see Pfanner blast a frontside ollie over something huge at mach 10 or Vincent Alvarez fly up a homemade bank to board down a crappy warehouse hubba (ala Der Bratwurst Tour) these days. Just seems more interesting these days, but maybe I’m a geezer.

  7. Chris Says:

    I thought that long switch back tail to switch inward heel out was pretty impressive too.

  8. thecarbonite Says:

    I liked this part a lot and still watch it sometimes. almost made me rethink rescinding my co-sign after the Target thing. Skating for Target is mad corny. I concur that you and your friend are both right. Dude is in the upper echelon of progressive ledge skating but qualitatively but is only marginally better than, say, rodrigo texiera (who could conceivably sw b/s nb a rail considering he sw ng reverted Rockaway as, like, an afterthought). Don’t forget about Jesus either; seems like it took Rodriguez 3 years to catch up with Jesus’ FF part…

  9. rory Says:

    it looked like he was set up fakie going into the cab-flip ssbsts but i’m terrible at remembering who skates which way.

    no love for the backside late foot flip? or the backside tailslide backside late foot flip out?

  10. Watson Says:

    I don’t like this guy.

    Predictable yes. And I admit that that newest section had some mindblowing skateboarding in it. But I’ve never watched this kid skate and afterward had that feeling that you get when you watch a really awesome skate section. Plus all the kookery like praying into your hat before each try in Street League, riding for Mountain Dew and Target, his “Nascar hats”, and having all of his sponsor’s “stickers” screened into the graphics of the boards he rides (yes it’s true), I just can’t get stoked.

    But as far as being the next whoever, of course he’s not gonna be the next Koston to us over-the-skateboard-hill types, but I’m sure for many many young kids, he is the current Koston, and Koston is “that dude who makes funny at the beginning of BATB games”. Which is kinda sad.

    Speaking of sad, nollie front foot flips? Get the fuck out of here. That shit has never nor ever will be cool, even if you do it into a crooked grind popping twice the height of the bench. So bummed for the ensuing front foot flip trend to come.

    • Mauricio Says:

      “…having all of his sponsor’s “stickers” screened into the graphics of the boards he rides…”
      ho-leee-shiat! that is even worse than riding for Target

    • Tymer Says:

      His aren’t even nollie front foot flips. They’re just nollie to regular kickflips at this point. He nollies 5 feet high, then brings his foot back and flicks it off the nose like a kickflip. I’d be willing to agree with you if he did the spaz kick technique most do on N3Fs, but he doesn’t. He makes them look beautiful, and adds them in where no one else in the world is doing. So, you’re wrong. That shit has never been cool before, but for those brief 4 minutes, they’re sick as fuck and anyone who says otherwise is a fool.

      I’m not so sure where you’re collecting your data about the opinions of kids in skateboarding. I think maybe your hatred for the Berrics and it’s influence on skateboarding is skewing your vision slightly. Although you might see Koston more often in the opening ceremony of BATB than in the webclips that are so popular these days, there isn’t any great mass of kids who don’t know who Koston is yet. If for no other reason, Fully Flared still has it’s shockwaves.

  11. KDP Says:

    Backtail late flip out to fakie was switch, no?

  12. al Says:

    I feel like Bachinsky already did the nollie front foot flip thing quite a while ago. I seem to recall him hucking it down a big 4 or 5 block and took it as a means of “testing the water” to see if that trick could, in fact, be taken seriously. The verdict was negative at the time and because of that I can’t really get too stoked on P Rod’s young romance with the maneuver.

    I think Mike’s got it right that he’s “too perfect”…the combos he can perform are unreal but it never seems spontaneous. He doesn’t seem to take advantage of a spot’s unique characteristics, which is one of the most fun things for me on the board.

    I found myself asking friends “how many times do you think he landed that nollie front foot flip to crooks in his TF before trying it in ‘the mean streets’?” I feel like he probably landed it tons of times in the privacy and security of his private park before heading out to film it. It’s considerate of him not to waste the filmer’s time, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really appreciate someone with such a shrewd and business-like approach to skateboard riding.

    I know P Rod will always be performing impressive maneuvers, but I don’t really take much note of or anticipate any coverage of the guy. Loads of people I know seem to feel the same way.

    • Tymer Says:

      I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really appreciate someone with such a shrewd and business-like approach to skateboard riding.

      You’ll never be able to appreciate someone with the style of skateboarding you assume they have? blah blah blah

  13. Jeremy Randall Says:

    I look at it this way…there’s two types of skate parts out there. There’s the guys who push the limits of what is humanly possible to do on a skateboard (P.Rod on ledges, Leo on rails, Danny Way on vert) and then there’s the guys who are just rad to watch. Sometimes these two can overlap (I love watching Leo skate…others disagree) but often not so much. But both definitely have their place in skateboarding and that is never gonna change.

