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Exclusive: AXE and skateboarder Paul Rodriguez celebrate new product line

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After partnering up with men’s lifestyle brand AXE, professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, also known as P-Rod was in New York Wednesday, April 30, 2014 for a special launch event in honor of his new signature collection AXE Kilo. The six-time X Games medal winner captivated onlookers at Bathhouse Studios in Alphabet City with his “street” skateboarding skills, as he is famously known for.

With a steadily growing brand, P-Rod explained how his innate attraction to the sport as a young kid ultimately became after purchasing his first board, daily visits to his neighborhood skateboard shop, networking with other skaters, and watching skate videos helped to cultivate his now empire. The nonstop wet weather outside could not avert the skateboard junkies from lurking.

After a quick shake off, all was swell and in motion on the inside. Music, food, beverages and goody bags were rendered while bystanders circulated the multi-level event space. After working up a sweat taking on the purpose-built skatepark with street skateboarding elements, Examiner.com had the chance to sit down with P-Rod himself for a quick Q&A.

Q: How did the business collaboration with AXE and your brand come about?

Through my Target endorsement, I don’t know who approached who about it, but I was contacted about doing a brand take-over with AXE within Target. It sounded cool to me, so I was like sure. And after deciding to go forward with the collaboration, I asked if I could collab with one of my favorite artists Mister Cartoon, because I don’t really fancy myself as a creative, kind of branding-marketing-packaging kind of guy, so I figured I knew the right person for that. I was thankful that he accepted it; he did some of his classic pieces, murals and stuff, which put a little flavor of both him and I into it. And that was really it.

Q: What are some of your hopes for your other newest venture Primitive Skateboarding that you launched just a few weeks ago (April 10)?

I got to a point in my career where I just wanted to take ownership of myself, I wanted to have a piece of me. So this was a great place to begin. Owning my own boards, after all, this is what I’m known for. Although I loved my sponsors, I am still in the prime stages of my career, been in the game for a while, I just felt that it was time to step away so that I could figure out my next move. And since I had already been with Primitive, the store was already making a name for itself, it just made sense, why not make Primitive Skateboards and just grow that brand. There was already a great infrastructure there, so all the pieces seemed to come together. My partners do a great job so I can still focus on skateboarding, I don’t have to be in the office all the time. Now I have a chance to also find new talent, grow them, and help make their dream come true like my dream was able to.

Q: Why “street” skating over the other types of skateboarding categories within your sport?

Well I picked street skating because it was initially the type of skating that I was drawn to. Street skaters are the guys jumping down the stairs, gliding on the handrails, and you know just out on the streets skating on raw city terrain. And then you have the half pipe skaters, vert-ramp skaters, transition skaters, and then there are people who can just do it all. I wish I did it all, but I just kind of grew up skating street, it was more my passion, more appealing to me, and I think it has more swag to it.

Sade Graham contributed reporting.

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