Q&A Time with Patrick Switzer
I talk to people about Longboarding a lot. It’s hard not to. Everyone in our industry is intimately aware of how popular it’s become. Most people have at least tried doing it, whether “it” be Downhill, Sliding, Dancing, Freeriding, or just pushing around campus. And people that are heavily involved in longboarding are crazy passionate about it. During many of these conversations I’ve had with people about longboarding, the name of Patrick Switzer is almost always inevitably brought up. The reasons are obvious; the guy is a sick skater (ranked #1 in the IGSA World Cup Series) and is highly recognizable in a sport that’s really starting to garner the attention of the outside world. But anytime I talk to somebody who has had the pleasure of meeting P-Swiss, the conversation always begins with “…SUCH A GREAT DUDE… I LOVE PATRICK.” Without fail. So it’s pretty understandable why P-Swiss has found himself to unintentionally be the Ambassador of all Ambassadors in the longboard community. And more than anything he’s just a nice guy that loves to charge hills. Which may be, more than anything, what longboarding itself is all about. So I was stoked to have the opportunity to fire off a series of emails back and forth with Patrick to get his take on all things longboarding. And here’s what transpired…Justin Rimbert: So Patrick, the season is underway, you’re now the proud owner of your very own RV, you’ve been signed to a number of new sponsors for 2012, and fresh off a skate trip to the Philippines & Australia in which you swept the three events in the Philippines & took home second in a carnage filled final run in Australia. Things are good in the life of P-Swiss. At what point did you realize that pushing around on a longboard was going to lead to this?
P-Swiss: I skated for a few years in my home town with no sight to it becoming anything more than what it was, a fun mode of transportation and the odd hill bomb to spook the nerves. Soon after I moved to Toronto for school I found the longboarding community who at the time cruised garages during the night. After three years of involvement, the core riders in the scene groomed each other into very talented “Escarpment Surfer” skaters ready to take on the outside world. I learned an incredible amount in a short time and am indebted to their knowledge. Soon I was coming up in the ranks competing in slalom events around the North American east coast, and was branching out to downhill events across Canada. I had also been running a successful skate shop in my basement “Longboard Haven” catering to the core community. Our eyes were opened to the unbelievable terrain in the west and mass relocation began. After that our main dream was being able to skate full on, but opportunities for it were only just developing.
JR: Developing indeed. Your passport’s been getting some serious wear & tear lately. Speaking of which, with all the places you’ve traveled, have you found the holy grail of hills yet?
P-Swiss: After traveling to about 18 countries now, the fortunate thing about traveling and skateboarding, you realize there is incredible terrain all around the world. Little hidden pockets are always found and new unscouted roads to liven a sense of adventure. Just to list a few favorites, Norway, Brazil, Switzerland, French & Italian Alps have been a treat. After spending hours on Google Earth it is not too hard to find small islands in the middle of nowhere ready to be thrashed. The names of those may take a while to become popular knowledge, or until the next Greener Pastures series is released!
JR: With the continued increase in popularity of the sport we’re starting to see more and more participants lining up to get involved with these events. Rumor has it that Maryhill registration sold out in 2 hours. With all this new blood, who are the grom up and comers that we should keep an eye out for to breakthrough this year at some of the IGSA events this summer?
PS: Traveling has definitely given me the opportunity to see young talent in a diverse way. There is a dream team grom list, so to speak that comes to mind as to who will shine in future. These riders come from Colombia, Brazil, Philippines, Australia and North America. Although I’ll let the public make their own decision as to who these riders are. I believe the most difficult deciding factors for these young kids is the cost of travel, parental involvement and their dedication to education. It is absolutely amazing to watch the age demographic of sport decrease rapidly only giving more legitimacy and longevity to our beloved sport/lifestyle.
JR: So I guess what you’re saying the sport isn’t going anywhere. Which is rad. That being said, how far off are we from having DH longboarding included in high profile events such as the X-Games or dreaming even bigger, the Olympics? Or would the sport not embrace such a departure from the grassroots growth that got it to where it is today?
PS: The sport has established this time as a culture, rather than a show sport. Riders as a whole are closely involved with their local community movement and the simplicity of riding, rather than events. That doesn’t say that the higher tier of the sport isn’t looking for more. Is the IGSA tour the ‘be and end all?’ I don’t believe so. We all build slowly and comfortably with the sport. The IGSA administration began in the late 90′s because of the X Games, so I believe when we as a sport are a force ready to make a statement, the opportunities for higher profile events will arise.
JR: Thank you P-Swiss!! Great to talk to you as always and best of luck with the rest of the season!
Interview By Justin Rimbert, Photos By Rick Tetz