Am Scramble Interview: Patrick Praman

Riding for REAL is like a boot camp for any would-be pro skater, and Patrick Praman showed up locked and loaded. He knows what he can do and how to make it happen—especially when it comes to tech-gnar rail and hubba assaults. Excuse the oxymoron, but Praman is a professional amateur if there ever was one. —Dan Stolling

Patrick raised the level of technical rail rips on the trip. Watch him go off while back on the East Coast

First off, how do you pronounce your last name?
It’s “Pruh-món.” That’s how you say it in Thai, but everyone just says “Praw-min,” which is fine. I hear “Pray-men,” too, which is also fine.

Well, how does your family pronounce it?
It’s actually only my father’s last name. I had a chance to change it when I was younger because my dad isn’t really in the picture, but I decided to keep it. I could’ve been Patrick Gray or Patrick Tomeeboon.

Yeah, I think Patrick Praman has a better ring to it. I like the alliteration.
Me too.

What made you and your family move to Virginia from Bangkok?
My mother moved to Virginia right after I was born for better opportunities for work and a job and a better life for us and then when she had the opportunity to move all of us out there we all relocated to Virginia. I couldn’t imagine my life living in Thailand. It would’ve been so different if I stayed there.

So most people associate you with the East Coast of the US since you have roots in Virginia, but where are you from originally?
I’m from Thailand. I was born in Bangkok then moved to the States when I was seven or eight. I claim Virginia because that’s where I grew up, but my early years were in Thailand. I started skating in Virginia and really started filming in Virginia and the North Carolina area.

So you grew up in Virginia mostly. Who did you skate with out there?
Kind of just friends that I met at the local parks. I grew up in northern Virginia, which is like 15-20 minutes below Washington DC so I would just take the train up there all the time and skate Pulaski and skate around the city with my friends. So I was mainly with my homies in the city and people that I met at skateparks. There probably aren’t any names that you would recognize, but shout out Daniel Hill. That’s my boy. But I didn’t grow up skating with Worrest or Bust Crew or anything like that. When I was living in VA, though, I would go to North Carolina a bunch and skate with Chris Wimer, Myles Willard, Brian O’Dwyer, and we would all skate with Jevans all the time. Once I started filming a lot like that I would skate with dudes from Maryland and Jersey.

Patrick Praman DSC 0879 BURNETT DZ copy Elegant plus gnar equals… elegnar? Patrick finesses a front shove crooks, whatever you call it

When you did decide to make the move to California, did you have support from any sponsors out here or did you fully risk it with no backing? Other than selling Dunks for rent money, of course.
So I was going to school at the time, community college, and I was about to finish my two years and around that same time I was being flowed Deluxe stuff like REAL, Thunder and Spitfire and I was getting Nike stuff. It got to a period where I was traveling and filming a lot more and I was working on a second project with Jevans and skating kind of got a little more serious. Then at some point I had a conversation with Nate Alton at Deluxe about moving out to California and being in the van and I kind of had to decide then and there if I was going to stay and finish school or I was gonna go to California and try, you know? And I never wanted to get that phone call like, Hey, this isn’t working out with you still being in Virginia and you’re not doing anything with the team. It was just an opportunity that I never thought I would have and I would’ve regretted it forever if I didn’t go for it. Like even if I finished school and got a good job, I would’ve still been so unhappy always wondering, What if?

At that point were you actually being supported by the country of Thailand, too, for their Olympic team?
No, I started working with them maybe a year or two after moving to California. They reached out to Deluxe after one of my Thunder parts came out and they wanted me to skate for their national team and that’s when I started traveling to all these contests for them for the Olympics. But yeah, they helped out a bunch financially and with traveling and it was a really cool opportunity.

What were your responsibilities being a part of their potential Olympic team?
Just traveling for them and going to contests—that was pretty much it. I was going to contests for them a lot and then went to Thailand once and skated with the dudes and met everyone and they wanted me to come out more, but besides that, yeah, just skating contests. They sent me to a lot of places and didn’t really ask a whole lot. It was a blessing getting to do that. I’m actually still a part of it and it’s really cool getting to represent your country through skateboarding. Like, who would’ve thought?

