Paul Hart Interview
So you’re about to leave on a trip, right?
Yeah, I’m going on an Asphalt Yacht Club trip up to Milwaukee and Chicago with Stevie and Stephen Lawyer. Should be a good time.
What are you guys gonna do up there?
Some demos and a few signings and street skate a whole bunch. I’m still filming for my Thrasher part, so whatever I get up there I get to use for that so I’m stoked.
Backside overcrook on the Walnut 14? Chomp on that! Photo: Hammeke
Do you remember the first skate video you saw?
Yeah, it was Chomp On This.
That’s a good one.
Yeah, pretty tight.
Whose part got you the most psyched to skate?
Dude, I think it was Biebel—with the song and everything. It got me pumped because I didn’t know any rap or anything when I was a little kid. I was pretty sheltered. I was in North Carolina when I saw that video.
Were there any pro skaters you looked up to when you were a kid?
Not really. I was just so out of the realm the first couple of years when I started skating. I just looked up to my brother mostly. Him and his friends were always going out skating and I could never go with them because I was so tiny. But I really just looked up to my brother and that’s why I got into skating.
Was that in Florida or in North Carolina?
I started skating in Florida and then we moved to North Carolina and then back to Florida. When I moved back to Florida, there was this skateboard company called Flatline skateboards and they basically ran the beach. Once I found out about those dudes I really started looking up to, like, Joey and Ryan Corey and Matt Fink. And now to this day they’re my best friends. They really helped me during my time growing up.
Do you still skate with those guys when you go back home?
Oh, dude, yeah. Joey and Ryan are actually coming out here for the party.
My going-pro party.
While the nerds hunt for Charmander, Paul’s out there searching for Chin. Half Cab heelflip down the Santa Monica triple set Sequence: Trinh
Ahh. That was on my list. I was going to ask if you were going to go pro after this Thrasher part drops.
Yeah, the part drops on September 19th and the party is September 15th.
Well, congrats. Do you care about skate graphics at all? Do you care what’s on the bottom of your first pro deck?
Yeah, I worked on two graphics with Marc McKee. I can’t wait to see the first graphic we worked on.
So you got Marc McKee to draw your first graphics?
That’s pretty heavy, man.
Yeah, I’m stoked. I’m blessed, brother.
Do you remember what your first deck was?
Yeah, I basically took it from my brother. It was a World Industries board and it had spray paint all over the griptape. The nose and tail were super chipped up but I rode it, dude. ‘Til the end.
Instead of punching himself, Paul let the ground take a couple of shots to his dome before taking this back tail to fakie on an unforgiving hubba Photo: Hammeke
Was it, like, a Wet Willy board?
I think it was Flame Boy with him in the middle with a bunch of guns or something.
That sounds about right. So what’s the best thing about skating for a French-based brand like Cliché?
Being able to go to France and Europe and having a rad network with those brothers. Because Jeremie Daclin and Al Boglio, they’ve done so much and they’re some of the raddest humans out there. I’m stoked to be a part of a European company.
What do you think about Lucas Puig’s shorts? Would you ever rock a pair of those?
Lucas has his own style. You know, he’s got that Euro style. He can pull that off. But a white boy like me? Whooo—I don’t know if I could pull those shorts off.
Nobody wants to see those legs?
No. Hell no.
Why do your friends call you Hitman Hart?
I don’t know if you remember the WWE, the Hart brothers? It’s from that. So any time I’m trying a trick they’re, like, “C’mon, Hitman! You got this!”
When you’re wrestling with a rail.
Yeah, man, I’m beating myself up. I get into it. I’ll punch myself if I can’t do the trick I’m trying, dude. It’s kinda crazy how bad I want to do the trick.
When you’re doing something super heavy on a big rail, do you have any routines you run through?
Dude, skateboarding is so mental; it’s either hit or miss: I could go to a gnarly spot and be totally focused and hop on it no problem without thinking about anything. And other times it’s, like, I gotta roll up ten times and hop on a front board or 50-50 and then roll up another three times and then I start thinking about it too much and the madness will kick in and then it will take awhile to go for the trick. But for the most part I’ll just roll up three times and then go for it until I get that right feeling.
The Hitman put the Hollywood High 16 in his scope and pulled the trigger. Backside noseblunt slide to fakie Sequence: Hammeke
You skate some pretty big bars. Do you have a favorite big-rail skater?
Heath Kirchart has always been the man at skating some pretty tight rails. Definitely him and Dan-Lu. Those brothers kill it.
It’s safe to say that you’re a street skater, right?
Do you ever skate transition?
I do. I’m getting better at it but that’s my goal after I’m done with this part. Just start really being able to flow. Because I can flow a little bit but I really want to flow.