  14. KDP Says:

    Al has nailed it perfectly.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I Agree with Al as well. Yes, Prod is very gifted if you will. I think he has skating figured out like say an Olympic athlete or someone well trained, who’s dedicated to their sport. But I won’t put him as a legend or a top 5 b/c to me a pro skateboarder is more that just talent. Shit man, Fred Gall has talent but I’m not going to say he’s a flawless athlete like Prod. But you better believe that Freddy’s going to make the top of my list. But that’s what makes people skateboarders and not professional athletes. Right?

    My favorite part of skateboarding is the pure rawness of hitting the streets and getting a trick. Not some well planned line that you learned in your TF and practiced 20 times before “hitting the streets”. Kalis talks about this in his new interview @Quartersnacksdotcom. And I feel its further part of the demise of skateboarding. Dudes are locked in their Private spots filming and practicing lines and taking them to the X-Games, Dew Contest, Street League or the Maloof Cup. I can’t blame dudes for trying to get that money but it cant be good for normal pro’s trying to get theirs in the streets without private practice time. (I’ll back Prod in saying he is hitting the streets and looking pretty good.) But what do I know.

  16. heshnson Says:

    Paul is an insane talent but as he spat upon all those who brought him into the game and sold his likeness to the ilks of DEW and Target he is a sell out. HE has plenty of CASH he did not need to pile Taget into the mix. The NIKE deal got a pass but the other jank sponsor crap is lame. He is not loved as a result, Paul will never be a KOSTON or GUY. That prayer into his DEW cap before each runs has got to go. He can keep making lame skate flick(s) with DeerDick. Great part but he is dead to me. Has been for sometime.

    • C.R.E.A.M. Says:

      he is the next koston, maybe you have selective memory or something but koston got pretty kooktastic with his sponsor list at different points in is career and took money wherever he could get it. remember that little spat with carroll where carroll was extremely bummed about koston getting an agent ? exactly.

  17. Brostoyevsky Says:

    Paul is talent, but he’s not the truth. and also, kanye soundtrack?

  18. Watson Says:

    “Sometimes these two can overlap but often not so much.”

    Jeremy, don’t know if I agree with you there. I can definitely think of more boundary pushers that I enjoy than ones I do not. Ignoring the fact that Koston, Carroll, all those dudes back in the day were exactly that, in recent times look at Heath, Jesus, Daewon, PJ, etc. (PJ’s a little boring now, but that one section, BOING!)

    • wayward sons Says:

      i agreed with your list until I saw the name jesus fernendez, his trick selection is such a mixed bag and that ender gave a taste in mouth that only ronson lamberts sensibilities could rival.

  19. Tymer Says:

    People ask too much from a skateboarder. “The skill level must be mindblowing, but it also has to have a spontaneous feel to it. The tricks must be perfect, but not TOO perfect, or it’s robotic. You can’t do tricks from outside of the traditional spectrum, yet you still must be innovative. You must find a way to live off riding a piece of wood, but collecting huge checks by posing for a ten minute Target photoshoot isn’t acceptable.”
    Just shut the hell up. I’m down for analyzing skateboarding as much, or probably more, than the next guy, but in some cases, it just sounds imbecilic. There is ALWAYS something to hate on if you look hard enough. Stop looking so hard.

    • theProgram Says:

      It’s not that we’re looking that hard, it’s just that it’s hard to see the tricks he’s doing around the huge Target and Mountain Dew logos on his hat while he’s praying into it.

      • heshnson Says:

        BINGO, home freakin run son. my kook stick is down.

      • Tymer Says:

        Actually, no, it’s not. The skating still remains the same. Of course I agree that Target and Mt. Dew sponsors are a bummer and that praying is just fucking stupid. You can still find an appreciation for the skateboarding without appreciating the person doing it. I don’t agree with P.Rod about a lot of shit, but then again, I wouldn’t fuck a porn star either, but I still jack off to them

  20. J-wU Says:

    definitely a 10.0.
    am looking forward to the plan b video part now and how P-rizzy intends to 1 up himself.

    also looking forward to Gino in the new chocolate vid.

  21. Mike Says:

    I don’t get people that hate on him for riding for Target. If I got that chance I’d do it in a fucking second, and if anyone claims otherwise they’re either lying or a combination of stupid/pointlessly keeping it “real,” whatever that is anymore. I’m less inclined to jump at the opportunity to do the Dew, but if all I had to do was wear an obnoxious New Era to pay my mortgage, then I’m down. Comment boards are such silly bubbles from the real world.

    • al Says:

      How many pairs do you own? When is Nate Sherwood’s pro model dropping?

      • Mike Says:

        There’s patently wack shit like Airspeed and then there’s getting free shit or a steep discount from Target. Every time I spend $80 there on socks and detergent and other bullshit I rue the day that I never ripped hard enough to skate for them. Say what you will, boringly, and come up with more links, please. Stay punk too. Then remember that dudes are leveraging their bodies for skateboarding careers. Then remember that so many dudes blew out a knee in the 90’s and that was it, sponsors gone, etc.