Patrick Praman DSC 3043 2 BURNETT DZ copyDouble-barrelled frontside hurricane on some “one last try” shit

When you moved, what did your family think about this wild dream of yours to become a professional skateboarder? You had to drop out of school, so were they bummed or supportive?
They were really bummed. I’m basically a first-generation citizen and just having an Asian background, there was such an emphasis on school. They really wanted me
to finish college and they really wanted me to do well in school. To give some perspective, I took a quarter off when I finished high school and didn’t go straight to college and my mother cried her eyes out just because I took a little time off. So imagine the conversation I had with her when I told her I wanted to quit school to move to California to pursue skateboarding. It was crazy. I think my stepfather helped her to see the bigger picture, too, and understand that not everything has to be so orthodox and school will always be there and this is a cool opportunity right now. It opened her eyes to really letting me come out here and pursuing what I wanted to do, but it was a really hard conversation, for sure.

What were your thoughts when you got the summons for the Scramble?
I was stoked! I was a little nervous, too. The lineups for past years have been really heavy so I was just stoked to be a part of it and that I was even in the conversation. It was an honor. When Burnett texted me, I literally walked to my roommate Bailey’s room and was like, “I just got a text from Burndog, what do I do?” And he was like, “You’re fucking going!”

Patrick Praman DSC 3803 BURNETTPicture-perfect switch heel straight into a pillar check

So Bailey decided you’re going.
Yeah, Bailey made the decision for me.

Did the trip live up to your expectations?
I feel like it was exactly what I thought it was gonna be—long days, long nights, just being in the van and skating new spots with a crew that I didn’t really know yet. I think that was the biggest thing on my mind—going into this trip with a bunch of people that I had never really met before or didn’t know that well. Skating with a crew like that can either be a good thing or a bad thing, but going into it and getting to know everyone made the vibes really good and I really liked the crew a lot. It made skating even more fun. But yeah, a lot of skating, a lot of jokes, new homies and a lot of good times. I’m very happy with the way it went.

So there’s the type of pipe that you skate, then there’s the rollercoaster type Max rides. Describe Max and his Erector-set, spot-building antics.
He just wants to grind some gnarly, long-ass shit! On that trip he was just looking for any and every contraption to build onto some humongous handrail so he could grind it. I kinda just skate handrails where I’m on and off quickly with not a lot of consequences, but he’s trying to grind a mountain. He and Rob were just laying pipe!

Patrick Praman DSC 7233 SQUARE BURNETT DZ copyBackside noseblunt, big man on campus

Pipe riders!
Pipe riders, dude.

Noah and Max both operate pretty silently, but the quietest of all was Nick Matthews. Describe Nick and his vibe in the van and at spots.
He is quiet, but if you start talking to him and get a conversation going, he’ll chat. I never thought Nick was too quiet. I mean, he’s reserved, but he was really cool to talk to and hang out with. He’s actually the GOAT. When we were in the city he was just rifling off tricks so fast. His skating is so impressive and the way he goes about things is just like, he either really likes a spot and is down or he’s gonna chill until we get somewhere he’s sparked on. He knows what he wants to skate and he knows his tricks and he’s pretty picky. If he likes a spot, he’s gonna get a trick on it.

What’s the most memorable spot or session where Nick really shined?
I think it was one day in the city, maybe one of the first days of the trip and we went to like four spots and he did the most fucked-up tricks at those spots back to back to back—like nollie front heel over the two stair with the hydrant and switch back 180 nosegrind on that ledge that was not grinding at all. I was just like, Dude! The confidence on the board is insane, but also the trick selection is so unique. I was in awe when I was watching him skate and it makes you think like, Yeah, this dude is a city skater.

What was it like skating with Pace and the Gremlin?
Those two were honestly my favorites. They’re always just jokes and I could always just fuck around with them, but also they were so gnarly. Charging is the best word for it. Rob was always super motivated and down to hop on some big-ass shit and I love skating with Kieran. He skates a lot of transition, but was open to trying a lot of new shit with me and Rob so that was really cool to see him get out of his comfort zone and charge some rails really fast.

DSC 6954Our boy's wicked smart and can back Smith a 14

What about Vitória? She’s a little warrior in the streets, too.
I think she’s one of the most talented girls on a board and the stuff that she was picking to skate was really unique. Also, when she would get a clip it was really cool to see the standards she had for herself. There was this spot that was two ledges back to back and she was doing a trick to gap to tailslide and she would keep trying until she slid the whole thing. I thought that was really cool.