You wanna get your Grant Taylor on.
Yeah, dude, he’s sick, man! It just looks so fun, you know.
So after this part comes out, why don’t you put out a full transition part? That could be your next goal.
Damn, brother! Hey, I’m down. But we can’t have a time frame for when it needs to be done. We gotta let it happen naturally. I gotta have enough time.
After Paul’s video part drops he’s gonna learn how to flow. ‘Til then he’s just gonna have to settle with frontside nosesliding down triple-set rails Photo: Bleckley
How close are you to finishing this Thrasher part?
I’m pretty close. I don’t have any lines, really. Ewan Bowman and I have been trying to knock out some lines. If I can get, like, a minute and 15 seconds of lines I’ll be stoked.
But all the heavy work is done?
Yeah, I think so. I think what I’ve got is enough. I just need those lines.
From this interview it looks like there’s gonna be some really gnarly stuff in there.
Yeah, I’m stoked I got all of that stuff out of the way.
When you start working on a big part like this, do you have a list of tricks you want to get done or is it more spontaneous?
I actually wrote a list down a few weeks ago of spots around LA because those are the only spots we can really get to right now. We’ll take a trip to SF next month, but we’re mainly filming around here. But yeah, writing stuff down and seeing it visually helps a lot. I’m more visual and I want to be a little old fashioned with it. I don’t want to rely on my phone too much. I feel like that’s what’s hurting our society these days, all this technology crap.
Are you active on social media?
I’ll stay on Instagram and Snapchat mostly, but I don’t pray to that as religion.
How about Pokémon Go?
Hell no. The other day this 60-year-old lady asked me if I played that new Pokémon game and I said word for word, “Ma’am, with all due respect, hell no.”
So what are you going to work on after this video part comes out, besides your all-transition part?
Jared Lucas and I have to start working on a Real Street part.
So no down time. No rest.
No down time. And I don’t want to get too comfortable, you know. You can never do that. I just want to keep doing what I love. It’s stressful at times. Like, Ewan and I have two months to finish this part and just thinking about everything I’ve got to do—what I want to do—it’s just hard to focus sometimes. But I love it and I just want to keep skating and have a good time and keep doing it with the people I love. That’s what really matters.
Rumor is that you’re voting for Trump.
Ah, man—I mean, I didn’t vote for anybody.
Just like his first deck, Paul is gonna ride this kickflip front blunt to fakie ‘til the end Photo: Hammeke
Would you vote for Trump if you were going to vote?
Would I? Maybe. Possibly.
Dude, I’m kinda a conspiracy theorist because these people in higher power, it’s just a bunch of weird crap that’s going on. You don’t know who’s the puppet and who’s not, if you see what I’m saying.
Give me one example. What’s a conspiracy theory that you’re fully backing. Like, lizard people?
No, it’s just things that have been happening. I mean, 9/11 is a good one—the Sandy Hook shooting. A bunch of these shootings at these schools are kinda suspicious. Even the JFK assassination. When you actually do your research, because there’s people that have done their research—it’s kinda crazy hearing some of these facts.
So let’s assume that all of the conspiracy theories floating around out there are true. What do you think Trump would do differently? Do you think that he wouldn’t be playing by the same rules since he’s an outsider?
Well, see—JFK, going to, like, the Illuminati—JFK agreed to whatever they wanted him to do and he was actually tricking them. So he tricked them to get into office because he wanted to expose those who were running the country, basically the higher-power people. The Illuminati. And that’s why when he went to Dallas they had to kill him because he wanted to expose the people running shit.
Do you think Donald Trump is part of this or he’s not part of this?
Dude, I don’t know. I don’t know. I know Bush was. You can see how he was being a puppet. A lot of these dudes are puppets. It’s crazy what money does to people.
Joe Hammeke told me that your family has some Jewish heritage. Are you religious?
Yeah, I’m a believer.
Are you Jewish?
No, I just have Jewish blood. We’re not into Judaism. That’s just my race from my mom’s side.
Do you go to church or adhere to any specific denomination?
Nah, I’m not going to church every day. But I’ll pray every day for my family and my friends. Keep the angels watching over and counting my blessings.
I heard you almost died on a skate trip to Costa Rica. What happened?
Yeah, dude, that was pretty heavy. I was with Mark Appleyard and Aaron Brown. It was the last day. We were all packed up and just decided to go in the ocean for one last swim. We were talking to each other and lost track of where we were and then we were, like, “Damn, we’re pretty far out here.” We tried to swim back to shore—tried to let the waves take us back. I guess we got caught in a riptide. And we had already been out there for twenty minutes so, dude, getting hit by those riptide waves, like, five of them in a row—and you’re coming up just gasping for air. You’re just so lifeless. I was exhausted. We were yelling for people and there was definitely a point where I wanted to give up, for sure.