        Dudes that don’t deserve it aren’t getting paid. Skateboarders that should make money do make money. Jerk off to the newest issue of Adbusters and sing yourself to sleep with songs about how fucking hardcore you are.

      • al Says:

        People that don’t deserve it ARE getting paid. Look at the Airspeed stuff. Look at goons like Lutzka or Mike V, who do the same shit at every park they go to while hyping up their own tired style and milking it for all they’ve got. How come Lutzka got a signature shoe that was nearly a carbon-copy knock-off of the Skytop, while OG dudes like Suski have never had that opportunity? A huge part of it lies in perceived marketability, frequently judged by people with no real connection to skateboarding other than that they’re trying to cash in.

        I feel like Heath Kirchart “leveraged his body for his skateboarding career” a little harder than P Rod. I don’t remember reading about his COSTCO deal or his profile.*

        Paul Rodriguez has been in 6 different video games. He’s been sponsored by everything from expensive backpack and watch companies to cell phone service providers to “Xtreme” sodas and car rim manufacturers. The dude isn’t exactly hurting for cash. He’s adding another massive paycheck to the ones he already receives and will help push business away from skater-owned shops.

        Any time you enter into big-cash business deals alongside Jereme Rogers or Shaun White, I think it’s fair to question the validity of the endorsement.

        *although a COSTCO deal might be pretty tight,

  22. e thug Says:

    fuck this dude. he’s a rabid sellout who’s never done anything even slightly original. he barely even skateboards. i hope he goes to hell, tomorrow, for all of eternity.

  23. Jonathan Says:

    I can remember a day when there wasn’t a flip trick in every clip.

  24. NS Says:

    Fuck all this P-Rod noise, he rips, he sucks, whatever. I want to see some more updates, when does the top parts of the year countdown start?

  25. Will Says:

    In regards to what Al said since his post is honestly the most intelligent among this pile of spam, ludicrous child notions, and trivial beliefs, all I really have to say is what works for you doesn’t work for everyone. I agree that rolling up to a spot for the first time and trying to be spontaneous is where a lot of the thrill and enjoyment of skating comes from. What people fail to understand or simply refuse to because it’s so much easier to be negative is that this is P-Rod’s job, passion, and love. He wants to do it as long as he can and preserve his name and a lot of that comes from him being a contest skater. He proved from an early age that he could dominate the streets, and now he has moved on to do contests and such where the money is at and where the best competition in the world is.

    This isn’t to say that P-Rod has lost that “street” side to himself, but people have to realize, every time you decide to hit that “spontaneous” spot without practice, without really knowing the surroundings, if it’s the wrong kind of spot you really could be putting yourself in jeopardy. Skateboarding like anything is a sport where you can get hurt, and I’m sure P-Rod like any skater has accepted that. But when you skate contests and you’re looking to preserve your health and really maximize your life expectancy on the road, sometimes you actually do need to hit the park and get your tricks dialed and then take it to the street.

    Any professional skateboarder understands the concept of getting tricks dialed, but also hitting the street. Just because people see P-Rod skating contests and whatnot that doesn’t mean he isn’t going out on the streets with a group of skaters and getting it in as well. None of the people on here will ever really know what it’s like to be in a sense torn between the best of both worlds. It’s so easy for some people to say “well I just go hit the street, I don’t go to a private skate park and practice.”

    The truth is NONE of you if only a few will ever be at the level of skating P-Rod is at where it even matters if you break your wrist, or your leg, or your arm or whatever. You’ll take the time to heel, and then be back to the streets and you have no real consequence except maybe you can’t jerk off. P-Rod’s got a family, a career, and a body he is looking to live for through skating. Who gives a fuck if he practices in a private skate park, he was skating better than you all…IN THE STREETS, when he was like 13 years old…

  26. Anonymous Says:

    “You can still find an appreciation for the skateboarding without appreciating the person doing it. I don’t agree with P.Rod about a lot of shit, but then again, I wouldn’t fuck a porn star either, but I still jack off to them”

  27. alex dyer Says:

    What a brilliant read. Well done everyone, I agree with most of you.

    My 2cents: the kid is amazing but boring as fuck.

    Now can someone point me in the direction of this ‘ode to Creager’ please? I somehow missed whatever this was and like anything about Ronnie.


    • pilot light Says:

      In an interview with the Skateboard Mag, he talks at length about Ronnie Creager’s continued influence on technical street skating and how he ought to be enshrined to some extent.

  28. alex dyer Says:

    Sorry, I just worked out that you meant the palindromic picnic table lines, I’m an idiot. As you were lads.

  29. Rocuronium Says:

    Although I have the utmost respect and empathy for the crazy time constraints of being the parent of a toddler and full-time worker I am nevertheless disappointed to note that a daily top-ten video parts of the year blog entry is now, mathematically, impossible.

    Nonetheless kudos for the right priorities.

  30. Lecia Hesler Says:

    Great website i love it. always recommendSuggest to all my friends and they love it to. Strong Theme i love it. Always speak highly of to all my buddies and they love it to.

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