Tim Savage is a G. How was he as a tour guide?
I first met Tim when he took some homies on that trip to North Carolina and we stayed in touch. Then after he put out that video recently with Westgate, Will and Brian we talked about me going to Boston to skate with him. Then literally a week later I got hit up to go to Boston for the Scramble. It all worked out. But Tim is the fuckin’ man. He had all the spots and he was taking care of us every day. He loves Dunkin’, loves coffee and was really good at picking out spots for people and making sure everyone was taken care of and had shit they wanted to skate. It was much appreciated. Tim really held it down for us out there.
I think Tim might be the best tour guide I’ve ever been with on a trip.
Solja! Dude, he met up early every morning at the hotel, stayed with us all night until 1 AM or 2 AM, day in and day out. Tim is the man.

Patrick Praman DSC 0472 BURNETTOut 'til 2AM and back to work at 10, Patrick clocks some OT on this nollie flip 50-50

There were so many badass spots in Boston that Tim had. I was honestly surprised how much there was to skate in such close proximity.
Boston is a city I’ve always wanted to skate. It has super unique spots and being able to go back to the East Coast and skate was such a cool opportunity. I was super stoked because it’s been a long time. I also feel like the East Coast has a lot more flavor as far as spots and Tim had an endless amount of spots so we didn’t even get close to hitting all of them. Getting to skate so many spots that I grew up seeing in videos and photos was really cool. We didn’t even need to leave Boston at all even though we had planned on potentially going to Connecticut or Pennsylvania. We could’ve stayed another week and still not hit them all.

These trips are always so gnarly as far as the daily routines—out early, back very late, but we almost always seemed to find ourselves all hanging out in the parking lot for a couple more hours each night after we got back to the hotel. And Tim would often stay and hang too until 3 or 4 AM! I loved that.
I think after those long days everyone still just wanted to chill and drink a beer or smoke a spliff or something and a little crew would always be downstairs hanging out even if it was like 2 AM just catching up or chatting. I think those moments were important for just creating a vibe throughout the whole trip and allowing everyone to get to know each other. Even after the long days I would just look forward to hanging out in the parking lot and just talking to everyone and drinking a beer and listening to music. Honestly, those moments might be some of the funnest on the trip—just hanging in the parking lot.

praman bw
What are some other favorite moments from the trip?
Dude, there are so many, but I think just getting to know everyone in the van and at spots and also seeing the Australian dudes charging together was really fun. Getting to see the Gremlin was probably one of my favorite moments of the trip. Kieran landing that ride-on nosegrind, then Rob just pouring beer in his face was so sick. And just getting Kieran drunk and watching him go wild was so funny.

What’s it like to skate a spot with Dylan Jaeb?
He’s dialed as fuck and he’s gonna land the trick he tries. Dude, we skated this double set at Harvard and he frontside flipped it probably first or second try just warming up, which is not really a warm-up trick for anyone but him. It was not small! Then he switch 360 flipped it in like three tries, which was pretty fucked up. That thing is big. I was in awe. But then it got to the point where I wasn’t even surprised anymore. I was just like, This dude is insane.

He’s pretty funny, too! I was genuinely surprised how rad he was.
He can hang and he’s really funny. He was cracking jokes the whole time and everybody wanted to be around him. That was my first experience being on a trip with him and he was really cool the whole time. I got to room with him so I was just picking his brain and having conversations with him and really getting to know him; it was really fun. I like Dylan a lot.

You just dropped a killer part in Three Seasons how was it getting out with Gage and Tanner?
These dudes worked so hard on it. Those are my boys.

This has actually been a pretty big year for you—Deluxe parts, welcomed to New Balance and then the Am Scramble. How does it feel?
It feels really good. I feel like all these things have happened pretty organically and I’m just trying to keep it going, but I’m definitely very grateful for all the opportunities everyone has given me so I’m just trying to make sure I do my part. Moving out here to pursue skating, you don’t ever expect these things to happen. I mean, it took a long time to get here and this past year has been really good, so I have no complaints. I’ve just been trying to sit back and reflect on everything that’s been happening because it’s all been happening so fast now, but it’s been a really good year. This shit is literally like a dream.

Patrick Praman DSC 6931 BURNETT DZ copyWhen Patrick stepped to the rails, we all sat down and watched. Backside overcrooks, smooth as silk
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