Interview: 2011 Adrennalina Tour Champion Paul Kent

With rain blasting a large part of the East right now and it being the end of Hump Day I couldn’t resist posting this for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a regular reader of the site by now you should at least know Paul from our coverage of the Adrennalina Skateboard Marathon Tour which wrapped-up on November 5th with Paul being crowned first ever Tour Champion. In addition to his Adrennalina fame most people also know Paul from his Long Treks On Skate Decks video series, the Paskapoo Downhill Rodeo, GreenSkate and eating celery at the steakhouses. You can catch up with him on www.skaterpaul.com. He is sponsored by Orangatang wheels, Rayne longboards, Royal Boardshop, Vega Sport, and rides with various other teams. I got a chance to talk to Paul via e-mail once he got back to Canada after the Adrennalina Championship for a short interview, telling how he first got into distance skating, how he felt about the last Adrennalina race, and so much more. Paul is making a big name for himself in distance skating and it’s pretty clear he’s just heating up, check out the interview below and see for yourself.

STE: Skate The East: Right now you’re living up in Calgary but mentioned to me on Twitter that you’re originally from the East. Where are you from originally and what took you out to the base of the Canadian Rockies?

Paul Kent: I am originally from Cambridge Ontario, just about 45 minutes west of Toronto. My Dad’s family is from Wabana Newfoundland, which is as east as it gets. Anyways, ten years ago the longboard scene in Cambridge consisted of myself, Marcel Robert, and about 14 other super casual carvers. I would have to drive out to Dundas to skate with Mike Civindino our (then) Canadian slalom champ, or to Toronto to ride with their small group of 10-20 odd kids serious with Downhill riding. I felt I had quickly outgrown the talent base as I wanted to learn from more experienced riders. I decided to find riders out west to learn from and I connected with the parts of Jody Willcock’s crew. (Jody is the inventor of the drop deck). I still identify with Ontario as being where I come from and I miss riding my hometown and the escarpment.

STE: In addition to being the recently crowned 1st ever Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Champion after a stellar season you’re also well known for your incredibly long distance skateboard backpacking adventures. How did you first enter the world of distance longboarding, and what has motivated you to keep pushing and pumping after all these miles?

PK: Well first off Jeff was the first Adrenalina champ. I am the first tour champion. I failed miserably at last years Adrenalina in Hallendale. Haha. But to answer your question, I began riding to work through rain, shine, even two inch deep snow. When I was late I would have to sprint to work on my board. By the time a year had gone by I had cut my work commute in half. I had done well in a Central park race in New York, but it wasnt until the fall of 2007 that it really happened. I was invited to the push race “King of the Forest” in Vancouver by Mike Benda and Rocky. Having no money for a bus, I joked to my friends and family that maybe I should skate there. They didn’t realize I was joking and started helping me prepare. Haha. Then they agreed it was a stupid crazy idea but I was the craziest person they knew. I packed up my hiking pack with lightweight gear and I skated there. I Got to the race and took the top spot of any Canadian, however loosing to Robin (The Leg) McGuirk and Jon Huey. It was a great trip of self discovery, freezing nearly to death at the top of mountain passes and running from wild animals, skating alone in the dark in places where there are no lights. And then a great race where I saw podium. This touring and push racing thing really had captivated me.

STE: You and Jeff Vyain crossed the finish line hand-in-hand to tie the 1st Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Championship this past weekend, what was your first thought when you finally caught up to Jeff and he suggested you share the prizes and podium?

PK: My first thought when Jeff offered to go splits was “yes, sound offer.” we both earned it, and I still felt it was anyone’s win. I had caught up to Jeff and took the lead, he then caught up to me about a half mile further and that’s when he proposed the prize split. We skated for a few seconds, then I suggested we shake on it before continuing our race against eachother. Now honestly I didn’t consider this to mean we were supposed to cross the finish together. I began surging to the finish. He and then bounced back and fourth for the lead and charged all but feet from the line. I pushed to the fastest speed I could possibly go and Jeff was still beside me. That’s when I reached for his hand. I did it without looking and he grabbed my arm. We both won, literally and figuratively.

