An Interview With Paul “Fisher Price” Kent
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29 year old Paul “Fisher Price” William John Kent I is a Canadian pro skater with an impressive skating career and a sense of humor.
He is the co-founder of both Greenskate and the Speedboard and Longboard Association of Calgary. In addition, he holds the world’s record for skateboarding the longest distance in 24 hours and has won many skateboarding competitions. This weekend he is about to embark on another Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon run. It will be the third one he has participated in this year. He came in second at both of the other ones and is hoping for a first place win this go round. He courteously agreed to sit down with me for an interview this week. We talked about the upcoming marathon, his skate career and his family. Here is what he had to say:
Gonzalez: How often do you skate?
Kent: I skate every day as long as it’s not winter. Even then I’ll get out if there’s not too much snow on the ground. Most of my skating is commuting, but I’ll go free riding one to three times a week. I usually train for distance races on a board anywhere from one to 10 times a week.
Gonzalez: I’ve read that you are a vegan. Have you had any trouble finding vegan skate gear and do you have any recommendations on where to find such gear?
Kent: I have been vegan in the past specifically for racing and I felt great and was super lean, but I am currently no longer vegan. I try to forgo all dairy barring a small bit of whey protein before races, but I haven’t tried to hard to avoid dairy or even eggs lately. That being said, I have a difficult time eating eggs straight up and I have similar difficulty drinking milk.
It is hard finding vegan equipment and it is especially tough to find vegan shoes. One company that makes some good vegan shoes is Ipath. I don’t own leathers at the moment. I just try not to use too much of my own skin when I’m flying down hills. I think this is one of those times you need to decide what’s more important, personal safety or your beliefs. My reasons for being a vegetarian are atypical and complicated. I will wear safety gear fashioned of leather. Although I do minimize my use of it best I can.
Gonzalez: What is your favorite skateboard set-up and disciplines?
Kent: It’s hard to say, they are all so fun. I would say, for pure fun it would have to be free riding on technical pathways, like golf course paths on mountain slopes or some Mega gnarly mountain roads. Trying to nail tricky corners has been my favorite game for the past seven years. I also enjoy distance skating for what it’s done for me, where it’s taken me, and how it presents many great challenges for me to overcome. Honorable mention goes to downhill and downhill freestyle (slide) skating for getting me started and for giving me some of the best runs of my life in any sport!
Setup for push racing, Rayne custom foam-core push race deck, Aera trucks 176mm (46° front, 38° rear) Orangatang stimulus wheels (inside out) and a combo of Orangatang nipples roadside and Riptide chubby bushings boardside. Sector9 blackball bearings have been good to me this season.
Downhill/freeride Rayne killswitch deelite, 200mm pink and blue Aera trucks, with Orangatang orange Stims or metal core inheats.
The vendetta is my “do it all” deck set up the same as my DH board but with stimulus wheels.
Gonzalez: What is the skateboarding community like in your area?
Kent: My favorite will go unmentioned as I don’t want too many people to ride them and create a nuisance. But I love skating the crazy sections of Bow Parkade in Calgary, the dump road on BC’s sunshine coast for the great runs I’ve had over the years, trickle creek golf course in Kimberly for being stupid. There is nothing like charging 40 miles per hour around corners knowing you can’t possibly make them all… ha ha!
Gonzalez: What are some of your favorite skate spots and why?
Kent: Well, the longboard scene in Calgary is pretty competitive at times but all in all it’s really inclusive. We have large base of free riding kids that are seemingly ambidextrous. The best part is we all meet up once per week to all share our knowledge and we have multiple weekly outings as a group. No one even has to organize some of them, they are just huge community driven events that always happen. Some events have gone on for eight years now with no organizer.
Gonzalez: What is the story behind your “Fisher Price” nickname? Does it have anything to do with “Danger Baby”?
Kent: Ha ha! Great! Well Fisher Price is a nickname given to me by Mr. Cliff Coleman, the inventor of the Coleman slide. I was at the Second Bearbay Slide Competition during Dangerbay weekend in 2005 I think. I was wearing this pink T-shirt and some pink Fisher-Price knee pads I found for a dollar at some thrift store in Kimberly BC. The name was given to me by a legend and it had a good ring. Sadly nothing to do with my daughter, who’s known as “Danger Baby.” Doctors tell us was conceived about the same time as the Danger Bay Festival was happening in 2006.
Gonzalez: What are you most looking forward to at the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in Plano this month?
Kent: I’m really looking forward to see how I do. I am hoping I can muster a faster pace then what has been done in the past, although this is heavily dependent on the race course. I have yet to see it but I have been back at training.
Gonzalez: Did you do anything differently to prepare for this race as opposed to the other two held earlier this year?
Kent: The past events this year I’ve done little to prepare with training and I’ve focused on proprioception and neuromuscular reminders at the last minute as training was not really possible due to family illnesses. But starting a week before Puerto Rico I began training. Better late then never, right?
Gonzalez: When it comes to your fellow Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon competitors, is there one particular person that you think will be hard to beat?
Kent: Yes of course! Jeff Vyain’s experience with endurance racing is unmatched by others in our sport. And there is Kiefer Dixon. That guy is a monster and he knows it! I can normally get in peoples heads when racing but I don’t think that is gonna happen with Kiefer. It’s going to be a long hard battle!
Gonzalez: You have quite an impressive competitive record. In your opinion, what has been the key to your success?
Kent: Attention to detail, every detail at all times. Now that I think of it, this would be a close second. The biggest key is on board experience.
Gonzalez: Out of all the competitions you have been involved with, what has been the most challenging and why?
Kent: James Peters 24 Hour Ultra Skate. Pushing yourself hard is one thing. Doing it for 24 hours is quite another. Many things seemed to go wrong for me that day. I broke a tooth, hurt my knee, my foot, got rained on and was shivering all through the night. I should have quit but I was stubborn and paid for it. It hurt so badly. I couldn’t walk for a day afterwards. I had to drag myself to the bathroom with my arms.
Gonzalez: What other competitions are you competing in this year?
Kent: Honestly, this and the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in Florida are the only other big races I have yet. I have a fun giant slalom event for Halloween. Earlier in the season I participated in the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet skate challenge (188 mile race) and the R.O.G.U.E. race. I won both. I also just got back from the Broadway Bomb in which 1400 people raced through traffic. I got sixth place.
Gonzalez: Please tell us a bit more about your world distance record. How did you prepare and are you planning on going for any other world records in the future?
Kent: As I said before it was tough, one of the hardest challenges of my life! I didn’t prepare. I had taken two months off for it. I plan on doing it again, aiming for better weather, no serious injuries, and way more mileage.
Gonzalez: I’ve read that in addition to skating competitively you are a proud father and remain involved in many skate related organizations. Balancing all of that must be challenging at times. What is your secret for holding it all together?
Kent: I definitely had to learn to manage my time better after the birth of my daughter. It’s tough to balance everything, but I feel you learn to appreciate free time and you work harder to get things done. If you have too much time you’ll act as if you’ve got more to spare, you have less of a sense of urgency. You end up doing less overall…To hold it all together you need quality time, this goes for the family and with your hobbies and work.
Gonzalez: If you could only be remembered for one thing what would you want that to be?
Kent: I would hope it will be for being a good teacher.
Written by Killeen Gonzalez