Interview with Vert Attack 8 winner Paul-Luc Ronchetti

Paul-Luc Ronchetti Interview

I was able to witness the amazing level of skateboarding at this year’s Vert Attack 8 contest in Malmö, Sweden in person, I even was able skate the ramp with over 100 other vert skaters from around the globe. But the level of skateboarding in the pro/am finals was beyond anything I had ever seen and after a final contest that seemed more like a dream, UK ripper Paul-Luc Ronchetti came out on top with a much deserved first place.

After getting in contact with him again after the contest he answered back quite fast letting me know he was ready to answer some questions – rad! So here it is and sometimes you have to ask the questions to get some basic skateboarding education. Starts out with my first question already but hey, you learn through mistakes…or badly researched questions in my case :)

You’re 22 years old right so I’m guessing you’re not at home with the parents right? Where are you living right now?

I’m 20 but I turn 21 in two months. I still live with my parents in Carlsbad, California. (Me: okay, duhh!)

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Photo by: Dan Sparagna

You moved from Norfolk, England to Carlsbad, California when you were 15 years old. Was it all just sun and games, beautiful Californian people or are there sides to living in the States which are not as good as in England?

That’s correct. We moved out as a family (parents and younger brother) 5 years ago due to my dads job opportunity. He’s been the general manager of LegoLand, CA ever since. Even though it’s life as usual now and this is my reality, I still get that feeling I used to get as a little kid on vacation. It’s easy to forget we live in such a nice place out here when you’re preoccupied with work or school. We have amazing weather, beaches, beautiful scenery and a great skate scene with so many options! To be honest I don’t miss living in England.

What ramps / pools / spots do you get to skate regularly and do you skate often with the same people?

I’m fortunate enough to skate some of the best vert ramps and skateparks around. North County San Diego pretty much has it all. There are many skateparks and vert ramps all within a 30 minute driving radius. My favorite ramps/ bowls would have to be THI, Elliot’s and Mancha’s ramps and Bucky’s bowl. The YMCA in Encinitas also fixed their vert ramp and that one feels amazing now too. I’m usually skating with the same people but it’s come to the point where there might be multiple sessions going on as opposed to one big session…….so yeah it’s pretty tough living here haha.

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Photo by: Dan Sparagna

What are some of the raddest / toughest things you have ever skated and where are they located?

Backyard pools up at Ozzie’s land of pools in San Bernardino! I have so much respect for guys who can shred them and make it look easy. It’s always a challenge to skate those. The giant SMP skatepark in Shanghai is probably one of the craziest places i’ve skated too.

I’m interviewing you for the United Skateboard Photography Project website which is creating a 300+ page book featuring skateboard photographers from aroung the globe to support the non-profit Grind For Life organization which helps cancer patients basically through skateboarding. What do you think about the project and do you know anyone (friends / family) who have had or still are fighting cancer?

I think this is a great project. It is giving back to skateboarding as well as helping cancer patients. I’ve always admired Mike Rodgers and what he’s done with Grind For Life. I’ve never been close to anyone fighting cancer so I can’t say I fully understand the subject but it seems like it always hits the nicest people who really don’t need to be dealing with it. It’s definitely a tough one but it’s great to have organizations like GFL and projects like this one to bring out the positivity and the coming together of people.

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Photo by: Mike John – Paul-Luc Ronchetti at the NASS contest, UK July 2005

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Photo by: Mike John – Paul-Luc Ronchetti at the NASS contest, UK July 2005

Vert Attack 8 was your contest. You came and ruled that vert ramp but it wasn’t all easy flying because the level of skateboarding in the Pro / Ams was insanely high. What does this experience mean to you and would you like to see more contests having more fun integrated back into them?

To be honest I was dead nervous to begin with. The practice sessions were a little overwhelming. I had to take a step back and realize the stoke levels and how ecstatic the environment was, then I started really enjoying it. The final itself felt more like a session but we were all pushing each other and there was so much energy in that building, almost enough to blow the roof off haha. Can’t have been an easy one to judge because everyone was sending it. I’d love to see more contests like this one, giving a chance for everyone to shred. It didn’t matter what level you were, Pro, Am or Woman. There was an equal amount of appreciation for everyone. >>> Watch the entire Vert Attack 8 video finals below with Paul-Luc’s winning runs and at the end of the interview even more PLR photos at the Vert Attack 8 contest!

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Photo by: Eddie Think

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Photo by: Eddie Think

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Photo by: Mike John – Vert Attack 8

I haven’t seen any photos or footage of you on the Mega Ramps – have you or do you ride them?

I’ve never tried it. It’s amazing what people have done on that thing but I can’t say it’s my cup of tea. To each his own I guess!

What’s on your schedule for 2014 for contests and shows? Are you fully “booked” or do you still find time to follow your own personal hobbies and things you like? I know you like to drum and snowboard…

I’m about to go off to China for a contest, then there is X games, Dew Tour and I think I’ll give the Combi qualifiers another go. Probably a few demo opportunities here and there as well as the GFL Clash at Clairemont which is always a blast. Other than that, just skating every day and playing music. I find that it’s often a pretty mellow schedule, especially for vert, so I like to fill my time with other things like playing music. I’m in two different bands so we’ll be playing a lot this summer. We have some shows coming up soon too. The bands are called “Bearfoot Beast” and “Satellite Sons”. Here are some links to Bearfoot Beast music and video:

Satellite Sons started more recently including Pro BMX rider Simon Tabron, Scott Taylor who also skates, and myself. We don’t have any stuff out yet but should do soon.

Are you still going to school and if so, what are you studying?

I’m taking college courses but not rushing it. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly academic, especially when it comes to Math and Science. I guess we’re all just wired differently. No major in mind yet so I haven’t focused on just one thing. I suppose that would be a little different if I didn’t have skateboarding. Anyway, I think it’s important to have an open mind when it comes to education. You never know what doors it may open in the future.

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Photo by: Dan Sparagna

You do some of the highest airs in the game with seemingly no effort. What tricks do you find the most difficult and are you working on anything new/special right now?

Technical flip / lip tricks that involve full coordination are always very challenging. I’ve never done a proper invert or backside 360′s so I definitely want to get them going. Haven’t done a 720 in a while but have been toying with the idea of a gnar jar 7.

How did you land with Green Issue Skateboards and how’s it feel to be in such an incredible team of skaters? And who actually runs Green Issue, I need to get some skateboarding education from the source!

Green Issue is run by Paul Wisniewski, rad skater and family helping push skateboarding in a positive direction. At the time I didn’t have a board sponsor and was just getting the odd board from PLG and Chris Gentry which was really cool of them but I didn’t want to keep hassling them for boards. I skated with Paul at the Encinitas YMCA one day and he offered me to try a board to see if I liked them. Been riding them ever since. Although it feels more like a family, it is such a sick team. It’s so cool to be on the same roster as all these legends and skaters I’ve looked up to since I started skating. It’s only getting better too. Recently added was Mike Frazier which is dead cool, he’s always been one of my favorites to watch skate. Also Moto Shibata from Japan, watch out for that kid!

Any final words for us?

Thanks for the interview. Stoked to be a part of this project!

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PLR’s victory at Vert Attack 8 / Photo by: Fred Ferand

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Photo by: Fred Ferand

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Photo by: Fred Ferand

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Photo by: Fred Ferand

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Photo by: Dan Sparagna