Unlike most conspiracy theories, we can actually prove that this fakie ollie to switch crooked grind happened Photo: Hammeke
How did you guys get back to the shore?
Thank God this surf team that had a house on the beach—one of them saw us and he called his surf crew to come get us. This girl and her boyfriend paddled out and saved our lives, for sure.
Well, I’m glad you didn’t die in Costa Rica.
Yeah, it was pretty crazy because when I was thinking, like, “Dude, I might die today.” I didn’t panic. Well, I panicked a little. But I was, like, “If I die, then I die. There’s nothing I can do about it.” But there was something that told me to hold on just a little bit longer. I was on the edge. We were all on the edge.
Did anything flash before your eyes? Any regrets or thoughts about your life?
Not at all, man. I was just, like, “Hey, if I die, I know where I’m gonna go,” you know?
I’m going to heaven, brother.
Did that experience change your feelings towards traveling? Do you still love to travel?
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, I was shook but—this is crazy, but when I was about a year old, I drowned in my backyard pool. I basically died and had to get life supported. So this was round two with the water. So for now I’m just gonna keep my distance from the water. I’ll get in it but I ain’t going over head high.
How did you fall in the pool? Did you just wander out into the yard or something?
Yeah, we had, like, a little kid fence and I had a bunch of clothes on, so I think I fell in super awkwardly and I just couldn’t—I had shoes on and a jacket—and I was helpless, basically. Thank God my brother and his friend were in the pool and they came and got me out.
Paul’s fakie ollie backlip fakie happened immediately after the backside noseblunt to fakie. The hits just keep coming Sequence: Hammeke
How did you get over the fence?
I think the door was open.
Whoa. I bet your parents carry some heavy memories from that day.
Oh yeah. That’s why they’re praying for me every day. My mom’s always scared.
So your parents bought a house in Anaheim that you live in, correct?
Yeah, I stay in the house and keep it clean and do whatever. Like, today I had to fix the water heater. I’m basically just the caretaker of the house. It’s pretty mellow. It’s a blessing, for sure, them letting me stay here.
Do you have roommates or do you live there by yourself?
I just live there by myself.
So it’s not a party house?
Nah. I’ll have a few bros over but nothing major. I pick my bros wisely.
Your parents still live in Florida, right?
Yeah, they live in Jacksonville.
What do they do? How are they able to own homes in Florida and California?
My dad and my mom have both been in the networking marketing business most of their lives. Basically teaching people, motivating people with the businesses they’ve been in.
Speaking of motivation, you’re very self-motivated. What’s the secret? Do you have any tips for the lazy stoners of the world?
Man, you just have to set goals every day. It just depends on how much you want it. Because I’ve been wanting this since I was a kid. But it doesn’t have to do with skateboarding or anything, you know. You just gotta break those bonds that you’re so used to and it takes discipline to do so and I’ve just really been trying to do that. I grew up around people that taught me how to stay strong. You gotta know you can do it and you just gotta do it.
I’ve heard that you’re not afraid to party, though.
Oh yeah, man. I’ll go out and have a couple of brews, some vodka tonics and go dance my face off. I love dancing. That’s another thing—my little side hobby is I love going out dancing.
What kind of dancing do you do?
Oh, dude, it’s not like any tango dancing or anything. It’s just, you know, get the lady friends or find some lady friends and hit the dance floor and just have fun. Just make up some crazy Will Smith moves.
I heard one time you danced so hard that you were too sore to skate the next day. Is that true?
That happened. That’s definitely a true fact. But I still skated. I still tried.
So how do you balance partying and getting shit done?
I’m not going out all the time blowing money on drinks or anything like that. I pick it wisely. Like, if I have a good day out on the streets skating and I did what I set out to accomplish then, yeah, I’m going to go out and have a good time with my bros.
Paul’s got good luck with the fakie ollie so he took it to Vegas and won the jackpot. Congrats, Paul! Photo: Hammeke
A little celebration.
Yeah, for sure. You need that.
So you treat it more like a reward as opposed to the day to day.
Yeah, more of a reward, for sure.
What’s your advice to the 12-year-old kid that just started skating and his dream is to be a pro skater?
Just put a smile on and don’t try to do it—just do it and have fun doing it. And set goals. But don’t try to get ahead of yourself. Just keep skating and make it fun for that time growing up and everything will happen if you keep your head on right and find a good crew to be around and stay focused. That’s basically all it is. That’s how life works.
And don’t drown.
Yeah, don’t drown. Don’t do that.
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