STE: What was the general reaction by the spectators?

PK: The spectators were stoked. I think they really appreciate that we’re not easy on eachother and we pushed faster times, yet in the end it’s about camaraderie, helping eachother to grow as athletes, and being stoked for eachother.

STE: You and Jeff Vyain have arguably the most famous “rivalry” in longboarding right now. When did you guys first run into each other and how did you become “best frenemies?”

PK: Our first encounter was online. He wrote me to tell me he wanted to race me. We met in Hallendale and I wasn’t feeling optimal. He won that race, I hung out with him the rest of that night talking at him and sharing technical info with him. I’m sure he thought I was a chump, but I was stoked to have found a true nemesis. Someone to share and help me become better, by sometimes being better then me. I followed what he did online, in interviews and in his community and became certain he was a good role model and ambassador for longboarding and push race. Our next race was the Cheif Ladiga 188 mile and I won, earning Jeff’s respect. At the after party we had a great talk about our responsibility to the sport. That got us off on the same foot.

STE: How do you intend to spend the off-season this year?

PK: I read lots in the winter. Its when I learn about how to train and eat better. I will be doing more weight lifting, some cross country skiing and running. Although not so much as to over-train before the season begins. I also need to do some physiotherapy. Hopefully I’ll get to head to Cali or Van for some downhill skateboarding through the winter. And of course I’ll be back to working a real job.

STE: You’ve said you have a career goal of a 1:20:00 marathon, what other goals for longboarding in general do you have?

PK: My goals are to help the sport grow in a positive and sustainable way, to help produce some world class skaters in various genres, to create a LongTreks film, start a better bearing company, start downhilling in contests again and of course running as close to 1:20:00 as humanly possible. I’m really aiming to break 1:26:00 next year. But it will depend on the course and the weather.

STE: If you could have anything in the world, prepared by the best of the best, what would be your dream pre-race/long skate meal?

PK: My best dream pre race meal would be the best cheesecake in the world, or best in the dream world for that matter! But since I do not exist in the dream world, I’ll stick to sweet potatoes with a garnish of vegan gummy bears, Vega sport optimizer and ginger kombucha. Unfortunately the best of the bests talents would be wasted on pre-race meals as the GI tract won’t tolerate the best foods during these races. It sucks! But if the Best chefs would take a rain check, I’d be glad to have some mean Mali kofta with Lacha prantha after the race.

STE: Best of luck in the off-season, hopefully you get some deserved rest and relaxation before the grind of training starts again!

PK: Thank you very much. Rest and relaxation is in in full effect right now. But physiotherapy and trigger-point therapy begin soon, followed by weights and fitness maintenance. Say hi to the east for me. I miss her.

We’re stoked Paul took the time to talk to us and wish him the best for the off season!

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter where we post videos and photos you might not find on the site!

Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Championships & Interview with Jeff Vyain

Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Championship trophy.

The biggest names in both men’s and women’s push racing will be making their way down to Hallandale Beach, Florida this Saturday (11/5) for the  fourth and final leg of the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Series. The course for Saturday features longer laps, requiring the racers to only complete 4 of them, as opposed to 12 in New York and 13 in Puerto Rico. Bustin’ Boards’ Cami Best had said in an interview with Adrenalina after the Plano, TX race — which also featured long laps — that fewer laps “makes it seem more attainable,” and allows you to focus on skating more rather than what lap you’re on. While the weather looks like it will be in the high 70s and sunny it’s not going to be just another day at the beach for competitors.

As with the previous legs of the ASM a whopping $30,000 prize purse is on the table, half of which (yes, that’s a full $15,000) goes to the first place male finisher. In addition to the prize money, the winner will be crowned the first ever Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon Champion and hoist the 20 pound trophy (which they unveiled 4 days ago) on the podium alongside the women’s ASM champion. In the previous 3 legs of the ASM we’ve seen three different winners: Jeff Vayin who won in New York City, his teammate Kiefer Dixon who won in Puerto Rico, and Paul Kent who won the last ASM in Plano, TX. Not only has every race seen a different winner, but the top 5 changes dramatically from race to race — for all intents and purposes this is really anyone’s game on Saturday. Favorites, of course are the previous three winners alongside Robin McGurik and Enrique Cubillo, both of whom posted impressive finishes in other recent push races. While there doesn’t appear to be a clear winner one thing is certain: Saturday is going to be one of the most exciting stops on the ASM this season.

I had the opportunity to talk to Jeff Vyain of Bustin’ Boards, and winner of the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in New York City earlier this summer, via e-mail and asked him a few questions about the race coming up. Check it out below:

STE: What, if anything, have you done differently to train for the Championships on Saturday? If you didn’t make  any changes, are you wishing you had?

JV:” I have done a few workouts, so I guess that’s a change from the past two races anyway. I’ve also started drinking distilled water. That’s more of a lifestyle thing, though…not sure if it’ll have any impact on my racing. Been drinking a lot of Smoothies and I’m taking a suppliment powder that Paul’s been on since day 1, so I’m cutting that variable out of the mix! I wish I got a couple more workouts in but I’m going in mentally prepared, and that’s what’s most important.”

STE: Do you have any traditions or superstitions you try to abide by before a race?

JV: “I’m not superstitious in the sense that if I don’t get to do something, I don’t think it will impact my performance. I try to get decent sleep, though before Adrenalina NYC, I got about 2 hours, and that’s the only race I’ve won this year, so I can’t say that that matters all too much either. This is a mental game more than anything, and I don’t like to rely on things I may not always have control over. I’m always ready to race.”

Jeff Vyain, right, battles against Paul Kent, left, on his custom Bustin' Board

STE: With the Championship title and all that cash on the line, whats the atmosphere between competitors like  going into the race?

JV: “Kiefer is always quiet and kind of serious. Paul and I are always joking around, playing up our “rivalry” but talking strategies and trying to push each other to get better. Cami and Sara are always partying it up and endlessly bothering me with setup questions. I think everything’s pretty normal.”

STE: What’s the first thing you plan on doing if you win in Hallandale Beach?

JV: “I’m probably going to pay my dad off on some college loans he helped me out with a couple years ago. He’s been very patient with me 🙂 Thanks Dad! And I’d like to take Maribeth on a little vacation sometime this winter, maybe hit some slopes out west or something. And maybe one day I will build a pyramid.”

STE: So what comes next after the Championship? How do you plan on training through what looks to be  another harsh winter in NYC?

JV:” I’m going to get as deep into board building as possible. I’ve been happily put in charge of doing a lot of the prototyping for Bustin, and I’m having a really good time with it. I’m still learning, but it’s coming quickly. My goal for the winter is to get as deep into my work as possible and release some really sick boards next year.

Most of my training will probably be cross training. I’ll skate whenever I can, but I really want to get into a climbing gym and get my body back into shape. I’ve suffered from back problems ever since the NYC race, and the racing schedule has been so tight that all I’ve really been able to focus on is recovery rather than strengthening to prevent injury. That’s my main goal physically–to get as strong as possible so I can train a lot harder next year. New York was the only race I’ve really been able to train for, and at the time, I thought I was just getting started. Hopefully that is still the case and that it’s all just on a bit longer timeline than previously expected. I want to break some records next year. I still hope to do well in Florida, though. I’m not counting myself out!”

If you’ve ever seen Jeff’s custom Bustin’ Board that he designed with Subsonic (which he is riding in the image above) you know you should be extremely excited to see what he comes up with during the off-season! We’ll cover more of that when it comes time, until then get ready for what looks to be a very exciting race weekend in Hallandale, Flordia!

Best of luck to all the competitors, especially the East Coast constituency that has been doing so well!